Written by Mark Hsiang-Yu Feng. It is common to see that many Taiwanese musicians employ Western compositional concepts, theories, and approaches to express Taiwanese identity through music and musical performance. For example, during the 2020 presidential and general election in Taiwan, Legislator Freddy Lim, the vocalist of a renowned Taiwanese metal group called ChthoniC, gave a live concert called Taiwan Victory to congregate voters and solicit votes in front of Taiwan’s Presidential House. Many Taiwanese people showed interest in his performance, as he sang heavy metal songs to gather voters and fight against political infiltration from China. After the concert, The Guardian’s report highlights Lim’s unique career trajectory from a musician to a politician in Taiwan and the creativity of bringing music to the campaign.
Written by Dr Chen-Yu Lin. his strategy to project Chineseness as a globalising project was best exemplified by Jay Chou’s appearance on the Nasdaq screen at Time Square in January 2019. He was voted the most influential Chinese singer on Kugou (酷狗), the Chinese streaming service owned by Tencent ( 騰訊). However, other than his name, the text shown on the Nasdaq screen alongside a photo of Chou is all in Chinese. Such a projection of a globalising Chineseness caters to the hopes of the well-educated and well-travelled Chinese newly rising classes.
Written by Chun Chia Tai. For many Indigenous peoples in Taiwan, music is a lively cultural medium that facilitates allying with other Austronesian peoples residing in Oceania. Such a musical way of fostering cultural diplomacy has currently been popular in Taiwan, especially after the release of the album Polynesia in 2014, emphasising the shared cultural genealogy of Austronesian under the collaboration of an Amis singer Chalaw Pasiwali and a Madagascar musician Kelima. In the same year, another project called the Small Island Big Song aimed to establish a network between Pacific Islands and Taiwan through music and film. Musicians in this project released their 2018 album Small Island Big Song and a sequential album named Our Island in 2021. Moreover, all these musical works focus on fusions of traditional folk music(s). Positive public perception reflects Taiwanese people’s rising demand for establishing a cross-Pacific Austronesian community between Taiwan and the Pacific Islands.
Written by Hui-Hua Lu. The comic and animation fan culture in Taiwan may have started by accident, but now it is lively and energetic with comic conventions and online platforms that offer spaces for people to participate and a channel to express themselves. The fan culture in Taiwan started around the 1990s when 大然出版社 (Da Ran Publishing) in Taiwan first added the comics created by Japanese fans of Saint Seiya (聖鬥士星矢, sheng doushi xingshi in Chinese, 聖闘士星矢, セイントセイヤ in Japanese) at the end of their publications of the same comics.
Written by Genevieve Leung. The Milk Tea Alliance was formed when Mainland Chinese social media users attacked two Thai celebrities to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Taiwan independence activists. Thai social media users deployed humour to combat the attacks, and Taiwan and Hong Kong users joined in, using the shared custom of drinking milk tea, along with various minoritized statuses, as the cohesive forces that “naturally” drew them together.
Written by En-Chi Chang. ‘I started my day by putting on my Uniqlo LifeWear coat endorsed by Vivian Hsu. Then I headed out and stopped by 7-Eleven to buy a cup of City Coffee endorsed by Gui, Lun-Mei (桂綸鎂) for breakfast. Then, rushing to the MRT station, I used Open-chan(Open將) iCash card to take the MRT train to work. Though I do not have an ASUS ROG 5 designed by Nyjah Huston, my ACER endorsed by GBOYSWAG (鼓鼓) was just fine for work. After work, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at Eatogether endorsed by Accusefive (五告人). Then I went home and treated myself with a round of massage on my Fuji Massage chair endorsed by Ariel Lin (林依晨) while playing the game ‘Lineage II’ (天堂II) endorsed by Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武).’
Written by Jian Xu. On January 25, 2017, National Defense News, a military newspaper under the management of the Military Committee of the Communist Party of China, published a commentary titled, ‘Never allow artists to eat Chinese food and smash Chinese bowls.’ The article criticised pro-independence Hong Kong singer Hins Cheung and applauded his ban from appearing on one of China’s most popular reality shows, I Am a Singer, run by Hunan Satellite TV. It argues that ‘in front of the overall interests of the country and nation, every artist needs to stay rational within the bottom line. Overstepping the bottom line means no future. Any ‘idol’ will be discarded if they hurt the national emotion and dignity of the Chinese people.’
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 Martin Mandl. At about the same time as Bubble Tea made its first appearance in Vienna, President Ma Ying-jeou proclaimed “taking Taiwan’s food to the world a policy priority”. What followed was an economic stimulus plan, sometimes referred to by commentators as “All in Good Taste – Savour the Flavours of Taiwan”.
Written by GuoTing Lin (Kuing). This work uses digital ethnography to consider how Taiwanese indigenous musicians utilise Facebook as their primary official platform for audience communication. I go about this by analysing cover images, profiles, photos, and feeds on Facebook, which is used to depict the details of the texts, photos, and videos. It thus shows the self-presentation and the communication of Taiwanese indigenous musicians concerning cultural and social issues. Moreover, I argue that indigenous musicians perform their identity through online self-presentation in everyday life.
Written by Daniele Mario Buonomo. The diffusion and practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an important issue both in the Chinese and Western worlds. In European and Western countries, TCM, and specifically acupuncture, is increasingly popular. In 1979, for the first time, acupuncture and moxibustion received the attention of the World Health Organization. TCM’s importance has even been stressed in 2010 by UNESCO, who inscribed acupuncture and moxibustion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Written by Chee-Hann Wu. Puppets are mysterious creatures with lives and narratives different from that of humans. With its poetic and metaphorical nature, puppetry can unfold untold stories, censored or silenced. Flip Flops Theatre’s Lala: The Singing Bear (2019) and I Promised I Wouldn’t Cry (2019) are examples of puppets’ potentiality to access and tell these stories. Both pieces, designed for adults and children, adopt puppetry as a medium to address trauma under the White Terror.