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  • Ghost money

    Ghost money

    In 1977, there were 385 registered ghost money makers in Hsinchu county.

In this week's Chinese Culture 101, we talked to an expert in folklore about the rise and fall of Taiwan's ghost money industry. 

Insights from living among the gay

Tune into Taiwan Today as Natalie Tso speaks with Canadian journalist J Michael Cole who shares his insight into Taiwan's same-sex marriage movement and his experience living in Montreal's gay community. 


Cole is the founder and editor-in-chief of Taiwan Sentinel and covers the same-sex marriage movement in Taiwan. 


Why do people come to Taiwan?

“Fitting in in Chinese” is a special series on Chinese to Go, which is jointly produced by the Chinese Language Center of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Radio Taiwan International.


Episode 4


Conversation: Why do people come to Taiwan?




德美: 有人會說德文嗎?

(Déměi: Yǒurén huì shuō Déwénma?)

Demei: Can anyone speak German?


老師: 有是有,可是很少,要看他們是做什麼工作。

(Lăoshī: Yǒushìyǒu, kěshì hěn shăo, yàokàn tāmen shì zuò shéme gōngzuò.)

Teacher: A few people do, but not so many. It depends on their jobs.


得中: 台灣有很多外國人嗎?

(Dézhōng: Táiwān yǒu hěnduō wàiguó rén ma?)

Dezhong: Are there a lot of people from other countries in Taiwan? 


老師: 最近幾年越來越多了。

(Lăoshī: Zuìjìn jǐnián yuèlái yuèduō le.)

Teacher: More and more, recently.


歐福: 他們來台灣做什麼呢?

(Ōufú: Tāmen lái Táiwān zuò shéme ne?)

Oufu: What are they doing in Taiwan?



(Lăoshī: Yǒude rén lái gōngzuò, yǒude rén lái guānguāng, yě yǒude rén lái xuéZhōngwén.)

Teacher: Some come to work, some come to travel, and some come to study Chinese.



(Déměi: Tāmen lái Táiwān de mùdìshìshéme?)

Demei: Why do they come to Taiwan?



(Lăoshī: Yǒude shì yīnwèi gōngzuò shàng de xūyào, yǒude shì yīnwèi zuò shēngyì, yǒude hěn dānchún, tāmen jiùshìduìZhōngguó wénhuà, yŭyán yǒu xìngqù.)

Teacher: They come to study Chinese. Some for their work, some to do business, while others are simply interested in Chinese culture and language.




(B)越來越 …


德中: 唉呀! 最近的功課越來越多。

(Dé zhōng: Āi ya! Zuìjìn de gōngkè yuè lái yuè duō.)

Dezhong: Ai ya!  Recently there has been more and more homework.


歐福: 德美,你現在越來越漂亮!

(Ōu fú: Dé měi, nǐ xiànzài yuè lái yuè piàoliang)

Oufu: Demei, lately you are getting prettier and prettier!


德美: 那是因為我男朋友說,他越來越愛我了。

(Dé měi: Nà shì yīnwèi wǒ nán péngyǒu shuō, tā yuè lái yuè ài wǒle.)

Demei: That’s because my boyfriend says he loves me more and more!


老師: 台灣東西好吃,但是別吃太多,小心越來越胖。

(Lǎoshī: Táiwān dōngxī hào chī, dànshì bié chī tài duō, xiǎoxīn yuè lái yuè pàng.)

Teacher: Taiwan has many good things to eat, but don’t eat too much. Be careful not to get fatter and fatter!




德美: 有的人很容易胖,有的人吃什麼都不胖。

(Dé měi: Yǒu de rén hěn róngyì pàng, yǒu de rén chī shénme dōu bú pàng.)

Demei: Some people gain weight very easily; some people can eat anything and not get fat!


老師: 有的學生愛唱歌,有的學生愛說話。

(Lǎoshī: Yǒu de xuéshēng ài chànggē, yǒu de xuéshēng ài shuōhuà)

Teacher: Some students love to sing; some students love to talk.


Cultural insights



Chinese is a lyrical, rhythmical language.  Now, follow along and recite with us.


德中: 唉呀! 最近的功課  越來越多。

(Āi ya! Zuìjìn de gōngkè yuè lái yuè duō)

Dezhong: Ai ya! Lately there’s been more and more homework.


