The Best-Laid Plans of Rice and Men (And Ducks): Organic Farming in Yuanli Township

Written by Li Ching Chen, Translated by Sam Robbins. Hae works on a rice-duck farming cooperative in Yuanli. He wanted to take advantage of the fact that ducks eat rice pests and raise the ducks in the rice paddies. Although the idea was good in theory, there were many difficulties in practice. For example, he told me many of the dogs from the township started hunting the ducks. As ducks slowly waddled through the rice paddies, the dogs would start salivating.

The Homecoming of Indigenous Tea Farmers

Written by Szu-yu Lai, translated by Sam Robbins. When people in Taiwan think of indigenous communities, they think of millet, traditional clothing, and other stereotypical markers. However, from the story of Atayal tea farmers in Li Mountain, we can see that such static imaginings don’t bind indigenous peoples. Admitting to Taiwan’s rapidly changing culture and economy, cultivating tea became a way for Atayal people to reflect on their own culture and relationship with mainstream society. Although tea is not a part of the Atayal people’s traditional culture, it has slowly become a crucial part of how Atayal tribes market themselves through legal and economic changes. 

Hard Cash or Soft Values? Assessing the ‘Lithuanian Model’ of Eastern European Relations with China and Taiwan

Written by Dominika Remžová. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU’s improving relations with Taiwan and worsening relations with China. This culminated with Lithuania leaving the 17+1 framework of cooperation between China and 17 (now 16) eastern European countries on the one hand and the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius on the other. The two events occurred in May and November 2021, respectively, with the latter being particularly controversial, as China argued that the denomination ‘Taiwanese’ breached the EU’s One China policy, which led to the imposition of Chinese economic sanctions on Lithuanian products. However, as Lithuania’s economic relations with China are negligible, at least when compared to western European countries, Beijing made the unprecedented move of targeting EU-wide supply chains that contain Lithuanian products. This effectively escalated the bilateral disagreement to the EU level, with the bloc filing a WTO case against China.

At the Consumer’s Convenience – What the Convenience Store in Taiwan Offers

Written by En-chi Chang. The convenience store in Taiwan has been part of daily life in Taiwan. To stay competitive, convenience store retailers remain focused on providing customers with convenient offerings. The current trend echoing the international retail development is the digitalisation of products and customer services. Nevertheless, development such as unmanned stores and metaverse is still in the infant stage. It is exciting to observe whether Taiwanese consumers will well receive services such as 7-Eleven’s X-Store and FamilyMart’s O2 Meta and whether other convenience store retailers will follow this development.

What Does the Ukraine Crisis Tell Us About the Fate of Taiwan?

Written by Raian Hossain. The Russian invasion of Ukraine raises a serious concern over international peace, security, and stability. This led to numerous debates among analysts, academics, and journalists over the possibility of Beijing’s aggregation toward Taipei. There are good reasons why such concerns are in discussion. Chinese fighters’ incursion of Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone has become a regular practice in recent times. Hence, these lead toward analysing the possibility of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) invasion of the Republic of China (ROC), often known as Taiwan, using the lens of security, political economy, and diplomacy.

Matsu Migrants in Bade, Taoyuan City

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. 

Care work in Singapore and Taiwan: Beyond ‘Migrant Maids’ and Female Employers

Written by Lynn Ng Yu Ling. From the domestic caregivers in both locations, I gather that although there are important differences in the hiring criteria for employers, the root problem of employers having the upper hand in an asymmetrical working relationship remains unresolved. On the whole, it is harder for Taiwanese families to hire a ‘migrant maid’ (wai yong) than in Singapore, and several differences in the hiring process seem to indicate that Taiwan treats home care more seriously.

Salivating Sales: Ethnic Chinese Malaysians and the Edible Bird’s Nest Industry.

Written by Yu-an Kuo 郭育安, translated by Sam Robbins. Despite being a common food in Taiwan, Taiwan’s climate makes it unsuitable for cultivating edible birds nest. Consumption of edible birds nest in Taiwan can be traced back over 200 years, but this consumption has always relied on imports. The product’s history in Taiwan is tied to the history of Dihua street in Taipei, which developed towards the end of the Qing dynasty. This street became a main sight for the selling of exported “Chinese goods” (華貨)in Taiwan, including Ginseng, Jujubees, louts seeds and shark fins. Official statistics suggest that Taiwan currently imports over 10 tonnes over birds nest each year, with over 90% being imported from Indonesia. However, this number is likely unreliable since the illegal smuggling of birds nest remains a constant problem in Taiwan.

A History of Taiwan’s Apple Farmers

Written by Hui-Tsen Hsiao (蕭慧岑)Translated by Sam Robbins. “They write up a sloppy official document that doesn’t even say anything meaningful, and now everything we’ve worked so hard to have has to go like that. You want us to demolish our own house, we cried and hugged as it happened. You’re a government agency, and you’re willing to let people go through this?” “And after we were forced to demolish our house, the debris from the house was even been set on fire” Ron added. 

A Reflection on the UK’s Parliamentary Reaffirmation to Bolster Economic, Security & Develop Strategic Ties with Taiwan

Written by Raian Hossain. Most importantly, the debate at the House of Commons has highlighted a strong unity among different political parties’ parliamentarians in bolstering ties with Taiwan in all possible ways, be it economic, helping the island in international recognition, along with ensuring peace, security, and stability across the Taiwan Strait region. The cross-party unity approach ensures much more robust ties between UK-Taiwan in the upcoming days despite which party forms government in London in future.

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