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December 2008

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Passion and Joy in the Woods - An Interview with Yu-jen Wang, Volunteer Shei-Pa National Park

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Renowned writer Ku-ling is now a volunteer in SPNP Headquarters located in Wuling Farm.
He is amusing; “Things not Taught at School” is his representative TV show.He is witty, having hosted several highly popular radio shows.He has literary talent; his minimal fictions have swept literary circles.
Yu-ren Wang, a man with a spectacular past, is now a volunteer in Shei-pa National Park (SPNP). Yes, he has another name: Ku-ling.
Having been a prolific writer, a popular radio show host, and a well-known TV host, Ku-ling retired resolutely during the prime of his career and chose to become a volunteer in the national park. After years of reclusion, Ku-ling still has that witty glamour when he speaks in his uniform.
Enjoyment in the Mountains
“When I decided to apply for the volunteer position in SPNP, I was really afraid people there wouldn’t believe me,” Ku-ling started humorously. “So I wore a moustache and used my original name for the interview. Though they found who I was, they let me finish the interview and take classes, put me on probation for a year. Then after ten shifts, my volunteering life began officially.”
However, animal and plant knowledge is a whole new domain to him. “I was worried at first. How can I acquaint myself with the 270,000 kinds of plants? Thanks to Mr.Zeng-guan Wang, an experienced volunteer previously in Yangmingshan National Park, I could get ready within a shorter time. The night before my first tour, I had not slept, extremely worried.” It is just hard to imagine a veteran like Ku-ling would have such a moment.
Ku-ling has paid a lot of efforts to this work. “The month in Wuling has been the most substantial. For a whole month I’d read and memorized. I also drew birds, which was of greater help than reading illustrated handbook or taking pictures of birds
” Ku-ling said before each tour he would warn the tourists. “I would say, ‘you can ask me questions. If I say “good question,” it means I will answer it. And “the question is complicated” means I don’t know.’” He offered a tip: going through the route before each tour. A blossoming flower would definitely be asked about, so its name and location should be memorized right away. He called this “plant geography.”
Learning is like falling in love; one would want to know the name and address of the girl he likes. “Out of a serene love, you are willing to do some research for her,” described Ku-ling.
Humor and wit are Ku-ling’s biggest charm, and he does exploit them. “I take red dot stickers with me during
he tour, and after my guidance, he who answers my question right will get one sticker. In this way, tourists would earnestly listen to the guidance and would not ask digressive or irrelevant questions. Very often I see moms urging dads to listen well to collect the stickers for their kids,” laughed Ku-ling.
Indeed, some tourists ask questions randomly when they feel bored with the guidance. Though it is impossible for the volunteer to memorize everything in the park, he can still make both sides happy and satisfied with a few tricks.
Detailed guidance is relished by tourists.
  • upper: Renowned writer Ku-ling is now a volunteer in SPNP Headquarters located in Wuling Farm./ by Jin-syuan Wang
  • lower: Detailed guidance is relished by tourists./ by Yen ling Chang

Interview & Text/ Wan-ching Lai
Photo Provider/ Yu-jen Wang, Yen-ling Chang
Translator/ James Chang

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