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1061 42 1

Vol. 42 No. 1 January 2017


Taiwan Panorama

The Charm of the 24 Solar Terms



Ellisa Yao


Ive been reading Taiwan Panorama for years,
from my barefoot youth all the way through my time
abroad, because it captures the moment and makes it
Thank you, Taiwan Panorama, beautifully eternal. (Ellisa Yao, Norway)
for the light you have shone upon
this land for so many years.
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Panoramas brilliance as well.
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40 years, I have a particular fondness
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layout like Fortune. I love Taiwan Panorama because it lets me read about
(Kent Wang, USA) Taiwanese trends, customs, and history in other languages.
(Daniel Liao, Taoyuan)

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journalistic odyssey. The heartfelt letters we have received
have encouraged us to be bold in launching the magazine
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Publisher: David Tawei LEE English Editors: Audrey CHEN, Robert TAYLOR, Phil NEWELL
Director: Paul Kuoboug CHANG Japanese Editors: YAMAGUCHI Yukina, Shila SHIH
Editor-in-Chief: TIEN Yun-liang Senior Administrative Editor: DUAN Shu-hwa
Senior Writer: LIU Yingfeng
Writers: Cathy TENG, CHEN Chun-fang Deputy Manager: CHEN Jyun-wei
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Rhythms of Life

F lipping through a Chinese Farmers Almanac, one

finds it full of detailed notes on what to do when and
what to avoid when. But the dates are also accompanied
from the joy of the tea ceremony to the enticing scent of
a fresh brew.
Our Living History series looks at the 120th anni-
by a variety of descriptive seasonal names like Awak- versary of Chunghwa Post, and the 20th anniversary of
ening of Insects, Clear and Bright, Grain Rain, Mi- the International Cooperation and Development Fund.
nor Heat, Limit of Heat and Frosts Descent. These As they reach these historical milestones, both organi-
are the solar terms, playing out over the year as the zations are dedicated to committed and wholehearted
greater seasons change. Each 15-day solar term is like a service to the people. One is oriented inward, the other
bar of music, the 24 coming together in a great natural outward; one dives deep into rural life, the other reaches
symphony, a rhythm that repeats in celebration through out to distant allies. Honor, responsibility, and commit-
the highs and lows of life. ment are credos, are duties, and even more are missions
This symphony, long ago arranged by the heavens, of selflessness.
plays out in our environment, with sun and clouds, rain This months Southeast Asian Focus presents a re-
and shine, summer and winter all following their spec- port of outreach to other AsiaPacific cultures in both the
ified parts as the seasons and climate change in their north and the south of Taiwan. Warm winds caress Tai-
regulated procession. Still we follow our ancestors rules wan from Southeast Asia, bringing a new climate, new
of wisdom and experience, the essence of the solar terms nourishment, and growing ties with the nations of the
shining through in our food and drink, our natural and region. As together we seek to develop a shared vision,
manmade environments, and our art. By immersing our- we reach out across cultures in a firm handshake.
selves in these, we can experience that same daily wis- As each solar term plays its part in the regular sym-
dom and local culture ourselves, gaining a sense of the phony of nature, following the rise and fall of the seasons,
life stories of every inch of land that makes up Taiwan. their passage brings with it reminders, arrangements, and
In this months issue, we conclude our series of ar- comfort to the bodies and souls of all the worlds chil-
ticles on the seven necessities of the Chinese kitchen: dren. With the regular procession through wind, warmth,
charcoal, rice, oil, salt, sauces, vinegar, and lastly tea. rain, drought, and cold, the rhythms of life are a beautiful
Our feature brings you tales of tea and taste from the age tribute to happy lives, both fast and slow. l
of sea trade to the resurgent elegance of the teahouse, (Tien Yun-liang/tr. by Geof Aberhart)

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1061 42 1 Vol. 42 No. 1 January 2017
The Charm of the 24 Solar Terms


Natures Hidden Treasures
Journeys of Flowers, Birds, and

Living History Taiwanese Abroad



Our Good Neighbor at 120 Dedicated to Community Service:
Chunghwa Post Adapts to a New Era World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce
President Jason Lin

72 20

The International Cooperation and

Development Fund20 Years On


The Golden Age of Taiwanese Tea Exports

Fragrant SpacesDaxi Tea Factory

Tea Your Way to Happiness

16 36

Reimagining Architecture Cheers to Craft Beers
Symbiosis of Space and Nature Fresh Flavors to Delight the Taste Buds

