Around a dozen tourists recently gathered around a gray-haired man donning a cowboy jacket
outside the ornate Longshan Temple in Taipei, enthralled by his stories of Wanhua district that even locals don’t know.
The man, named Chen Tzu-chiang or A-Chiang for short, represents one of the faces of the new tour organization “Hidden Taipei” that is trying to show people Taiwan’s capital from a unique perspective — through the eyes of the homeless.
A-Chiang, who was once homeless himself, has taken to his new role as a tour guide after receiving training from the organization. “I was the first one to enter the training course and the first to transition into the new job,” the 65-year-old said with pride.
It only seemed natural for him to tell the story of the once bustling Wanhua district in the southwestern part of the city that has lost much of its former glamour since Taipei’s development shifted eastward. Now the district in the city with the most low-income households, senior citizens living alone, people with disabilities, and homeless, Wanhua has been portrayed as an area populated by the “five vagabonds” — referring to hoodlums, the homeless, street prostitutes, street vendors and migrant workers. [FULL STORY]