德美: 我男朋友說,

(Déměi: Wǒ nán péngyǒu shuō,)

Demei: My boyfriend says….


德中、歐福; 他說什麼?

(Dézhōng, Ōufú; tā shuō shénme?)

Dezhong & Oufu: What? What does he say?


德美: 他說他越來越愛我。

(Déměi: Tā shuō tā yuè lái yuè ài wǒ)

Demei: He says he loves me more and more.



德美: 老師說,

(Déměi: Lǎoshī shuō)

Demei: The teacher says….


德中、歐福; 老師說什麼?

(Dézhōng, Ōufú; lǎoshī shuō shénme?)

Dezhong & Oufu: What? What does the teacher say?


德美: 老師說,台灣東西好吃,小心越來越胖。

(Déměi: Lǎoshī shuō, táiwān dōngxī hào chī, xiǎoxīn yuè lái yuè pàng.)

Demei: The teacher says, Taiwan has many good things to eat, but be careful not to get fatter and fatter.


China's ambitions: One Belt, One Road

Tune into Eye on China as Natalie Tso speaks with the director of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute for International Affairs and Strategic Studies, Professor Alexander Huang, about China's ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative.


Poetics of Tea

The producer is Zhang Weiliang, a famous musician known as the “king of dizi”. He began to learn dizi, a Chinese transverse flute, in his childhood, from famous players, Zhao Songting and Lu Chunlin. Zhang Weiliang said the tasting of tea is not only an art of living but also an inspiration for poets and artists, therefore he decided to produce this album Poetics of Tea-a dialogue with tea.


More refreshing summer drinks

Join John Van Trieste and Shirley Lin to learn what other refreshing drinks can get you through the Taiwan summer, on Status Update.


Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2sr0nro


Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan Pt.III

In this episode, we hold a conversation with lawyer, Alex Yen, on the legality of the grand justices' decision. Mr. Yen also shares his view on the long term effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan. 



Taiwan's been and is still experiencing torrential rain throughout the island. Shirley talks about her feelings and shares her anecdotes about the miserable weather to songs on the "big rain", on Jukebox Republic.



Tune into Classic Shorts to hear the story of a couple who had no idea what they were doing as they planned a major move in their life.


Classic idiom - 不合時宜 (bù hé shí yí) means ignorance of the objective world or literally “not suited time proper”. It can also mean inappropriate.


Klaus Bardenhagen, German freelance reporter

Except for RTI's German service, Klaus Bardenhagen is just about the only other German reporter in Taiwan. Tune in to In the Spotlight to hear his story.


Spanish Taiwan (Part Three)

By 1636, the Spanish Empire’s occupation of northern Taiwan had continued for a decade. When the colony on Taiwan was set up, it had been with the intention of protecting the Philippines and its capital Manila, the nerve center of the Spanish Empire in Asia. It was thought that Spain's enemies, the Dutch, might launch raids from their nearby colony in the south of Taiwan A Spanish colony in the north of Taiwan might be a useful counterweight. But ten years on, it was clear that the Taiwan outpost was a burden on Spanish finances. It barely attracted any trade and produced little to support itself. By 1636, the Spanish governor-general of the Philippines had already concluded that the Taiwan colony wasn’t worth the expense. Soon, troops were withdrawn and supply missions from Manila cut. The colony was left wide open to Dutch attack.

Professor Jose Eugenio Borao Mateo teaches Spanish language and culture at National Taiwan University. He has made this  Spanish colony the focus of his research. He joins us today for the final part of a series on the history of the short-lived Spanish presence on Taiwan.


Chinese art treasures

The National Palace Museum has a large collection of Chinese artifacts. They include: porcelain, ceramics, lacquer ware, enamel ware, jade, bronzes, oracle bones, tapestry, embroidery, carvings, furniture, miniature curios, paintings, calligraphy, rare books and  historical documents.


Chang Chief-ming, Hakka children's author

This is the sound of a storybook being read aloud. The language is Hakka, the ancestral mother-tongue to around a fifth of Taiwan’s people. The story being read here is one of around a hundred that writer Chang Chieh-ming has created for children over the last few decades. Each of his story collections comes with a CD like this one so that children can hear the words spoken and follow along. This is because while around a fifth of Taiwan’s people can claim Hakka ancestry, the number of children with a good command of the language these days is relatively low. Learning through stories can help build what’s been lost back up again. Mr. Chang joins us in the studio today for a look at his path to becoming a children’s author and a look at how he makes sure his stories plant the seeds for a new generation of Hakka speakers.


