Ten years ago, the government threatened to demolish Huang Yung-fu’s village in central Taiwan. Most of the houses were run down, and greedy developers began buying up the land for redevelopment. Huang’s neighbors eagerly accepted financial compensation or new housing to move but Huang stubbornly refused. It was the only home in Taiwan he had ever known, and he could not bring himself to leave it. Soon he was the only one left in the village. Instead of giving in to loneliness and boredom, the 86-year old picked up a paintbrush for the first time and began painting. First, he painted a bird inside his home; then he started painting the village. Today, more than one million visitors come to the village every year to meet the 96-year old artist and lone permanent resident, affectionately known as ‘Grandpa Rainbow.’
In a recent article for the BBC, Eliot Stein writes:
It’s hard not to smile when wandering the village’s paint-splattered streets. Tiny tigers leap from the walls, whiskered kittens hide in alleyways and a lively parade of wide-eyed pandas, peacocks and people peek out from the doorways. Stay long enough, and you may stumble upon dancing samurais, floating astronauts and kissing sweethearts.
What an inspirational story! Huang Young-fu transformed his Taiwanese settlement into a magical, real-life storybook and in the process, he saved it from demolition.
Imagine for a moment if every member refused to give up and park ourselves on a church pew. What if each of us refuses to give in to the aches and pains that come with age? Or the discouragement that comes with being too young? What if we stubbornly refuse to listen to the devil as he tells us our little church can’t possibly make a difference? It’s time to pick up your “paintbrush” and get to work!