By Kartika Putra
Weishan is an ancient town, not just in history but in demographic. The old town was founded in the Ming Dynasty almost 700 years ago, the Gongchen building a preserved relic of the era. The buildings were constructed with clay bricks reinforced by hay with green tiled slope roofs. We walked past the shopfronts of Ancient Street, every so often a sign invited us into a viewing house replicating the Qing dynasty features, pear trees with white flowers decorated the quaint courtyards. Some of the houses needed work, grass growing out of the roof tiles or walls crumbling. In Weishan, the people were as ancient as the buildings. Frail gentlemen sat on the corner of the road observing passersby, their faces were tanned, weatherworn. The elderly ruled Weishan accompanied by their grandchildren. Games of mahjong played out on the streets. Children were carried by grandparents who seemed too old and frail to be engaged in that kind of labour.