Written by Yi-Yu Lai. Lennon Wong is the director of a shelter for migrant workers in Taiwan. Before joining the shelter in the early 2010s, he was already a labour activist and worked in the Chinese Federation of Labour and the First Commercial Bank Union. Although his prior work was not directly relevant to migrant workers in Taiwan, his engagement with the labour movement may have started with the issue of migrant workers from Southeast Asia. As a result, we may thus understand the cross-border movement of migrant workers between Taiwan and the Philippines through some of his observations.
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 Yi-Yu Lai. As an anthropologist who studies Indigenous movements in the Philippine highlands, my experiences of beauty pageants’ are not rare. The beauty pageant has been culturally entrenched in the Philippines and its diasporic communities for many decades. Because these contests are very popular with Filipinos, some Indigenous youth advocates use them as an instrument for cultural activism, empowering participants and attracting those who were previously indifferent to political issues. Nevertheless, the Filipino beauty pageants of Taiwan are quite different from those I previously experienced.
Written By William Kung 孔德廉. Regarding the dramatic changes brought about by the “spinach industry,” Wang Weiren, an old overseas Chinese who has lived in the Philippines for 60 years, described it as “locusts crossing the border.” Although the gambling industry has helped drive obvious GDP growth in the Philippines, the economic gains have not been shared by the public at large. Instead, it has been concentrated in the hands of a few Chinese business owners. Not only that, a large number of Chinese ethnic groups in the industry are not prepared to integrate into the local area. Instead, they are reluctant to change their ways and prone to conflict with the locals. If China and the Philippines were ever to join forces to crack down on illegal businesses, the first thing to bear would be the Philippine economy, which is currently overly dependent on the gambling industry.
Written By Willian Kung. Ten years ago, Many Chinese, Malaysians, and Indonesians left their hometowns and moved to the Philippines to chase the gold rush triggered by online gambling. In recent years, the latest wave has attracted many Taiwanese. According to statistics from the Philippine Immigration Bureau, in 2018, more than 200,000 Chinese workers applied for work visas, 90% related to online casinos. There are also many Taiwanese living in the Philippines. In 2016, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines issued a message stating “recently, there has been an increasing number of Taiwanese people going to the Philippines to work in the gambling industry, please be wary that risks often outweigh the rewards. Many have had their passports detained.”
Written by Chia-Ching Tsou. Around 2016, following the Tasi government’s New Southbound Policy, the government suddenly focused on a particular group of Taiwanese — the so-called “the new second generation.” The new second-generation refers to a group of young Taiwanese, some of whose parents are immigrants from Southeast Asian countries following the era of cross-border marriages. The government saw “the new second-generation” as human capital with the advantage of dual culture and language. Thus, it was well-positioned to serve as the vanguard for the New Southbound Policy. However, the government’s framing of the new second-generation ignores and overlooks the new second generation’s life experience and perspective.
Written by Zihlun Huang. There is a pervasive ambivalent feeling working in online gambling for Taiwanese workers. On the one hand, Taiwanese POGOs workers have to take high-risk jobs in this industry, such as working conditions, legal issues, and unsafe environments. On the other hand, they enjoy their salary, social status, and lifestyle in the Philippines. Nevertheless, after all is said and done, one thing is true—they believe that they are heading toward paradise.
Written By Shun-nan Chiang. Taiwan and the Philippines have various points of connections regarding agricultural development. When I conducted my dissertation research on agriculture-nutrition linkages in the Philippines, I frequently encountered references to Taiwan in the Philippine agriculture sector. I was told by a Filipino geographer researching the Philippine agritourism policy that the government’s primary model was Taiwan’s farm tourism. Indeed, I soon discovered that a farm owner I met in a conference toured around Taiwan with a group of business owners to survey Taiwan’s farm tourism. The day I finished my fieldwork in the Philippines, I also met some governmental officers from Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture and other agencies. They have been collaborating on a project with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) since 2015.
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. n the late summer of 1986, a small group of Indigenous people from the PCT (The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan) led a delegation through the Philippines’ Cordillera region. As a delegation that attempted to study minority rights, those people not merely approached Negrito, Bontoc, and Ifugao communities to learn local issues, but also visited several grassroots organizations such as the CPA (Cordillera Peoples Alliance). Although it was not the first time the PCT arranged the Philippines’ tour, their visit’s timing was noteworthy. While martial law was still imposed in Taiwan, people in the Philippines just overthrew the Marcos dictatorship through the People Power Revolution at the beginning of that year
Written by Wei Azim Hung. The series of border skirmishes between India and China that began in early May this year have prompted a wave of anti-China sentiment across the subcontinent. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a particularly aggressive tone by saying “the age of expansionism is over” and “peace is not won by weakness” , while being mindful of the need to save his Chinese counterpart face by not indulging in overly bellicose or provocative rhetoric. Interestingly, this is not the first time India and China have engaged in border hostilities, nor is it the most bloody conflict.