26 46

Comfort Food Like from the Wizarding World
Cultivating Taiwans Local Flavors A Colorful New Take on the 24 Solar Terms

Southeast Asian Focus


AsiaPacific Cultural Festivals Take the
Stage in North and South

Editors Note

Rhythms of Life

The Fleeting World


54 Cover: The turning of the seasons and
the passage of the 24 solar terms are
Variety Pages
reflected in the rich cycle of nature and
the abundance of the harvest.
(design by Henry Wang)
T erms
The 24 Solar

Natures Hidden Treasures
Journeys of Flowers, Birds, and Butterflies

T hink of the Chinese calendars 24 solar terms

as a clocks perpetually revolving hands, marking
time throughout the year. Over the span of a thou-
sand years, their regular motion has become part of
Chinese cultures genetic makeup. With this clock
as a guide, we can explore the natural world, for it
knows the movements of the sun, the direction of the
wind, and the currents of the seas. And there are even
stranger natural forces afoot that sync the rhythms
of the blooming flowers, the emergence of the cicadas,
and the nesting of birds with lifes pursuits. These
forces become part and parcel of our daily lives and
set the tempo for an individuals footsteps.

6 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

by Hu Ju-yu

Clouds shot through with sunlight

are reflected in calm waters, in
the season when nature rests and
recoups its strength according to
the cycle of the solar terms.


Through her travels around Taiwan, Laila Fan
experienced the rhythms of the four seasons.
Traveling was never just about seeing. Listening, in
fact, proved to be even more important. The sounds
of the wind and the water, the chirping of bugs, and
the warbling of birds are all highlights.

In a scene of spectacular beauty, fog enshrouds
the mountains and layers of cloud float in profound



8 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

When it comes to explaining the relation-
ship between the solar terms and changes in
the natural world, no one does it better than
Laila Fan, Yezi, and Anfernee Shih.
Thus Laila Fan, chronicler of wild places,
has authored Traveling with the Solar Terms.
Yezi, a plant expert who avoids the spotlight
and whose penname means leaf, has given
us Photographing Flowers According to the Solar
Terms. And Anfernee Shih, who left behind a
background in industrial technology to become
a commentator on the world of insects and
amphibians (his online nickname is Little But-
terfly), published A Seasonal Eco-tourism Guide
of Butterfly-Watching in Taiwan.
Early spring treasure map
Anfernee Shih began chasing butterflies in
the third grade. He was guided by an Early
Spring Treasure Map that introduced butter-
flies appearing from the third solar term (Awak-
ening of Insects), which falls in early March, to
the fifth solar term (Clear and Bright), which
ends in mid-April. These butterflies included
Celastrina sugitanii; the Chinese hairstreak (Am-
blopala avidiena); the freak (Calinaga buddha); the
lesser mime (Papilio epycides); Graphium timur;
the sixbar swordtail (Graphium eurous); and
the tawny mime (Papilio agestor). And the best
place to collect these seven treasures is the river
valley in the village of Fushan, in New Taipei
Citys Wulai District.
Early spring butterflies appear only fleet-
ingly, and as soon as summer begins they are
nowhere to be seen. After that brief explosion,
however, there are two particularly famous
protected species that can be found after Start
of Summerthe broad-tailed swallowtail (Age-
hana maraho) and the Japanese emperor (Sasakia
charonda). Jiuzhize Hot Spring on Yilans Mt. Tai
ping, Mingchi Forest Recreational Area (also in
Yilan), and areas along the Northeast Coast are
mustvisit destinations for butterfly watchers.
As soon as Summer Solstice (the 10th solar
term) ends in late June, the temperature slowly
rises, and highaltitude butterflies stir to life. At
Frosts Descent (the 18th solar term, occurring



From left to right: The life cycles of the broad-tailed swallowtail

(photo by Anfernee Shih), Mugimaki flycatcher (photo by Lin
Lizhong) and little tern (photo by Su Hui-chao) unfold in turn
through the spring. The blooming of the blue jacaranda (photo by
Su Hui-chao) signals the arrival of summer.

