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Taiwan maker vows to promote cross-Straits integration in Pingtan

en.ptnet.cn | Updated:2022-07-13 | Lin Kongbo, Stephanie

"Affected by continuous rain, our feast has been postponed for some time. Everything resumed today. Feel free to come forward and share your stories." On June 26, endless laughter filled the house. In a small cultural creative workshop “Travel in the Wind” of Beigang Village, Pingtan, a banquet was being held.

Dedicated to promoting the tourism and culture of Pingtan, Yang Binghao from Hsinchu, Taiwan has been running the workshop for five years. This craft and culture jamboree that takes place once a week in Pingtan is popular among locals and Taiwan compatriots. Pingtan is the closest place on the mainland to the island of Taiwan and a pilot zone designated to facilitate cross-Straits integration.

Yang Binghao (First from Right) pictured guiding children to make handicrafts

An all-rounded handyman and artisan

The team settled down in Beigang in 2016 and the workshop was launched in April, 2017. Yang Binghao noted that every decoration is put together by bits and pieces of scavenged old items.

Yang introduced that the workshop is the third project to start construction in Beigang, but it ranked fiftieth in the number of completed projects. Yang worked as a plasterer, electrician, and carpenter in the process.

“I was a green hand in the field. But after the renovation, I became almost an ‘all-rounder’.” Yang said that at that time, he was ash and dirt all over. Little by little, a leisure space integrating a cultural creative workshop, a coffee bar, a snack bar, and a stage took shape. 

You can see ingenuity in the workshop – wooden stairs transformed into bookshelves, old-fashioned sewing machines for decoration, driftwood turned dining tables. The designs incorporate elements of Pingtan and Taiwan. After years of "polishing," the workshop has become an icon of Beigang as well as a tourist magnet. 

“The decorations show their efforts and thoughtfulness. Today, we came across the banquet and experienced it for ourselves. I am impressed with their operation philosophy as well as their attitude towards life. We’ll surely come back,” said Ms. Chen, a tourist.

For the kids, he became a parenting expert

“Recently, it rained continuously, taking a toll on vegetables in the garden. On such an occasion, we can make children aware of the difficulty of farming.” Yang took the children of the team to tend the vegetable garden. 

Although the “post-90s” Yang hasn’t yet built a family, he has a knack for educating children and is regarded as an “excellent guardian” by children in the community.

Currently, there are five school-age children in the team. The kids here don't go to school. But they received unconventional education. Life itself is a lesson. The kids learn as they navigate their way in everyday life. So far, they are doing very well.

"In the community, everyone has their role to play, including children. The kids have to help with household chores like doing the dishes, cooking, and cleaning. Now some villagers deliberately send their children to learn there,” said Chen Songbai, head of Beigang Village.

“Other children learn in school. I am happy to learn in the community,” said 11-year-old Chen Yancheng from Hainan.

There is no distinction between adults and children in the team. Yang asked children to learn from adults and do what adults do.

“Big brother Binghao led us to create. This piece of wood was recycled when cleaning the beach by the sea, and it can be made into works of various shapes. When we hold activities, we’ll share the materials to make creative works. Big brother said sharing is a happy thing. We’re learning to share,” said Chen Yanqian, another child in the team. Besides making handicrafts and doing housework, the children also learn music and other general knowledge.

Promoter of Cross-Straits integration

In the activity, some of the guests were making driftwood crafts, and some brought their own specialty dishes to share. Everyone involved shared their life stories through their works.

"Wind decides the high-low season of Pingtan’s tourism. For us, there is no such a thing as low season. Local residents and tourists are welcome to take part in our activities.” Yang said that over the years, the team has insisted on providing tourists with a space featuring “artistic ambiance” and an “interactive experience.”

It has been six years since Yang landed in Pingtan. He has not been out of Pingtan for five years and has not left Beigang for three years. "Every person I meet here is serendipity. We exchanged cross-Straits cultures in the workshop and created stories. The stories will be retold and recreated, so as to bring compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits closer,” said Yang.

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Editor in Charge:Lin Kongbo
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