Written by Wen Lii. As Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) enters its primaries ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, DPP candidates in the Matsu Islands face a different challenge: the party has never nominated candidates for local posts in Matsu. The county has long been considered a stronghold for the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The DPP could potentially nominate ten or more candidates in Matsu at various levels of government, although nominations are yet to be finalised until May or June. The upcoming races will mark a historic first for the DPP’s participation in these local posts in Matsu. This will signal an unprecedented scale and scope for DPP campaign activities in Matsu, with the opportunity to further solidify grassroots support.
Written by Tammy Yu-Ting Hsieh. It was not until 1949 that the concept of “Matsu” was first established. Before the civil war in China, this group of islands were mostly the seasonal resting stops of fishermen from the south-east shore of China. Residents on the archipelago can clearly see the outline of Fujian, whereas “Taiwan” was an island they hardly knew nor had any relationship with. But suddenly, in 1949, Kuomintang armies arrived at Matsu Islands, and in no time, Matsu became the frontline of the Republic of China, aiming cannons at the opposite bank, a place they used to call “home.” To put it romantically, serendipity is how the “Taiwan-Penghu-Kinmen-Matsu Community” came to be today. And I tend to think that serendipity also guided me, a descendant of Minnan and Hakka from Taoyuan City, to embark on this back-and-forth journey to Matsu since 2020.
Written by Cheng-Chung Wang. In Taiwan, we rarely see Matsu in the textbooks, maps, or other materials we’ve been exposed to since childhood, let alone how much we know about Matsu people. Some of us may be unaware that there are many descendants of Matsu migrants living around us. Their moving and settling experiences are very attractive stories that deserve to be told.
Written by David Pendery. Commentary has recently focused on Taiwan’s diplomatic ties, following the loss of a number of allies under President Tsai Ing-wen’s tenure, most recently Nicaragua, which caused quite a stir internationally. The state of affairs has worsened to the point that many in the nation are now questioning the value of diplomatic relations in general and whether it is even worth the trouble for Taiwan to maintain its diplomatic relations with its remaining official allies. This is a query worth addressing.
Written by Brian Hioe. The Tsai Administration announced new plans to allow residency from blue-collar migrant workers on February 17th, with the Executive Yuan signing off on a plan that would allow migrant workers to secure residency if they are classified as “intermediate skilled manpower” by their employers.
Written by Gerrit van Der Wees. strength, it laid out the advantages of improving relations with Taiwan in the EU parliament and national legislatures. The Tsai Ing-wen administration had also emphasised time and again that Taiwan as a democracy was on the front line of the global fight against authoritarianism. If the West did not support Taiwan sufficiently, what happened in Xinjiang and HK could also occur in Taiwan one day.
Written by Hsiao-Chun Hung. Professor Robert (Bob) Blust was a world-renowned linguist whose contributions will be sorely missed by his many colleagues. Bob’s ideas sometimes provoked controversy. Small groups sometimes seek fleeting moments of fame in academia by targeting well-known scholars, often without sufficient or relevant supporting evidence. This approach attracts attention as a “newsworthy” difference of opinion, at least temporarily, until it can be dispelled. Facing such challenges, Bob consistently retained stoic confidence in his scientific methodology, regardless of the enthusiasm of his critics.
Written by Chiao-Wen Chiang. While the theory of Taiwan being the homeland of Austronesian languages is familiar to many people in Taiwan, few are familiar with the name Robert Andrew Blust (1941-2022), the world’s leading linguist who brought out this idea from a linguistic perspective in the early 1980s.
Written by Victoria Chen. Robert A. Blust, the leading scholar in Austronesian linguistics, passed away on January 5, 2022, at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. This loss has saddened linguists, archaeologists and anthropologists worldwide, along with researchers on Taiwan Studies who have benefited from his work over the past five decades.
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Our earlier article described how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health systems. We identified common themes from both countries’ responses to the pandemic and acknowledged the importance of public sector capacities and capabilities in shaping and steering them. This second part of the article will describe how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the pandemic in their economic sector.
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Why have some countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic more decisively than others? How have seemingly under-resourced countries performed better—in terms of the number of cases and fatalities—than their richer counterparts? These and other vexing questions have continued to confound many of us as we enter the third year of a pandemic that has brought governments all over the world to their knees.
Written by Frank Siedlok, Natasha Hamilton-Hart, Hsiao-Chen Shen. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the related news spread for the last two years, the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment became apparent, causing policymakers globally to panic. Having learned from SARS in 2003, Taiwan foresaw the need to address the demand for facemasks.