Tangkou Community Project > Tangkou Space and National Granaries

Tangkou Space and National Granaries


 Incorporating the Tangkou Community Center and TK- SPACE.

Far from the City - Close to the World.


Some Notes on Tangkou, Cangdong and neighbouring towns and villages, the people and ways of life, location, history, heritage, culture and environment,
also on Overseas Chinese, rice and vegetable growing and local natural history.

Prepared by Peter Stuckey M.A.Cantab, Head of Volunteer Team
for the Tangkou Community Project.

For more details, see www.tangkoucommunityproject.com
or please contact: Rocky H. Dang at
rockydang@yahoo.com Tel. +(86) 138 2706 7479 or + (852) 918 234 83
or the Tangkou Hostel at 135 5563 2601.


PREFACE

This booklet is intended to give the general reader an introduction to the Tangkou Community Centre, to its amazingly rich and varied environment and to the unique history of the area in which it is situated. Apart from its function in providing accommodation, meals and a convivial meeting place, the Centre provides a resource for exploring sustainable conservation both in Tangkou and its surroundings including Cangdong. In a series of descriptions of topics of local interest, the booklet describes the neighbouring villages, aspects of the history of this part of Guangdong, known as the “Sze Yap” (four counties), the fortress watchtowers known as “diaolou”, the UNESCO rating of four sites and of the Cangdong Project.

Also described are the influence of Hong Kong and possible routes from Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou to Tangkou, the context of the Overseas Chinese and the relevance of this area as a rich source for emigration and repatriation, the choice of architecture, stucco and paintings to decorate the houses and mansions of the area, village life and customs, natural history, locally grown vegetables and many more topics. The Centre facilitates cultural exchange and aims to support the local traditions and lifestyle. This booklet is but one way in which this is done.

The booklet is a work in progress, written and compiled by one who is still enjoying learning more and who is keen to share this introduction with an English-reading audience (and if it can be translated, then with a Chinese speaking one). It draws heavily from conversations, observation and available texts. It is written to provide a body of information that can be recorded, shared and hopefully built upon. The Centre is keen to find out more and any comments, advice, updates and additional information or corrections will be well received.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am especially grateful to Dr Patrick Hase of the Royal Asiatic Society of Hong Kong who introduced me to the area during a visit arranged by the Society in 2004. I am also grateful to Mr Rocky Dang, founder of the Tangkou Community Centre and co-founder of the Cangdong Project for his information, his help in translation and constant encouragement.
Others whose help has been invaluable include:
Mr C J Cyrus Li, architect and the Project Manager at Tangkou Community Centre,
Dr Selia Tan of the Guangdong Qiaoxing Research Centre of Wuyi University,
Mr Xie Xue-nuan, the Village Chief at Cangdong village,
Others who have helped along the way include Jim Lam, local historian, Cultural Conservation in Sunwui”, Tony Wang, the Hardings (Russ, Penny, Arran and Ieuan), Ian Stenton (and his late wife, Linda Lo Wai-ming), Nancy of the Ignite Academy, Shek Kit, Ting and Tina who have produced excellent documentary films about the Tangkou Centre and Cangdong Project and all the team at Tangkou and Cangdong.

With thanks and wishing you all the satisfaction I derive in exploring this subject,
Peter Stuckey
Sept 2019.

You are welcome to make derivative works and copy, distribute or display parts of these Notes, provided that you mention and give due acknowledgement to the author and to the Tangkou Community Project, and make your version available under the same terms.


TANGKOU COMMUNITY PROJECT
Tangkou Space: TK-SPACE 塘口空间

      

The Project provides a platform for visitors to explore and discover aspects of the extraordinary regional history, the unique architecture, the vibrant community and the ways of typical rural life in southern China. We help overseas Chinese find and revisit their hometowns and understand their ancestral roots. We aim also to be a worked example in sustainable conservation. The Project seeks to create a welcoming environment for interaction between local villagers, local and overseas Chinese and international guests of all ages and to foster cultural exchange. It aims also to revitalize the old town of Tangkou, providing employment for villagers and opportunities for local youngsters.

Tangkou town is especially blessed being in the vicinity of many traditional villages, rich with historical buildings, including mansions, defensive buildings known as “diaolou”, and the national granary where rice was collected and stored. It is set in beautiful countryside, among the rice paddy, lotus ponds and woodlands on the Guangdong Greenway (a cycle and hiking track). This area is the hometown of many overseas Chinese and is close to the four UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kaiping.

The Project is currently based in three buildings – which were previously a post office and two factories. These have been revitalised with adaptive re-use. Together they form the Tangkou Community Centre, and are the lively heart of the TK – SPACE. This is now equipped with an air-conditioned hostel with wifi, an extensive library and study facilities, an accessible kitchen, restaurant, and lounge. It is a new communal space for locals and people from all over the world who can be involved in cultural exchange, developing their talents, or in rural activities, heritage appreciation and conservation, cycling, community work or in other scholarly and recreational pursuits.

    

It is also a space where sustainable rural and village revitalization are encouraged with an occasional fair for villagers and farmers to sell their hand-crafted artwork and locally grown produce. The Centre also acts as a space for young and old to take classes or attend conferences, or just to relax over a meal or a drink, perhaps after a field trip. Our staff can provide guiding and related lectures upon request.
The Project was founded by Mr Rocky Dang Hue. He is an Overseas Chinese and was born in Vietnam. His grandfather moved from Guangdong to Vietnam in response to turmoil in his hometown. Rocky moved to Hong Kong and is resident there and in Tangkou. He is supported by competent local staff and the Project has attracted enthusiastic volunteers and interns both from China and overseas.

Rocky was also a co-founder of the Cangdong Project which some of the team have been involved with for several years. Cangdong is a nearby village with spectacular ancestral halls, other buildings and a fascinating history, set in beautiful countryside. The Cangdong Project is an exercise in sustainable heritage conservation, education and community work. It gained the UNESCO Award of Merit for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2015 and can be readily visited by those staying at the hostel.

    

The Granary Restaurant, meeting rooms and bar粮仓美膳餐厅、会议室及水吧:

This is directly opposite the Post Office hostel and is linked directly to the Factory Hostel. It is next door to the National Granary built at the time of the Great Leap Forward (1960’s). The Centre was previously a metal- lampshade manufacturing factory built in the 1980’s. It provides meeting space with seminar and kitchen facilities, a restaurant, a cycling centre, a bar and a library.

The Factory Inn and Hostel旧工厂改造的青年旅舍:

This four storey building belonged to a HK watch making firm. It has been transformed into an attractive modern hostel able to accommodate up to 100 people, mostly with dormitory style accommodation but with a few spacious VIP en suite bedrooms. Public areas and a theatre space are also available. The Factory Hostel opened in October 2017. Next door is a “diaolou”, fortress watchtower.

The Post Office Hostel旧邮局改造的多功能后勤建筑:

The revitalized old post office serves as a multi-purpose meeting place, and hostel. The Guangdong Greenway hiking and cycling trail passes in front, linking to the Zili UNESCO World heritage diaolou cluster and Li Gardens.

    


Thank you for supporting the Tangkou Community Project:
Study, Recreational, Private and Corporate Groups, Students, School Groups, Volunteers and Internships are welcome.

For more details, see www.tangkoucommunityproject.com
or please contact: Rocky H. Dang at
rockydang@yahoo.com Tel. +(86) 138 2706 7479 or + (852) 918 234 83
or the Tangkou Hostel at 135 5563 2601.