My lesbian mother

Tune into Taiwan Today as Natalie Tso speaks with Canadian journalist J Michael Cole about his experience seeing his lesbian mother come out and eventually marry her partner when Canada legalized same-sex marriage. 


Cole is the founder and editor-in-chief of Taiwan Sentinel and covers the same-sex marriage movement in Taiwan. 


Trump's foreign policy

Tune into Eye on China as Natalie Tso speaks with the director of the Institute of American Studies at Tamkang University, Professor Alexander Huang, about US President Donald Trump's leadership and foreign policy and its affect on the balance of global power.


Introduction to Taiwan

“Fitting in in Chinese” is a special series on Chinese to Go, which is jointly produced by the Chinese Language Center of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Radio Taiwan International.


Episode 3


Conversation --Introduction to Taiwan




(Déměi: Lăoshī, qǐngwèn Táiwān shìyíge shéme dìfāng?)
Demei: Excuse me, Teacher. What kind of place is Taiwan?


(Lăoshī: Táiwān shìyíge rén hěnduō, dìfāng búdàde hăidăo.)
Teacher: Taiwan is a small island with a large population.


(Dézhōng: Táiwān yǒu duōshăo rénkǒu ?)
Dezhong: How many people live in Taiwan?


老師:大約有 2300 萬人。
(Lăoshī: Dàyuē yǒu 2,300 wàn rén.)
Teacher: There are about 23,000,000 people in Taiwan.


(Ōufú: Táiwān rén shuō shénme huà?)
Oufu: What languages do people in Taiwan speak?


(Lăoshī: Duōshù rén shuō Huáyŭ hàn Táiyŭ, yěyǒu bùshăo rén huì shuō Yīngwén.)
Teacher: Most people speak Mandarin and Taiwanese, and a lot of people can speak English.





老師: 歐福,你會說中文嗎?
(Ōufú, nǐ huì shuō zhōngwén ma?)
Teacher: Oufu, can you speak Chinese?


歐福: 會是會,可是說得不好。
(Huì shì huì, kěshì shuō de bù hǎo)
Oufu: Yes I can, but not well.


老師: 德美,你會寫漢字嗎?
(Déměi, nǐ huì xiě hànzì ma?)
Teacher: Demei, can you write Chinese characters?


德美: 會是會,可是寫得不好。
(Huì shì huì, kěshì xiě dé bù hǎo)
Demei: Yes I can, but not well.


老師: 德中,你想學功夫嗎?
(Dézhōng, nǐ xiǎng xué gōngfū ma?)
Teacher: Dezhong, are you wanting to learn kung fu?


德中: 想是想,請問難不難?
(Xiǎng shì xiǎng, qǐngwèn nàn bù nán?)
Dezhong: I’ve been thinking about it. Is it difficult?


老師: 難是不難,可是要時間。
(Nán shì bù nán, kěshì yào shíjiān.)
Teacher: It’s not that difficult, but it does take time.


Cultural Insights

有朋自遠方來 不亦樂乎。
(Yǒupéng zì yuǎnfāng lái bu yì lè hū)
Friends from Afar are a Great Happiness


(Táiwān rén yǒu yīgè guānniàn, hěn lèyì bāngzhù wàidì lái de rén. Tāmen rènwéi chūmén zàiwài, yīdìng yǒu hěnduō bù fāngbiàn dì dìfāng, hùxiāng rènshi jiùshì yǒu péngyǒu de yuánfèn, néng bāng yīdiǎn xiǎo máng, shì hěn kāixīn de shì.)


People in Taiwan have the concept that it is a great pleasure to help visitors from abroad. They realize that guests from abroad encounter many inconveniences, and believe that such exchanges are a predestined friendship. Being able to help others a little is a source of happiness.


