A mere four kilometers from my front door down a less-travelled country road which passes briefly through Water Forest Township on the way to Northport lies a tiny hamlet named Sucin village.
The village had a few murals painted in the last few years:
But today the reason for my stopping briefly on my way to conduct business at the bank in Northpoint was to see the village’s Formosan golden bats (金黃鼠耳蝠), which I only heard about yesterday despite the fact that I’ve lived here 3 years. That’s because I don’t always pay good attention to my surroundings when I’m driving through (preferring to listen to my audiobooks!), and I’ve missed the story each time it’s been broadcast on the TV news.
The Formosan golden bats live within the walls of an elementary school I often pass by. The word pun in the directional mural above associates 幸福 with 幸蝠. In Western society, bats are often associated with evil. But in Chinese society, the character for blessing 福 sounds just like the character for bat 蝠, so bats might be taken by some (especially enterprising businesspeople) as a sign of blessing. I still wouldn’t want one living in my house!
Even with the help of the staff there, I was only able to detect a few of the small golden bats (they appeared from a distance to be smaller than the palm of my hand). This time of the year most of them have already scattered (plus, today the weather, influenced by tropical storm Lion Rock, has caused them to hide).
I am told the ideal time for viewing the most bats together inside the schoolyard is around Mother’s Day. What an ideal date for the mothers among our international workers who live in the area to go out on with their husbands!
Around that time, the bats should look something like this, all clumped together like fruit on a tree (mmmm, delicious!):
Check it out if you happen to be in the Northpoint (BeiGang) area of Yunlin County around that time.