Moneyboys

Source: SupChina (6/17/22)
‘Moneyboys’: A provocative, atmospheric film about Chinese hustlers
A Taiwanese and Viennese coproduction, “Moneyboys” follows Fei, a gay sex worker, as he explores love amid his life of secrecy.
By Catherine Zauhar

Still from Moneyboys

C.B. Yi’s debut feature, Moneyboys (金錢男孩 jīnqián nánhái), is a beguiling and disturbing exploration of a Chinese community hiding in plain sight. It follows the protagonist, Fei, through the arcs of two loves, both of which have a lasting impact in dramatically different ways.

Fei (Ko Chia-kai 柯家凱) is a charming and popular hustler who starts off in the smaller leagues in the town of Yiwu. After being severely roughed up by a client, Fei’s protective lover, Xiaolai (JC Lin 林哲熹), comes to his defense and ends up fighting for his life. Once word spreads of the lover’s heroic defeat, Fei flees his home and his love — fearing his secret life will be revealed — before the law gets involved (prostitution and homosexuality are illegal in China).

We meet Fei five years later, where he now lives a far more luxurious life, still as a hustler, in the bustling mega-metropolis of Shenzhen. His home has an icy elegance reminiscent of the decor of the big house in Parasite, with items better off looked at than touched (perhaps like Fei himself). News of an ailing grandfather coupled with a traumatizing brush with the cops leaves Fei shaken, and he makes the journey back to his native fishing village. On the way, he runs into Long (Bai Yu Fan 白宇帆), who from the get-go cannot hide his long-harbored crush on Fei. Long is handsome, gawky, bright and goofy like a teenager, his demeanor the complete foil to Fei’s gentle and measured poise. When Long asks how long Fei’s staying, he responds with a noncommittal “Depends.” It’s unclear what he wants, though. What does anyone want from a homecoming? Closure? Safety? Warmth? Continue reading

Taiwan identity politics and the California church shooting

Source: NYT (6/12/22)
They Inhabited Separate Worlds in Taiwan. Decades Later, They Collided in a California Church.
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The 68-year-old suspect in a May mass shooting harbored resentment dating back to his formative years in Taiwan.
By Amy QinJill CowanShawn Hubler and Amy Chang Chien

Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif., where members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church were meeting when the shooting occurred.

Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif., where members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church were meeting when the shooting occurred. Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times

David Chou and Pastor Billy Chang spent their whole lives forging parallel paths. They were born in early 1950s Taiwan, grew up just miles apart during martial law and later rebuilt their lives in the United States.

But over several decades, they carried with them vastly different memories — and views — of the island of their birth.

Mr. Chou was the son of parents who fled mainland China following the 1949 Communist revolution, part of a mass exodus of Chinese who established an authoritarian government-in-exile in Taiwan. Though he was born on the island, he and his parents were “mainlanders” devoted to the Chinese motherland and saw Taiwan as forever part of China.

Pastor Chang’s relatives were local Taiwanese who had spent centuries on the island. At home, he spoke Taiwanese Hokkien, a language that for decades was banned in public spaces. Pastor Chang grew to believe that despite Beijing’s longstanding claims, the self-ruled island had its own identity, separate from China.

In May, the lives of the two men collided in a quiet retirement community in Southern California. Authorities say that Mr. Chou, 68 — armed with two guns, four Molotov cocktails and a deep-seated rage against Taiwanese people — opened fire inside the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church as members gathered in honor of Pastor Chang, 67. Continue reading

ACCL Conference 2022

Dear list members,

The biennial meeting of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature (ACCL) will be held on 20-22 June 2022! Our first-ever hybrid conference has been organized in conjunction with the Department of Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University, and the Taiwanese Society for the Study of Chinese Literature and Culture.

The conference will feature 36 panels and 160 active participants. Keynote speakers include Prof. Carlos Rojas (Duke Univ.), Prof. Huang Ying-che (Aichi Univ.), and Prof. David Der-wei Wang (Harvard Univ.).

All conference events are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the online (Zoom) portion of the conference; in-person events will be live streamed via Webex.

