Everyone loves a rainbow, the beautiful colors and different hues always make you smile. And that is what one Taiwanese pensioner thought when he made a desperate attempt to save his village. Armed with only a paintbrush, 93-year old Huang Yung-Fu turned his town into a vibrant rainbow and in the process saved it from demolition.
Yung-Fu watched helplessly as developers came into his city and paid his neighbors to leave. They proceeded to buy every property they could get their hands on, until there was only a few original locals in the Nantun district of Taichung, Taiwan. He knew that he had to act, but there was not much he could do.
You see his home is actually a village from a long forgotten era: a military dependents’ village. They are found throughout Taiwan and come from the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War when the Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists fought against the Chinese Communist Parties. In 1949, when Mao Zedong triumphantly created the People’s Republic of China most of the KMT members decided to flee to Taiwan. The huge influx of refugees was housed in these villages and though it was only supposed to be temporary, a solution was never really found and most of the residence became permanent.
Yung Fu or the Rainbow Grandpa as he is now called, became impatient and stressed as he watched all his friends leave the village. Picking up a paintbrush to pass the time, he transformed his house into a whole painting of bright colors. He didn’t stop, he moved on to the next house and the next one. Until suddenly the whole village was changed into an awe-inspiring rainbow.
Art students found out about what he had created and quickly alerted authorities, who acted quickly to stop the demolition. The outcome? Tourists come from all around to see the rainbow family village, a message that one man and a paintbrush can really make a difference.