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  • East Asia Forum piece: Taiwan’s friend buying days are over

    East Asia Forum piece: Taiwan’s friend buying days are over

    Forgot to post this up. It’s a pared down, edited version of my Global Asia piece. Actually, it’s really a completely different article, which is why I’m sticking it up separately. I’d like to give the editors at East Asia Forum (based out of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University) a hearty slap on [...]

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  • God of Carnage: timely and provocative theatre at The Lab Space

    God of Carnage: timely and provocative theatre at The Lab Space

      The announcement of an 18-year sentence for Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba two weeks ago for complicity in mass rape in the Central African Republic hung thick in the air as I took in Butterfly Effect’s production of Yazmin Reza’s God of Carnage at the The Lab Space in Beitou last weekend. Even for those [...]

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  • Global Asia Feature: Looking Back, Moving Forward: Foreign Policy Challenges for Taiwan’s New Leader

    Global Asia Feature: Looking Back, Moving Forward: Foreign Policy Challenges for Taiwan’s New Leader

    My piece in the summer issue of Global Asia. (The line calling Chiang Kai-shek the “KMT founder” is not mine. It stayed in despite me changing it after the piece was returned to me for a final proof).   Taiwan’s newly inaugurated president, Tsai Ing-wen, faces a conundrum when it comes to foreign policy. If she [...]

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  • Of Hills and Swill

    Of Hills and Swill

      Last year I was the distinctly Un-Grand Old Baron of Beitou – just under halfway up the hill to Yangmingshan but feeling over halfway down the path of life. I was confined to a solitary-confinement-sized box on that hill, reeling from a broken marriage and drinking myself silly. A year later I’m in Danshui, [...]

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  • Eddie the Eagle Lands in Taiwan

    Eddie the Eagle Lands in Taiwan

      The celebrity that Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards achieved in the late 1980s was a very British phenomenon. Sure, he won the hearts of pretty much everyone at the Calgary Olympics in 1988, but support for plucky also-rans and bumbling no-hopers seems hardwired in the British sporting psyche, emanating from the same region that spawns [...]

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  • Taipei’s Vicious Cycle: Snatching Space from Pedestrians is Not the Answer

    Taipei’s Vicious Cycle: Snatching Space from Pedestrians is Not the Answer

    Below is the original version of my editorial/whinge from today’s Taipei Times:   Years ago I was tinkled by a cyclist on the sidewalk outside the student dorms at Shida. In response, I engaged in my version of what soccer goalies call “making yourself big” – deliberately positioning my body to obstruct passage. Why? Well, [...]

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  • George H. Kerr Exhibition at City Hall

    George H. Kerr Exhibition at City Hall

    My last post featured a man I ran into at the 228 commemoration event in Taipei a few weeks back. In this dipstick’s revisionist version of events, Taiwanese thugs started the whole thing by targetting Mainland Chinese. His placard branded these alleged miscreants rapists and murderers. It’s easy enough to counter such ludicrous claims, but [...]

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  • Of Taiwanese Tolerance

    Of Taiwanese Tolerance

    One of the things that makes Taiwan a great country to live and raise a family in is the remarkable tolerance that is shown toward diverging opinions, particularly in the face of provocation. I’m speaking of all aspects of society here, though what I really is have in mind is politics. As I wrote that [...]

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  • Swollen Like a Shady Magistrate: Chowing Down Burmese Style

    Swollen Like a Shady Magistrate: Chowing Down Burmese Style

    U Po Kyin, the diabolical antagonist of George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days is described as a man “so fat that for years he had not risen from his chair without help”. Frequently beset by pangs of hunger, he gorges on “a huge bowl of rice and a dozen plates containing curries, dried prawns and sliced [...]

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  • Rebel yell: Curriculum protesters shouldn’t drown out other voices

    Rebel yell: Curriculum protesters shouldn’t drown out other voices

    When Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) burned himself to death at the office of his outlawed Freedom Era Weekly in 1989, he became an instant martyr for the democratic cause. Not for the first time, the police had come to arrest him and shut down his operation. Even with the martial law period in its death throes, [...]

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