10 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

in late October), their numbers are greatly re- senna (Senna sulfurea) during Minor Snow, and
duced. Some varieties also change their appear- of course the Chinese plum (Prunus mume)
ance, donning a special look for winter. At this during Major Cold, the flowers of which open
season, the sun is still scorching in Southern Tai- in ever greater numbers as the cold increases.
wan, but the best choices for butterfly watching For Yezi, capturing flora in their ideal solar
are Xinhua in Tainan, Pingtung Countys Mt. terms is also a process of perception, by which
Dahan, and Meinong in Kaohsiung. she can grasp the true nature of the plants not
Flowers too beckon to be photographed in all through the camera, but through the senses.
their glorious detail. Each type of flora has its The photos merely act as annotations for the
ideal time to be photographed, says Yezi. And sensory experience and as narrative of the vi-
this is the reason that she published Photograph sual spectacle.
ing Flowers According to the Solar Terms. The book Traveling by calendar
features 50 of Taiwans most common plants After many years of traveling around Tai-
and lists the most suitable time of the year (by wan, Laila Fan first presented her experiences
solar terms) to photograph them. Examples in- through the rhythms of the four seasons, and
clude the blossoms of the Taiwan cherry (Prunus only later used a more detailed scheme incorpo-
campanulata) during Start of Spring, upright rating the 24 solar terms. Her travels never rely
elephant ears (Alocasia odora) during Clear and solely on observation. Listening, in fact, is even
Bright, blue jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) more important than watching. And the sounds
during Start of Summer, flamegold (Koelreute of the wind and the water, the chirping of bugs,
ria elegans) during White Dew, glossy shower and the warbling of birds are all highlights.




10 14


Silvergrass flowers at the foot of Teapot Mountain near

Jinguashi herald the arrival of late autumn.
winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus) arrive for
another winter. Garden chrysanthemums (Chry-
In the wilds, the Chinese sparrowhawk, at times
circling and at times resting, divulges to its human kin santhemum morifolium) are in full bloom and the
the secrets of the solar terms. (photo by Lin Lizhong)
leaves of the Formosan sweetgum (Liquidambar
formosana) take on a reddish hue in late winter. At
Year after year, we have experienced the nat- this time of year, cherry blossom watchers begin
ural rhythms of life during the various solar to count the days before the spring flowering.
terms and relearned the lessons of Awakening Fan has learned to plan her travels around
of Insects (spring) and Cold Dew (autumn), the unique call of each of the solar terms. Peter
previewing life withered and reborn. This is the Mau-hsiu Yang, a philosopher and Fans some-
source of natures teachings, Fan says. time traveling companion, explains. On the
During Start of Spring, she went to see the one hand, you learn to plan your travels around
blooming of oilseed rape (Brassica napus), then lifes rhythms, becoming sensitive to the pulse
the azaleas (Rhododendron simsii) and the blos- of the Earth, he says. On the other hand, you
soms of the peach tree (Prunus persica). And learn to slow down and take notice of the little
during the Grain Rain solar term in late April, thingsa tiny flower, an insect, small changes in
the fireflies take wing, corals spawn, and flying scenerythe things that make you stop, hunch
fish come calling. During the months from May over and take a closer look.
to August (Start of Summer to Start of Autumn), The coming of the eagles
the petals of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii) swirl For birdwatchers, the climaxes of the year
through the air, swallows prepare their nests, have always been the spring and autumn mi-
and the yellow flowers of the Formosa acacia grations.
(Acacia confusa) bloom, followed by the blossom- Known as the Dongyin bird king, Lin Li-
ing of alpine flowers such as Dianthus pygmaeus zhong, a resident of Matsus Dongyin Island,
and Gentiana arisanensis. September is the peak has for years spent his days crouching under a
season for alpine flowers, and when the Japa- camouflaged canopy silently recording the phe-
nese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) flowers and nomenon in images.
sets its seed, it gives the slopes the appearance In the period from Cold Dew (early October)
of a field of wildfire. Life then enters a period of to Frosts Descent (late October) the Chinese
dormancy and recuperation. sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) and the grey
During Start of Winter, dry creek beds sprout faced buzzard (Butastur indicus) migrate through
silvergrass (Miscanthus floridulus), while black Taiwan in large numbers. The grey-faced buz-
faced spoonbills (Platalea minor) and black zard rides the wind on an annual northsouth




The frost and snow of winter signal the end of the annual
rotation of the 24 solar terms, which then begin the journey
all over again.

