The latest newsletter from taiwanreporter Klaus Bardenhagen
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Let's get this thing started

You are part of an exclusive audience: This is the first edition of my English newsletter.
I've been active in Taiwan and on social media for a while, but somehow I never got around to starting this thing. Well, that changes now.
You all know how newsletters work, so let's cut to the chase: What can you expect here?
For starters, this is what I will be sending out once a week:

  1. A chapter from My Taiwan story. How did a German TV reporter end up living and working in Taiwan?
  2. Taiwan resources in English. There's a lot of information out there, and not everything is posted on Facebook. I will share some good sources with you.
  3. Photo of the week. A picture I took in Taiwan along with some thoughts why I find it interesting.
And of course anything else that comes to mind.
I would like to treat this like another social media channel, which means: Please give feedback, reply, ask questions. It's more fun that way; this is no one-way street.

Enjoy the ride, let's stay in touch!

My Taiwan Story (Chapter 1)

The first time I set foot on Taiwan was on March 2nd, 2008. If you had told me then that I would still be living here almost 10 years later, I would probably have laughed at you long and hard. If you had told me one year earlier that I would be flying to Taiwan for a three-month stay, my reaction would probably have been the same. Life has a way of not keeping to your long-term plans, doesn’t it?

So my Taiwan story actually started in 2007. That’s the year Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone to the world. I still had a Nokia. I lived in Hamburg, where I had been working as a freelance reporter for the local public TV station for a few years. Mainly, I did five-minute reports for a weekly consumer/finance program called “Markt” which was broadcast (and still is) on NDR TV every Monday at prime time. It was a great job, allowing me to delve into different subjects every week. Investigative research, structured thinking and visual creativity were equally important. Working for TV really is fun. Money was all right, too. And I had no clue about Taiwan.

Then, one day, walking through our office corridor, a piece of paper on the blackboard caught my attention. It was an unsolicited fax that one of the secretaries had pinned there instead of simply tossing it into the waste bin. The sender was the Taiwanese representative office (i.e. consulate) in Hamburg. I did not know it yet, but this fax would change everything.

To be continued...

Taiwan Resources in English

Let's talk about blogs. We may have gotten used to the Facebook news stream as a primary source for information, but once in a while it's still a good idea to enter a different actual website.

Some say that the golden age of blogs has been over since about 2012. I don't know. People are still posting so much good stuff out there.

Here are some specialized Taiwan blogs you should be familiar with.
  1. Frozen Garlic
    Nathan Batto is a researcher at Academia Sinica's Institute of Political Science. This guy is a total politics nerd! He does not post often, but when he does, you will get more knowledge about the workings of Taiwan's political system and parties from his texts than from a dozen news websites combined. Come election time, he also goes places and reports from obscure candidates' rallies and their speeches. (If you have ever been to a Taiwanese rally, you know where the title of the blog comes from. 當選!凍蒜!)
  2. Synapticism
    Alexander is a nice dude who probably grew up somewhere in the great wilderness of Canada. Now in Taiwan, he finds pleasure in crawling through abandoned buildings, squeezing into abandoned mineshafts, and climbing abandoned high-rises. Yes, we are talking urban explaration here. Reading his blog, he takes you to some fantastic places. Photos are top-notch. He has a keen eye for architecture and for telling details. And he is extremely diligent. For his texts, he does a lot of research, trying to understand today's Taiwan better by excavating the recent past. Ruin porn with brains.
  3. Taiwan Law Blog
    Bob Kao is a Taiwanese-American lawyer who is closely following Taiwanese politics. In his blog, he explains and evaluates legal aspects of ongoing debates. A lot to learn here.
If you want to support my work in Taiwan, here is what you can do.

Photo of the Week

Those ubiquitous tiny shops in Taiwan's cities never cease to fascinate me. Someone carves out a corner for himself, becomes an expert in his field, stuffs everything he needs into a few square feet for everyone to see - and it works out. Of course the business environment is changing. Still, I hope gentlemen like this one can go on enjoying the fruits of their hard work, like they have been for decades.
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