Historical Clinic Gutted to make way for Claw Machines

Cultural heritage workers in Tainan City rushed to save furniture and fittings dating back to the 1930s after workers moved in with jackhammers yesterday to turn the historical property into a claw machine shop.

The clinic is located on the west side of the Xinhua Old Street, a section of Zhongzheng Road that was declared a historical precinct in July this year.

Tainan City Sin-Hua District Community Association Secretary-General Hsu Ming-yang told reporters that the buildings on the west side of the street were constructed in 1930s and decorated with simple geometric patterns, contrasting with the imitation baroque style of the buildings on the east side of the street, which were constructed in the 1920s.

The Hui Sheng Hospital was established in the three-storey building in the 1930s, and had operated for three generations as a medical clinic. It has been closed and unoccupied for more than 10 years.

According to Hsu, the owner of the building leased the first floor to a tenant recently, who decided to turn it into a claw machine shop. It will be the second claw machine shop to open in the historical precinct.

Concerned neighbors rushed to the scene when they saw the facade of the first floor being torn down, and alerted the community association. Kang Wen-rong, a cultural heritage worker, rushed to the scene to rescue the historically valuable contents of the clinic.

Kang said that he grieved for the loss of the beautiful clinic and it made him want to cry. If not able to display the pieces in their original setting, a new place will be found to put them on display.

“It is painful to see the Huisheng Hospital turned into a claw machine shop,” Kang said.

Tainan City Cultural Bureau director Ye Ze-shan has asked the Public Works Bureau, and Economic Development Bureau, to find out if their exists an ordnance or decree to prevent claw machine shops from operating in historical precincts.

Xinhua Old Street, a historical precinct in Tainan City
Xinhua Old Street

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