People Archive

  • Not quite Chinese (Taipei Times review of Russia’s Chinese Princess)

    Not quite Chinese (Taipei Times review of Russia’s Chinese Princess)

    The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times: “Though Chiang was born in Siberia, she displayed the virtues of a traditional Chinese woman,” said then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) following the death of Chiang Fang-liang (蔣方良) in 2004. “She was a good mother and a good wife who always put her family first.” Leaving aside […]

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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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  • Despite Covid-19 success, Taiwan still struggles for international legitimacy

    Despite Covid-19 success, Taiwan still struggles for international legitimacy

    The following article appeared in the June 2020 issue of Global Asia: Two recurring themes in Western media analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic have been the inherent untrustworthiness of China and the near unparalleled success of Taiwan in tackling the disease. Strangely, few commentators have expressly connected these strands. The West, we are repeatedly told, […]

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  • Mature response to WHO required

    Mature response to WHO required

    The following op-ed appeared in today’s Taipei Times: It is hardly surprising that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on the defensive. He is taking hits from all angles — the most recent and high-profile example is a broadside from US President Donald Trump, who attacked Tedros’ organization for moving too slowly and being “China-centric.” […]

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  • Shadows at Yangmingshan

    Shadows at Yangmingshan

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times: On the 45th anniversary of his death, Chiang Kai-shek’s footprints can be found all over Taipei’s national park Nowhere are the effects of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) postwar Sinification campaign more visible than in the toponymic revisions that the regime undertook after assuming power. Taipei’s streets […]

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  • James Soong: The end of an (authoritarian) era in Taiwan

    James Soong: The end of an (authoritarian) era in Taiwan

    The following piece appeared in The Diplomat today: Amid the coverage of Tsai Ing-wen’s resounding victory and re-election as president of Taiwan last week, scant attention was given to political veteran James Soong’s showing. The former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweight finished a distant third place with just 4.25 of the vote. This represented a […]

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  • LGBT activists cautious ahead of elections

    LGBT activists cautious ahead of elections

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times If anything has been predictable about Kaohsiung Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) election campaign, it has been its unpredictability. From urging supporters to “confuse” polling organizations by pretending to back his opponent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to proposing daily flag-raising ceremonies […]

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  • Letting Off Steam (DestinAsian Magazine)

    Letting Off Steam (DestinAsian Magazine)

    The following feature on Beitou District, my home for most of the past 13 years, appeared in the October issue of DestinAsian magazine. It’s not available online, so I’ve embedded the pdf.

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  • A little bird in the hand

    A little bird in the hand

    Folk taxonomy in Taiwan is marked by genericism. Rodents of all shapes and sizes are mice; the most diminutive of raptors ascends to the rank of eagle; and, bound by their spots, leopards are branded cheetahs (“hunting leopards”). One such catch-all that has perennially confused me is xiao niao – literally ‘little bird’. In my […]

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