People say when something needs to be done, it doesn’t matter if you’re alone or there are people backing you up, if you’re determined enough, nothing can stop you. Huang Yung-fu is the living example of it.
The 96-year-old former soldier is the sole reason behind saving his entire village from being demolished. And he did this with the help of his gift of art, something that was taught to him by his father.
Getting up at 3 am and getting ready to stroll around the street to paint has been a daily activity for him.
In fact, his amazing artwork and mural have saved the village that is home to veterans in Nantun district of Taiwan’s central Taichung.
For the amazing work he has been doing for years, people have given Yung-fu the name “Rainbow Grandpa” and for the almost demolished village which is now a major tourist attraction has been named the “Rainbow Village” for being vibrant and colorful.
The military dependent village was in threats of being bulldozered and torn down to the ground by the Taiwanese government.
For years, it had been home to Kuomintang (KMT) troop, a military troop who fled from Hong Kong during the civil war and settled in Taiwan.
They were first given temporary housing in several dedicated military houses which later became permanent as communists tightened their grip.
However, the people living in these villages were forced to leave their homes as the government decided to knock down the villages and re-construct something else in the lands.
“We had a letter five years ago saying the government wanted to knock it down to build something new. They said we could take some money or move to a different house,” said Huang Yung-fu.
It is hard for anyone to abandon the place he calls home and just walks away and leave behind all the memories that were shared there.
And same was the case with Yung-fu who has been living there for more than three decades. He didn’t want to leave the only real home that he had ever known and move to a new place. So, he decided to take matters in his own hands.
He decided to paint the walls of all the 1200 homes as well as the street of his village.
Today, he walks with a slight limp and ties bandages around his knee as he bruised the by spending a lot of time kneeling on the ground just so he could paint.
He started by painting a little bird on a wall of his own house and eventually went on to paint the walls of the whole village.
His wall paintings became so famous that people from all over started pouring in just to have a glimpse of the “Rainbow Village,” and his biggest achievement was when kung-fu legend Bruce Lee paid a visit while he was alive.
The beautiful and colorful village today has been one of the most leading tourist attraction areas of Taiwan and every year it is flooded with millions of tourists from all over the world.
The village is one of the 13 remaining military veteran villages and has a significant value for all these veterans and their families who’ve been living there for years.
The rest had been knocked down as people wanted a better living condition.
But due to Huang’s efforts and determination to save his home and village, the defense ministry has now pledged to preserve all the remaining 13 villages as cultural sites.
And as for Huang Yung-fu, the Rainbow Grandpa who single-handedly saved his village from the threats of being torn down is one happy man for creating the Rainbow village.