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Time Traveler

In Time Traveler, John Van Trieste takes you back into history. Get to know the events that have a profound impact on Taiwan, and get to know the people and places that made it all happen. So what're you waiting for? Get on the RTI time machine!

What's On

19 March, 2021
The Memoirs of a Secret Listener

On the evening of March 31, 1980 at around 8:00pm, Wang Huimin is in a downtown Taipei office. A radio is on in the background, playing a news bulletin. She writes everything down, which may seem like a strange thing to do. But this wasn’t everyday news. The broadcast, aimed at Taiwan, was coming from communist China.  Ms. Wang was part of a secret government project to listen in to these broadcasts. It sounds like the beginning of a pulpy spy novel. But this week, Ms. Wang will be using her job as a launch pad for something different: a personal recollection of the late years of martial law in Taiwan.

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12 March, 2021
The secrets of Taiwan's old tiger flag

In the National Taiwan Museum, a replica of a battered old flag sits behind a glass panel. The right half is missing, but the form of a Chinese tiger staring defiantly upward still dominates the banner. At first, it seems a bit strange that this should be one of the museum’s great treasures- the tiger flag only flew over Taiwan for a few days in 1895. But it represents powerful ideas- resistance to invasion and the courage to carry on after the world shows that it has forgotten. And the question of whether the original flag survives is one of the ghosts of this period that hasn’t completely left us. Join us this week as museum researcher Li Zining guides us back to one of the most widely forgotten episodes in Taiwan's history.

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05 March, 2021
The Fall of Dutch Formosa (Part Two)

We return this week to a sheltered bay in southern Taiwan. A massive army has been camped there for months. They have come to take possession of the island in the name of a man known to foreign writers of the age as Koxinga. Before he can take the place, though, he will have to finish off a determined rival. After several months, Governor Frederick Coyett is still holed up with the remains of a Dutch colony that has ruled the area for decades. They shelter in a fort called Castle Zeelandia. He is woefully outnumbered. He’s also plagued by incompetent bosses and treacherous subordinates. But he won’t surrender. Today, we’ll be continuing to explore the fall of Dutch Formosa and the minds of the two men behind it.

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26 February, 2021
The Fall of Dutch Formosa (Part One)

For much of the 17th Century, southern Taiwan was under Dutch rule. From its nerve-center in Batavia, today’s Jakarta, the Dutch East India Company ensured that its flag stayed planted on Taiwanese soil. It was a time rich with colorful characters- pirates, merchants, missionaries, and peasant rebels. It’s all perfect for drama as Llyn Scott know. She helped write and direct the radio drama series Tales of Dutch Formosa, a grand tour of the period based on historical records. Today, she’ll be telling us about the most dramatic episode in the whole series- the final one, when everything falls apart.

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