A few months ago I wrote about the ongoing road construction in front of my house and some of the resulting inconveniences. Since returning to Taiwan's coastal countryside a month ago, progress has been slow. As we continue to battle the dirt, mud, and noise, we'll be lucky if the project is completed before Chinese New Year's.
However, what happened yesterday especially deserves to be mentioned.Because the inspector is coming, the road workers erected fences across the other side of the street (beginning with a bang at 6:00 am no less). The only reason they've put the fence up is to pass the inspection. This probably doesn't fool the inspector, who can simply look up the street to see the unfenced construction a few hundred yards away, but at least provides an opportunity to snap a picture to say everything was done properly. The day after the inspector leaves, they'll probably take the fences right down again, just as they did earlier once last summer already.
A little over a month ago, my elderly next door neighbor fell into the ditch in front of her house when trying to move her scooter across. She got cut up badly and had to make several trips to the doctor.
There was no official attempt on the part of the local government or the safety crews to provide safe crossing boards for the residents; we go and borrow some boards or ask them to drop them off (Having said that, the workers are friendly and helpful in an unofficial capacity-- when I came back from Australia they piled dirt over the ditch in front of my house in order to allow me to pull my car out from inside).
Early yesterday morning the work crew without warning took all our boards away again as they evidently need them for their unit's work elsewhere. So I went off to fend for myself and came back with the best I could find.
The safety concerns of the construction companies and local government seem about as complete as the concerns for justice of Taiwan's fledgling democracy, what with all that has been in the news about the jailing, handcuffing, etc. of the former president and others these past couple of weeks. Thankfully though (and here I take the optimistic view) things will continue to move forward and not backward.