Written by Ming-sho Ho. Sitting right at the fracture zone between Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate, Taiwan is an outgrowth of their incessant continental collision, thus making this island mountainous and ecologically rich. The Japanese archipelago shares a similar geological location. Still, Taiwan has ten times more peaks over 3,000 meters above sea level (268) than Japan, although the land size is only the latter’s one-tenth. From the tropical fluvial plain, one can drive through the temperate-zone mountain and reach the highest point of Taiwan’s highway (3,275 meters) in few hours, where flora and fauna are analogous to that in the frigid zone. Yet, until recently, most of the island residents did not have the opportunity to enjoy this natural heritage.
Written by Daniele Mario Buonomo. The diffusion and practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an important issue both in the Chinese and Western worlds. In European and Western countries, TCM, and specifically acupuncture, is increasingly popular. In 1979, for the first time, acupuncture and moxibustion received the attention of the World Health Organization. TCM’s importance has even been stressed in 2010 by UNESCO, who inscribed acupuncture and moxibustion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Written by Wei-hong Chen. According to the 2019 survey from the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, in 79% of its member countries, (as Australia and Canada, and the UK,) PTs can provide services without supervision from a doctor. Taiwan falls into the minority of countries in which PTs can only operate under a Doctor’s orders. This restricted referral model is enforced in legal and medical systems, and as a result, the quality of physical therapy in Taiwan has been seriously hindered.
Written by Elsa Sichrovsky. A mixed-reality approach to anatomy courses may be an ideal approach to combining the efficiency of VR technology–and its enhancement of the acquisition of knowledge–with the psychological enrichment and tactile experience of learning from the Silent Teacher. A former medical student brought up an intriguing idea on an online discussion forum: perhaps students could practice anatomy with VR technology before dissecting the Silent Teacher. By doing this, students would approach cadaver dissection already possessing a higher level of anatomical knowledge, and thus fewer unnecessary cuts would be made.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin.The history of doctor outflow in Taiwan tells us that doctors of all eras are continually reflecting on what it means to be in the medical profession and what the “good life” of a doctor is. The unique history of Taiwan’s medical system is an essential resource as we come to reflect on the issues of today. This history reminds about the diverse sets of values (not all of which have been good) that have existed within the system. It also provides clues of what a new system might look like.
Written by Hsu Hung Bin. The phrase “五大皆空” (all the key fields are lacking) has become common, referring to the lack of doctors in internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and emergency care. There has also been discussion of the net outflow of doctors from Taiwan. All of this brought doubts to the once hopeful students as they began their medical education. I often hear students asking questions like “is the medical system here really going to collapse?” “Do we have to leave Taiwan and start a new life abroad?” “Did I make the right choice for my career”?
Written by Najee Woods. In early April, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the nation would donate 10 million masks to nations in need, particularly to the United States and European countries. These countries being the two hardest hit by COV-19. The news was welcomed by both the governments of the United States and the Europe Union. The U.S. Department of State lauded Taiwan for being a true friend in a time of need, while the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen personally thanked Taiwan via her official Twitter account.
Written by Najee Woods (葉正忠). While Taiwan’s current mask diplomacy has been perceived as successful, the question arises: why doesn’t the KMT want the central government aiding those nations in dire need for masks? The party flip-flopping sends a mixed message to the international community that Taiwanese are not willing to lend a helping hand to combat COVID-19, which hurts the interest of all Taiwanese people, not just the ruling party. While the PRC health diplomacy is faltering, the international community has now begun to seek out Taiwan, allowing the island nation to lead the world in combating COVID-19.
Written by Sam Robbins. Currently, if you visit the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University, you will be greeted by a cartoon cut out of Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare, Chen Shih-chung (陳時中). The Cartoon tells you to use your card to buzz in and to get your temperature checked. If you are a user of popular social messaging app Line, you can now download a package of cartoon stickers of Chen accompanied with messages like, “stand together and defeat the virus” (團結對抗，戰勝病毒).
Written by Ian Inkster. Now that the coronavirus danger is focused more on the West and the emerging threat to the Global South, it is possible to take some stock of the successful performance of Taiwan in virus containment and management. This short paper is based on global statistics for the present time 19-23 April.
Written by Yu-Ling Chen and Ren-Shiang Jiang. Although the term “physical activity” has been recently introduced to Taiwan in the last decade, the policies of exercise and sports promotion have existed for a long time. While competitive youth sports remain relatively stable in Taiwan, the message from the government is clear: sport and exercise cannot just be an activity for elite athletes, but everyone living in Taiwan.
Written by Yao-Hung Huang. The tragedy that is the spread of the COVID 19 virus has dominated headlines around the world. While in Taiwan it has been a cause of considerable consternation, it has at the same time incited controversy about Taiwan’s relationship with the Chinese mainland.