Taiwanese classics

This week’s Jade Bells and Bamboo Pipes features a selection of Taiwanese classics such as Tea-picking Song, a tune known to all Hakka people; Remembering the Past, a tune from the tip of the southern part of Taiwan, Heng Chun; Diu Diu Dang Ah (Clinking Coins), a tune from Ilan, northeastern part of Taiwan and Spring Wind or Longing for the Spring Breeze, a Taiwanese song by a famous musician Teng Yu-hsien and was first released in 1933. Many Taiwanese pop singers have re-sung this song including Teresa Teng, Feng Fei-fei and David Tao.


Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan Pt.II

In this episode, we follow up with last week's ruling with the latest effort from the Cabinet on revising Taiwan's marriage law to include same-sex partners. 


More refreshing Taiwanese drinks

After introducing refreshing tea drinks last week, John Van Trieste and Shirley Lin introduce three other more exotic summer drinks native to Taiwan, on Status Update.


Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2sdKGWo


Taiwan's aging scene

Shirley Lin shares more anecdotes about her aging in-laws and parents, on Jukebox Republic, with songs about exercising and what to do when I'm growing old.


A talent for shouting

Tune into Classic Shorts and Natalie Tso presents the story of a man with an unusual talent - shouting - and how that led to a popular idiom.


Classic idiom: 一技之長 (yī jì zhī cháng) or "one skill, one talent"  usually refers to a skill one has that one                       can make a living off of. 


Spanish Taiwan (Part Two)

By the 17th century, Spain’s global empire reached even to Asia. Its major base in this part of the world was at Manila in the Philippines, where Chinese merchants exchanged their silks for Spanish silver hauled across the Pacific from Mexico. But the Dutch, an enemy of Spain’s, also arrived in Asia, threatening Manila and its trade. They set up shop uncomfortably close to Manila on a nearby island called Taiwan. It seemed that Spain would have to respond. So in 1626, Spain attempted to counter the Dutch threat by setting up a Taiwanese colony of its own.

Jose Eugenio Borao Mateo is a professor of Spanish language and culture at National Taiwan University. He has made the study of Spain’s short-lived adventure on Taiwan his life’s work. Last week, he walked up through the colony’s origins. Today, he’s back with us again to look at one of the colony’s great weaknesses. We’ll also be looking at the myth of a Taiwanese El Dorado at and the story of a Spanish man who claimed to know the way to Taiwanese gold.


Klaus Bardenhagen aka Taiwanreporter

Klaus Bardenhagen is a German freelance reporter who has been living in Taiwan for more than eight years. Find out what he likes to report on about Taiwan, on In the Spotlight.


The four treasures of the scholar's studio

In Chinese culture, four writing tools are known as the "four treasures of the scholar's studio." They are: writing brushes, ink sticks, ink stones and paper. 


Sanxia's Blue Cloth

On the outside, the old street in Sanxia, New Taipei hasn’t changed too dramatically in the past 80 years. The proud rows of arched brick shop-fronts are still here, lining both sides of the street and giving a touch a history to the town. But the street probably doesn’t sound like it used to. 80 years ago, there must have been a fair amount of splashing, sloshing, and stirring. At the time, this short stretch of road was home to 30 different fabric-dyeing workshops, all of them busy filling a demand for indigo-colored cloth. These workshops all since gone silent, but there is still one place in Sanxia where you can experience this bit of the past for yourself and even take a piece of it home with you. Liu Mei-ling is with the Sanchiaoyung Culture Association, a group dedicated to preserving Sanxia’s local culture. She joins us today to tell us about how Sanxia became well-known for its deep blue cloth and how her organization brought it back after many decades of neglect.


Same-sex marriage: parents' concerns

The constitutional court recently ruled that the legislature should move to enact or amend a law for same-sex unions within 2 years. If it has not, same-sex couples can register their marriages in Taiwan.


Some people opposed the move and want the issue to be brought to a referendum. Tune into Taiwan Today as Natalie Tso speaks with Frank Tseng, a parent of the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, about parents' concerns about the court's recent ruling in favor same-sex marriage. 


How have you been recently?

“Fitting in in Chinese” is a special series on Chinese to Go, which is jointly produced by the Chinese Language Center of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Radio Taiwan International.


Episode 2


Taiwan is a free and democratic society, so one can travel, study, or do business as one likes.




Recent, recently


Work, to work


(Nǐ zuìjìn hǎo ma?)
How have you been recently?


