Travel Archive

  • 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 Tao of Stephen Cheng: How a ‘Taiwanese’ folk song became a rocksteady classic

    The Tao of Stephen Cheng: How a ‘Taiwanese’ folk song became a rocksteady classic

      First recorded in 1949, shortly after the Nationalist (KMT) government took power in Taiwan, Alishan Maiden (阿里山的姑娘 ) is among the best-known of Chinese songs. It’s a lyrically simple ode to a beautiful indigenous girl and her strapping beau, presumably members of the Tsou people, the traditional inhabitants of Alishan. However, this is never […]

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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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  • Bursting the bubble: a taste of Taiwan in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

    Bursting the bubble: a taste of Taiwan in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

    The following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times. When Jorge Cheng (陳賢文) set up shop in Barcelona in 2013, he had no idea he was riding a Taiwanese wave. “There were already eight drinks shops, which we didn’t know initially,” says Cheng, owner of Zenzoo, a Taiwan-style bubble tea drinks store just off Las Ramblas, […]

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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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  • The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    Though the blooms will be around for some time yet, this weekend is the official end of the Calla Lily festival up in the Zhuzihu (竹子湖) area of Yangmingshan (陽明山). Although I’ve lived in Beitou District (北投區) for over a decade and ridden and hiked around Yangmingshan countless times, there are still quite a few […]

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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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