During our visit to Taiwan, my family and I were able to visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall twice and witness to different kinds of changing of the guards. The memorial hall is a tribute to Chiang Kai-shek, the former president of the Republic of China, which opened four years after his death. Aside from being the most famous landmark in Taiwan because of this leader, the significance of its architectural details are so well thought-out it would keep you in awe.
The first changing of guards I witnessed was around 4:50PM, where the guards had to go down the memorial hall to lower the flag. Being petite had it’s advantage – shout-out to the two Japanese guys who made me stay in front of them to get a full view! (I wasn’t able to see more after they stepped out the hall due to the flock of tourists, though.)
I also saw the changing of guards at around 11:00AM – but I didn’t get so lucky with the view this time. There were only five guards and they did a different routine. My older brother was going all geeky explaining the routine to me, too.
The guards were young men, looking all serious and respectable in their uniforms. I can’t even imagine holding their post – an entire hour of standing, no movement, and when they do end the hour they have to do the exchange flawlessly. I think standing there would make my legs suddenly itchy for no reason in the first few minutes and I’d be in big trouble!
The Chiang Kai-shek changing of guards amazed me because it was the first time I’ve seen anything like it. I briefly saw the guards at Sun Yat-sen Memorial hall when they were outside, but never really got to observe it. I understand that there must have been a rigorous training, at the same time, the thought of how much team work and trust the job entails given one’s limitations in movement and speech (or even eye signals) is admirable. It is often easier to work together and hold someone accountable when you can freely talk and move. We can’t even get right at times without an argument.
This is why I love traveling. It brings you to see the little things clearer because it’s presented differently in that certain culture, language, or way of living. It doesn’t mean you never had those realizations before, it just seems emphasized because of a new perspective – refreshing and inspiring.
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