A plant out of water: Taiwanese greens in Thailand

Written by Angel Chao (趙于萱), translated by Sam Robbins. In supermarkets in Thailand, you can find Thai hydroponic vegetables labelled as ‘Taiwanese greens.’ Why? Because these plants are grown in Thailand by Taiwanese businesspeople who brought Taiwanese hydroponic technology to Thailand, using Taiwanese equipment to grow crops in Thailand.

Falling Through the Cracks of Care: Southeast Asian Migrant Workers Navigating Through Healthcare in Taiwan

Written by Shao-Yun Chang (張韶韻) and Hang-Tang Chen (陳翰堂). Since their labour was first viewed as a supplement to the domestic labour market, Southeast Asian migrants have become indispensable to the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and care industries over the last three decades. While the initial foreign population was primarily Thai and Filipino workers, Vietnamese and Indonesian workers are now taking over factory jobs, farm work, and caring for seniors and the disabled. 

Cultivating Support from a Distance: The Transnational Activism of Taiwan Alumni Associations in Southeast Asia

Written by Ratih Kabinawa. Since Tsai Ing-wen won power in 2016, Taiwan has experienced increased international isolation. Beijing stepped up its offensive policy toward Taiwan by blocking Taipei’s participation in international forums, for example, in the WHA, WHO, and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The PRC also exercised its dollar diplomacy to push Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies to switch recognition from Taiwan to China. As a result, during Tsai’s first term (2016-2020), Taiwan lost its major diplomatic allies, leaving the country with only thirteen diplomatic allies. Consequently, the Taiwanese government has looked to overseas communities to enhance its image and visibility, including Taiwan alumni associations. The Tsai administration has given these overseas communities a significant role under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP). 

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.

How did Malaysia and Taiwan respond to Covid-19? Part II: Pandemic’s Impact on Economy

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. 

How did Malaysia and Taiwan respond to Covid-19? Part I: Healthcare Infrastructure

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. 

A Bilingual Nation? What are the Efforts from Southern Taiwan Stakeholders?

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.

From Meteor Garden to BL? 20 Years of Taiwanese Pop Culture in The Philippines

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.

Embracing Taiwan in Vietnamese Media

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.

Synergies Between Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy and Biden’s Free and Open Indio-Pacific Strategy

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).

Why Is the Revitalisation of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy So Pressing?

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. 

Retaining Vietnamese Talents in Taiwan

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.

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