《Historical Memory—Carrying Bamboo House to Cross the River》
Zengwun River flooded and changed its courses frequently at earlier stage. Residents called the river a “blind snake” indicating it is still alive and keeps changing its courses and forcing the residents to move around. It was not until 1928 after Zengwun River’s levee burst and forcing the last group of residents migrated to the new location and naming it Nan-shin, meaning to reconstruct and revive.
The settlements to the south of Zengwun River, such as Nanliao, Xinji, Twelve Farms and Gongwen had all been invaded by Zengwun River’s flood water. Under the shadow of heavy flood, ancient residents used bamboo raft as their walls. When there was flooding, the house could stay afloat with the flooding water. They used bamboo sticks inserted with muds as the beam column called Bamboo Cage. Whenever the river flooded, the water flushed out the muds. Elderly and women in the village would pack their belongings and the men carried the bamboo sticks to escape. These scenarios repeated whenever there was flooding 90 years ago. Therefore, carrying bamboo house to cross the river is an old memory, a shared history for settlements in Taijiang.
This old common memory now only remains in the words of moth from older generation. Local buildings have been replaced by concrete buildings. Tik-long-a-tshu, i.e., bamboo houses can only be found in the textbook. Building bamboo house does not require nails and iron wires. They carved holds on the bamboo sticks and assembled together. The current re-enactment of the “carrying bamboo house to cross the river” are done by local residents wearing sneakers or slippers and worked together to carry a true bamboo house like before. The elderly said, with tears in their eyes, “The old memory has come alive.” The middle generation said “This proves the story from my father that house can walk.” Younger generation describes it as “It’s like the Howl’s Moving Castle” by the Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki. The event has invoked the residents to discuss their history, migrating experience and the verbal memory for their local culture. It guides them to explore together the history of memory and flooding water reminding those who are awake to adapt to the natural environment.