People Archive

  • Business as usual for Chinese Panamanians despite Taiwan rupture

    Business as usual for Chinese Panamanians despite Taiwan rupture

    The following article appeared in today’s News Lens: When Taiwan’s former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended the inauguration of his Panamanian counterpart Juan Carlos Varela in July 2014, cross-Strait relations had never been better. “Ma invited everyone in the Chinese community,” Juan Tam (譚堅) told me on my visit to the isthmus just two weeks […]

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  • Our man in Panama

    Our man in Panama

    Below is the original version of my op-ed in today’s Taipei Times. I had a feeling they’d chop the paragraph about the corruption during the Chen years, and what do you know? They also made a complete pig’s ear of the headline.   As General Manuel Noriega’s fortunes fluctuated with the whims of the U.S. […]

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  • Sticky issue: Taipei’s solvent abuse problem not to be sniffed at

    Sticky issue: Taipei’s solvent abuse problem not to be sniffed at

      The following is the original of an article that appeared in the News Lens. If there’s a more accomplished flâneur in Taipei than my old pal Bede, I have yet to meet the person. Anchoring his perambulations around convenience-store pit stops, he literally stumbles upon scenes and characters that most Taipei natives would scarcely […]

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  • In the shade: Exploring Taipei’s ‘Little Indonesia’

    In the shade: Exploring Taipei’s ‘Little Indonesia’

    From  the News Lens, 11/05/2017: Aside from their banality, clichés such as “hidden gem” and “best-kept secret,” are nonsensical descriptors. Unless you’re the sole customer on opening day, someone knows about that restaurant. In Taipei where almost every dank back-alley eatery has been blogged, there are no secrets. But there still are places that get […]

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  • From Caracas to Taipei: The strange world of Ignacio Huang

    From Caracas to Taipei: The strange world of Ignacio Huang

    With Venezuela in the midst of economic and social meltdown, “El Peor Hombre de Mundo (The Worst Man in the World)” might seem about as far removed from the average Caraquenian experience as imaginable. Released at the end of 2016, this corny comedy depicts the travails of a serial philanderer on a trail of redemption. […]

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  • 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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