很好。你呢? 最近工作忙嗎?
(Hěn hǎo. nǐ ne? Zuìjìn gōngzuò máng ma?)
Just fine. And you? Have you been busy at work recently?


To travel, to tour, to sightsee




Goal, objective, purpose

(Nǐ xué zhōngwén de mùdì shì lái táiwān guānguāng ma?)
Was your objective in learning Chinese to come to Taiwan for sightseeing?


(Wǒ xué zhōngwén de mùdì yǒu liǎng gè. Yīge shì guānguāng, yīge shì zuò shēngyì.)
I had two goals in studying Chinese. One was for travel, and the other was to do business.


Business, commerce


(Xūyào )
Must, to be necessary


(Lái táiwān zuò shēngyì, xūyào yòng zhōngwén ma?)
In coming to Taiwan to do business, is it necessary to use Chinese?


(Yǒu hěnduō táiwān rén huì shuō yīngwén, kěshì yǒu de shíhòu, xūyào yòng yīngwén.)
A great many people in Taiwan can speak English, but sometimes it is necessary to use Chinese.


Pure and simple


生意人的目的很單純,就是賺錢。對! 賺大錢。
(Shēngyì rén de mùdì hěn dānchún, jiùshì zhuànqián. Duì! Zhuàn dàqián.)
Business people have a very simple objective, and that’s to make money. Right! To earn a LOT of money!




(Wǒ juédé xué yǔyán, yídìng yào xué wénhuà.)
I think that when studying a language, one must also study the culture.


噢! 這個我同意,百分之百同意。
(òu! Zhège wǒ tóngyì, bǎifēnzhībǎi tóngyì.)
Oh, I agree. I agree 100%!




(Nǐ duì shénme yǒu xìngqù?)
What are you interested in?


(Wǒ duì zhōngwén yǒu xìngqù. Wǒ duì xué zhōngwén yǒu xìngqù. Wǒ duì zài táiwān xué zhōngwén yǒu xìngqù.)
I am interested in Chinese. I am interested in learning Chinese. I am interested in learning Chinese in Taiwan.


Chinese is a lyrical, rhythmical language, so now recite along with us!


A: 你最近好嗎? B: 很好很好!
(A: Nǐ zuìjìn hǎo ma? B: Hěn hǎo hěn hǎo!)
How’ve you been lately? Just fine, just fine! 


A: 你最近忙嗎? B: 很忙很忙!
(A: Nǐ zuìjìn máng ma? B: Hěn máng hěn máng)
Have you been busy lately? Very busy, very busy!


A: 你最近的工作忙不忙? B: 工作還是很忙,還是很忙!
(A: Nǐ zuìjìn de gōngzuò máng bù máng? B: Gōngzuò háishì hěn máng, háishì hěn máng!)
Have you been busy at work recently? Work is still very busy, still so busy!


A: 你學中文的目的是什麼?
(A: Nǐ xué zhōngwén de mùdì shì shénme?)
What’s your objective in learning Chinese?


B: 目的? 目的! 目的很單純。賺錢,賺錢,賺大錢!
(B: Mùdì? Mùdì! Mùdì hěn dānchún, zhuànqián, zhuànqián, zhuàn dàqián!)
Objective?! Objective! The purpose is pure and simple: make money, make money, make lots of money.


A: 我覺得 學語言,一定要 學文化。
(A: Wǒ juéde xué yǔyán, yídìng yào xué wénhuà.)
I feel that when learning a language, one must also study the culture.


B: 我同意,我同意,百分之百同意。
(B: Wǒ tóngyì, wǒ tóngyì, bǎifēnzhībǎi tóngyì.)
I agree, I agree, one hundred percent.


A: 學語言,一定要, 學文化。
(A: Xué yǔyán, yídìng yào, xué wénhuà.)
When learning a language, one must also study the culture.


B: 學語言,一定要,學文化。
(B: Xué yǔyán, yídìng yào, xué wénhuà.)
When learning a language, one must also study the culture.


Stroke of Light ep. 72: A Historical Perspective on Women's Status in Taiwan, Pt.II

This week, we speak to female photographer and professor at Naitonal University of Kaohsiung, ms. Hou Shur-tzy. Her photographic series "Japan-Eye-Love-You" explore the long history of exploitative objectification 


National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan

National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan was originally set up by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education in 1984 under the name National Taiwan Academy of Arts Experimental Chinese Orchestra. In 2012, it was renamed National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan under the supervision of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture.


