Cradles of Innovation

Taiwan-Singapore Interactions

2019 / June

Ivan Chen /tr. by Phil Newell

After a four-and-a-half hour flight of more  than 3000 kilometers, Taiwan Pan­orama’s reportorial team landed at Singa­pore’s ­Changi Airport. In this country of some 4 million citizens, 75% of the population is of Chinese ancestry, while 13% are of Malay and 9% of Indian descent; there are also 1.64 million non-citizens from all over the world.

In this highly international city we explored Singapore’s bilingual education policy, the US$26 billion in annual Taiwan-Singapore trade, and the close and frequent interactions between the two countries. These exchanges include Singaporean scholars who studied in Taiwan, Taiwanese working in Singapore, the coproduction of a TV drama series, and the entrepreneurial experiences of startup teams. We trust that this cover feature will offer you a new experience of Singapore.

For this month’s “Around Taiwan” series, we visited the Lulin Observatory, 2862 meters above sea level on the borders of Yu­shan National Park. Our reporters brought back firsthand information about astronomical observation, and photographed rare and dazzling scenes, giving one the feeling that the distance between ourselves and the stars is not so huge. We also visited the seas off Hua­lien, where we traveled alongside dolphins. We met with underwater photo­graphers whose work is promoting better understanding of Taiwan’s marine biodiversity, and raising people’s consciousness of the oceans.

We also witnessed Jin­gua­shi’s century-­old Mazu procession, and we bring you Taiwan’s first detailed report on this ritual. The procession’s progress through narrow streets, up and down steep stairs, and across Shui­zhen Bridge is part of the collective memories of many generations of local people. On ­Penghu’s Qi­mei Island we got a close-up view of Taiwan’s first offshore smart power grid, which combines diesel-generated electricity with renewable solar energy, marking the next step forward in Taiwan’s carbon reduction technology.

Also in this issue, we appreciate the photo­graphic images created by artist ­Cheng Jen-pei, who records the culinary cultures of different peoples through different forms of ethnic foods. These touching stories are taking place right here where we live, for example in the images of ­Hakka foods paired up with Vietnamese spring rolls, lemongrass, and shrimp salt, or of meticulously prepared meat jelly that Cheng uses to represent life in the Ukrainian winter.

The reports in Taiwan Panorama help the people of the world to understand and love Taiwan. What better example than comics artist Hsu Mao-sung, a national treasure at over 80 years old, who has held fast to native comics art through 60 years of creative work. Stories like these inspire us to con­tinu­ally grow and advance.

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