Introduction to Tangkou Community Project
TANGKOU COMMUNITY PROJECT
Tangkou Space: TK-SPACE
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 Inn and hostel with wifi, a library and study facilities, an accessible kitchen, restaurant, lounge and cycling center. 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, recreational, relaxing or farming 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.
The Granary Restaurant, meeting rooms and bar: This is across the road from the TK- Farm and the TK- old Post Office hostel. It is linked directly to the TK – Village Inn. It is next door to the National Granary built at the time of the Great Leap Forward (1960’s). The Centre was previously a communal metal – lampshade manufacturing factory built in the 1960’s. It provides a meeting space with seminar and open kitchen facilities, a restaurant, a cycling centre, a bar and a library.
The TK – Village Inn and Hostel : This four storey building belonged to a HK watch making firm. It has been transformed into an attractive modern Inn able to accommodate up to 100 people, with dormitory style accommodation and some spacious VIP en suite bedrooms. Public areas and a theatre space are also available. The Village Inn and Hostel opened in October 2017. Next door is a “diaolou”, fortress watchtower.
The Old Post Office Hostel: 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.
TK FARM – part of the Tangkou Community Project
Several of the Tangkou village ladies were getting older and had responsibilities with their grandchildren, while their children had moved off to Kaiping or beyond for work. The farmland between Tangkou Cun and the TK- Space was being neglected. TK- Space agreed with the villagers to rent some 30 mao (2 hectares) of fields. The fields are no longer intended to achieve maximum production so much as to provide an experimental, recreational and learning space. The bunds are made wider facilitating access by visitors. Less fertilizer and insecticide is used, though the farm cannot claim full “organic” status.
Visitors can explore and be involved in all stages of the farming according to the season, – from sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, harvesting rice and picking fruit and vegetables. Villagers can still work the farm, but two additional local farmers are employed full time to assist. The farm serves as an education centre. There are typically 20 kinds of vegetables and 10 kinds of fruits being grown. Some space is reserved for recreational activities such as building and using earthen ovens for baking chickens, a particular favourite and traditional activity around Chinese New Year. And, of course, the Tangkou Community Centre is assured of the freshest of vegetables!
In addition there are nearby commercial fields where villagers grow some cash crops such as water chestnut and taro in addition to the twice yearly rice crops.
Thank you for supporting the Tangkou Community Project:
Study, Recreational, Private and Corporate Groups, Students, School Groups, Volunteers and Internships are welcome.