Serendipity: Matsu Islands, Taiwan & Me

Written by Tammy Yu-Ting Hsieh. It was not until 1949 that the concept of “Matsu” was first established. Before the civil war in China, this group of islands were mostly the seasonal resting stops of fishermen from the south-east shore of China. Residents on the archipelago can clearly see the outline of Fujian, whereas “Taiwan” was an island they hardly knew nor had any relationship with. But suddenly, in 1949, Kuomintang armies arrived at Matsu Islands, and in no time, Matsu became the frontline of the Republic of China, aiming cannons at the opposite bank, a place they used to call “home.” To put it romantically, serendipity is how the “Taiwan-Penghu-Kinmen-Matsu Community” came to be today. And I tend to think that serendipity also guided me, a descendant of Minnan and Hakka from Taoyuan City, to embark on this back-and-forth journey to Matsu since 2020. 

No Island Left Behind: Cross-Strait Relations in China’s National Museums

Written by Shih Chang. On October 25th, 2020, an exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of the recovery of Taiwan from Japanese colonial rule was held at the National Museum of China. The exhibition is divided into six sections that aim to show the “complete history” of the island of Taiwan from ancient to modern times. The first four sections: “Treasure Island, Taiwan,” “Nine States of Common Sorrow,” “Protecting Sovereignty against Japanese” Sovereign,” “Long Song as a Sword,” “Taiwan fending off the Japanese,” and “Cross-Strait Dreams,” objectively recreates the history of Taiwan’s “return to the motherland” and the development of cross-strait relations.

Taiwan’s Museum Act: Culture’s Value as a Matter of Politics

Written by Susan Shih Chang. On the government’s side, the Museum Act has become a mechanism for exercising power through specific forms of knowledge and expertise; a technology that shapes society’s thoughts and understanding toward culture. On the applicant’s side, although the local government has control in the process of applying for the registration of a private museum, intentions and understanding from the private museum owners and their interaction with the public sector have added a new dimension and layer to the meaning and means of museums.