Use the story of a street friend to lead you to a city map you have never seen before: Hidden Taipei

Interview Photography/ Yao.
"Awa and the Wandering" Guide Photo / Lynch.
"The more fat and fat the life" and "The rise and fall of Simon's life" guide photo / Lin Biao.

In the busy streets of Taipei, which is always full of people, as a resident, have we ever been more aware of the various faces of Taipei City in addition to the frequent cafés or the newly-opened restaurants and stores?

At the end of 2015, we had the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of "Hidden Taipei" - "Ah and the wanderingStarting from the skinning, passing through the Wanhua Flea Market and then going to the Park, the usual street scene in Taipei is the life-winding map of the guide Ahee.

▲At the end of 2015, we participated in the “Ai Wandering” tour of Hidden Taipei. Ah and I cordially greeted everyone and began to guide the origins and historical humanities of "skinning." Photography/ / Lynch.
▲At the end of 2015, we participated in the “Ai Wandering” tour of Hidden Taipei. Ah and I cordially greeted everyone and began to guide the origins and historical humanities of "skinning." Photography/ / Lynch.

This alternative urban experience must go back to 2013; when Zeng Wenqin, who was engaged in the technology industry, took part in a guided tour of street friends led by local homeless people while on vacation in the UK. Unseen ToursThe alternative London stories and atypical sights I saw in the guided tours also changed her stereotypes about street friends and gave her the idea of ​​trying this different model in Taipei.

Soon after returning to Taiwan, I found Zhang Xianzhong, the founder of the charity "Mang Grass Heart Association", which is dedicated to serving the homeless. Hidden Taipei"Project, counseling the homeless to transform into a guide.This time, Miss Li Jiating, a social worker who is responsible for "Street Hidden Taipei",Let’s talk about the journey of the road since the establishment of the road.

"The planning of street friends is not the same as the traditional social worker service. The guide is not to provide a lot of job opportunities for street friends, but to give the general public an opportunity to communicate with street friends through the guide." Jia Ting explained it; because the average person wants to "step into" the street friend is actually difficult, but in the process of street tour, because the guide is a street friend, so that visitors can follow the guide well. Get in touch and even understand the story of life.

Everyone has to remember one thing. No one is born as a street friend. They are children, couples, and relatives.

Everyone has to remember one thing. No one is born as a street friend. They are children, couples, and relatives.

When planning the tour of "Hidden Taipei", the association cooperated with Wanhua Social University, and the professors at the university took volunteers to conduct guided tours. At first, many street friends may not understand the concept of navigation at all, misunderstanding the navigation with the guide, and the navigation itself has its own conditions. The guides of "Hidden Taipei", Ajun and Xiaopeng, are also residents of the Mangga Heart Association. They find many stories in their lives and look forward to sharing them with you.

Street tour Hidden Taipei "Frustrated life" guide chubby. Photography/ 林璟玮. Image Courtesy of Hidden Taipei.
Street tour Hidden Taipei "Frustrated life" guide chubby. Photography/ 林璟玮. Image Courtesy of Hidden Taipei.

"Ajun has lived in the Ximen area for more than 50 years. He heard that there was such an activity and he used it himself, and wrote a large guidebook to record in detail the places he wants to bring to visit." Jia Ting said . Although such a spirit is really commendable, when Ajun led the association's volunteers to actually visit, they found many trivial stories - such as the 18th generation of the ancestors of the juice shop owner, who is the son-in-law and so on (laugh) - Not enough to prop up a professional tour. After the story of the homeless, one by one, the Mang Grass Heart Association will string together the appropriate attractions and their respective life stories. After many trials and trainings, they will completely plan a route. It’s just that these planning and running-in periods may take two or three months, and street friends can truly become guides who can lead the public to visit their city maps.

Street tour Hidden Taipei "Ximen Wang's ups and downs" route guide Ajun. Photography/ 林璟玮. Image Courtesy of Hidden Taipei.
Street tour Hidden Taipei "Ximen Wang's ups and downs" route guide Ajun. Photography/ 林璟玮. Image Courtesy of Hidden Taipei.

What the general public often misunderstands is that in fact, about 70% of Taipei's street friends have jobs; but they all work in the nature of temporary workers, such as placards, dispatching, cleaning, rough work, etc., short-term and labor-intensive. Intensive work. The threshold of the guided work is not low. It must have a certain knowledge of the cultivation. It will be accompanied by an in-depth explanation or personal charm. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to study and repeat the acceptance. However, during the class, street friends sometimes have to give up the opportunity to work, and the income will be reduced. Such a transition period will inevitably make their life difficult, so there are many participants who have withdrawn from the middle. So planning a trip that can really be guided by street friends is not an easy task.

