First of all, let me say I am sorry for the long delay. As you may remember from my last newsletter, I spent some time in Germany. Now I am back in Taiwan, getting back into the daily routine here. My goal is to publish this newsletter once a week, but if it does not work out sometimes, please bear with me regardless.
In 2009, when I had just settled in Taiwan, two international sports events made me see this country from a new angle. That part VIII of My Taiwan Story.
With Facebook taking over much of the Internet, there are many good sources of information that don't even need their own homepage anymore.
Taiwan Daily News in English is a Facebook group with more than 14,000 members. The founder, a Taichung-based journalist who is also a correspondent for ICRT English Radio, publishes a huge amout of Taiwan-related news links here every day, and often interesting discussions ensue. Check this one regularly to make sure you don't miss out on good stuff.
He recently started a Facebook page of the same name to go with it, though that one is still in its infancy.
Taiwan Observer is a Facebook page that recently seems to have been revitalized. I have no idea who is behind it, but he or she shares a lot of curated content, keeping an eye on other news outlets and resharing their links. Check it out. (And yes, that's a typo in the Facebook URL.)
In the summer of 2009, shortly after I made the move to Taiwan and set up shop as a freelance reporter, the World came to Taiwan.
I have to think of this time now that the Universiade is about to take place in Taipei in August. (Great video here.)
In 2009, first Kaohsiung hosted the World Games. Then Taipei provided the venue for the Deaflympics.
Like probably most people, I was familiar with neither. But those were no small events, with hundreds of athletes from dozens of countries participating.
I went down to Kaohsiung to do some reporting, especially about German participants.
Moving amongst athletes, locals and visitors, I realized there was a very special atmosphere in the air: A kind of welcoming excitement and all-around carefreeness that I had only experienced once before: During the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany.
Back then, Germany was not yet used to being center stage internationally. Berlin was not hip like today, and we were not really used to seeing many international tourists.
So it was a pleasant shock to see a huge number of international visitors come to Germany - and enjoy their time with us!
Seeing Taiwanese mingle with Belgian or Brazilian athletes on the streets of Kaohsiung, everyone having a good time, brought back those memories. Taiwanese, too, are not really accustomed to international visitors. Quite often, they are not aware of all the great experiences, sights and encounters their country has to offer.
Back then, I noted that the World Games and Taiwan were a perfect fit. The World Games feature sports that are not recognized by the Olympics - just like Taiwan is a country that is not recognized by the UN. Maybe that's why it worked out so well.