Watermelon could be just one of the many kinds of fruits that people choose to eat, but what it means to or is perceived by the growers is much different from simply a selection of fruits.
Watermelon, like many other fruits, can only be picked during a short period of time each year. For Hualien, May is a month where temperature and humidity level are suitable for watermelon to be harvested. In May 2012, Bi-khim went to the central part of Hualien- to visit a watermelon grower-鐘敏芳(zhōng mǐn fang).
The reason why Bi-khim wanted to meet with Mr. Zhong was because of his extraordinary life experience. Mr. Zhong is only 30 years old and initially had a well-paid job in the IT sector, but as a result of his tender solicitude for her dad-鐘仁松(zhōng rén song), he decided to come back and devoted full time to this 30 hectare-watermelon orchard. Such a decision of Mr. Zhong was very surprising and exceedingly-respected for Bi-khim, as cases for young generations to participate in the agricultural industry are very rare nowadays. Bi-khim hopes to, through the views of younger generations, comprehend the tremendous sacrifices, difficulties and hardships that agricultural workers have to face, in order to obtain practical information for policy-making.
With the mature fruit-growing skills from his dad as well as the IT knowledge that he had learned earlier in his life, Mr. Zhong has managed to grow watermelon of good quality, establish a brand-鳳林松贊西瓜(fèng lín sōng zàn xī guā) and sale them through the internet. These improvements have allowed them to gain greater benefits from their efforts and are definitely good examples for other participants in the agriculture.
During the visit, Bi-khim did not care if there was a proper chair or table for them to sit down and share the stories of one another; being immersed into the nature and even walking around the massive size of Watermelon Park were things that Bi-khim enjoyed very much. Mr. Zhong: “of course the life in Hualien is not as convenient as other metropolitans in terms of public transportation, market environment, etc. But the natural beauty of it is what others do not get to enjoy”. Bi-khim listened to everything that the Zhong family told her regardless of its future usability in law-making, because Bi-khim knew that every single event, word and sentiment expressed or spoken out of their mouths was something that truly went through the very button of their hearts.
Watermelon– for the Zhong family, means something that has accompanied them for generations and makes Hualien–their hometown– a very beautiful place.