Arts Archive

  • Of pigs and prudery

    Of pigs and prudery

    Anyone who has lived in Taiwan long enough, or for that matter any place where they stand out in terms of appearance or culture, will probably have experienced Othering. In Taiwan, it’s rarely of the nasty, aggressive kind nor, necessarily, even of the intentionally discriminatory type– though, as I’ve made clear elsewhere, that obviously exists, […]

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  • The master of small things

    The master of small things

    The following feature appeared in today’s Taipei Times: But for a banana, I wouldn’t have met Chuang Hsin-li (莊新利). En route to the mountains of Yunlin County, I stop for sustenance at a fruit truck in Gukeng Township (古坑). It’s the second day of Lunar New Year; the vehicle is sparsely stocked: sprigs of lycees […]

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  • Razam! United with Belarus

    Razam! United with Belarus

    The following feature appeared in today’s Taipei Times: Anastasia Kurlenia recoils in mock horror. Her daughter Sophie has broached the unthinkable. “Those are the Russian colors,” says the six-year-old, pointing at the red and white of the flags and traditional attire on the walls of Liuminzhan Bar & Bed, a cosy cafe on a backstreet […]

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  • End of an era: Cartier-Bresson and the cross-strait diaspora

    End of an era: Cartier-Bresson and the cross-strait diaspora

    The following essay appeared in the December issue of University of California Press’ Afterimage magazine. The pdf is embedded here as the piece is behind a paywall online. (Use the scroll bar on the right-hand side to flick through the pages). 

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  • Seeing past Taiwan’s identity politics: a review of ‘The Great Exodus’ for Global Asia

    Seeing past Taiwan’s identity politics: a review of ‘The Great Exodus’ for Global Asia

    The following article appeared in the December issue of Global Asia magazine: Many China watchers see it as only a matter of time before Xi Jinping makes his move against Taiwan. The Hong Kong crackdown, the coming Biden presidency and the distraction of the Covid-19 pandemic, not to mention Xi’s own statements on the matter: […]

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  • Anger with focus

    Anger with focus

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times:  In language that belies her cherubic appearance, Julia Mariano calls for “revolutionary rage.” She is speaking at Taipei’s Vinyl Decision bar, alongside a portrait of Bob Dylan. This is the language of protest, for sure, but rather than channeling voices from a bygone era, Mariano is demanding […]

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  • The inside-outs of J.W. Henley’s ‘Migrante’

    The inside-outs of J.W. Henley’s ‘Migrante’

    The last time Joe Henley signed a book for me, he made it out to his “colleague in debasement.” Sounding like a possible song title for his next musical project, this was surely an accolade. We had worked – individually, together – on a series of textbooks, and the process had indeed been soul-destroying. Never […]

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  • Understanding remains key to changes in refugee situation

    Understanding remains key to changes in refugee situation

    A slightly edited version of the following feature appeared in today’s Taipei Times: A recent exhibition in Taipei highlights the lack of comprehensive refugee legislation — an issue politicians are unwilling to tackle In his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants, then United States Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kennedy wrote the following words: “Little […]

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  • The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    Though the blooms will be around for some time yet, this weekend is the official end of the Calla Lily festival up in the Zhuzihu (竹子湖) area of Yangmingshan (陽明山). Although I’ve lived in Beitou District (北投區) for over a decade and ridden and hiked around Yangmingshan countless times, there are still quite a few […]

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  • Playing the name game is never a joke

    Playing the name game is never a joke

    A shortened version of the following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times: In the summer of 1992, Sir Mixalot was in heavy rotation at parties in northwest London. Rather than his big hit Baby’s Got Back, though, the jam that got most airplay was the Seattle rapper’s scathing takedown of racial profiling, One Time’s Got […]

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