Cooling drinks

John Van Trieste and Shirley Lin introduce cool Taiwanese drinks to cool you off in the summer, starting with special teas, on Status Update.


Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2slRIpt


Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan Pt.I

This week, we explore the historical ruling by Taiwan's grand justices that set into motion the process of legalizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan. 


Taiwan's aging scene

Shirley Lin shares stories about her aging in laws and parents on Jukebox Republic, along with some lovely songs on growing old.


Spanish Taiwan (Part One)

During the 17th Century, Spanish culture was flourishing, and so too was the Spanish Empire. Spain's rule extended from Europe to the Americas and onward to the Philippine Islands in Asia. The Philippine capital of Manila was an especially valuable prize, home to a rich trade. Chinese traders came here to sell silk in exchange for silver hauled across the Pacific Ocean from Spanish Mexico. But all was not well. A great enemy of Spain had arrived in Asia, and in 1624, it set up shop alarmingly close to Manila on an island called Taiwan. In response to this threat, a Spanish expedition went to Taiwan two years later to set up its own colony on the island. 

Professor Jose Eugenio Borao Mateo has made the study of Spanish Taiwan his life's work. He teaches Spanish language and culture at National Taiwan University and is the author of The Spanish Experience in Taiwan, 1626-1642: The Baroque Ending of a Renaissance Endeavor. In this series of programs, he'll be telling us about why the Spanish came here, what they did during their brief stay, and how Spanish Taiwan fell. He'll also be sharing his firsthand experiences digging through this often neglected chapter in Taiwan's story.


Roger Cheng, Taiwanese filmmaker

Roger Cheng is an independent producer/director and produces projects introducing Taiwan for foreign media channels such as BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, National Geographic and Discovery. This week on In the Spotlight, he talks about what happens when he pitches an idea to his team who gives him the thumbs down.


Photo courtesy of Roger Cheng Facebook


Same-sex love

In late May, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court issued a landmark ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. The court said there is no rational basis for "disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethics.” In Chinese Culture 101, we take a brief look at same sex love in Chinese Culture and talk to two young men about their attitudes towards homosexuality. 


The Red Ruby of Grains!

It’s no secret that Feast Meets West host Ellen Chu is a fan of precious gems. She is, after all, a woman of good (expensive?) taste! In the June 3, 2017 edition of the Feast, host Andrew Ryan will be introducing her to a gem that she can actually taste.


What's on the menu today? In our first course, we’ll flip open our Chinese Almanac and introduce a two-week micro-season called “mang chung” (芒種) which means the grains are ready for harvest. In our second course we’ll head into the Feast Meets West Test kitchen where Andrew is going to use a trendy Taiwanese aboriginal seed, known as RED RUBIES to make energy bars! And in our third and final course, we’ll sample those bars and tell you about some of the amazing health properties of what’s also known as Taiwanese Red Quinoa.


Listen now: click on the headphone icon (↑) above to hear this episode, or select previous episodes from the list below (↓).


The Dragon Boat Festival

On a cool, windy Sunday in Taipei, a crowd gathers in stands set up on the side of a riverbank. It’s an international bunch, speaking a mix of languages but all focused with excitement on the river. This is the long weekend leading up to the Dragon Boat Festival, a sure sign that summer is on its way. And today is day one of of the annual dragon boat races at Dachia Riverside Park. Everyone from companies to politial parties seems to have fielded a team. For three days, these rowers will race along a stretch of the river here, driven on by their teams’ drummers in the back of their boats. Each team is vying for a place on the final rankings table.


Across Taiwan today, dragon boat races like this one are held as a festive way of keeping fit and celebrating the warmer weather. But the dragon boat race’s roots stretch back thousands of years to the life of an ancient poet. Meanwhile, many of the other customs people follow during the Dragon Boat Festival stem from an old belief that early summer is a time when people should be on guard against evil and disease. This week, we’re taking a look at the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival and the many traditions attached to it.


Stroke of Light ep. 71: A Historical Perspective on Women's Status in Taiwan, Pt.I

We speak to female photographer Hou I-ting follows and follow her photographs to travel back in time to Japan's colonial occupation era of Taiwan and see how the education system back then still shape women's identity to this day.  


