Politics and polemic Archive

  • 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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  • Mask claims fly in face of science

    Mask claims fly in face of science

    The following op-ed appeared in today’s Taipei Times. In June 1918, as it became evident that a deadly strain of influenza was spreading through military cantonments in the US, a group of the nation’s premier medical scientists visited Camp Grant to conduct an inspection. Constructed just the year before, this huge army training center was […]

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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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  • The mystic and the dictator: the National Palace Museum’s debt to Russian painter Nicholas Roerich

    The mystic and the dictator: the National Palace Museum’s debt to Russian painter Nicholas Roerich

    An edited version of the following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times. Aside from some low-key events in Europe and Latin America, yesterday’s Universal Day of Culture passed in the same way as previous installments: unremarked. Despite the lack of fanfare, the mind behind this occasion played a role in protecting of some of the […]

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  • Jammeh revelations are a reminder about need for transparency in Taiwan’s aid

    Jammeh revelations are a reminder about need for transparency in Taiwan’s aid

    The following op-ed appeared in today’s Taipei Times. Months after assuming the presidency of the Gambia in 1996, Yahya Jammeh made a bold foreign policy maneuver, cutting ties with China in favor of Taiwan. No observer of Taiwan’s diplomacy under then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) would have been laboring under any misapprehension as to the motives […]

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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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  • China’s new ‘softy power’ could spell trouble for Taiwan

    China’s new ‘softy power’ could spell trouble for Taiwan

    A series of ridiculous incidents picked out by Taipei-based Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson highlight a disturbing trend that has emerged over the last few weeks. With a couple of Hong Kong security guards becoming the latest to put Neymar to shame with their theatrics, Olsson observed on Facebook that falling to the ground and/or (literally) […]

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  • The cog that slipped: Chiang Ching-kuo’s Russian odyssey

    The cog that slipped: Chiang Ching-kuo’s Russian odyssey

    This is the original text of a piece that The Diplomat ran as the lead article in the October issue of their magazine. Although the editor was nice enough to give me this slot as it gave me more space, I still had to hack away mercilessly to the get things down to just under […]

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