The saying of “Liujia Shou, Hsinchu Zu” (When the crops in Liujia are ripe, rice supplies for the entire Hsinchu are adequate) reflects the importance of the Liujia area for the development of the Zhuzhan region and serves as a testament for the history of Liujia farms. Xinwawu was rescued from the transformation from rural to urban landscape and the genuine Hakka living space was kept. But without the contrast of rice paddies, it was still incomplete.
To make this simple dream come true, we again paid for the labor and necessary materials to work with the original inhabitants to restore the rice paddy landscape. We hoped to shape a community consensus through these people and the process of turning the settlement into a public space to achieve positive community participation. We also expected the irrigation canals, the paths between the paddies and the rice ears could help present once again the original charm of a Liujia Settlement.
The rice field in Xinwawu Settlement is the last 900㎡ left in the high-speed rail designated zone and it hadn’t been easy to acquire it. The initial weeding and removal of trash and dirt revealed the outline of three small paddies. Rocks were picked up by hand and even a three-year-old cow was brought from across Touqian Creek to make a contribution for the rice paddy view restoration. Cow tilling used to be a most common rural sight, yet this time it helped reshaped certain human relations. Having been away from farming work for so long, when the old Liujia residents got together again, every one was deeply touched and beamed. When the wasteland finally became farmable once more and everybody was overjoyed and ready to put in the seedlings, Typhoon Matsa came. The conservation work did not go smoothly at all. Nevertheless, with water from the Shiwulang Irrigation Canal, the old farmers of Liujia accurately measured the amount of water, weeded and fertilized, and the seedlings gradually took root, grew and ripened for harvest.
The old “Xinwawu” husker was brought out. Every one worked with one another. Some cut the rice stalks covered with rice grains by hand and some took them over to press and husk. Some others carried basketfuls of rice grains to Zhongxiao Hall and golden light once again shone on the grain-sunning yard.
The paddies restored were merely a little more than 900㎡, but over the six previous months a lot of activities had happened in them and rice growing once again became the common topic among Liujia folks. They gave the “green” needed for a park and injected a new possibility in Xinwawu.