Thursday, September 05, 2013

Wild East: Who Killed Shida?

Trista over at The Wild East has a great piece on the destruction of the Shi Da night market area, one of the city's great shopping and eating spaces. She interviews a restaurant owner who describes how the alleged complaints about the night market appear to be from ringers...
As it turns out –- and this information comes from long-time ShiDa residents – most of these ‘neighbors’, the newly outraged residents of a once-bustling night market area, only moved to ShiDa “within the last 2 or 3 years.”
The campaign has been ongoing (here). This China Post tale from last year says local residents had organized a "self-help association" which made trouble for the local restaurants (here). Many of us had suspected the attack on the famed and beloved food and shopping mecca was orchestrated by land developers in cahoots with local government. Note again the pious yet selective application of the law which has become a common feature of so many of these cases.
According to a city ordinance, restaurants are not allowed within a radius of 8 meters from residential buildings.

“There are probably more than 10,000 restaurants located within a radius of 8 meters from residential buildings in the city,” a restaurateur, who spoke on condition of anonymity, complained.
The city could be going after thousands upon thousands of restaurants in Taipei, but it chose these in the market. The area is on prime land for development, near two major universities and key metro stops. The government's cooperation with the "self-help association" was pointed out by the redoubtable Oz in a post last year, in which he noted that the ShiDa Night Market signs had been removed from metro stops in the area. That post has plenty more information, including the fact that the markets there generate US$400 million in revenues each year....

The move also seems to be a part of the "upgrading" that has swept away so many of Taipei's traditional markets and landmarks.
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Anonymous said...

Very strong from media for the demolition of Shi Da nihgt market. I also found it weird, as Shi Da night market is one of the oldest, most popular destination for eating at night. No only Shi Da students, but also people from other area, and tourists too. So the anger from the neighbours seems pretty weird. Until your piece, I never read anything about government in cahoots with money people. But all the links in your post do make sense.

Laurens van Rooijen said...

Too bad about the ShiDa Nightmarket, which was the most international and accessible to people without knowledge of Mandarin letters in Taipei. Always enjoyed going there during my recent stays in Taipei.