Taiwan Archive

  • Of pigs and prudery

    Of pigs and prudery

    Anyone who has lived in Taiwan long enough, or for that matter any place where they stand out in terms of appearance or culture, will probably have experienced Othering. In Taiwan, it’s rarely of the nasty, aggressive kind nor, necessarily, even of the intentionally discriminatory type– though, as I’ve made clear elsewhere, that obviously exists, […]

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  • The master of small things

    The master of small things

    The following feature appeared in today’s Taipei Times: But for a banana, I wouldn’t have met Chuang Hsin-li (莊新利). En route to the mountains of Yunlin County, I stop for sustenance at a fruit truck in Gukeng Township (古坑). It’s the second day of Lunar New Year; the vehicle is sparsely stocked: sprigs of lycees […]

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  • My animals and other family

    My animals and other family

    It sounds like a case of spectacularly misplaced priorities now, but the first thing I thought of when my then-wife and I agreed it was best for me to move out was my guinea pigs. It was early August 2014, and I’d just returned from six weeks in Latin America with my elder son. At […]

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  • Anger with focus

    Anger with focus

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times:  In language that belies her cherubic appearance, Julia Mariano calls for “revolutionary rage.” She is speaking at Taipei’s Vinyl Decision bar, alongside a portrait of Bob Dylan. This is the language of protest, for sure, but rather than channeling voices from a bygone era, Mariano is demanding […]

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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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  • 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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  • 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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