Fitting in in Chinese

“Fitting in in Chinese” is a special series on Chinese to Go, which is jointly produced by the Chinese Language Center of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Radio Taiwan International.


Episode 1


Fitting in in Chinese is a book for learning about Chinese language and culture.


Today we are going to learn several things about Taiwan. For example, what language does this Pacific island, with its population of 23 million, use?






Excuse me, pardon me



(Wèn wèntí yǐqián, yídìng yào xiān shuō shénme?)

What must one say first when asking a question?



Wèn wèntí yǐqián, yídìng yào xiān shuō `qǐngwèn'

(Before asking a question, one must first say “Qing wen.”)







(Zhè jǐ gè dōu shì Táiwān hǎowán de dìfāng)

These places are all fun to visit in Taiwan.



(Zhèxiē dìfāng hǎo zhǎo ma?)

Are these places easy to find?







(Zhège hǎidǎo de sìzhōu dōu shì hǎi ma?)

Is this island surrounded on all four sides by the sea?



(Shì de. Hǎidǎo de sìzhōu dōu shì hǎi.)

Yes! An island is ALWAYS surrounded by water!







(Táiwān yǒu duōshǎo rénkǒu?)

What is the population of Taiwan?



(Táiwān yǒu liǎng qiān sānbǎi wàn de rénkǒu.)

Taiwan has a population of 23 million.




About, approximately



(Zhè zhǐshì yīgè dàyuē de shùzì.)

This is an approximate number.



(Dàyuē de shùzì jiù gòule.)

An approximate number is really good enough.




Mandarin Chinese



(Táiwān dàduōshù de rén dōu shuō huáyǔ.)

The majority of people in Taiwan speak Mandarin.



(Tái yǔ gēn huáyǔ yīyàng ma?)

Is Taiwanese the same as Mandarin?







(hěn duō tái wān rén dōu huì shuō yīng wén.)

Quite a few Taiwanese can speak English.



(Niánqīng rén yīnggāi dōu huì shuō yīngwén ba!)

Young people should all be able to speak English!


Cultural Insights



(Lǐ duō rén bú guài)

Nobody Can Blame You for Being “Too Polite.”



(Táiwān rén dōu hěn yǒushàn, hěn lèyì bāngmáng.)

People in Taiwan are all very friendly and happy to help.


只要你面帶微笑,客氣請教, 說錯話也不會責怪你的。

(Zhǐyào nǐ miàn dài wéixiào, kèqì qǐngjiào, shuō cuò huà yě bù huì zéguài nǐ de.)

If you wear a smile and ask politely, no one will find fault with you, even if you say something incorrectly.


Blast of air

In today's Ear to the Ground, Andrew Ryan wraps up a mini-series on rice farming, just as the farmers finish harvesting their crop. Plus, he discovers an interesting machine that brings some unexpected joy at the end of a hard day.


Listen Now: Click on the headphone icon (↑) above to listen to the latest episode. To learn more about the program and listen to additional episodes, click on "Ear to the Ground" at the top of the page.


Dizi by Yu Xunfa Part II

This edition features the second part of a selection of Taiwanese classics performed by dizi master Yu Xunfa (Jan 8, 1946-Jan 21, 2006) who made the art of the dizi become popular in the 1970s.


Some famous tunes featured on this week’s Jade Bells and Bamboo Pipes include:

1.河邊春夢 Spring Dream by the River

This Taiwanese song was composed in 1934 by a Japanese during the Japanese occupation and the river in the title refers to Tamsui River in Taipei. It was remixed by some other pop singers in Taiwan later on.


2. 阮若打開心內的門窗If I Open the Door to My Heart

If I Open the Door to My Heart is a Taiwanese folk song composed by a Taiwanese dentist and writer, Lu Chuan-sheng(呂泉生) in 1958. The song was written by Wang Chang-hsiung (王昶雄)who studied in in Japan for almost one year and described how everyone goes back home to his family after dusk and his longing for home. He thus said If One Opens the Door to His/Her Heart, then one could see the twilight of the hometown.


3. 青春嶺The Hill of Youth

 This tune was composed in Taiwan in 1936 during the Japanese occupation period and it describes how the young people in the conservative era longed for free love in Taiwan.


