Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
After my HSK exam, I planned to go straight back to Haikou. Upon the advice of some people at the bus stop, I took a bus that would get me to a metro station close to Guangzhou Train Station. That metro stop happened to have a Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. If you look at my travels closely, you may already know that I have visited a Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.
As Sun Yat-Sen was the father of democratic China, he is a respected figure both in Taiwan and in Mainland China. He is probably the last key historical figure respected on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Hence, memorial halls in both places. Both halls serve similar functions – a large park and within the hall, a large auditorium. Personally, I prefer the architecture of the hall in Guangzhou. It has more of a traditional Chinese architecture feel to it. The building resembles a mountain, which apparently is a metaphor for Sun Yat-Sen’s "majestic personality and undertaking."
Compared to the hall in Taipei, it also has more of a history to it. It was finished in the 1930s, only to be bombed a few years later by the Japanese. The bombs did not damage the structure of the building. In the end, when the Japanese surrendered, it was in Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Since then, it has been used by public and government alike. There were even signs informing visitors when the hall would be closed for official meetings.
Since the best hall is a living hall, the hall has been continually upgraded with modern things like better soundproofing, air conditioning, etc.
All that said, I prefer the landscaping of the hall in Taipei. The landscaping at the hall in Guangzhou has signs discouraging people from going on the lawn. Many people were enjoying activities on the lawns surrounding the one in Taipei when I was at that one. There are some very old trees, one something like three hundred years old, but the signs at the one in Guangzhou ring hollow given mainland China’s recent track record regarding environmental protection.
I spent quite a bit of time enjoying the premises. When it turned out to be time to leave, there were no attendants in the metro station, so I could not buy a token. The machines only accepted RMB coins, of which I had none. I figured nothing would happen given an elderly man arguing with the security guard, as he also did not have coins to buy a metro token. I walked to the metro station instead.
As I walked, I thought about how Guangzhou doesn’t seem to be such a bad city. A lot of people I know despise it for being spread out like LA, but it is quite interesting on foot…