A Storm in a Coffee Cup: Indigenous Coffee Production, Typhoon Marokat and the long way home.

Written by Chang Yu-Hsin, Translated by Sam Robbins. After the typhoon, indigenous communities moved into new villages constructed in the lowlands through government and non-profit organisations’ funds. The new village for the people of the Taiwu township was roughly 17 kilometres from their original home, and the journey between the two locations took about 40 minutes by motorbike. The number of resources needed to take care of and manage the coffee farms increased as transport and oil costs went up. Especially for community elders who needed to go up the mountains to take care of the coffee farms, the time and energy now required to make the journey was no small burden.

A plant out of water: Taiwanese greens in Thailand

Written by Angel Chao (趙于萱), translated by Sam Robbins. In supermarkets in Thailand, you can find Thai hydroponic vegetables labelled as ‘Taiwanese greens.’ Why? Because these plants are grown in Thailand by Taiwanese businesspeople who brought Taiwanese hydroponic technology to Thailand, using Taiwanese equipment to grow crops in Thailand.

Taiwan’s Transition from Zero-COVID to Living- with-COVID-Safely

Written by Chunhuei Chi. Taiwan’s repeated successes in controlling domestic outbreaks, including successfully controlling the new outbreak in May of 2021 by mid-July, ironically contributed to Taiwan’s challenge to move into the transitional phase. This success enabled Taiwanese residents to enjoy a normal life with a low tolerance for domestic outbreaks and caused a unique form of vaccine hesitancy, especially among the elderly. When there is little to no risk of infection, many people associate vaccination with risks and few potential benefits.

Let’s Stop Calling Taiwan a “Digital Democracy” (And Start Telling Better Digital Stories)

Written by Sam Robbins. This is what is at stake with how we tell digital stories: If we focus only on the tech itself and its impressive uses, we risk leaving most citizens feeling like they have no voice on the matter due to a lack of expertise. When we tell stories of civil society collaboration, of how governments are interacting with citizens, and of policies whose ramifications are much greater than the new data they create, we can start to create a space for greater public participation on these subjects.

The Best-Laid Plans of Rice and Men (And Ducks): Organic Farming in Yuanli Township

Written by Li Ching Chen, Translated by Sam Robbins. Hae works on a rice-duck farming cooperative in Yuanli. He wanted to take advantage of the fact that ducks eat rice pests and raise the ducks in the rice paddies. Although the idea was good in theory, there were many difficulties in practice. For example, he told me many of the dogs from the township started hunting the ducks. As ducks slowly waddled through the rice paddies, the dogs would start salivating.

The Homecoming of Indigenous Tea Farmers

Written by Szu-yu Lai, translated by Sam Robbins. When people in Taiwan think of indigenous communities, they think of millet, traditional clothing, and other stereotypical markers. However, from the story of Atayal tea farmers in Li Mountain, we can see that such static imaginings don’t bind indigenous peoples. Admitting to Taiwan’s rapidly changing culture and economy, cultivating tea became a way for Atayal people to reflect on their own culture and relationship with mainstream society. Although tea is not a part of the Atayal people’s traditional culture, it has slowly become a crucial part of how Atayal tribes market themselves through legal and economic changes. 

Divided Reaction to the Ukraine Invasion in Taiwan

Written by Brian Hioe. The Tsai administration has presented somewhat mixed messaging on the invasion of Ukraine. When questioned by opposition lawmakers, officials such as Premier Su Tseng-chang have rejected comparisons between Ukraine and Taiwan, stating that the two contexts are sufficiently different and cannot be compared. On the other hand, President Tsai Ing-wen has said that Taiwan stands with Ukraine as a fellow democracy and has condemned Russia’s actions. Contributions from her administration have included the establishment of a relief fund.

The Soil Where the Sunflowers Grew and Withered.

Written by Ren-Wei Chang. In short, the sunflower movement did not happen randomly. It resulted from decades and years of student collaboration, network building, and growing civil society. This was the ‘soil’ that let the sunflowers grow. If we hope to see another protest like the sunflower movement in the future, we need to ensure that we maintain the soil and keep it fertile for new growth. After all, the erosion of democracy by totalitarianism often begins with a fragile civil society. We cannot let the soil go barren.

Where Have All the Sunflowers Gone? A Reflection on the Eighth Anniversary of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement

Written by Ming-Sho Ho. But what about the Sunflower generation activists, who are mostly in their late twenties and early thirties currently? The Wild Lily generation politicians, such as Lin Chia-lung (former Minister of Transportation and Communications, 58yr.), Chen Chi-Mai (Kaohsiung City Mayor, 57 yr.) and Cheng Wen-tsan (Taoyuan City Major, 54yr.) are among promising successors to President Tsai Ing-wen. Are the younger ex-Sunflower activists poised to replicate the same pattern?

Are We “Post-Sunflower” in Taiwanese Politics?

Written by Brian Hioe. Certainly, some of the discursive effects of the Sunflower Movement have faded, even if they were always hard to quantify. However, it is a harder question as to whether the direct influence of the movement has faded to the extent that the present would be seen as post-Sunflower. This perhaps will only become clearer after future anniversaries.

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