The Eternal Guardian
Completed in 2009, the statue of the goddess Mazu is 28.8 meters tall. It is made of granite, which symbolize to protect the islanders forever. The word, eternal, means lasting forever or for a very long time, without an end. Mazu is worshipped as a goddess of the sea and the protector of fishermen and sailors. She is known and loved by millions in Asia. She is one of the most popular goddess in Taiwan, also known as the patron saint of Taiwan.
The statue is located in Nangan, a small fishing village in the Matsu Islands, an archipelago of 36 islands and islets in the northern Taiwan Strait. The region experiences subtropical marine climate. It is cold and wet in winter and foggy in spring and summer. Sometimes the thickness of advection fog can be up to 700 or 800 meters. Most of the local residents make a living from fishing. They need the spiritual guardian, Mazu, to live forever in their hearts and let them live safe and sound. The religious belief has passed down from generation to generation. The local residents are very conservative, which can be seen in their living environment and lifestyle. The Matsu Islands is named after their guardian, Mazu.
When I first visited Nangan, I was fascinated by the environment. There is not much modern construction. 95% of the buildings are made of local stones. They use eco-friendly daily necessities. Not surprisingly, out-migration is a problem and most of the residents are the elderly. Without economic vitality, there is less pollution. It is a beautiful secluded place. Tourists only come to visit the place on sunny days.