Taiwan Archive

  • 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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  • Time for Taiwan to make the personal touch count in its foreign aid

    Time for Taiwan to make the personal touch count in its foreign aid

    The following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times: (NB: The original headline was not mine and is quite misleading. I’ve reverted to my original here. The text is exactly as it appeared in the paper.) Few publications have documented Taiwan’s official development assistance (ODA) efforts in such a personal way as the booklet Greening the […]

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  • End of the Road: Will Taiwan Pick Up Britain’s Tab in Guatemala?

    End of the Road: Will Taiwan Pick Up Britain’s Tab in Guatemala?

    “Officially, the British are unpopular in Guatemala,” wrote Nicholas Wollaston, while traveling in the Central American country in 1961. “For Britain occupies the whole of Belice Province by force, and calls it British Honduras. There are three empty seats in the Guatemala assembly with blue and white ribbons and marked ‘Belice’ [sic], and every map […]

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  • Small Town Taiwan to Big Screen Hollywood: Xiluo Theater and the Lin Family Odyssey

    Small Town Taiwan to Big Screen Hollywood: Xiluo Theater and the Lin Family Odyssey

    The following piece appeared in today’s News Lens:  By Taiwanese standards, the small town of Xiluo (西螺) in Yunlin County (雲林縣) is brimful of attractions. Bestriding the Zhuoshui River (濁水溪), Taiwan’s longest waterway, there’s the Xiluo Bridge, which was second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in length when completed in 1953. Then there’s the […]

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  • Huang’s uneasy time in the spotlight

    Huang’s uneasy time in the spotlight

    My op-ed from Taipei Times, Sunday 26 November:  Foreign policy was always going to be tricky for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration. It was one of the few areas that her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), could hail as a success when he left power on single-digit approval ratings. Granted, Ma’s can be regarded as something […]

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  • Playing with Fire: Taiwan and India’s Long Courtship

    Playing with Fire: Taiwan and India’s Long Courtship

    The following piece appeared in the Fall 2017 (Vol.12, No.3) issue of Global Asia: The visit to India by a group of Taiwanese parliamentarians in February drew predictable guard-dog growls from Beijing. Any country foolhardy enough to flout the sacrosanct one-China policy can expect a swift rebuke. But, for a powerful neighbor and competitor with […]

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  • 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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