Tag Archives: Taiwan

Kitaab TV: Veteran Singaporean journalist on the failures and successes of global leadership in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic

Today is a sad day in Singapore: two deaths have been reported here due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In this inaugural episode of Straight Talk with P. N. Balji, the veteran Singaporean journalist and commentator analyses the global response to the Covid-19 crisis (coronavirus) and how Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong have emerged as examples for other nations to follow to battle the pandemic.

What Does a Techie Turned Writer Say in His Sci-fi Stories?


Ted Chiang is an American born Chinese writer , a technical writer in a software company, who has never written a novel, meandered through short stories and novellas and yet won multiple awards for his works. His telling centres around science fiction. 

Chiang’s parents migrated from China to Taiwan with their families during the Communist revolution and then to America.

His 1998 novella, Story of my Life, was made into a Hollywood film, Arrival,  in 2002 . Both the review and the movie were given a “10 out of 10” in the Kirkus Review. It’s major themes being language and determinism, the story is spun out by a linguist called Dr Loius Banks who has an unborn child in her womb and faces aliens. The novella has won numerous awards and accolades. Read more

Essay: Mapping the Culture and History of Taiwan

by Dan Bloom


Taiwan sits on a piece of colourful and multi-splendoured island real estate, south of Japan and east of Hong Kong and China. As an independent, sovereign nation since 1945, it has produced its share of Asian literature since the beginning of the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945) to the present. In this brief essay, I want to introduce two Taiwanese writers; one a novelist with an international reputation, Wu Ming-yi, who writes in Chinese, and the other a short story writer based in Taipei, Jane Wu, who writes in English and has recently published a collection of nine stories about the martial law period of Taiwan history (1949 to 1987).

Nature writer and university professor Wu Ming-yi  (吳明益) wrote a popular novel titled The Man with the Compound Eyes in 2011, with translations in English and French following in 2013 and 2014. Largely ignored at first for the novel that was published in Chinese, Wu’s eco-fantasy later  attracted attention overseas in translated editions, thanks for the eagle eye and savvy marketing skills of Taipei-based literary agent Gray Tan, who took Wu under his wing and introduced the novel to agents and publishers in Europe and America. Read more

Essay: Climate Change Fiction Catapults to life as ‘Cli-fi’

by Dan Bloom( Dan Bloom coined the term cli-fi )


Foyles bookshop in London has jumped on the cli-fi trend, creating a climate fact and fiction display table.


Based as a newspaper reporter and climate blogger in Taiwan, since 2011 I’ve been promoting the rising ‘cli-fi’ movement to boost the literary fortunes of  ‘climate change fiction’, a new genre of literature now accompanying ‘sci-fi’ within modern literature’s classification system. I’m not a novelist or a short story writer myself, just a reader and what I described as ‘a climate activist of the literary kind’. I use my PR skills learned over a lifetime of newspaper and magazine work in North America, Europe, Japan and Taiwan to communicate my cli-fi passion with editors, novelists, literary critics and fellow readers.

I’m not the only one doing this now. There’s a veritable army of PR people and literary critics shepherding cli-fi novels and short story anthologies into publication in over a dozen languages. What started out as a small movement in the anglophone world in 2011, has now become a global phenomenon among literary people in India, Singapore, Sweden, France and Australia. among other nations.

So what is cli-fi? As a subgenre of science fiction, it crosses the boundary between literary fiction and sci-fi to imagine the past, present, and future effects of man-made climate change, allowing readers to see what life might be like on a burning, drowning, dying planet. But the genre also encompasses writers who pen utopian novels and short stories full of hope and optimism. Cli-fi is not all dystopian and nightmarish visions of the future. There’s a lot of room for hope and better days, too. Read more

Taiwan: Ratio of classical Chinese guidelines to be decided

The ratio of classical Chinese-language articles included in the senior-high school curricula guidelines are to be decided by a Ministry of Education committee today.

The Association for Taiwan Literature on Thursday said that the ratio of classical Chinese lessons should be reduced to 30 percent and the number of classical Chinese articles reduced to 10 or 15.

Read More

Book Review: Why Taiwan Matters by Shelley Rigger

By Bradley Winterton


When US president-elect Donald Trump accepted a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), one of the Taiwan experts the New York Times contacted for comment was Shelley Rigger, a professor of East Asian politics at Davidson College in North Carolina. The author of several books on Taiwan, she received particular praise for her overview of Taiwanese history, politics and culture in Why Taiwan Matters. Now that this little classic has been re-issued in an updated edition, it’s time to assess just why it remains rather special to some people.

I have some criticisms with regard to omissions, but by and large I found this book a pleasure to read. It’s crammed with information, pleasantly informal, judicious and notably even-handed. A book with such a wide remit is likely to fall short here and there, but on the whole I found Rigger’s account credible and astute, and hence recommendable to anyone looking for a concise and reliable account of this island’s very remarkable story. Read more

Source: Taipei Times


Book Review: Slow Boat to China and Other Stories by Ng Kim Chew


Unlike his Malaysian-Chinese compatriots, Tash Aw and Tan Twan Eng who have become well-known for novels which fit pretty squarely into the English-language, Ng Kim Chew writes in Chinese from a base in Taiwan. Slow Boat to China is a collection of his short stories, the first book of his—as far as I can tell—to appear in English.

That the book was published by Columbia University Press is an indication of the academic uses to which the volume can be put. Malaysian-Chinese literature even has its own name: mahua literature, whose origins go back the better part of a century.

Several of Ng’s stories takes place within this literary community and which in a somewhat self-referential way are about a writer writing about writing and writers. The opening story, “The Disappearance of M”, tells of the search for the anonymous author of a critically-acclaimed avant-garde novel written in Chinese plus English, Malay, Sanskrit and other languages. Ng pokes fun at the affectations of the literary class, their conferences, papers and pretensions: Read more

Rakuten rolls out Taiwanese e-book service

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has partnered with 12 major Taiwanese publishers to distribute Chinese-language e-books, aiming to tap demand among the global Chinese population as well as draw more Taiwanese users into its broader service network.

Rakuten’s Kobo service offers e-books in local languages in 20 markets. Taiwan is the first Asian market to join the list. The e-books will be available on Rakuten’s global store, making them accessible to users in some 190 markets.Read more

Indonesian wins Taiwan migrant literature award

A caregiver from Indonesia won the 2015 Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants Aug. 1, earning a cash prize of NT$100,000 (US$3,159) for her vivid portrayal of immigrant workers in Taiwan.

“Potret di Balik Bingkai Kasa Formosa,” or “Images Beyond the Frame of Formosa,” by Dwiita Vita earned the jury’s favor for its rich tapestry comprising the trials and tribulations of workers from Southeast Asia. Read more

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