journey of 9,000 kilometers. Arriving flock after flock,
thousands upon thousands of these raptors seek a place
17 to roost in mountainous areas of the Hengchun Peninsula
and in Changhua Countys Bagua Mountains. On the next
day, as soon as they have filled their bellies, the birds con-
1 tinue along their southern migration route. The arrival and

departure of the eaglesoccurring in the solar terms of

Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew, and Frosts Descentare a
must for birders, and one of autumns most stunning sights.
Aside from Dongyin, Yilan Countys Guishan Island
320 provides a migratory rest stop for buntings between the
Grain Rain (late April) and Start of Summer (early May)
solar terms. On April 30, Su Fu-mei, professor emerita
at National Taiwan Normal University, and members of
the Wild Bird Society of Taipei, recorded the presence of
various bunting species on Guishan. The birds they en-

countered included the yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza

aureola), the chestnut bunting (E. rutila), the little bunting (E.

pusilla), the blackfaced bunting (E. spodocephala), Tristrams

bunting (E. tristrami), and the yellowthroated bunting (E.
elegans). They even sighted an African stonechat (Saxicola
l torquatus), decked out in its breeding plumage.

14 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

And its not just crops that are affected.

In the past at Houdong in the mountains of
New Taipei City, in late October (after Frosts
Descent), the splendid Bretschneidera sinensis,
a flowering tree, would bloom for a brief pe-
riod. This year, however, the flowers failed to
appear, leaving Chen Qingke, a plant special-
ist who has been working to preserve them for
17 years, to hope wistfully for their survival.
In former years, it was common to see al-
pine birds such as the Taiwan yuhina (Yuhina
brunneiceps) and the firebreasted flower-
pecker (Dicaeum ignipectus) feeding on the
fruit of yanagi ichigo (Debregeasia orientalis)
growing on Mt. Lala in the spring. This spec-
tacle, however, can no longer be seen, because
the snow brought by an unusually cold Jan-
uary froze the shrubs, making them another
Natures broken clock casualty of climate change.
Snow in the coastal plains, record-high Moreover, because of the late blooming of
temperatures, torrential rains, and autumn the winter flowers, Wuling Farm, a popular
typhoons. These were the dramatic climatic tourist spot in Taichung, announced that the
events faced by Taiwan in 2016. Birdwatchers end of the cherry blossom season would be
have recorded how these climatic aberrations pushed back from February 22nd to March
are affecting autumnal migration patterns 10th. Similarly, indicators point to a late
and causing birds to show up in unexpected blooming date of March 20th for cherry blos-
places. Orange-headed thrushes (Geokichla som viewing on Mt. Ali, shifting the phenom-
citrina) have landed in the Qijin District of enon into the Vernal Equinox solar term.
Kao hsiung City and Lapland longspurs While flora will adapt to climatic changes
(Calcarius lapponicus) have appeared in Long in order to survive, humans must take respon-
dong, New Taipei City. Grey-faced buzzards sibility for environmental change (one could
have mysteriously circled over Taipeis Hua- say deterioration), according to Chen Qingke.
jiang Wild Duck Nature Park for a few days. Throughout the unending cycle of the so-
And this year there has also been an explo- lar terms, natures subtle and not-so-subtle
sion of Narcissus flycatchers (Ficedula narcis- changes are reminding humans that the Earth
sina) and bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla), does not belong to us alone. It belongs to soil
which can be seen everywhere. and stoneand to all living things. Its worth
Farmers have been even harder hit by the remembering Aldo Leopolds exhortation in
climatic changes. Crops, including tea, are be- A Sand County Almanac & Other Writings: The
ing harvested later and later, even as the crop opportunity to see geese is more important
size dwindles. The 24 solar terms are totally than television, he wrote, and the chance to
out of whack, sighs Lin Qingyuan, winner find a pasqueflower is a right as inalienable
of the Shennong Award (a national farming as free speech. l
award named after the mythical founder of (Su Hui-chao/photos by Chuang Kung-ju/
Chinese agriculture and herbal medicine). tr. by Robert Green)

T erms
The 24 Solar

Reimagining Architecture
Symbiosis of Space and Nature

A s people the world over face environ-

mental degradation and cultural re-

gression, a group of Taiwanese people work-

ing in the field of architecture are convinced

that the solar terms, passed down by the

ancestors of the Chinese people, can be an

by Hu Ju-yu, Henry Wang

antidote to problems in modern society.

