Mountain Hiking as Taiwan’s New National Pastime

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.

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.

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.

How Community Capacity Process Impacts Participatory Community Development in Taiwan

Written by Takako Sasaki. It has been 20 years since Yong-le CDA began PCD, and this case suggested that community capacity was gradually acquired over a long period. PCD research often targets projects with a limited span of period, and it cannot be said that community capacity has been thoroughly discussed. That being said, its importance was still recognised. Thus, current research must deepen over a more extended period.

Maternity, a Biter Transition, an Empowering Continuum or Both? Childbirth and the Practices of Yuezi under Beauty Pressure in Taiwan

Written by Amélie Keyser-Verreault. Many feminist analyses emphasize the influence of neoliberalism in changing maternity and causing intensified beauty pressure. In this article, I seek to inaugurate a discussion of the relationship between motherhood and the quest for beauty, primarily the phenomenon of a new sexy maternity in Taiwan’s neoliberal context. Since the rapid spread of neoliberal ideology might favour the inclusion of beauty as part of human capital—and non-Western societies can be thought of as directly affected by this global beauty culture—it is relevant to observe the phenomenon of regaining one’s body.

‘Bringing Back Transnational Relations’: Non-State Actors in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy

Written by Ratih Kabinawa. Drawing from Risse-Kappen’s seminal book and his framework of domestic and international structures, this article explains Taiwan’s long-standing engagement with non-state actors in promoting its foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia via a case study of the New Southbound Policy (NSP). After enjoying some success in maintaining semi-official contacts with Southeast Asian countries during the cross-Strait relation détente, the election of Tsai Ing-wen compelled Taiwan to bring transnational relations back into its foreign policy. In 2016, Taiwan’s newly elected president, Tsai Ing-wen, introduced a foreign policy flagship that stressed the essential role of people-to-people diplomacy in promoting Taiwan’s foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia.

Living with and through Patriarchy: My Experience as a Migrant Worker and Migrant Wife in Taiwan

Written by Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hà and Isabelle Cheng. It has been more than three decades since Southeast Asian nationals began to work and establish their families in Taiwan. Men and women from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia fill the labour shortage in construction, fishing, manufacturing, care and agricultural industries, whilst the women became members of Taiwanese society because of their marriage and family formations. This ongoing regional migration flow has enriched the socio-cultural landscape of Taiwan, where multiculturalism becomes the prevailing normative value that respects and appreciates differences. Nevertheless, this development has not been smooth or unchallenged.

The Problem of Taiwan’s Lost-Contact Migrant Workers’ ‘Illicit Enjoyment’

Written by Linh Le. Taiwan and its migrant workers are tangled in a bitter-sweet marriage: one needs another but cannot stand the flaws of the other. Like Director Tsai Tsung-lung’s attempt to show the human side of migrant workers through his latest documentary “Nine shots,” this article shares the same sentiment by highlighting these workers’ needs for leisure, enjoyment and entertainment like any other human being. However, these needs are rarely satisfied due to many unfortunate circumstances.

The Politics of Hate and Fear

Written by Andreas Sierek. A migrant construction worker was enjoying himself at a river. We might have disapproved of him being drunk, drugged and naked. We even might have been incensed by his rampageous behaviour. But shooting him dead? Like a stray dog infected with rabies? Not with one bullet but with nine? Insisting that the man – while lying on the dirt, in a pool of blood, dying – must be handcuffed before medics can approach him?

As Taiwan Develops, can Racism and Discrimination be Avoided?

Written by Milo Hsieh. To what degree is race-based discrimination an issue in Taiwan? The answer may differ depending on those asked. To the World Health Organization Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus—who was made into an effigy by anonymous Taiwanese comic artists in April over the WHO’s continued exclusion of Taiwan—yes, Taiwan’s government allegedly sponsored racist attacks against him. One the other hand, to the group of Taiwanese influencers—who came under attack later in June after wearing blackface to imitate the dancing coffins viral video—no, as clearly many in Taiwan overreacted.

Towards a Harmony of Interlocking Differences

Written by Theodore Taptiklis. Taiwan and New Zealand share common themes around democratic participation and economic development based on distinctive comparative advantage. We are also connected via our indigenous peoples, the Taiwanese of whom may have formed part of the great chain of Pacific migrants that led to New Zealand’s pre-colonial settlement. And now, Taiwan’s ‘southbound’ outlook and its emphasis on youth development may connect us even further.

What is the Role of New Residents in Taiwan’s Next Elections?

Written by Lara Momesso.
As Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections approach, major and minor parties are busy defining their agendas, electoral campaign strategies, and potential interest groups. New immigrants have emerged as an increasingly important constituency in Taiwanese political debate In January 2016, new immigrants with Taiwanese citizenship comprised 1.33% of the total electorate. Although this does not yet constitute a major constituency, the portion is predicted to increase next year.