In 2016, Taichung City Social Affairs Bureau commissioned Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation to launch Bulao 125 – a multipurpose center combining functionalities such as exhibition venue and restaurant– by adopting the operate-transfer (OT) approach. In order to offer a more comfortable visiting and dining space, Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation has applied for additional subsidies from the Social Affairs Bureau and the private sector to renovate the small Japanese house next to the main building structure and turn it into the Bulao Eatery. The eatery was reopened today (5th), hiring senior citizens as cooks and waiters so that can have the opportunity to continue their social engagement.
Bulao 125 held its wooden structure reopening function today, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by Deputy Mayor Chiung-ying Yang, Social Affairs Bureau Director Yun-chieh Li, Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation Chairman Nai-hung Wang, Bulao 125 Manager Tzu-ting Chen, sponsors Panasonic Taiwan Co., Ltd. General Manager Yuen-chuan Lin, Panasonic Eco Solutions Sales Taiwan Co., Ltd. CEO Kunio Oshitani, daughter Hsiu-chu Lin and son in law of Tsun-hsien Lin (former residents of the Mayor's residence) of former Mayor Chin-piao Lin, and architect Tung-chun Huang amid a lively ambiance.
After visiting the Bulao Eatery, Deputy Mayor Yang also participated in Japanese egg roll DIY with the 71-year-old Bulao chef Mei-yueh Chen and others. She commented that Bulao 125 integrates cultural resources, social welfare, and the Bulao Eatery to promote the beauty of the Mayor's residence and promote healthy, happy living for senior citizens. Everyone is invited to come to the eatery to enjoy a sumptuous meal and learn how to take care of senior citizens.
Deputy Mayor Yang expressed her gratitude to Panasonic for their support, and she also thanked Chin-piao Lin, the 85-year-old daughter of the former Mayor for attending the function. It is hoped that Bulao 125 will become the latest popular check-in a spot in Taichung City.
Deputy Mayor Yang also mentioned that there are approximately 340,000 senior citizens in Taichung, and the figure is expected to reach 380,000 by the end of the year. Taichung City's long-term care policy is divided into 4 stages including those in need of medical care, daycare, sub-healthy and healthy senior citizens. Most senior citizens retiring at the age of 65 nowadays are very healthy, full of knowledge and experience, making them treasures of the country. Mayor Shiow-yen Lu aims to look after the senior citizens with the 4-stage program, so that the heavy burden of the elder can be lifted off their offspring's shoulders, enabling to focus on work and become a productive member of society. Consequently, the city hall will progressively launch relevant activities and policies, as well as collaborate with social welfare groups, and medical care institutions, making the senior citizens lead a happier and healthier life.
According to Social Affairs Bureau Director, in light of the ageing society, the city hall has transformed the Mayor's residence into Bulao 125 via the OT approach, where the rich, colorful life stories of senior citizens come together with elements old and new, culminating in the refreshed façade of Bulao Eatery, where senior citizens are encouraged to reenter the workplace and make a difference in society. After the wooden structure renovation was completed, the building was restored to its former glory, making it the best preserved Western-style building from the Japanese occupation period in downtown Taichung. It is hoped that it will become the most desirable tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists.
Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation Chairman Wang suggested that after they took over the management of Bulao 125 from the city hall 3 years ago, it was redesigned as a multipurpose center combining functionalities such as exhibition venue and restaurant. However, the interior wooden structure was damaged by termite infestation and was no longer safe to be used by the public. As a result, the dining area was located outdoors, serving simple menus such as old fashion flavored salty rice pudding and pickled radish.
In order to implement the Senior Citizen Employment project, the foundation launched the restoration plan and set out to raise the necessary fund and resources. With support from the Social Affairs Bureau and Panasonic, and inspired by the goal of All-age Friendly Space, the renovation and redesign project was commissioned to Tung-chun Huang Architectural Studio. The project was completed in May this year, besides the Bulao Eatery, which offers sumptuous menu such as light meals, coffee, and herbal tea, there is also activities including Bulao Human Library, Bulao Movie, and Bulao Book, hoping to attract more young people to visit the establishment in order to experience the life of senior citizens, in turn endowing elders in Taiwan with a merrier, more blissful life.
Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation CEO Je-chi Li commented that the foundation proactively recruited senior citizens at the end of April to work for Bulao 125. Currently, there are 14 Bulao cooks and waiters in the team receiving basic training in food hygiene, and life story community theater through the Senior Citizen Employment and Empowerment Project, allowing them to get in touch with the needs of the public and the market, as well as letting everyone experience the Bulao spirit.
Social Affairs Bureau elaborated that the Historic Building of Taichung City Mayor's Residence located on Section 1 of Shuangshi Road in the North District was constructed in 1933. At the time, it was the residence of Japanese ophthalmologist Miyahara Takeo, and it was only converted into the Taichung City Mayor's residence by 1947. In 2002, it was declared a historic building, and management of the property was entrusted to Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation via the OT approach in 2016. As the first Bulao Aspiration Base in Taiwan, the building combines cultural heritage, art, recreation with social welfare and care provision for senior citizens. Bulao 125 is open from Monday to Sunday (11:00-17:00); during the reopening period, a variety of historic building lectures and workshops will be conducted. For more information, please browse the Bulao 125 Facebook fan page or contact 04-22270125.