The solar terms are divisions of the year

into 24 periods of about 15 days each, each with
its own special spirit. The expression for solar

term in Chinese is literally spirit of the sea-

son. Most Taiwanese peoples first impression

of the solar terms comes from farmers alma-

nacs, a must-have in every household, or from
the tradition of consuming tonics during Start
of Winter, the first of the six winter solar terms.
As for buildings associated with the solar terms,
a particularly impressive example is the Temple
of Heaven in Beijing. Its layout represents the
ancient Chinese concept of round Heaven and
flat Earth, and the 24 middle and outer pillars

symbolize the 24 terms. Another example is the

One can perceive and appreciate solar term
architecture in every surface and corner. door gods of the 24 solar terms painted on


In such a living space,
surrounded by verdure,
mind and body can relax
and connect with nature.

18 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

the four doors of the Hall of Literacy in Chao-
tian Temple in Beigang, Yunlin County, by the

late artist Chen Shouyi from Tainan.

Solar terms architecture

In 2009, the Solar Terms Architecture
Task Force was formed in central Taiwan by
24 Chiang Wen-yuan, Allen Hooboth veteran
practicing architectsand Lee Shwuting, then
dean of the Department of Architecture at
Feng Chia University. Solar Terms Architec-

ture, as proposed by the task force, is not sim-

ply architecture based on the 24 solar terms,

climate and surroundings, but rather archi-

tecture in a broader sense that incorporates
every aspect of our lives. The task force aims
to rediscover the Chinese philosophy of and
attitude toward architecture, building abodes
for the soul that touch peoples hearts.
Jieqi, Yijing, Wholeness: 5-Dimensional Ar-
chitecture, a book published several months
ago, took the Solar Terms Architecture Task

Force six years to finish and is the preliminary

result of its work. Chiang Wen-yuan describes
a building as a container for peoples lives, a
living organism tightly integrated into its sur-
roundings, a site of daily life tightly connected
to nature, and a place where people can relax.
Chiang takes inspiration from the tradi-

tional solar terms and from old villages. Take

Taiwans old courtyard residences, for exam-

ple. In the past, when there was no electricity

Lee Shwuting takes
time out to commune
with nature.




Chiang Wen-yuan focuses on old villages and the traditional
solar terms, creating a holistic connected ambiance.
or air-conditioning, courtyard houses were courtyard is called the heart of Heaven, a
cool in summer and warm in winter, because hub for sky and earth and man and god, an
they were built facing south, to greet the interface where humankind and nature meet.
southerly seasonal breezes of summer and Chiang Wen-yuan is very moved to see a
ward off the cold northerlies of winter. The landscape of terraced fields and traditional
buildings represent a dialogue between peo- masonry irrigation ditches, rarely seen in
ple and nature. Northern Taiwan, preserved in Bayan Village
The central courtyard may seem useless in New Taipei Citys Jinshan District. More-
but in fact has many purposes, serving as over, people living in old towns like Jiufen or
a place where grain is dried, people work, Jinguashi in New Taipei City and Zhushan in
children play, adults mingle, and weddings, Nantou County have gradually become more
funerals and other ceremonies are held. The aware of so-called solar terms architecture.


The indoor space and the outdoor aromatic garden at the
Je Shui Pavilion echo and complement each other.

Frank Lloyd Wright

22 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Abodes for the soul

In both old towns and courtyard homes,
we can find commonly used but overlooked
corners where the energy flows of people
and places congregate. Chiang cites the Je Shui

Pavilion located in Zhubei City in northwest-

ern Taiwan as an example. The pavilions outer People can admire the traditional customs, the
scenery and the cultural life of Zhubei at the Je Shan
wall is long, but there is only one small gate 120 buildings, constructed in harmony with the cycle of
centimeters wide. When you visit the pavilion, the solar terms. (courtesy of Banmu Tang)

