There is something oddly whimsical, but at the same time sad and shady about the Rainbow Village. Rainbow Village is located in Nantun District, around 20 minutes from downtown Taichung. It is famous because of the artwork, especially the paintings on the walls. Everyday, from morning to afternoon, you will find tourists flocking the small area to take photos in front of the colourful paintings portraying happy-looking almost fairy tale like creatures. But if you follow the trail, what you will find at the end of the rainbow is not a pot of gold.
In 1949, the Kuomintang (KMT) government officially moved from China to Taiwan under the leadership of Generalissmo Chiang Kai Shek. But before that, starting in 1944, KMT troops already landed in Taiwan to prepare the island as the new base for the KMT government. Many of the soldiers came to Taiwan leaving their wives and children back in China without the chance of going back to see them ever again. When they retired, the veterans were housed in compounds of small houses clustered together. One of these compounds is what now the Rainbow Village. Some of the veterans got married with Taiwanese women and moved out of the compound, but those who were unmarried and with no families stayed in the compound. Take away all the paintings, the Rainbow Village is a sad measly compound that reflects the poverty of its residents. Nowadays most of the compound is already transformed into stacks of ugly apartment buildings, only 6 houses are left, hidden in the corner and the only way in is through a gate that is not even 2 metres tall.
Mr. Huang Yong Fu is a 90 year old man and a veteran of KMT air force. This Hong Kong native spends the last 50 years of his life living in this now tiny compound out of a very small pension. Starting around 5 years ago he had an idea on turning his sad looking living space to look more cheerful. He took buckets of paint and brushes and started painting. He painted the walls, doors, windows, even the asphalt roads. What came up from the tip of his brush gave new life to the compound, thus Rainbow Village was born. Local tourists started to come and give donations, the Taichung government even declared to turn Rainbow Village into a kind of art street. But for the residents there, Rainbow Village is still their home that does not have many luxuries, the only luxury it can offer is a jumble of colourful paintings scattered on the old walls.