We are now in the fifth month of the coronavirus pandemic, but Taiwan is still doing well at home while donating millions of masks and sharing its experience and research with other countries.
To help people know more about Taiwan, I’ve started a weekly newsletter called Taiwan Unraveled, which aims to unravel and unpack Taiwan in terms of politics, business, culture, tech, and sports. Check it out and sign up if you want to get a weekly list of the best articles about Taiwan.
To give you a taste, I’ve listed links to some of the best recent articles featured in the newsletter:
One of the major actions Taiwan took was to take control of facemask production and distribution. Thanks to this, Taiwan was able to ensure enough for its people as well as to donate millions to the world. But first, the authorities had to put together a team to ramp up daily facemask production in January. This article tells the fascinating story of a “national team” of engineers and technicians made this possible.
In March, I wrote about how Taiwan managed to successfully contain the coronavirus, employing a multifaceted approach that included early flight screening and travel restrictions, proactive measures including facemask production above, and the use of tech.
One of the biggest signs of how well Taiwan is functioning is that its baseball league was the first to start play in April, which has made sport-starved baseball fans in the US happy. Baseball is Taiwan’s most popular team sport and has a long history in Taiwan, having been introduced by the Japanese almost 100 years ago. The games were originally played behind closed doors, but on Friday (May 8), up to 1,000 fans were allowed into stadiums, making the Taiwan baseball league the only one now with live fans.
There are four reasons for Taiwan to look forward to the future, including a decent economy, better recognition from the world, stronger relations with the US and a growing “normalization” of Taiwan’s identity as a country.
Taiwan is becoming a haven for Hong Kong activists, as exemplified by the reopening of Causeway Bay Bookstore in Taipei by Hong Konger Lam Wing-kee. Lam was one of five booksellers who were kidnapped by Chinese agents in 2015 in Hong Kong and Thailand, secretly taken to China, and detained. Their crime? Selling books in the original Causeway Bay Bookstore about Chinese politics that were unavailable in the mainland but popular with Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s biggest southern city, widely considered the country’s second city (though population-wise it has been overtaken by Taichung). The port city is trying to develop a tech sector while building several major arts and tourism attractions along its waterfront.
Kavalan is a Taiwanese whisky brand that has quietly become one of the best in the world. The whisky is distilled in Taiwan’s northeast, where the local climate with winds blowing in from the Pacific is especially favorable.