For the conference program and to register please visit the ACCL website:

https://www.chineseandcomparativelit.org/2022-conference-386172418026371.html

We are looking forward to see you at our biennial meeting!

Nico Volland (ACCL President)

He Huaren (1958-2021)

Last week, I (belatedly) learned that Taiwan printmaker, illustrator, and bird expert He Huaren (何華仁) passed away in the week prior to Christmas 2021. MCLC Listserve members interested in (woodcut) printmaking and illustration will likely know of his work, and may have purchased books written by He or others, featuring his superb illustrations. He Huaren was also one of Taiwan’s most renowned birders and an activist for the preservation and protection of Taiwan’s bird and wildlife habitat; he was especially fond of raptors. Huaren was extremely generous, ever humble, had an outstanding sense of humor, and loved single malt scotch. Here are some sources on or by He Huaren.

何華仁(1958年-2021年12月18日): https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/何華仁
戰勝腦瘤 何華仁用繪本和版畫記錄台灣野鳥

蘋中人:刻在心上的鷹姿 何華仁
何華仁鳥版畫遺作 預計二月上市       中國時報

Nicholas Kaldis

Workshop on Taiwan Literature

Learn more about the rich literature from Taiwan through this workshop that explores key works by Taiwanese writers. Focusing on six books in the Literature from Taiwan Series, the panel experts will discuss works by Ye Shitao, Husluman Vava, Li Ang, Ta-wei Chi, and many more. The event will be held on May 27 and 28, 2022.

The six books that will be discussed are:

  • A Taiwanese Literature Reader edited by Nikky Lin
  • The Soul of Jade Mountain by Husluman Vava; translated by Terence Russell
  • A History of Taiwan Literature by Ye Shitao; translated by Christopher Lupke
  • A Son of Taiwan: Stories of Government Atrocity edited by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin
  • Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror edited by Ian Rowen
  • Queer Taiwanese Literature: A Reader edited by Howard Chiang

To sign up for the event, please contact Professor Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta) at lupke@ualberta.ca. For more information on the books, see https://www.cambriapress.com/taiwanlitbooks.cfm

Survey of Indigenous Taiwanese Culture and Literature

Dear colleagues,

I write to share the information of the online event organised by the University of Canterbury and sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies of Taiwan’s Central Library.

Title of the talk: Family in the North? A Survey of Indigenous Taiwanese Culture and Literature
Name of the speaker: Badai
Time/date of the event: Wednesday 11 May 2022, 2-4pm (NZ Time) / 10am-12pm (Taipei Time)
Zoom Meeting ID: 997 1615 4301 (https://canterbury.zoom.us/j/99716154301)

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email (chiarong.wu@canterbury.ac.nz).

Cheers,
Chia-rong Wu
Associate Professor, University of Canterbury

Taiwan discusses extending compulsory military service

Source: SupChina (4/1/22)
What’s behind Taiwan’s willingness to extend compulsory military service?
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February, talk in Taiwan of extending the conscription period of its citizens — from four months to one year — became elevated in official discourse.
By Itamar Waksman

Illustration for SupChina by Derek Zheng

The war in Ukraine, contrary to popular punditry, tells us very little about Taiwan’s situation vis-a-vis mainland China. But one change that the war may spur is the length of the compulsory military service requirement of Taiwan’s male citizens.

Last November, Taiwan People’s Party legislator Jang Chyi-lu (张其禄 Zhāng Qílù) asked Minister of National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱国正 Qiū Guózhèng) if Taiwan’s current four-month conscription period was enough to ensure sufficient forces to defend Taiwan, especially considering other countries in the region, such as South Korea and Singapore, have two years of mandatory service. Chiu replied that the ministry was considering its options.

After Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February, talk in Taiwan of extending the conscription period became elevated in official discourse.

At a March 14 meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s internal affairs committee, responding to a legislator’s question on how Taiwan must improve its defenses, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐国勇 Xú Guóyǒng) said, “If the country can be sustained, safe, continue developing, and survive, what does one year [of service] over four months matter?” Continue reading

Lo Yi-chin event

Please join us at a Zoom routable with writer Lo Yi-chin (Winner of Dream of the Red Chamber Fiction Prize) and Professor Mingwei Song (Wellesley College) on diaspora and identity politics in fiction.

