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  • Frontier Toughs and Pettifoggers: Robbery and Recrimination in Late-19th Century Hsinchu and Miaoli (Part I)

    Frontier Toughs and Pettifoggers: Robbery and Recrimination in Late-19th Century Hsinchu and Miaoli (Part I)

    I borrowed from Law and Local Society in Late Imperial China: Northern Taiwan in the Nineteenth Century by Mark A. Allee a couple of posts back. At the time I was in the process of ordering the book and had taken the info. on Sanwan (灣三) from Google Books. Said volume is now in my grubby [...]

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  • Cutifying Dictators? Only in Taiwan. Maybe.

    Cutifying Dictators? Only in Taiwan. Maybe.

    Pretty much any long-term ex-pat in pretty much any country must have heard or uttered the smug cliché “Only in (insert country name),” when looking condescendingly on some absurdity of life in their adopted home. It’s usually accompanied with a wistful shake of the head and, implicit cultural arrogance notwithstanding, is usually tinged with something [...]

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  • Forget the pears. Sanwan (三灣) is all about the beef noodles

    Forget the pears. Sanwan (三灣) is all about the beef noodles

    Anytime I take a break from a spot of frenetic one-handed Internet surfing these days, to see what’s afoot on the Taiwan blogosphere it seems I come across some bozo muscling in on my territory. If it’s not old Turton gliding through the serenity of Liyutan and holding forth on the wind-turbine protests at Yuanli, [...]

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  • Simply not tennis

    Simply not tennis

    Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) and Peng Shuai (彭帥) victory in the Ladies Doubles at Wimbledon had a real feelgood factor about it. Whatever my feelings on cross-strait relations, I found it heartwarming to see their delight at taking home the title at SW19 with a convincing win over Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua. (For some [...]

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  • The Philippines debacle and knee-jerk xenophobia

    The Philippines debacle and knee-jerk xenophobia

    And it rages on … I’ve alluded to it before, as recently as my previous post in fact, but  it really is a grotesque sight, the sepsis that inflames the body politic here in Taiwan anytime an opportunity to vent against The Other arises. Geese could waddle around blissfully for the most part with not a [...]

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  • Freeze Filipino worker applications? Why not just send ‘em all back? See how that works out.

    Freeze Filipino worker applications? Why not just send ‘em all back? See how that works out.

    I’ve not waded in on this kind of thing for some time as there are a load of people doing it bigger and better than I am able, but the scenes I saw all over today’s papers and news channels of people (including legislators) burning the flag of the Philippines were embarrassingly adolescent but all [...]

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  • Trinity Indian Stores

    Trinity Indian Stores

    Perhaps not from the very minute I started this blog,  but fairly early on,I realised that, with a fair number of  blogs relating to Taiwan already out there, I wanted it to be a little different. I don’t mean stylistically, though that too, but in the actual content I would present. Generally I try not [...]

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  • Taiwan Land Reform Museum

    Taiwan Land Reform Museum

    As the protests over wind turbines in the towns of Yuanli (苑裡) and Tongxiao (通霄) descended into heavy-handed policing this week , I was reminded of the last high-profile land issue in my old manor of Miaoli County (苗栗縣), namely the expropriation cases in Zhunan (竹南) back in 2010. These compulsory purchases (a term which, [...]

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  • Of Mountains and Molehills

    Of Mountains and Molehills

    In 1336 Petrarch hiked up Mount Ventoux, near Avignon. Supposedly, no one before him had made such a trip just to see the view. Once on top, Petrarch opened a copy of St. Augustine’s  Confessions (obviously a different kind of climbing gear was carried in the trecento) and happened on the passage where Augustine rails against [...]

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  • Of Migration

    Of Migration

    Peter Whittle’s comprehensive walloping of the unfunny joke that is Section 9 of Taiwan’s Nationality Act assails every inch of its target with heavy, precision blows. Two years ago, Whittle submitted a suggestion on reform of the blatantly discriminatory provision that requires foreign passport holders to renounce (at least one of 1) their other nationalities. Back then, [...]

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