Most of the people who came to participate in the "Hidden Taipei" tour were interested in knowing the wandering journey of the homeless. The association also conducted a questionnaire survey. Many visitors who participated in the survey mentioned that the stereotypes in the vicinity of Longshan Temple were dirty and not positive, and there were more or less fears for the nomads. "But joining the tour and seeing some 60-year-old gentlemen, in fact, is very general in front of you, maybe just a lot of words (laughs). You will have more knowledge, and you will find that you did not imagine with yourself. The same. If the people involved in the tour have such an idea, I think the purpose of the plan will be achieved. Those street friends who become guides, you will see that he is more confident and graceful, is a positive change, let People are very happy." Jia Ting said happily.

In addition, many of the teachers who participated in the tour also took part in the activities of students from the “high-risk families” in the school; these students were not enthusiastic about attending classes or general courses at school. "In the beginning, these students came to participate in activities, and they all seemed to be lacking in love. They loved to listen." Jia Ting recalled, but after the teachers gave feedback, they knew that these students had a warm response after the event. "These children are likely to be in a similar living environment and have attracted interest in the topic from "Street Tour". I discovered that this activity is behind their appearance as if they were swaying, but they have an influence in their hearts."

According to the questionnaire and observation, Jia Ting said that the group of “Hidden Taipei” is currently a group of tourists, mainly about 20 to 30 years old, and also a majority of women; through the Hidden Taipei website, you can learn about the event or see the news. After the media reported, I wanted to participate in the understanding. Some people even contacted the guides after listening to the tour and kept in touch with them to become friends. However, there have also been street friends crossing the border to ask for loans from tourists. Jia Ting also said that the association advocates self-reliance and strictly prohibits such behavior. If it happens, it will be involved in counseling, but several street friends have left because they cannot persuade success. An example of the association.

"Taiwanese are actually paying attention to these street friends." When asked about the current situation of the homeless issue in Taiwan, Jia Ting replied, "The proportion of people who have volunteered is also very high. Especially in winter, the association also I often get a lot of calls and ask if there is any demand for materials. This shows that Taiwanese are very happy to share. But in fact, we must know that it is not enough to let a person return to the society, only the convenience and warm clothing."Although the homeless field More and more people have invested and paid attention to it, but in fact, the incomprehension or resentment accumulated over the years is still deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Jia Ting went on to give examples of the one-day accommodation center originally proposed in the vicinity of Longshan Guozhong, or the measures to help the street friends in Mammoth Park, which were repeatedly opposed by nearby residents and could not be implemented.

We need more stratosphere, and conservative people may have a slightly higher age. Maybe everyone can talk to the elders and let some relatives and friends who have deep stereotypes have some indirect influence. Compared with foreign young homeless people who are often caused by high unemployment rate, Taiwanese homeless people are mostly from the age of 50 to 60 years old. Because employers employ young foreign workers, they are unable to receive old-age pensions under the age limit. Fall in an intermediate gap. I believe that the line of mutual help between employment and welfare is what Taiwan needs right now.

We need more stratosphere, and conservative people may have a slightly higher age. Maybe everyone can talk to the elders and let some relatives and friends who have deep stereotypes have some indirect influence. Compared with foreign young homeless people who are often caused by high unemployment rate, Taiwanese homeless people are mostly from the age of 50 to 60 years old. Because employers employ young foreign workers, they are unable to receive old-age pensions under the age limit. Fall in an intermediate gap. I believe that the line of mutual help between employment and welfare is what Taiwan needs right now.

In addition to "Hidden Taipei", the Mang Grass Heart Association has recently been preparing for the "True Man Monopoly Campaign", allowing players to play the homeless and stepping on the land game in Wanhua District. The event is about 2 hours, allowing players to visit Wanhua’s real old store. It is a homeless person who can earn and save money. I hope that participants can understand the “homeless” through multiple perspectives. Let this group of people walk out of the dark corners of society.

"The Mang Grass Heart Association is relatively new, and it has reached out to more young people through online marketing, but many seniors have been working in this field for a long time. The Ren'an Foundation has the largest amount of service in Taiwan. There are emerging organizations such as Life, the Fourth World, etc., which connect art and business with different resources. The communication and cooperation are also very intensive. In terms of marketing, they also focus on the homeless and collectively gather strength. Of course, young people are still the main target, but we also need to be exposed to the age-old masses. Many elders only think that "I donate money to you", not to know the land, but to donate money. But we hope Not only that, we hope to get understanding and trust. I want to tell you that even if you want to donate, you need to know in depth how those units are operating, or when you are a volunteer, this is a way to understand and help directly. Jia Ting finally added.

Homeless people are not unique to a particular region. Most of them are people who have been left behind because of their skills are no longer needed in times of change and industrialization. Every big city has such a figure. They are not necessarily imagined by the outside world. They are only living with dirty, not producing, lazy or free-loving lifestyles, and they become street friends. The reasons for becoming street friends are different. In Taiwan, there are work-related injuries and some industries are moving outwards. It is difficult to find a new and established position in the fast-changing society. I hope that through these in-depth exchange activities, you can understand the situation of street friends with more empathy.

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