English Service host John Van Trieste is curious. There’s nothing about Taiwan’s many cultures that he doesn’t want to know more about. Join him every week as he gets to the bottom of yet another question. What will he be curious about this time?
Taiwan has (so far) been lucky. As public spaces across the world close due to fears about the novel coronavirus, Taiwan remains (mostly) open for business. I'm adding a lot of parentheses here, because some places have shut down and pretty much all big public events are on hold. Still, you don't have to look far to find plenty of public institutions that are open as usual. Book lovers will be pleased to know that among these places is Taiwan's National Central Library, a cavernous but comfy place in downtown Taipei. Granted, the building is big, but so too is the number of people who come to visit each day. So how is it that a place where so many come together is still open? And what measures are in place to keep staff and patrons safe? The library's director, Ms. Lee, joins us on the line this week with a look at how, even in a crisis like this, it continues to serve the reading public.
When the Mortuary Services Office of Taichung set up a new website a little over a year ago, they didn’t expect it would attract quite as much attention as it has. Their goal was simple—to give the friends and families of those laid to rest within the city limits a way to remember theirloved ones virtually when they can’t come to visit in person. Butt then came coronavirus and social distancing. Now, just ahead of a major holiday honoring the dead, some are looking to pay their respects to those who have passed without having to congregate at gravesites. So how exactly does this online memorial work? And might it catch on?
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has driven demand for surgical masks sky-high across the globe. In Taiwan, as in other parts of the world, supplies are still short. But while in some countries the idea of wearing a mask in public is something radically novel, in Taiwan, it’s completely unremarkable. Here, people have been wearing masks since well before the outbreak began- a whole century before, to be exact. With masks on everyone’s mind, the National Museum of Taiwan History has put together a mini-exhibit on its Facebook page that shows how masks have evolved and how Taiwan's society has changed over the past 100 years. The museum's Su Feng-nan joins us for a history of Taiwan in masks.
In the 1980’s, there was a thriving piece of Taiwan in the heart of Buenos Aires. This was the Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, a part of the city where several waves of immigrants from Taiwan came together, opening shops and businesses and sending their children to Chinese-language schools on the weekends. This neighborhood is the subject of the 2016 documentary “Arribeños” by Argentine filmmaker Marcos Rodríguez, and while it’s not a film the members of RTI’s Spanish Service team have seen, it’s one that they almost don’t have too. Four of our Spanish language hosts here at RTI grew up in or around the neighborhood. One of them, Spanish Service Head Andrea Wang, was there at the neighborhood's height. Last week, she introduced the story of Taiwanese immigration to Argentina. Today, she is back with a look at why many Taiwanese people later chose to move, but why a piece of Argentina will always be in their hearts.