九九，久久/99 Years & Eternity
Updated: Jul 11
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It was August 3, R.O.C. Year 99, and I was in Kaohsiung, the second-largest city in Taiwan.
Whenever I visit an unfamiliar place, there are three things that I always can't miss: firstly, the natural beauty, secondly, the history, culture, and arts, and then thirdly the local cuisine and snacks. However, many times, after being hit by the beautiful scenery too many times, the visual aesthetics will become fatigued, but the temptation of food will always not be reduced in any way. Before arriving in Kaohsiung, I had already dropped by the mind-blowing beauty of Sun Moon Lake and Alishan Mountain and was already visually intoxicated. So, when I was in Kaohsiung, my mouth had long been itching to tell me: first stop - Ruifeng Night Market.
I had nothing to do that night, so I grabbed my camera, wallet, and map and walked quickly to the Wuzhuacuo MRT subway station, closer to where I lived. I prepared to take the subway to the Dome MRT station, where the Ruifeng Night Market is located nearby. August in Taiwan is very hot and humid, and at night it was no exception. I was walking fast and felt a little thirsty, so I bought a bottle of mineral water and took a few sips before entering the subway station.
Kaohsiung's subway currently has only two lines, and its complexity and comprehensiveness are nowhere near that of Hong Kong or Taipei, but the neat environment, orderly passengers, and cultural and artistic design are still on par with the Hong Kong subway. Each station has a specific design theme, and it changes regularly. At Wuzhacuo Station, the design at that time was flying saucers (UFO) of various shapes and sizes, which I guess was specially designed to coincide with the summer science activities for students. I admired those cute and unique little flying saucer designs while walking down the stairs to the level where I was going to ride the subway.
When I got to the subway level, the train had not yet arrived, so I took out the map in my pocket to see which direction I should take. But as soon as I pulled out the map, I found out that I had a problem. I was in such a hurry when I left the house that I accidentally put a map of Taipei in my pocket instead of a map of Kaohsiung. When I was about to look for the map and signs at the station, I noticed a middle-aged police officer walking nearby. I thought I could just ask him, which could be quick and easy.
"Hello, should I take this or that train to Dome Station?" This middle-aged policeman with his dark skin, sturdy body, and serious gaze made me feel a kind of majesty unique to law enforcement officers. He replied politely, "To go to Dome Station, you have to change trains at Kaohsiung Station." "Well, I know I have to transfer at Kaohsiung Station first. Which side should I wait for the train to Kaohsiung Station over there?" He pointed and said, "It's over here."
I smiled and said thank you to him. While saying thank you, I subconsciously unscrewed the mineral water in my hand and took a small sip. The police uncle was calmly saying you're welcome, but when he saw me drinking water that moment, his expression suddenly had a dramatic change in a flash. He looked at me with eyes wide open, seeming so surprised.
I was a little confused by his sudden facial expression, so I asked, "What's wrong?" I saw him pointing at the mineral water bottle I had just put down in my hand and he said seriously and solemnly, "Water is not allowed in MRT stations, don't you know that?" I finally understood why the police officer was looking at me with such surprise. It turned out that I had just "broken the law" right in front of him!
In fact, of course, I know that drinking water is strictly forbidden in subway stations and on subway trains, and Hong Kong also has such strict rules. In the beautiful Kaohsiung, I, as an "outsider", just can't wait to go to the famous Ruifeng Night Market for a meal, plus just walked all the way with a thirst for water, so I just reflexively sipped some water. I just didn't expect to be doing so right in the face of the police officer.
I immediately realized that I made a mistake, so I had to smile and explain, hoping that he can let me off the hook. I hope he would not confiscate the"funds" for my meal. "Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry, today is my first day in Kaohsiung, and also my first time in Kaohsiung in my life, I was just in a hurry to go to the legendary Ruifeng Night Market, so I just didn't pay attention. sorry." When the policeman heard me say this, suddenly his facial expression made a sharp U-turn, from the seriousness and ruthlessness just now to a kind smiling face.
"Oh! So you're a guest, huh? Where are you from?"
"I flew to Taiwan from Hong Kong, and I'm originally from mainland China."
"Wow, a friend from mainland China! Welcome!" The policeman seemed to have forgotten that I had just illegally drunk water.
