Taiwan 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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  • 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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  • Colonialism can never be justified

    Colonialism can never be justified

    Below is my piece from today’s News Lens ( 23 March, 2017): As European colonial and imperial exploits reached their apogee in the late 19th century, moral philosophers such a John Stuart Mill were faced with a quandary: how to justify the colonial project? In fact, it doesn’t seem to have been too much of […]

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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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  • Odd couple: Fuxing’s flak towers provide blast from Taiwan’s past

    Odd couple: Fuxing’s flak towers provide blast from Taiwan’s past

    Among the paddy fields of Fanpo Village (番婆村) in Fuxing Township (福興鄉), Changhua County (彰化縣), lurks a strange building. At first glance, it’s hard to know exactly what this bell-shaped concrete tower could be. Given its location, those who happen upon it might take it for an old granary or storehouse. A corrugated iron hut […]

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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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