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A Tale of Two Buildings

Are eyesores in Taiwanese cities just a fact of life, or can something be done about it? Two buildings and a virtual time machine got me thinking.

Old building renovated in Taiwan

When I recently wrote a German article titled „Why Germans pay more attention to an orderly cityscape than Taiwanese“, and the Goethe Institute translated it into Chinese, it got widely shared on social media. (mehr …)


How I help German TV report about Taiwan

A German TV team just came over, and together we filmed four stories in Taiwan. What about? And how did that happen? Let me explain!

Panorama view of Xizhi with our cameraman

Back in Germany, I worked as a TV reporter in Hamburg. After moving to Taiwan in 2009 (mehr …)


How Taiwan looks at German Vergangenheitsbewältigung* 

After the recent High School Nazi Cosplay Scandal, President Tsai gave an English speech about how Taiwan should deal with history, education and transitional justice. Here is a transcript and a video.

With the 70th anniversary of 228 around the corner, transitional justice and how to proceed has become a hot topic in Taiwan again recently.

Depiction of the 228 Massacre

Former president Ma Ying-jeou, for example, recently said: “Do we need to conduct a deep re-evaluation of the nation like South Africa, post-Word War II Germany and Germany after unification did? I do not see the need.”

And also this: Insofar as Taiwan is considered by the international community a stable democracy, “is there really the need to walk on the path of transitional justice?”

His successor Tsai Ing-wen sees things differently and has declared (mehr …)


The most unusual Ikea in the world

Is it a store? a showroom? A café? In Taipei, you can find this mini Ikea that’s unlike anywhere else.

2016-01-31 14.32.21

This is Ikea House in Taipei. It is actually a complete old house, renovated and remade from top to bottom, and turned into a mini-Ikea of sorts.

Before I take you inside, let’s take a step back (mehr …)


Why do the United Nations not recognize the Taiwan passport?

It was a big media story in Taiwan: When trying to visit the U.N. office in Geneva, a Taiwanese woman was denied entry. The reason, she was reportedly told: Since the United Nations do not recognize Taiwan, her Taiwanese (ROC) passport cannot be accepted either. I wanted to know: What’s going on there? Listen to this interview with a U.N. spokesperson.

To get first-hand information, I asked a colleague of mine who lives in Geneva for help: Marc Engelhardt, a specialist for reporting on the United Nations. He managed to ask the U.N. spokesman in Geneva, Rhéal LeBlanc, some questions about Taiwan and the passport refusal.

First, listen to his anwers in this video:

(It has Chinese subtitles. Click on the symbols below the video if you don’t see them.)

So what have we learned? (mehr …)


Why urban renewal should never be allowed to destroy Taipei’s traditions

Taipei, like so much of Taiwan, is constantly changing. Urban renewal and beautifiction, construction and „development“ make a lot of places more pleasant, but they also threaten to destroy a lot of what was good about the old. A young designer was flown in from Europe, experienced Taipei’s oldest quarter and made some great observations.

Having stayed in Taipei for just two weeks, Pablo Calderon Salazar has really made the best of his time. The Columbian designer, a resident of Brussels, was invited by the Taipei City government for a two-week stay as part of an exchange program. (Taipei will be the World Design Capital 2016 and is looking for international exposure.)

Calderon’s mission was to get to know Wanhua district, learn about the urban renewal processes going on there, and with his fresh outsider perspective hopefully come up with some ideas to inspire the locals.

A walking tour with a foreign guide

Designer Tour Wanhua Taipei

Last Friday, he took 50 people on an extended walking tour around „his“ Wanhua, sharing his experiences and observations. (mehr …)


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