People Archive

  • Changes to Nationality Law irk Taiwan’s foreign-born residents

    Changes to Nationality Law irk Taiwan’s foreign-born residents

    My article from today’s News Lens (27/03/2017). An old friend and mentor of mine still likes to say that I quit a journalism degree 20 years ago because I didn’t like talking to people on the phone. Like the work of our mutual hero, Ryszard Kapuściński, this claim lurks in an anteroom between reality and fiction: [...]

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  • Li Kuo-Ting: The adaptable strategist behind Taiwan’s success

    Li Kuo-Ting: The adaptable strategist behind Taiwan’s success

    “Li Kuo-ting’s name,” wrote Hong Kong economist Tony Fu-Lai Yu (余赴禮), “is well-known in Taiwan.” If this were true when Yu penned the words 10 years ago, it certainly isn’t now. Granted, as Yu points out, Li’s name (李國鼎) is enshrined in a foundation that funds scientific endeavor in Taiwan and promotes cross-Strait cooperation in science. An [...]

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  • Let’s get physical: Actor Derek Kwan on the art of mask and clowning

    Let’s get physical: Actor Derek Kwan on the art of mask and clowning

      Derek Kwan (關顯揚)  is a clown. Not in the pejorative sense, and certainly not one of those clowns that have been all over social media recently, scaring the shit out of people. “It’s unfortunate because real clown is about innocence. Essentially it’s your 5-year-old self, which is the best of you. People don’t actually [...]

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  • Dark shadows and new hope: Taiwan and El Salvador

    Dark shadows and new hope: Taiwan and El Salvador

    The single shot from a rifle that hit Archbishop Oscar Romero straight in the heart as he was saying mass at San Salvador’s Church of the Divine Providence on the evening of March 24, 1980, was to send shockwaves through El Salvador and the world. Even in a country where murder had become a way [...]

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  • Taiwan’s Guatemala ties remain complicated

    Taiwan’s Guatemala ties remain complicated

    Original version of my piece from today’s Taipei Times: The reliefs on the facade of Guatemala’s National Library were contributed by one of the country’s most beloved sons. Yet even the talents of urbanist Efrain Recinos cannot put a gloss on the building’s threadbare interior. A bronze bust of an equally storied Guatemalan, Miguel Angel [...]

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  • Taipei’s Little Burma and the legacy of the KMT ‘jungle generals’

    Taipei’s Little Burma and the legacy of the KMT ‘jungle generals’

    The distinctive red and yellow paving of Huaxin Street has been uprooted since my last visit. It’s one of those head-scratchers that define local government decision-making in Taiwan. “Why would they do that?” asks my younger son. Why, indeed? The design gave the road a pedestrian-friendly feel, a refreshing contrast with the rest of New [...]

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  • How do Taiwanese Americans feel about Donald Trump now? (SCMP piece)

    How do Taiwanese Americans feel about Donald Trump now? (SCMP piece)

      The Surmaitis family’s dog has become a pawn in a genuinely civil war. “She’s Trumpy Dog,” insists Judy, the matriarch. “Mom, she’s depressed when she’s Trumpy Dog,” her daughter Alison Chan replies. “She’s a Cubs’ fan, which means she’s Obama Dog.” Why not “Hilldog”, à la South Park?   [Read the full South China Morning [...]

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  • Unlucky 13: A Ghost Month to Remember

    Unlucky 13: A Ghost Month to Remember

    “That’s where we found him,” says Mr. Hou. For the last few seconds, his concentration has been wavering as we chat, his eyes flitting back and forth from me to a spot on the kitchen floor over my shoulder. I don’t ask him what’s up – my eyes do . “I tried to save him.” [...]

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  • East Asia Forum piece: Taiwan’s friend buying days are over

    East Asia Forum piece: Taiwan’s friend buying days are over

    Forgot to post this up. It’s a pared down, edited version of my Global Asia piece. Actually, it’s really a completely different article, which is why I’m sticking it up separately. I’d like to give the editors at East Asia Forum (based out of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University) a hearty slap on [...]

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  • Eddie the Eagle Lands in Taiwan

    Eddie the Eagle Lands in Taiwan

      The celebrity that Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards achieved in the late 1980s was a very British phenomenon. Sure, he won the hearts of pretty much everyone at the Calgary Olympics in 1988, but support for plucky also-rans and bumbling no-hopers seems hardwired in the British sporting psyche, emanating from the same region that spawns [...]

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