Deyue Tower and the western houses nearby were built by the local people who went to Southeast Asian countries and earned a lot of money before they returned here at the end of the Ching dynasty and in the beginning of the R.O.C. era.(1) One of the houses, Deyue Tower, was built in 1931 by a wealthy businessman whose name was Huang Huei-huang. In order to effectively prevent pirates and thieves from breaking into(2) the houses, Huang built a "gun tower" by the side of the houses. The tower has four stories and measures 11 meters in height. With such height, the tower was easily thought of(3) at that time as "fetching the moon in the clouds," so the tower was given the name "Deyue Tower" (a moon-fetching tower), referring to(4) an old Chinese proverb(5)-"Getting upon a tower near water, one can catch the moon first."
The roof of Deyue Tower is made of glazed(6) tiles, and its hallway is made of green stones and cement.(7) On the top floor and in the center there are many gun windows perfectly designed for placing firearms(8) for defending against pirates and bandits.(9) Other effective features for defense are the underground tunnels connecting to the adjacent(10) houses in case of(11) emergency. Even though the owner of Deyue Tower is gone, from its exterior(12) and appearance, people can still imagine the exciting stories of the good old days.
Tourist: These western houses look very unusual. Are they also traditional Southern Fujian style buildings?
Tour Guide: Not exactly. Most of the western houses nearby were built by people of earlier days who went to Southeast Asian countries and made a fortune(13) before they returned. When building the houses, they just blended in the western style they had learned from foreign countries and made such kind of mixture of eastern and western-style houses.
Tourist: What are some of their unique characteristics?(14) And are there any stories about them?
Tour Guide: Yes. First, take a look at the clock on the roof of this house. Do you see any thing special?
Tourist: Oh, yes. The clock hands are pointing at "12:40".
Tour Guide: Can you guess why?
Tourist: Mm…, could it be the time of its completion?
■2. break into-闖入。
■3. think of A as B-把～看作。
■4. refer to-與～關連。
■10. adjacent-(adj.) 毗連的，鄰接的。
■11. in case of-如果發生，萬一發生。
■13. make a fortune-發跡；賺大錢。