Each week, we tell you just three things from Taiwan. It’s a quick and unique way to connect with the society and culture of this quirky and cozy little spot in Asia, featuring our News Director William Yang with a showcase of his project Taipei Love Notes.

Official Documents in Indigenous Languages  

  • Local governments in Hualien and Pingtung counties are now providing official documents in the Pangcah (Amis) and Rukai languages of the Taiwanese indigenous peoples. President Tsai Ing-wen in a Facebook post showed off the Pangcah letter, saying all 16 recognized indigenous languages are “national languages.” Expect more indigenous language, or bilingual, official materials in the future.

Founder of Eslite Bookstore Dies

  • Robert Wu (吳清友), chairman and founder of Eslite Corp (誠品), one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan, passed away this week at the age of 66. He founded Eslite Bookstore at 39 selling books on humanities and sociology, but has since opened branches all over Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China, even expanding into hospitality, retail goods, events, and real estate businesses.
  • While savvy local book lovers favor small independent bookstores over Eslite’s “overly commercialized” image, Eslite is a symbol of Taiwan’s contemporary culture for foreign visitors and urban Taiwanese people alike.  

Temples Protest Supposed Ban on Incense and Burning

  • Temples in Taiwan are calling for a march on the Presidential Office on July 23 to protest a supposed ban on incense, burning of offering papers, and firecrackers. The government clarified the ban to be only a rumor, and said it will work with temples to reduce emissions while respecting traditional practices.
  • Thousands of temples dot Taiwan’s landscape, and traditional temple rituals are still a very important part of daily life in Taiwan.

This Week’s Love Note: Taipei’s MRT

  • We go back in time to find this gem by our editor Calin Brown, on Taipei’s metro system, the MRT. It’s not just a fast way to get around, but it’s a public place where relationships begin (and end), and individuals grow a collective identity as Taipeinese. Perhaps, it’s also a part of what it means to be “Taiwanese” for those of us abroad?

(Feature photo by William Yang)

 

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Chieh-Ting Yeh

Chieh-Ting Yeh is the co-founder of Ketagalan Media. After working in think tanks and political parties in London and Taipei, he earned his law degree from Harvard. He has been a long time thinker of Taiwan's history, politics, and nationalism. He is currently based in Silicon Valley.