2020 / 2月
Ivan Chen /tr. by Phil Newell
The Taiwan Panorama book Taiwan in the Mind’s Eye, published in January 2020, offers fascinating insights into Taiwan’s geography, culture, environment and industry through collected bilingual articles on a kaleidoscope of topics, accompanied by stunning photographs.
The book’s publication reflects the hard work of the people of this island, and draws the world’s attention to Taiwan. As well-known author Cyril Chu writes in a preface, on reading about the 400-plus-kilometer Raknus Selu Trail, “I felt a sense of passion…. As I looked at one beautiful photo after another, I longed to walk this lovely trail, which links together historic walking paths, agricultural roads, and hiking trails.”
In another preface, Turkish-born entertainer and writer Uğur Rıfat Karlova notes, “When foreigners think of Taiwan, they usually think of high-tech or bicycles. But those who, like me, have spent a lot of time in Taiwan, viewed the scenery and experienced the warmth of the local people, as well as attended all kinds of folk culture activities, have realized that Taiwan is genuinely special.” This is precisely the goal toward which Taiwan Panorama has persistently been working for over 40 years.
Taiwan has always been in step with the world, from the use of recycled materials to the practice of the circular economy, from the rise of the Taiwan AI Academy to the practice of digital diplomacy. And we also have the creativity and inspiration derived from contacts with other cultures through the National Culture and Arts Foundation’s Overseas Art Travel Program for young artists. Our people’s capacity for innovation has been a motive force in keeping Taiwan moving forward.
This month’s issue also includes a story about a fruit that grows only in Taiwan: the jelly-fig. In the wild, jelly-fig vines climb up tall trees in the mountains, and the higher they climb, the more fruit they produce. But this height makes harvesting the fruit a risky affair. We discover how Taiwanese agricultural experts have developed high-yielding jelly-fig varieties that grow in the lowlands and are easy to harvest. Moreover, through biotechnology, the jelly-fig can be transformed into skin-lightening masks or essential oil, thus raising the value-added of local agricultural produce.
We also visit Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township, where Yang San’er is pursuing his dream of building his own environmentally sustainable home. And we learn how public broadcaster Hakka TV is breaking the mold of Hakka drama series to bring a refreshing new sensation into a media landscape dominated by programming in Mandarin. Our articles showcase this nation’s vibrancy, opening windows on Taiwan to the world.