A little more than 10 years ago, then 86-year-old Huang Yongfu faced a dilemma. The Taiwanese government threatened to demolish his village because he was the last remaining resident and tried to build more modern housing complexes. Although he was offered money to pack up his house and move elsewhere, he could not bear the idea of leaving the only home he had ever known in Taiwan.
That's when he started painting. Huang, now affectionately known as ``Rainbow Grandpa,'' was born in China. After fighting in the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, he fought for the Kuomintang in Mao Zedong's Communist government. When the Kuomintang was defeated, he and two million others fled to Taiwan. Here he was interned in a makeshift village hastily established for incoming military personnel and their families. What was intended as a temporary solution ended up becoming a home. So it was a shock when, 40 years later, his house was about to be demolished.
"When I came here, there were 1,200 families in the village and we all sat together and talked like one big family," Huang told the BBC. "But then everyone moved away or died, and I became lonely." With nowhere to go, he turned to art to ease his suffering. First, he painted a picture of a bird on his bungalow. Cats, birds and people continued to flock to empty houses in the village. Then, in 2010, a local university student happened to visit the village, heard Huang's story and vowed to help. He took some photos of the village and started a fundraising and petition drive to save it from destruction. The news spread quickly and "Rainbow Grandpa" was born. Capturing the nation's hearts, this colourful village has become a major attraction for tourists and continues to attract more than 1 million visitors each year. Above all, Mr. Huang can protect his home.
“The government has promised to maintain this house and this village,” he said. “I was very happy and grateful.”