The roundtable will be conducted in Chinese and will be moderated by Professor David Der-wei Wang (Harvard University). It is sponsored by Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.

Time:
8:30-10pm (ET)
April 7, 2022

Zoom registration:
https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RIGY-sFlQf2UzQVw4RTrDw

Photography and Taiwan symposium

Photography and Taiwan: History and Practice
A Symposium
April 7 – 9, 2022 (Arizona)
April 8 – 10, 2022 (Taipei)

The Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) traveled to Taiwan, taking pictures of the aboriginal people on the island in 1871. He included the photographs of Taiwan and its people in his 1898 book Through China: with a Camera. Thomson’s short stay in Taiwan was facilitated by European imperial advance to China as he had established his own studio in Hong Kong two years before the trip. It is also notable that his book was published three years after the island’s colonization by Japan. From 1895 to 1945, Japanese colonialism structured photographic practices and culture in Taiwan. Visualization of the indigenous people was a part of ethnographic and anthropological studies during the colonial period, while the Han Chinese opened studios in urban centers and went to Japan to learn the technology. The cold war hegemony played a crucial role in the postcolonial Taiwanese society, impacting photographic practices in various ways. Continue reading

2022-23 Hou Family Fellowship in Taiwan Studies

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University is pleased to announce the 2022-23 competition for the Hou Family postdoctoral fellowship in Taiwan Studies. The fellow is expected to be in residence at Harvard for six to twelve months between August 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023. Residence for the full academic year is encouraged. The Hou Family fellow will pursue Taiwan-related research and contribute to the Fairbank Center academic community. The Fairbank Center is currently accepting applications from North America-based postdoctoral scholars only.

Applications are welcome from recent Ph.D.s in a relevant discipline of the humanities or social sciences focusing on Taiwan. Applicants may not be more than five years beyond receipt of their Ph.D. at the start of the fellowship. Harvard University doctoral degree recipients or candidates are not eligible for this fellowship.
A strong working knowledge of English and Chinese and/or Taiwanese is required.

Total postdoctoral stipend: US$52,000 for one year. Plus up to $3,000 in research support funds.

For more information and application requirements, please see:
https://fairbank.fas.harvard.edu/programs/hou-family-fellows-in-taiwan-studies/

Application deadline: April 29, 2022 Continue reading

Taiwan draws lessons from Ukraine

Source: NYT (3/1/22)
Watching the War in Ukraine, Taiwanese Draw Lessons in Self-Reliance
Many in Taiwan see parallels with Ukraine. “We must use this time of peace to prepare for the worst,” says a nonprofit working to promote civil defense.
By Amy Qin and Amy Chang Chien

Demonstrators in front of Russia’s de facto embassy in Taipei in February. For many in Taiwan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced their embrace of the island’s democratic values.

Demonstrators in front of Russia’s de facto embassy in Taipei in February. For many in Taiwan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced their embrace of the island’s democratic values. Credit…Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Justin Huang, a 23-year-old recent university graduate in Taiwan, has been gripped by news of the crisis, just like many other people around the world. He has pored over reports about Ukrainians signing up for the military and scrutinized video footage of Russian missiles hitting residential buildings. He has been deeply disturbed by Russia’s brazen disregard for global norms.

But for Mr. Huang and many Taiwanese, Russia’s assault is hitting especially close to home.

The self-governed island democracy has long faced the threat of being absorbed by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, which has vowed to do so by force if it deems necessary. As Taiwanese watch Russian troops pour into Ukraine, their unease about their island’s own future is growing. The courage of Ukrainians, as well as the harsh reality of that country’s lonely battle, has driven a greater sense of urgency among many Taiwanese to step up the island’s defenses.