He then said, "Have you been to the 85 building in the evening? You can see the panoramic view of Kaohsiung there! Did you go to Qijin, Barge 2 Special Zone, City Light Gallery, Lady of the Rosary Church? And the Love River, Xizi Bay, and True Love Pier? You can go on a boat ride at night, it's very beautiful. I will introduce you ah, to these places ... and..., ... Be sure to go... The shaved ice there is superb..."
The dramatic change in his attitude left me a little stunned, and his sudden enthusiasm was a little hard to resist. He was a stern law enforcement officer seconds ago, and suddenly transformed into a host greeting a guest with warm hospitality. He was also like a tour guide so dedicated to recommending good places. I took a deep breath and sobered up a bit, realizing that he was still a Taiwanese police officer in uniform.
After a few minutes of talking, the subway hadn't come yet. Because it was not rush hour, there were not many passengers waiting for the train and the interval between train departures was relatively long. I was listening carefully to his recommendation, and also picked up my phone, noting down some of the places he highlighted. I listened to him while saying endlessly, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" Thank you!".
Finally, he had almost finished his recommendations, and he returned calmly. And I was looking forward to exploring a lot more about the city. Then, I saw him taking out an invoice book from his bag. My heart was stunned. It was over, I was going to be issued a ticket. "Since it's your first time in Kaohsiung, you will not be fined this time, but you should pay attention in the future. Strict food and drink ban not in the subway in Kaohsiung, but also in Taipei"
"Yes!" I nodded, "I'll definitely pay attention." A small smile appeared at the corner of my mouth. He flipped open the ticket book and started writing. I was thinking what was this ticket for? He said."Don't be nervous, I'll write you a reminder slip, I hope you'll be impressed and remember this rule." I took the sheet and looked at it carefully.
When the train came, I didn't forget to praise the police officer: "Your work is really meticulous, I will remember the rules. This sheet is also a special souvenir! Thank you!" When I got on the train, the police officer waved me goodbye: "Have a good time in Kaohsiung!" For the sake of having such a policeman, I would rather move to Kaohsiung for a long time. He would have had no duty or obligation to say so much to me, and these words would not have made him receive a penny more in salary or bonus!
I remember when I was a teacher in Changsha, the city applied for the honor title of "civilized city", but it was not successful. It was said that the reason is that a review expert paid an undercover visit. After boarding a cab from Changsha South Railway Station, he found that the cab driver kept swearing, spitting out of the window, and the driver certainly did not know that this visitor is from the review committee. The driver even took him on a big detour, scamming the expert a lot more money from the extended ride. People can not help but ask: Is this a coincidence? Is this just bad luck?
The most profound feeling I had during my time in Taiwan was the recognition of the self-identity of the Taiwanese people. That precious island continues the traditional Chinese culture, so all kindness, friendliness, and sincerity come so naturally. These are the virtues and roots of the Chinese nation. Dr. Sun Yat-sen founded the "Republic of China" in 1911, and on February 15, 1912, after he was elected as the provisional president of the Republic of China, he led the civil and military officials to pay homage at the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum.
In his article "The Tribute to the Ming Emperor" and "The Tomb of the Ming Emperor", he explicitly stated that the Qin Emperor, Han Wu Emporer, the Tang Emperor, the Song Emperor, the Kangxi Emperor, the Qianlong Emperor, and Sun Yat-sen were all related to the Chinese nation. In other words, after overthrowing the Manchu dynasty and creating the first democratic republic in Asia, Sun Yat-sen recognized the 5,000-year history and civilization of the Chinese nation, and also firmly believed in the "Three Principles of the People" he founded and the Republic of China he created.
The followers of Marxism-Leninism are obviously different, they do not identify with the past dynasties; they deny everything with merely a slogan of anti-feudalism; they identify with a German guy thousands of miles away; they advocate a philosophy guided by the idea of class struggle; their rules of the game are to transfer the cruel and cold survival of the fittest of the natural world and the profit-oriented principles to the human society. At a glance, it is clear who in their bones are the continuation of Chinese tradition and who in their bones are the destroyers of Chinese tradition. In the end, the word "benevolence" can explain almost all the problems in this society and around us. The difference between a society with it and one without it is immense, and anyone who has ever experienced it will have this common feeling.
Today is the 99th National Day of the Republic of China, and although I have left Taiwan, I did not make it there in time to celebrate her birthday. But that encounter with her made me fall in love with this island of treasure as fiercely as my first love, and it was hard to let go of it for a long time. In my heart, she is no longer the abstract Sun Moon Lake and Alishan in the history textbooks, she is a living island with flesh, blood, and soul.