Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Our earlier article described how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health systems. We identified common themes from both countries’ responses to the pandemic and acknowledged the importance of public sector capacities and capabilities in shaping and steering them. This second part of the article will describe how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the pandemic in their economic sector.
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Why have some countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic more decisively than others? How have seemingly under-resourced countries performed better—in terms of the number of cases and fatalities—than their richer counterparts? These and other vexing questions have continued to confound many of us as we enter the third year of a pandemic that has brought governments all over the world to their knees.
Written by Brian Doce. In 2018, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced the government’s objective to transform Taiwanese society into a bilingual nation to elevate the English fluency of the Taiwanese people and upgrade the country’s national competitiveness. Looking at the current blueprint published by the National Development Council, the plan’s enumerated key performance indicators (KPI) show a government-centric outlook by emphasising the simultaneous use of Mandarin and English by government agencies for respective services.
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. “Have you ever watched Meteor Garden (流星花園) before? I was so crazy about Dao Ming Si and his gang before!” Many Taiwanese might be familiar with the similar conversation when they first met their Filipino friends. Since my friends know I am from Taiwan, they sometimes asked me to sing its theme song Qing Fei De Yi (情非得已) for them. They also love to hum the tune to me, though they cannot speak Mandarin at all.
Written by Robert Hoppens. Just before midnight on April 5, 1975, Chiang Kai-shek (b. 1887), long-time leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and president of the Republic of China (ROC), died at his home in Taipei at the age of 87. Around the world, Chiang’s death occasioned media retrospectives on his long career and speculation about the future of Taiwan, where his government had spent the last quarter-century in exile.
Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Tran Hoang Nhung. Taiwan’s popular culture—actors, idols, music, and dramas, usually known as the “Taiwanese Waves,” has gained popularity on Vietnamese media sites. The 2004—2008 period saw a boom of Taiwanese idol dramas, e.g. “It Started with a Kiss, 2005” (惡作劇之吻), “The Prince Who Turns into a Frog, 2005” (王子變青蛙), “The Tricks of Boys and Girls, 2006” (花樣少年少女), “My Lucky Star, 2007” (放羊的星星), screened on Vietnam’s TV channels. Taiwan’s singers and bands, e.g., F4, 183 Club, 7 Flowers, S.H.E, Jay Chou, were once familiar among Vietnamese youths.
Written by Ko-yu Chiang, Under the beating sun in Taiwan’s most southern tip, Mudan Township, an indigenous Paiwanese district with a current population of 5,000, opened a public committee in May 2020. Despite being in a small township in Taiwan’s far south, this committee was an international affair. In attendance was the council of Indigenous Affairs, Bureau of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, the Pintung County government. The committee also extended to the other side of the world: Edinburgh University in the United Kingdom and the spirits of sixteen Paiwanese Mudan soldiers who have only recently returned home after 146 years abroad.
Written by Grace Faerber. The Biden administration is strengthening its recognition of the strategic importance of Taiwan to the FOIP, the greatest indicator being the appointment of Sandra Oudkirk as Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de-facto U.S. embassy in Taipei. Director Oudkirk previously served as a Senior Official for APEC at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (APEC’s member countries include the nations of Australasia and ASEAN).
Written by Huynh Tam Sang. Adopted by President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, the New Southbound Policy (NSP) has helped fortify Taiwan’s international standing and promoted the spirit of “Taiwan helps Asia, and Asia helps Taiwan.” In recent years, the NSP has facilitated Taiwan’s participation in the Indo-Pacific society. At the same time, they ensure that Taiwan could get on board with other regional and middle powers, like China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia, which have been forging their ties with Southeast Asian countries.
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 Ko-Hang Liao. The joint statement between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on April 16, 2021, once again caught everybody’s attention on serious concerns of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait upon the continuing escalation of challenges from China on possibly changing the status quo by force or coercion. This was the first time that Taiwan was mentioned in a US-Japan leaders statement since 1969. Although the situation seems to be frequently changing, it is essential to understand the current tension historically. Indeed, studying the early Cold War period can reveal much about what is happening and how Taiwan has come to the recent position.
Written by Elizabeth Freund Larus. In his April 2021 Foreign Affairs article “Washington Is Avoiding the Tough Questions on Taiwan and China,” international relations scholar Charles Glaser asks whether it is time for the United States to relinquish maritime hegemony in the Asia-Pacific. He concludes that Washington should retrench those areas that would be unacceptably costly in terms of lives and treasure to defend. One of those places is Taiwan. This determination method is reminiscent of Dean Acheson’s 1950 “perimeter speech.” He excluded South Korea and Taiwan from the US defensive perimeter in East Asia in the early years of the Cold War. Stalin and Mao were watching, and we know how the story on the Korean peninsula ended.