For most of us outside of Taiwan, we tend to see Taiwan as a single minded entity. We have witnessed its economic and democratic miracles unfold, but we tend to think of them in abstract terms. When we visit Taiwan, we hardly venture outside of Taipei. To be honest, what happens in the rest of Taiwan is somewhat of a mystery.

But as we all know—”all politics is local.” People live in cities and towns outside of Taipei, making a living, educating their children, working to improve their lives and communities. However as we have also seen—increasingly local problems are becoming national crises, such as the Dapu land expropriation abuse case in Miaoli. Just want goes on in politics on a local level? Is it all just corrupt gangsters running the show? What can be done about the wealth gap between city and countryside?

We have a special occasion to talk to Mr. Wolf Wu in his campaign headquarters in Yunlin, to find out about local politics in Taiwan. Wolf is the Democratic Progressive Party’s nominated candidate for County Council in Yunlin’s 3rd district, and we ask him about what makes his vision for Yunlin special, how he plans to develop Yunlin, and the challenges of industrialization in Yunlin.

Of course, we don’t forget to ask him what’s good to eat there. Here is our interview:

  • People might have an impression that they are full of local gangsters or corrupt local bosses of farmers and fishermen. Is that true? How is that changing in Yunlin?
  • You want to see Yunlin develop artisanal agriculture and cultural tourism. Can you give some examples of specific policies or projects you want to see?
  • Another county in Taiwan, with similar population and size, is Miaoli County. Both are rural, and both are in between large metro areas. Neither one has a High Speed Rail station. We know Miaoli has been in the news a lot recently—because the governor there is following a model of industrialization, especially based on investment from China. What do you think of that, and why? If you don’t agree, what is your alternative proposal?
  • We have seen that in Miaoli’s case, most residents were in support of more development and more industrialization, which would bring higher property prices. Young people are leaving counties like Yunlin and Chiayi to look for jobs in Taipei or Kaohsiung. Isn’t it more important to bring in investments first, like building the controversial light crude oil refinery on the beach? Or try to apply for direct city status for Yunlin to get more central government money?
  • How do you see Yunlin become an instrumental example for the rest of Taiwan, and even for the rest of Asia and the world, from being one of the poorest counties in Taiwan? Why is Yunlin important?
  • Finally, if our listeners want to travel to Yunlin, what should they see and do? What’s good to eat there?

(Feature photo of Wolf Wu in Yunlin, provided by allforyunlin.tw)

The Ketagalan Project

History and culture are the frames that prescribe how we understand the world around us. Our co-hosts present in-depth interviews on how art, culture, history and politics intertwine throughout time and space to connect us. Find out about the cosmopolitan modern Taipei downtown in the 1920s, regional trade, the future of aboriginal culture and more.