Written by Shao-Yun Chang (張韶韻) and Hang-Tang Chen (陳翰堂). Since their labour was first viewed as a supplement to the domestic labour market, Southeast Asian migrants have become indispensable to the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and care industries over the last three decades. While the initial foreign population was primarily Thai and Filipino workers, Vietnamese and Indonesian workers are now taking over factory jobs, farm work, and caring for seniors and the disabled.
Written by Yu-an Kuo 郭育安, translated by Sam Robbins. Despite being a common food in Taiwan, Taiwan’s climate makes it unsuitable for cultivating edible birds nest. Consumption of edible birds nest in Taiwan can be traced back over 200 years, but this consumption has always relied on imports. The product’s history in Taiwan is tied to the history of Dihua street in Taipei, which developed towards the end of the Qing dynasty. This street became a main sight for the selling of exported “Chinese goods” (華貨）in Taiwan, including Ginseng, Jujubees, louts seeds and shark fins. Official statistics suggest that Taiwan currently imports over 10 tonnes over birds nest each year, with over 90% being imported from Indonesia. However, this number is likely unreliable since the illegal smuggling of birds nest remains a constant problem in Taiwan.
Written by Raian Hossain. Apart from South Asia, the role of cultural exchange between ROC and all New Southbound countries needs to be emphasised further. Exchange of cultural activities such as film or food (cuisine) festivals would be good to create bondage among the people of Taiwan and New Southbound countries. Also, environmental and climate change are pressing non-traditional security aspects that might create further cooperation ground between ROC and New Southbound countries. Like how the Tsai government is committed to domestic green energy, ROC should share such ideas and efforts among New Southbound countries
Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Tran Hoang Nhung. Taiwan’s popular culture—actors, idols, music, and dramas, usually known as the “Taiwanese Waves,” has gained popularity on Vietnamese media sites. The 2004—2008 period saw a boom of Taiwanese idol dramas, e.g. “It Started with a Kiss, 2005” (惡作劇之吻), “The Prince Who Turns into a Frog, 2005” (王子變青蛙), “The Tricks of Boys and Girls, 2006” (花樣少年少女), “My Lucky Star, 2007” (放羊的星星), screened on Vietnam’s TV channels. Taiwan’s singers and bands, e.g., F4, 183 Club, 7 Flowers, S.H.E, Jay Chou, were once familiar among Vietnamese youths.
Narrated by Yosa Wariyanti, written by Isabelle Cheng. I have spent a total of 16 years abroad. When we return home, we have our savings, and we may open businesses. But businesses do not always go well. It is difficult for us to find jobs because we do not have good education or professional certificates. No one would hire us. Soon my daughter will go to university. I want to give her a good education. I need to work for at least another five years to pay for her tuition fees. So, I will just go on, and on, and on working abroad.
Written by Grace Faerber. The Biden administration is strengthening its recognition of the strategic importance of Taiwan to the FOIP, the greatest indicator being the appointment of Sandra Oudkirk as Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de-facto U.S. embassy in Taipei. Director Oudkirk previously served as a Senior Official for APEC at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (APEC’s member countries include the nations of Australasia and ASEAN).
Written by Huynh Tam Sang. Adopted by President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, the New Southbound Policy (NSP) has helped fortify Taiwan’s international standing and promoted the spirit of “Taiwan helps Asia, and Asia helps Taiwan.” In recent years, the NSP has facilitated Taiwan’s participation in the Indo-Pacific society. At the same time, they ensure that Taiwan could get on board with other regional and middle powers, like China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia, which have been forging their ties with Southeast Asian countries.
Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Tran Hoang Nhung. In her 2020 inaugural speech, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) raised the issue of talent retention, underlined the need for “a diverse talent pool” with her commitment to attract “technical, R&D, and management talents to help globalize Taiwan’s workforce.” Furthermore, when attending the release of the Talent Circulation Alliance white paper in June, she said the government would be committed to “[developing] more innovative talent” to meet the shifting of supply change to Taiwan and navigate challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Raian Hossain. Tensions over cross-strait relations and the United States’ (US) involvement are not a new phenomenon. The problem remains unresolved as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that the Republic of China (ROC) is a breakaway mainland province. However, about 64 per cent of Taiwan’s population perceives themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese despite the absence of any official call for independence. Even though the US officially performs under the one-China policy, it has continued to ensure the existence of the ROC separately for over 50 years.
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.”