Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Tran Hoang Nhung. In her 2020 inaugural speech, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) raised the issue of talent retention, underlined the need for “a diverse talent pool” with her commitment to attract “technical, R&D, and management talents to help globalize Taiwan’s workforce.” Furthermore, when attending the release of the Talent Circulation Alliance white paper in June, she said the government would be committed to “[developing] more innovative talent” to meet the shifting of supply change to Taiwan and navigate challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Paulina G. Karimova and Kuang-Chung Lee. Discussion of resilience and adaptive capacity of Taiwan’s scenic rural areas has never been more pertinent than at the times of COVID-19. Over 2020-2021, these two seemingly academic terms have promptly secured their spot in local vocabulary (as 韌性 and 調適能力) and became an intrinsic part of hands-on local solutions.
Written by Viola van Onselen. Tourism can significantly burden the natural environment, such as developing hotels or campsites in fragile ecosystems, pollution, or noise disturbance. The fact that tourism leads to environmental degradation has led to sustainable or eco-tourism, a concept that aims to minimise the impact on the natural environment and maintain tourism over a long period in one area while educating tourists and benefitting the social, economic and natural environment.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. Sitting right at the fracture zone between Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate, Taiwan is an outgrowth of their incessant continental collision, thus making this island mountainous and ecologically rich. The Japanese archipelago shares a similar geological location. Still, Taiwan has ten times more peaks over 3,000 meters above sea level (268) than Japan, although the land size is only the latter’s one-tenth. From the tropical fluvial plain, one can drive through the temperate-zone mountain and reach the highest point of Taiwan’s highway (3,275 meters) in few hours, where flora and fauna are analogous to that in the frigid zone. Yet, until recently, most of the island residents did not have the opportunity to enjoy this natural heritage.
Written by Ljius Rakuljivu (徐嘉榮). During my schooling time away from my grandparents and hometown, I received many questions about my culture and mother tongue, and I answered them. Thankfully, because of my grandparents, I was deeply immersed in the Paiwan culture and language. So, I have an easier time later in life in dealing with my identity. Also, I learn English better than my Han-Taiwanese contemporaries since Paiwan and English share phonetical similarities.
Written by Ta-wei Chi. It is rewarding to revisit history. I am motivated to reread the martial-law-period queer literature often, for it reminds me that the members of sexual minorities back then were imagined leveraging their survival despite their minimalised resources. Maybe it is precisely because of their precarious lives that they had to empower themselves with intergenerational articulations, in which queer seniors were indispensable.
Written by Brian Hioe. It is not out of the question that such young people will eventually take the reins of power. Indeed, they will once older politicians depart the political scene. But all appearances to the contrary, this may be a premature assessment. It may not be, in fact, that young people have come of age in Taiwanese politics, and instead of that, they remain subject to the larger established forces that have remained dominant for decades in politics. Whether this changes is to be seen.
Written by Max Lembke-Soh. EggPlantEgg 茄子蛋 has fast become a significant player. Rocketing to popularity in 2017, EggPlantEgg received multiple Golden Melody Awards and nominations recognising their distinctly Taiwanese vibes, making full use of Taiyu’s broad intonation range to melodise lyrics across a variety of sounds. The band has no shortage of commentators lauding their style, highlighting their passionate use of Taiyu to express everything from love and yearning to relationships and loss.
Written by Chen-Yu Lin, Yun-Siou Chen and Yan-Shouh Chen. Music is a powerful symbolic good, and it is not uncommon that this symbolic good can be shipped into opposing – or different – ideological systems, influencing other societies. However, sometimes musicians fear the consequences of singing or expressing what they want. As South African musician John Clegg once said, “censorship is based on fear”. Regardless of forms, music censorship requires an agent capable of negatively affecting a musician, whether that means imprisonment, loss of income or receiving negative comments online.
Written by Min-erh Wang. From the late nineteenth century onwards, Chinese musical culture has been significantly impacted by the importation of Western music. Chinese musicians and intellectuals, therefore, began to organise an orchestra with Chinese instruments as a way for pursuing musical modernisation. The establishment of the music section at the Central Broadcast Station in Chongqing in 1935 was the most prominent example of this trend. By presenting this new ensemble at international occasions, the modern Chinese orchestra was further promoted as ‘Gou Yue (國樂),’ meaning ‘national music,’ in the first half of the twentieth century.
Written by Ellie Koepplinger. I remember being thirteen with vivid clarity. You are at once gangly, disproportionate, and uncomfortable with yourself, confused and delighted in equal measure by your budding independence. You are constantly trying to untangle a knotted web of hormones, education, and friendships, convinced that one poor decision would permanently impact the chasm of life that stretched before you. At that tender inflexion point, falling in love with fictionalized Taiwanese pop idols was the one thing that kept me grounded.
Written by Natalie Dai（戴淨妍）, Jessica Hsu（徐卉馨）, Sophia Lee（李昕儒）, Dennis He（何正生); Translated by Sam Robbins. In August 2020, Lin Nuo-ning signed a half-year contract with her landlord and planned to stay in this apartment during her career move. However, when Nuo-ning applied for the subsidy for a second time, she received a call from her landlord whilst at work, criticising her for applying for the subsidy without telling her landlord first. As a result, her landlord asked her to move immediately. In applying for the subsidy, Nuo-ning had unintentionally caused the national tax bureau to contact her landlord to expect her tax records.