The ‘Sahara’ of Taiwan: A New Local Geopark and the Potentials of Sand Dunes

Written by Viola van Onselen and Tsung-Yi Lin. How does it feel to walk through a desert-like landscape of highly dynamic dunes, and how can Virtual Reality educate people in an interactive way about such an environment? You can now experience this in a new local geopark of Taiwan, the ‘Caota Sand Dunes.’ This geopark promotes the values of coastal dunes, and ongoing research explores new management strategies, local community involvement and the geological history of this environment. This short article highlights the potentials of dunes, the status of dune environments in Taiwan and how this local geopark can set an example as a foundation for Nature-based Solutions.

Eggplantegg: Taiyu Language Proliferation and Linguistic Diversity in Taiwan’s Popular Music Scene

Written by Max Lembke-Soh. EggPlantEgg 茄子蛋 has fast become a significant player. Rocketing to popularity in 2017, EggPlantEgg received multiple Golden Melody Awards and nominations recognising their distinctly Taiwanese vibes, making full use of Taiyu’s broad intonation range to melodise lyrics across a variety of sounds. The band has no shortage of commentators lauding their style, highlighting their passionate use of Taiyu to express everything from love and yearning to relationships and loss.

The Fear Factor: [Chinese] Censorship on Taiwanese Popular Music

Written by Chen-Yu Lin, Yun-Siou Chen and Yan-Shouh Chen. Music is a powerful symbolic good, and it is not uncommon that this symbolic good can be shipped into opposing – or different – ideological systems, influencing other societies. However, sometimes musicians fear the consequences of singing or expressing what they want. As South African musician John Clegg once said, “censorship is based on fear”. Regardless of forms, music censorship requires an agent capable of negatively affecting a musician, whether that means imprisonment, loss of income or receiving negative comments online.

Which Nation’s National Music? – A Critical Introduction of Contemporary Chinese Orchestra in Taiwan

Written by Min-erh Wang. From the late nineteenth century onwards, Chinese musical culture has been significantly impacted by the importation of Western music. Chinese musicians and intellectuals, therefore, began to organise an orchestra with Chinese instruments as a way for pursuing musical modernisation. The establishment of the music section at the Central Broadcast Station in Chongqing in 1935 was the most prominent example of this trend. By presenting this new ensemble at international occasions, the modern Chinese orchestra was further promoted as ‘Gou Yue (國樂),’ meaning ‘national music,’ in the first half of the twentieth century.

Confessions from a Former Fan Girl

Written by Ellie Koepplinger. I remember being thirteen with vivid clarity. You are at once gangly, disproportionate, and uncomfortable with yourself, confused and delighted in equal measure by your budding independence. You are constantly trying to untangle a knotted web of hormones, education, and friendships, convinced that one poor decision would permanently impact the chasm of life that stretched before you. At that tender inflexion point, falling in love with fictionalized Taiwanese pop idols was the one thing that kept me grounded.

Landlords, Subsidies, and Policy Failures: Renting in Taipei and New Taipei City

Written by Natalie Dai(戴淨妍), Jessica Hsu(徐卉馨), Sophia Lee(李昕儒), Dennis He(何正生); Translated by Sam Robbins. In August 2020, Lin Nuo-ning signed a half-year contract with her landlord and planned to stay in this apartment during her career move. However, when Nuo-ning applied for the subsidy for a second time, she received a call from her landlord whilst at work, criticising her for applying for the subsidy without telling her landlord first. As a result, her landlord asked her to move immediately. In applying for the subsidy, Nuo-ning had unintentionally caused the national tax bureau to contact her landlord to expect her tax records.

Location, Location, Location: Renting in Taipei and New Taipei City

Written by Natalie Dai(戴淨妍), Jessica Hsu(徐卉馨), Sophia Lee(李昕儒), Dennis He(何正生); Translated by Sam Robbins. For recent graduates like Yi-ting, mostly all renters, rent typically takes up between one quarter and one-third of their monthly income. According to the Ministry of Labour, the average monthly salary for recent graduates in 2019 was 28,231NTD (£724; $1021). Judging by mean rental prices per region, if they are willing to move out to the suburbs of New Taipei City, they can expect to pay around 8,000NTD (£205; $289) a month for an eight ping (26 square meters; 285 square feet) apartment.

Taiwan’s Real Estate Development from the Cross-Strait Perspective

Written by Wei-Che Fu and Yu-Chih Tseng. global economic and political geolocation, the challenges of its local industry development and social inequality were still ahead during the Sino-American conflicts. The mass capital escape from China is generally regarded as another chance for attracting investment. Taiwan experienced a new wave of housing inflation since the global financial crisis in 2008.

A Tale of Two Cities: Taiwan’s Social Housing Policy Practice in Taipei and Taoyuan City, 2014-2018

Written by Chris Chih-Hua Tseng. Taipei has spawned some policy innovations. Meanwhile, in Taoyuan, an adjacent developing city that has built massive amounts of social housing, none of the above happened. Instead, the city government proudly announced it had built social housing the fastest. Why has social housing developped much more sluggishly in the capital than it has in Taoyuan? To answer the differences between these two cities, we need to expand our scope to broader urban politics and urban developmental processes.

Becoming an Anti-Communist Stronghold: The KMT’s ‘Strategic Transition’ and Emergence of the ROC in Taiwan with Imperial Japanese Assistance, 1945-1952

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.

Taiwan with a Side of New Public Diplomacy

Written by Martin Mandl. At about the same time as Bubble Tea made its first appearance in Vienna, President Ma Ying-jeou proclaimed “taking Taiwan’s food to the world a policy priority”. What followed was an economic stimulus plan, sometimes referred to by commentators as “All in Good Taste – Savour the Flavours of Taiwan”.

Is Taiwanese society ready to face a belligerent China?

Written by Gunter Schubert. Over the last decade, the world has seen a geopolitical shift whereby China has gained power and influence in the international arena, showing an increasing willingness to safeguard “national interests” and fulfil the “historic mission of rejuvenating the Great Chinese Nation”. Within this, unification with Taiwan has long been defined as a major objective, the pursuit of which has become increasingly urgent.

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