Politics and polemic Archive

  • Taiwan and Ukraine: parallels, divergences and potential lessons

    Taiwan and Ukraine: parallels, divergences and potential lessons

    The following piece appeared in the June issue of Global Asia. In the preface to her 2004 work Visible Ghosts, Li Ang explains how the spectral dreamscape that her characters inhabit symbolizes Taiwan. “Such a ghost island is borderless and not a country, and its voices are outside the center of the grand national body and […]

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  • When the KMT called the shots in the Philippines (review of ‘Diasporic Cold Warriors’ for Taipei Times) Warriors )

    When the KMT called the shots in the Philippines (review of ‘Diasporic Cold Warriors’ for Taipei Times) Warriors )

    The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times.  In 1950, the overseas Chinese community of the Philippines numbered 230,000 — just over 1 percent of the country’s population. This made it among the smallest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. In comparison, Thailand had more than 3 million Chinese residents that same year. Yet, […]

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  • Why Taiwan can’t copy Ukraine’s civil defense blueprint

    Why Taiwan can’t copy Ukraine’s civil defense blueprint

    The following article went live on The Diplomat website today.  Ukraine’s successful deployment of Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) has brought renewed focus to the possibility of creating a similar military reserve in Taiwan. Yet, much of this discussion has ignored the constitutionality of such a move. A March 15 commentary in War on the Rocks […]

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  • Toward a healthier information environment in Taiwan

    Toward a healthier information environment in Taiwan

    The following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times: What lessons can Taiwan learn from the disinformation campaigns that have surrounded the war in Ukraine? At an Amnesty International Taiwan event in Taipei on Wednesday night, four speakers offered compelling insights into this and related questions. One of the main takeaways was the observation that disinformation […]

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  • Hijacked history (review of ‘The Hijacked War’ for Taipei Times)

    Hijacked history (review of ‘The Hijacked War’ for Taipei Times)

    The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times: Outside historical circles, the name Li Da-an (李大安) will be familiar to few Taiwanese. However, there was a time where this lowly soldier was feted as a national hero in Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) propaganda. As one of 155,000 inmates in the UN’s POW camp on […]

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  • The complex tale of Taiwanese identity (Global Asia review of ‘Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan’)

    The complex tale of Taiwanese identity (Global Asia review of ‘Politics and Cultural Nativism in 1970s Taiwan’)

    The following book review appeared in the June issue of Global Asia: References to Taiwan as the first Chinese democracy have justifiably drawn flak in recent years. With almost 90 percent of Taiwan’s population now identifying as Taiwanese and less than 5 percent as Chinese,​ the description is no longer seen as appropriate. For many, it […]

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  • Amidst Ukraine’s broad steppes: three views from a warzone

    Amidst Ukraine’s broad steppes: three views from a warzone

    The following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times: It wasn’t until 7am that Masha Gorenkova realized something serious was up. The first explosion had woken her at 4:30am, and several more had occurred in the interim; but like most of the neighbors in her Kyiv apartment block, she hadn’t twigged. Given the tone of inevitability […]

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  • Tears, disbelief, and solidarity as Taiwan’s Ukrainians speak out

    Tears, disbelief, and solidarity as Taiwan’s Ukrainians speak out

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times:  Solidarity and steadfastness. These qualities were evident among Ukrainians long before missiles began pulverizing their cities early Thursday morning. They were on display again on Friday and Saturday in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義), where hundreds of people gathered outside the building housing the Russian representative office. Ukrainians […]

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  • Ritual humiliation (review of ‘Chiang Kai-shek’s Politics of Shame’ for Taipei Times)

    Ritual humiliation (review of ‘Chiang Kai-shek’s Politics of Shame’ for Taipei Times)

    The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times:  Few historical revisionists can have been as audacious as Grace C. Huang in comparing Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) to Mahatma Gandhi. Yet, not only does Huang attempt the parallel, she makes rather a good case for it. Previous studies of leadership, Huang writes, have “tended to portray […]

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  • Hand in glove: Taiwan-born movie star branches out to chart his own course

    Hand in glove: Taiwan-born movie star branches out to chart his own course

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times: Ignacio Huang (黃勝煌) is a puppet master. But unlike Argentina’s political operators, he doesn’t pull strings. “It’s glove puppetry,” says Huang of budaixi (布袋戲, traditional Taiwanese puppetry), which in recent years has replaced the big screen as his bread and butter. Ahead of legislative elections in Argentina […]

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