Rice dumplings and dragon boats

John Van Trieste, Jake Chen and Shirley Lin the trio chime in to talk about the Dragon Boat Festival and their love for the rice dumplings, on Status Update.


Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2qe3cOG


Marrying later in life -- a new trend in Taiwan pt.V

People in Taiwan are marrying at a considerably later age compared to their parents. What causes such shifts? Is it the women who choose careers over cihldbearing? Is it the increase in cost of living? Let's found out in this new mini-series on Trends. 



Taiwan's ambulances

How do Taiwan's ambulance sirens sound and if Shirley thinks they're effective enough to do their job? Find out what she has to say on Jukebox Republic.


Photo credit: Taipei_City_Fire_Department_VW_T5_Ambulance_Parked_in_Section_5,_Minsheng_East_Road_20140419b


Dragon Boat Festival

Tune into Classic Shorts to hear the story of Qu Yuan and the Dragon Boat Festival traditions. 


Dragon Boat Festival

Hear the story of Wu Zixu, a politician who was a model of loyalty and is remembered on the Dragon Boat Festival. 


The Former British Consulate at Takao (Part Two)

For well over a century, a brick building has watched over the entrance of Kaohsiung Harbor. This is the former British Consulate at Takao, Takao being an old name for Kaohsiung. It’s a reminder of how this port city in southern Taiwan, full of container ships and maritime traffic today, first became involved in international commerce. Kaohsiung was among the imperial Chinese harbors forced open to foreign trade by western powers after the Second Opium War. During the 1860's, this newly opened port became a center of sugar exports, while opium and factory-made textiles became the chief imports. Britain, one of the chief forces behind the opening of Kaohsiung, was eager to protect its nationals and expand trade here, and in order to further these interests, it decided to set up a consulate here.

Last week, we heard from Lin Shang-ying, the deputy head of Kaohsiung’s Cultural Affairs Bureau about the consulate’s day-to-day operations and the trade that went on around the harbor. This week, she’s back to take us on a tour inside the consulate, where a display of life-size wax figures brings scenes of life here in the 19th century Kaohsiung to life. Through these scenes, we're going to meet some of the people who actually worked in and around this building and get a sense of this consulate’s place in Taiwan’s history.


Roger Cheng, filmmaker

Roger Cheng is a filmmaker who founded his own media company but now works freelance on all kinds of documentaries and projects. Hear his interesting stories and experiences on In the Spotlight.


Balancing act

This coming Tuesday, May 30 is the dragon boat festival in Taiwan, so today in the Saturday May 27, 2017 edition of the Feast, we’re going to fill you in on a strange tradition of balancing eggs!


What's on the menu today? In our first course, we are going to get to the bottom of the tradition of balancing eggs. People in many parts of the world do this during the spring equinox, so why do people in Taiwan do it during the Dragon Boat Festival? Plus we’ll try to balance some eggs in the studio. In our second course we are going to introduce alternatives to the traditional Dragon Boat Festival food offerings. And in our third and final course, we are going to sample a very unusual related food which may have some people questioning: is it a protein or is it a fruit?


Listen now: click on the headphone icon (↑) above to hear this episode, or select previous episodes from the list below (↓).



Zongzi, a delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, costs about US$2 per piece. In Chinese Culture 101, find out more about the sticky rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves and why the fifth lunar month was considered a "bad month"  in ancient times. 


Daxi Spinning Tops

Visit the park in Daxi, Taoyuan, and you may be treated to a special show. Here throughout the year, you’ll find people practicing an art form that’s become synonymous with this town- the art of spinning tops. If you’ve played with tops growing up, this might not strike you as the sort of thing that could be called an art form. But in Daxi, this is serious business. In the park, street performers wind up their tops on a length of rope and throw them out in a single, practiced motion. The tops land atop their targets- metal stands of different heights set out in an array- and the crowds applaud as they continue to spin in place with barely a wobble.


These grown-up performers have some impressive skills, but they’ve got nothing on some of the kids of who live in this town. At the local Mei Hua Elementary School, you’ll find a top spinning team, whose elaborate tricks have won them serious renown well beyond Taiwan. To find out more about this unusual program, we’re talking today with the school’s top spinning trainer Wu Chien-wu.