the first thing you see is the sign of the pavilion

in the shade of the trees outside the gate, which
welcomes visitors and bids them farewell. As balanced proportions; while Eastern architecture
you walk in, what you see next is an Earth God is a fluid music that does not focus on outward
temple with a temple square. The layout reso- appearance. He associates the Bodhisattva Tem-
nates with the land-based culture and ethics of ple, a task-force creation, with a traditional Chi-
a traditional agrarian society. nese poem that goes: Deep, deep, how deep the
Take a turn and you will see a huge rock, courtyards are. A perfect example of solar terms
making you feel as though you have entered a architecture, the temple is a place for people to
mountain village. Then you see a garden, not heighten awareness and visit space in time, and
of ornamental plants but rather of edible plants have a holistic, five-dimensional experience in
such as sweet potato, Chinese angelica and which sensation and location merge, as they were
papaya. There are also chickens scratching and supposed to do in traditional Chinese poetry.
pecking around. Stroll across a small bridge and Chiang Wen-yuan and Allen Hoo founded
you will hear the burbling sound of a brook, the architectural firm Banmu Tang Environmen-
which filters out the noise of the bustling traffic tal Integration and came up with the idea of so-
outside. After you cross the bridge, youll see a lar terms architecture based on years of expe-
traditional cooking stove of a kind now rarely rience as practicing architects. They envision an
seen in cities. This is the favorite corner of the architecture that not only meets peoples needs
employees at the pavilion, who lunch here on a for basic lodging and leisure but also integrates
daily basis. Every day, you can see people feed- with nature, effecting what ancient Chinese phi-
ing the chickens as they eat. losophers called peaceful coexistence and unity
A serene temple situated in a bustling city, of heaven and humanity.
the Bodhisattva Temple in Dali District, Tai- Lee Shwuting also confides that the core value
chung, was designed by Chiang Wen-yuan. of solar terms architecture is the Tao or Way
When just built, the fair-faced concrete walls of mentioned in a passage in Laozis Tao Te Ching
the temple were austere. However, over time that goes: Man follows Earth. Earth follows the
they have been embellished with greenery, and Universe. The Universe follows the Tao. The Tao
are now covered most of the year, being only follows only itself. In other words, the Tao of
bare in winter. Time has inscribed an ecological solar terms architecture is based on humanity
succession on the walls and adorns the temple and the universe. Inspired by this core value,
in various styles in different seasons. forgiving, adaptable abodes for the soul have
To Chiang, Western architecture is like a static been built in the hopes of bringing about the
music that emphasizes form, visual effect and peaceful coexistence of heaven and humanity.

24 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1
Symbiosis with nature
Frank Lloyd Wright believed that the ar-
chitect who studies life and understands life
will achieve the greatest success.
The goal of solar terms architecture is
to rediscover the symbiosis between human-
kind, architecture and nature that character-
izes old settlements and courtyard houses,
so that people who have lost touch with
the seasons with the advent of electricity
and air-conditioning, people who no longer
follow the solar terms tradition, people
whose mental and physical health suffers en-
vironmental repercussions, can recover by re-
forming relationships that have been broken

The Bodhisattva Temple in Dali, Taichung is a

off, relationships captured in the old saying:
peaceful oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city, respect heaven and humanity, listen to your
a place where the alternations of nature arouse
different sensations with the changes of the seasons. surroundings.
The slogan of the Je Shan (like a moun-
tain) series of buildings built by Banmu
Tang in Zhubei is Lets bring back water and
trees! Lets invite bulbuls, dragonflies and
fireflies back home! Banmu Tang is proud to

hear from the residents of the buildings that

they often see fireflies, Chinese tree toads and

light-vented bulbuls around their buildings.

As the residents are guided by solar terms
architecture to follow the solar terms, learn
local customs and agrarian traditions, and
create collective memories by celebrating fes-
tivals with their neighbors, a contemporary
solar terms lifestyle has taken shape.
Lee Shwu ting, Chiang Wen-yuan, Allen

Hoo and other members of the Solar Terms

Architecture Task Force are convinced that

they are not alone in their pursuit of the Tao.
In addition to Taiwans local solar terms
architecture, which has established sites of
subjectivity that grow out of the local soil,
distinctive architectures that celebrate the
spirit of each season of the year can be found

all over the world. Lets join hands and wel-

come new natural and spiritual vistas on


our contemporary civilization!

