Written by Milo Hsieh. To what degree is race-based discrimination an issue in Taiwan? The answer may differ depending on those asked. To the World Health Organization Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus—who was made into an effigy by anonymous Taiwanese comic artists in April over the WHO’s continued exclusion of Taiwan—yes, Taiwan’s government allegedly sponsored racist attacks against him. One the other hand, to the group of Taiwanese influencers—who came under attack later in June after wearing blackface to imitate the dancing coffins viral video—no, as clearly many in Taiwan overreacted.
Taiwanese Identity and Racism in Taiwan
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. When the impact of COVID-19 was at its height in Asia this April, the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, publicly accused Taiwan of continuously attacking him with racist slurs for months. Although these accusations have been proven to be false, with the ongoing Black Live Matters campaign taking place, it does give a good opportunity to reflect on whether racism exists in Taiwan. More importantly, how this contributes to the formation of Taiwan’s identity in the contemporary epoch.
Is Taiwan Covering over Contemporary Issues of Racism with a Veneer of Multiculturalism?
Written by Brian Hioe. Over the past four years, it has become a refrain of the Tsai administration to tout Taiwan’s increasing diversity. Namely, given increased immigration to Taiwan from Southeast Asia, one in ten children in Taiwan has a foreign parent. This is a fact that Tsai and members of her administration have taken to frequently citing, often during occasions in which Taiwan is visible on the international stage.
Moving Toward a More Inclusive Society: The Educational Policy of New Immigrant Children in Taiwan
Written by Dorothy I-ru Chen. Ethnocentrism is often found in a highly homogenous society like Taiwan. There have been stereotypes and bias against new immigrant children over the years. Studies conducted in the early days suggested that these children’s academic achievements were lagging. Moreover, these studies failed to recognise the problem may lie within schools which are not capable of meeting the needs of children from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Welfare State System Development in Taiwan: The Causal Determinants of the Past and the Future
Written by Christian Aspalter. Taiwan today has a relatively comprehensive welfare state system due to the work of Lee Teng-Hui and millions of Taiwanese. These citizens pushed the very same man to open and safeguard the process of democratisation back in the late 1980s, and to set up the first major system of the Taiwanese welfare state, the universal National Health Insurance, back in 1996. Lee listened to what people wanted, and that means all of the Taiwanese people, not just the elite, the ancient regime of the Kuomintang (KMT) or the business tycoons. Other leaders behaved quite differently.
New Curriculum, Same Problems? Can the New 2019 High-School Curriculum Help Tackle Inequality?
Written by Yi-hui Lee and Kai-chieh Yang. As a result of geographic and economic factors, educational recourses have long been distributed unevenly in Taiwan. This has long caused some disquiet. The effect of this recourse inequality worsens at every stage of the education system and severely hampers class mobility. The new “school-determined curriculum,” which is so central to the 2019 curricula reforms, will change many of the compulsory class requirements for high-schoolers in Taiwan. With inequality being such a clear issue, it is essential to ask: what affect will this have on the uneven recourse distribution across schools?
Community energy: A way out of energy transition
Written by Natalie Wong. The Taiwanese Government further promoted energy transition, encouraged citizen participation in energy policy, and also subsidised community solar panel installation in 2013. Later, in 2018, the DPP Government implemented a White Paper for Energy Transition, with the notion of community energy being highlighted. It concluded that during the energy transition, the roles of social force should not be neglected. Consisting of 18 ENGOs and community colleges, these civil society organisations became allies for promoting the 2015 energy transition.
DocuSky and Digital Humanities Research
Written By Chijui Hu. Making masses of recourses accessible through digitisation is one of the core tasks for those wanting to promote digital humanities research. After twenty years of digitising archival efforts, Taiwan has amassed a sizeable digitised collection of primary materials and resources. Digital presentation of an indexing dataset in databases has facilitated far-reaching research work. However, the fact that each database has its own format and functions with its own tools makes it challenging to integrate material from multiple databases. That is, many materials have been digitised, but they cannot be used together.
Taiwanese Sex Workers amid the Covid-19 Pandemic
Written by Mei-Hua Chen. There are nearly 9,000 people who have lost their jobs. The majority of these workers are found in the service sector. Nonetheless, after a hostess, who worked in Taipei, contracted the Coronavirus on the April 8, hostesses or sex workers who work in bars or dancing halls appear as the most vulnerable group in Taiwan. The Central Epidemic Command Centre (CCEC) of Taiwan immediately and indefinitely shut down 437 bars and dancing halls that provided hostess services across Taiwan.
Epidemics, National Consciousness and the Existential Value of Taiwan
Written by Mary Wang. Reading Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus’ canonical novel, The Plague at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak led me to meditate on Taiwan’s current situation and the possibilities for its future. As the COVID-19 crisis has been unfolding, paralysing the whole globe, I found that Camus’ novel allows for meaningful comparison between the situation described in Camus’ short novel and the experience of Taiwan as an estranged member of the international community.
Enhancing Physical Activity Levels through Government-led Sports Promotion for Children: A Taiwanese Case
Written by Yu-Ling Chen and Ren-Shiang Jiang. Although the term “physical activity” has been recently introduced to Taiwan in the last decade, the policies of exercise and sports promotion have existed for a long time. While competitive youth sports remain relatively stable in Taiwan, the message from the government is clear: sport and exercise cannot just be an activity for elite athletes, but everyone living in Taiwan.
Left Perspectives on Connecting Taiwan to the International World: How New Bloom Magazine was Founded
Written by Brian Hioe. New Bloom Magazine, which is approaching its sixth anniversary, was originally founded in 2014 in the aftermath of the Sunflower Movement. Other founders of the publication and myself were participants in the Sunflower Movement, and we first began talking about the need to found a bilingual publication to connect Taiwan to the international world in April, which was around the time of the withdrawal from the Legislative Yuan. The publication subsequently launched in July 2014.