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My home. Chung-Cheng Kao, 69.

November 2023 – Chung-Cheng Kao, translated by Lynn Li.

Theme: Home

My home.
Chung-Cheng Kao, 69.

Welcome to our conversation with Chung-Cheng Kao, who offers a distinctive perspective on the essence of ‘home’ from where he lives in Taiwan. He talks about the importance of family and keeping up with the latest technology that might change how we live in the future. 

Cheung Chen Kao with his wife, daughter and son

Chung-Cheng Kao with his wife and family.

TCL. What does home mean to you? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. Home serves as my sanctuary—a protective haven. No matter the challenges I face in the outside world, I find solace in returning here. It’s where I unwind and recharge. It is the place where I always feel safe and I love being able to go home everyday.  

TCL. What makes a home feel comforting and safe for you? Do you think these elements are the same for everyone, or do you think they change as you get older? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. The sense of safety and comfort in my home, like many others, comes from the presence of family. Family members are the most important element in the home. Every family has their challenges but focusing on the care and support of the family helps the home become a comfortable space. For instance, involving all family members in discussions about home decoration, including our children, ensures a welcoming environment. Although my son moved out after he became married, my daughter still lives with us, and her innovative ideas contribute significantly to enhancing our home’s comfort.  

TCL. Has your home become more or less important to you over the years? Why? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. Home has always held a special place in my heart. When I was younger, I focused on working long hours as I needed to support my family financially. However, as I became older, I became more interested in how to make my home comfortable and relaxed. I’ve even become passionate about house cleaning. Clearing out items I don’t need any more has become a priority. It is all aimed at creating a more convenient living space at home 

While I've explored numerous smart home options in new apartments, I've found many technologies lack practicality for people's daily needs.

TCL. When it comes to your home, how do you think its layout and design could affect your happiness and health as you get older? Are there any changes you’ve made or wish you could make to make your home even better for this? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. In Taiwan, apartment living is the norm, and is typical across Asia. When I rented or bought my homes, my priorities included sunlight and good airflow. Twenty years ago, when I moved to my current home, I was fortunate to find an apartment where every room and bathroom welcomed natural light and fresh air. I also moved from an older apartment with stairs to one with elevators. As we grow older, health challenges may require modifications to ensure our safety and potentially prompt a change in our home’s location. If I can I want to move to a smaller apartment. I want to avoid extensive cleaning and to reduce my dependence on my children to help me. Downsizing to a smaller apartment is something I now aspire to.  

Looking ahead, I’m intrigued by the integration of smart home technologies in future housing designs, hoping they’ll simplify life at home. While I’ve explored numerous smart home options in new apartments, I’ve found many technologies lack practicality for people’s real daily needs. However, I am particularly keen on smart home systems that incorporate medical monitoring to track health. While home appliances have advanced significantly with smart technology, there’s still room for innovation in smart home designs. 

Chung-Cheng Kao and his wife.

TCL. Have you ever tried out any smart home gadgets or tools designed to help you with daily chores or health? How did they work for you? How do you feel about using such tools for your health and wellbeing to be monitored? Would you ever be interested in using them to help you look out for friends and family? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. I am quite keen to integrate smart gadgets and tools into homes, although it’s not yet a common practice. Personally, the only smart device I use is a smartphone, and I don’t have much knoweldge in how smart home technologies could benefit me. Nevertheless, I’m highly intrigued by the potential of new technologies becoming embedded in homes. Interestingly, my wife doesn’t use mobile phones and relies on me as her go-to for managing tasks—she uses me as her secretary. While she’s very proficient with computers, mobile phones and smart technology hold less appeal to her.  

TCL. As you get older, do you think you’ll still want to live where you are now? Why or why not? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. Presently, I find my apartment ideal. There is a park in front of the building. It is a convenient location on the 5th floor, which means that I have easy access even if the elevator breaks down. Looking ahead, I’m interested in potentially installing a health monitoring system at home, especially considering my existing health concerns. Moreover, the proximity of my home to a hospital provides a sense of security, ensuring quick access to medical assistance if needed.  

Shared values could create a more harmonious environment, possibly motivating more young people in Taiwan to choose living at home.

TCL. What do you think about the idea of different generations of a family living together in the same home? What do you like or find challenging about having people of different ages living under one roof? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. Differences in core values among generations often lead to conflicts within families. For instance, my son finds relaxation in gaming after work, while my wife encourages him to socialise more, resulting in frequent arguments. Additionally, having my mother live with us for over 15 years has its challenges, despite the ease of for her care and hospital visits. I’m grateful for my wife’s support in looking after my mother amidst these occasional tensions. Improving alignment in core values could foster a more harmonious environment, potentially encouraging many young people in Taiwan to opt for living at home. Given the high cost of living, this choice could help them save on expenses. 

Chung-Cheng Kao and his wife

Chung-Cheng Kao and his wife

TCL. Imagine you could design the most amazing home that would be perfect for every stage of life, from when you’re born until your later years. What do you think this dream home would look like? What feature and things would it have to make it work for all the different times in your life?  

Chung-Cheng Kao. If I had the financial means, I would purchase two or three apartments within the same building, enabling every family member to live close by. This arrangement would ensure that each person maintains their own space while utilising technology to facilitate easy connectivity among family members. The technology could help us look after each other easily. 

TCL. Are there any special traditions or customs related to homes in your culture (or ones you have noticed when you have travelled) that you think are interesting or important, and do these traditions offer clues into how we should be building new homes in the future? 

Chung-Cheng Kao. In Taiwanese culture, special holidays such as Lunar New Year and the Moon Festival are occasions when all families gather to eat togther and more impoirtnay enjoy the food togther. This tradition is the best way to keep the family together. However as you get older, we have to really think about what we eat, to become more health-conscious, often eating different foods to other family members. Considering these dietary variations in the design of future homes would be highly beneficial. Incorporating features that accommodate diverse health diets could greatly enhance the overall living experience for families. 

More Information

About Chung-Cheng Kao.

Chung-Cheng Kao is married with two children, one son and one daughter. He is 69 years old and he is currently still working as the Vice Chairman of Moh & Associates, Inc.. He has been an engineer for more than 40 years. He was worked for the Taipei City Department for Department of Rapid Transit System, Taiwan Power Company, Deputy Mayor of New Taipei City, New Taipei City of Public Works Department, Ret-Ser Engineering Agency, and Taiwan Construction Research Institute. 


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