(Tempest Lai/photos by Chuang Kung-ju/

l tr. by Darryl Sterk)

The 24 Solar

Comfort Food
Cultivating Taiwans Local Flavors

T he solar terms are derived from the wis-
dom of our ancient Chinese ancestors,
guiding people toward coexistence with the

environment and farming according to times

and seasons. But as industrial and com-

mercial activities have gradually replaced
agriculture in modern society, the role of the

(courtesy of Seed Design)
solar terms has been slowly fading.
Fortunately, there are people who appre-
ciate the value of the solar terms in Chinese

culture. A company called Seed Design, for

example, promotes a diet related to the solar

terms, and an organization called Taiwan

Way encourages organic cultivation in

Taiwans Aboriginal communities, and runs
a restaurant using ingredients produced
according to the terms. These groups have
revived the solar terms as a natural part of
peoples lives through food.

art by Hu Ju-yu, Henry Wang



The beautiful flavors of solar term foods are preserved in
glass jars at Seed Design.

28 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

As early as the Spring and Autumn Period
(770476 BCE) of the Zhou Dynasty, ancient
Chinese astronomers devised the solar terms
according to the position of the sun every 15
degrees along the ecliptic, making each solar
term a period of approximately 15 days. Each
has its unique characteristics: for example,
when spring thunder sounds during Awak-
ening of Insects, all living things on the
earth wake up; while at Frosts Descent,
winter is approaching and the weather is get-
ting cold. In the past, farmers would organize
their agricultural program according to the
solar terms, and they became an agricultural
calendar in the ancient Chinese world that
has endured to this day. a deep sapphire blue. So the company cleverly
Solar terms in color uses xingguan baolan (stars in a sapphire blue
While the ancient Chinese used texts to sky) to describe Major Heat, bringing a cool
explain the solar terms, Seed Design employs mood to a hot summers day.
colors to interpret their characteristics. For The solar terms can become an important
example, sapphire blue is used to represent part of peoples lives, says Pink Kan, creative
Major Heat (the hottest time of the year).
While many might argue that the hottest
day should be hot red, the company thought

about the color of the sky after sunset, just Seed Design believes the solar terms are an
before darkness falls. At that moment when important part of life, and bring a more natural flavor
to dining. Their foods are displayed in decorative
the stars are just becoming visible, the sky is patterns. (photo above courtesy of Seed Design)

director at Seed Design. They are very important for Chi-
nese people. In fact, they are our lives: we eat the produce
that farmers cultivate according to the solar terms. By so
doing, we come to appreciate the functions of the solar
terms, the land, and the wisdom of our Chinese ancestors.
Then we feel more confident in facing the world.
In order to explore the profound cultural expression
of solar terms, Kan set up Seed Sight Lab next to Seed
Designs office to transform produce grown according to
the solar terms into a range of delicious foods ready for
the dining table.
Fresh chives, which are in season at Start of Spring,
together with bean sprouts, omelet and fried sakura
shrimps, all in a spring roll wrapping, becomes a dish
called chun jiu zhi yue (spring chives rendezvous), which
is full of the atmosphere of spring. Watermelon harvested
With a rich cultural foundation springing from
the solar terms, Seed Design is able to explore at Minor Heat, diced and sprinkled with cheese, lemon
creative uses of local foods in its research lab.
zest and toasted pine nuts, becomes a dish that uses com-
mon local ingredients, but boasts an exotic tang.
Seed Design have edited their delicious solar term diet
recipes into eight books, which are as much about the aes-

8 thetics of life as they are about healthy eating.

Solar terms in daily life

Food produced according to the solar terms is not

only good to eat fresh; it also makes delicious preserves

through natural drying or pickling. We divide the ingre-
dients into fresh and preserved, and whats important

when cooking is to think about what fresh ingredients are
suitable to cook with preserved, rather than what the dish
is called says Maya Ma, an employee of Seed Design.
Adding onions cooked in red wine to braised beef, or
using sugared roses when cooking a dessert to enhance

aromas, Seed Design aims to promote new ways of think-

ing about the interactions between fresh and preserved

ingredients in order to create new flavors. A solar term
diet can be simple, but is never boring.
In addition to ingredients that can be bought from
the market, homegrown Chinese basil, rosemary or wild
flowers and herbs can form an important part of a solar
term diet. For Seed Design, the solar terms are not just

related to food, but can also be an important part of peo-

ples lives. For example, the ingredients make delicious

food but create beautiful decorations for the dining table

as well.
For special events, Seed Design uses seasonal herbs to
create a circle on the dining table at each diners place,

30 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Cultivation according to
the seasons and climate
is an inheritance from
ancient Chinese ancestors.
The solar terms have been
used for millennia as an
agricultural calendar.