“Reading the news has been a bit traumatic emotionally,” Mr. Huang said. Moved by a sense of solidarity with Ukraine, he and around 200 other people protested on Saturday outside Russia’s de facto embassy in Taipei. He said he feared that the invasion of Ukraine could be the “tipping point” in the world order, ushering in a new era in which autocrats could act with impunity. Continue reading

Taiwan Film Series

Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma, Mar 7-19 (Cambridge & UW Seattle)

We are pleased to announce that the Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma, co-organized by the University of Washington Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, will take place online between March 7-19, 2022. The film series will feature two documentaries, one feature-length film, and one short that revolve around the theme of violence, trauma, and memories: Taiwan Black Movies [台灣黑電影], Absent Without Leave [不即不離], Super Citizen Ko [超級大國民], and Letter #69 [第六十九信].Registrations to all the screenings and events are required but FREE. Please find the detailed program below and online at twfilmseries.eventive.org.Due to copyright issues, films are open to the US and the UK only. Continue reading

Both sides of Taiwan Strait watch Ukraine closely

Source: NYT (2/7/22)
Both Sides of Taiwan Strait Are Closely Watching Ukraine’s Crisis
Taiwan knows what it’s like to have an overbearing neighbor. China wonders how forcefully Western powers might react to a Russian invasion.
By Steven Lee Myers and Amy Qin

A view of the South China Sea last year, with the Chinese city of Xiamen in the distance and the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen in the foreground.

A view of the South China Sea last year, with the Chinese city of Xiamen in the distance and the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen in the foreground. Credit…An Rong Xu/Getty Images

BEIJING — With Russia massing troops along Ukraine’s borders, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan felt compelled to act.

She ordered the creation of a task force to study how the confrontation thousands of miles away in Europe could affect Taiwan’s longstanding conflict with its larger, vastly more powerful neighbor.

“Taiwan has faced military threats and intimidation from China for a long time,” Ms. Tsai told a gathering of her national security advisers late last month, according to a statement by her office.

Perhaps more than people in any other place in the world, Taiwanese know what it is like to live in the shadow of an overbearing power, with China claiming the island as its own. Ms. Tsai added, “we empathize with Ukraine’s situation.”

While the correlation is not exact, the confrontation between Russia and the United States over Ukraine’s fate has resonated on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, highlighting the strategic calculus China and Taiwan have made about the possibility of armed conflict. Continue reading

China’s ambassador to US warns of conflict over Taiwan

Source: The Guardian (1/28/22)
China’s ambassador to US warns of possible military conflict over Taiwan
Unusually explicit reference to prospect of war comes as tensions over island’s future continue to rise
By  China affairs correspondent

Qin Gang

‘The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States,’ Qin Gang has said. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

China’s ambassador to the US has said the two countries could face a “military conflict” over the future of Taiwan, in an unusually explicit reference to the prospect of war.

“The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States,” Qin Gang told the US public broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR), on Friday. “If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in the military conflict.”

Tensions over the island’s place in the world continue to grow. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province of China. In November the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, told Joe Biden that any support for Taiwanese independence from the US would be “like playing with fire” and that “those who play with fire will get burned”. Continue reading

Taiwan Lit 2.1 and 2.2

Dear Friends,

It is our pleasure to present Taiwan Lit’s 2.1 and 2.2 issues. We want to extend our sincere thanks for the continued support of our readers as Taiwan Lit celebrated its first full year last year. During the year, 25 manuscripts were published in Taiwan Lit under the Essays, Commentaries, Articles, Reports, and Special Topics sections. The table of contents for both of the 2021 issues is attached below.

A special mention is due to our first Special Topics section, which presents a series of state-of-the-field essays examining Taiwan literary studies from the perspective of a relatively young social institution as it seeks to become established within Taiwan’s cultural field. We thank the guest editor, Yun-Hung Lin, and the authors for their contributions that make this Section possible.

During the past year, Taiwan Lit’s website underwent some reorganization. A new section, Reports, has been added for submissions of interviews as well as reports on conferences, workshops, and lectures. We have combined Reviews into Commentaries, which, in addition to traditional book reviews, solicits personal comments on scholarly works and critical theoretical writings relevant to the field. We are also in the process of introducing a Translations section to recognize the increasing importance of translation to Taiwan literature’s participation in the world literary scene. This restructuring of our categories will hopefully offer more visibility to these types of valuable scholarly output and promote timely information exchange. Continue reading