A Great Linguist with a Scientific Mind and Poet’s Soul: In Memory of Professor Robert Blust

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.

Saving an Ageing Industry by Employing Migrant Workers: The Legalisation of Agricultural Migrant Workers in Taiwan

Although 2022 may be seen as the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, it has also marked the third year after Taiwan opened its agricultural labour market to Southeast Asian workers. It is widely known in Taiwan that small tenant farmers in the vegetable, fruit, and tea sectors and livestock farmers have been challenged by chronic shortages of seasonal labour.

Taiwan’s Migrant Workers Versus Labour Brokerage System 

Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Wen-Chin Cheng. Taiwan’s labour brokerage system has made migrant workers vulnerable to a myriad of untransparent fees. Under the current system, migrant workers must pay hefty fees, including service fees and related pre-employment fees for migrant labour agencies or brokers, adding up to the total amount ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$200,000. To make matters worse, the current system has allowed brokers to charge migrant workers a monthly recurring fee, from NT$1,500 to NT$1,800. The “service fee”, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour, is used to arrange work and daily life for migrant workers. However, brokers or agencies charge employers “very few or no fees”, shifting the disproportionate financial burden onto migrant workers.

From Taiwan to Macau in 16 Years: A Domestic Worker’s Migration Biography

Narrated by Yosa Wariyanti, written by Isabelle Cheng. I have spent a total of 16 years abroad. When we return home, we have our savings, and we may open businesses. But businesses do not always go well. It is difficult for us to find jobs because we do not have good education or professional certificates. No one would hire us. Soon my daughter will go to university. I want to give her a good education. I need to work for at least another five years to pay for her tuition fees. So, I will just go on, and on, and on working abroad.

The “Lost Outlying Island” of the Tachen Diaspora

Written by Kai-yang Huang. As Taiwan’s identity debates are slowly eking towards a consensus, it is essential to also pay attention to the diverse marginal voices of the people of Taiwan. Thus, because discourse about Taiwan as a “maritime nation” is increasingly common, more attention has been paid to marine conservation—for example, the IOC established the Maritime Protection Agency and has preserved traditional fishing techniques (for example, the Marine Science Museum exhibits traditional Han fisheries). For the Tachen diaspora, the ocean has long been an important part of their customs and a poignant reminder of their forced migration from their homeland due to the Chinese civil war and their subsequent migration to the United States. Supposing that Taiwan perceives itself as a “maritime nation.” In that case, these narratives deserve a place in Taiwan’s modern historical understanding.

The Penghu Migrants Behind Kaohsiung’s Post-war Boom

Written by Tshinn-Hun Miguel Liou. Strictly speaking, there’s nothing inherent about the connection between the people of Kaohsiung and Penghu, and the route that many people from Penghu took from Kaohsiung was often more treacherous than the path for those emigrating within Taiwan. However, the consensus linking people from these two places should give pause for thought. So, why is Kaohsiung the first choice for people from Penghu who move to Taiwan? 

At the Edge of State Control: The Creation of the “Matsu Islands”

Written by Sheng-Chang Lin. As well as creating Matsu as a region, the Cold War also tied Matsu to Taiwan. Communication had been minimal between the two before the war—Taiwan was a colony of Japan, whereas Matsu was part of Fujian—but not both regions were part of a new post-war state. Especially due to the prosperity on Taiwan Island, migration from Matsu to Taiwan has become increasingly common. Nowadays, the Bade district of Taoyuan City(桃園市八德區) and Keelung City (基隆市)are known for their large Matsu population.

Intergenerational Bonds in Indigenous Communities: Lessons From My Grandparents

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.

Queer Passion Between Generations: The view from Martial Law-era Literature

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.  

Do Young People Actually Matter in Taiwanese Politics?

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.

A Wake-Up Call to Improve Factory Working Procedures in a Time of Crisis

Written by Chan-Yuan Wong, Ker-Hsuan Chien, and Mei-Chih Hu. As the world enters the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Taiwan – previously acknowledged as a Covid-free nation – encountered a new outbreak in mid-May 2021. This wave of infection has been deemed critical, as the number of infection cases has surpassed 700, and the infectivity rate is as contagious as measles. To date, Taiwan encountered 635 death cases related to Covid-19 – of which 98% are attributed to the recent outbreak since 15 May 2021.

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