32 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Wu Meimao (right) has encouraged

organic farming among Taiwans Aboriginal
communities for many years. This year, she
opened a restaurant called Original Food to
deliver the simple but rich flavors of solar term
food. (photo at right courtesy of Taiwan Way)

into which are placed the dishes of food,

bringing a more natural environment to the
dining experience. For Seed Design, the dis-
play of the food can be just as satisfying to a
diner as its taste. Its an attitude to food that
integrates aesthetics with healthy eating.
Taiwan Way
If Seed Design is performing magic with the right crops for their local climates and
peoples dining experiences, Taiwan Way has environments. For Wu, the solar terms are a
the goal of incorporating the concept of the normal part of life for ordinary people, and so
solar terms into peoples lives. as long as people are engaged in natural farm-
One concept is that crops should be culti- ing, the earth will return the investment with
vated according to the natural solar terms. As abundance. For example, during the period of
modern agriculture places increasing empha- Frosts Descent, persimmons grown in the
sis on quick and efficient mass production, Atayal village of Piyaway in Taoyuan Citys
people are becoming concerned about dam- Fuxing District are ripe for harvesting; after
age to farmland, since modern techniques Major Snow in early December, its a good
ignore the solar terms. As a result, a group of time for Chinese cabbages grown by Atayal
people in Taiwan have initiated a revolution farmers in the mountains to be pickled. People
to embrace more organic farming methods. can make the most of a natural lifestyle if they
Wu Meimao, founder of Taiwan Way, is one follow the solar terms.
of the pioneers of organic agriculture for Tai- Authentic flavors
wans Aboriginal communities. Wu established Taiwan Way as a social
Wu was originally engaged in research enterprise, stressing the authentic flavors of
into the possibility of replacing chemical local Taiwan produce and providing advice to
pesticides with microbial pesticides. But after help the Aboriginal peoples develop process-
she underwent surgery for cancer, an organic ing techniques for their agricultural products.
diet became a priority. At the same time, a The company also helps to revitalize local vari-
Christian missionary in Hua lien was plan- eties, looking for stories from the local Aborig-
ning to create job opportunities for Aborig- inal communities relating to their traditional
inal people in agriculture. The missionary crops and farming techniques. For exam-
contacted Wu at the Development Center for ple, Limnophila rugosa is a semi-aquatic herb
Biotechnology to involve her in the project. that grows in the Amis village of Tidaan (Shiti-
Wu has worked in organic agriculture ping) in Hualien Countys Fengbin Township.
for 16 years. She has contributed to many Flourishing in an environment fed by fresh
Aboriginal communities across Taiwan, and spring water, its a Taiwanese endemic species
has earned the epithet of tribal mother. that is used by the village elders to brew alco-
Wu has helped Aboriginal farmers to find holic spirits. As Wu observed and explored


If farmers work hard to cultivate crops according to
the solar terms, the earth will return the investment in
abundance. (facing page photo courtesy of Taiwan Way)



34 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

their ancestral wisdom, she was able to guide touch with nature. Taiwan Way aims to bring
the community to appreciate the value of the people close to the soil again, says Wu. Nat-
species, helping the young to see job oppor- urally cultivated crops are given an appro-
tunities in their own community and encour- priate time period for growth, time to absorb
aging them to return to their hometowns. all of the rich minerals supplied by the soil,
Cultivation according to the solar terms bringing out all the deep, full flavors of natu-
doesnt mean that crops will grow faster. In rally farmed food. To highlight the enormous
fact, this mode of farming may create more differences between natural cultivation and
work for the farmer. Its an attitude of respect technology-based farming, earlier this year Wu
for and protection of nature. For example, opened a restaurant in Taipeis Zhongzheng
processing of the roselle cultivated by some District called Original Food.
Aboriginal communities in Taitung County is Original Food is based on the concept of a
a simple but time-consuming process involv- solar term diet, eating only locally produced
ing a great deal of manual work to harvest food in season. The restaurant uses only fresh
the calyxes and remove the seed capsules. seasonal ingredients from Aboriginal commu-
Pickled honey roselle, which uses the fresh nities, prepared simply, for its delicious solar
roselle calyx mixed with sugar and honey, term meals. Its early winter, the right time
and roselle biscuits, baked from dried roselle for a special soup that uses seasonal taro, and
ground at low temperatures and wheat flour, fermented soybean paste with pineapple, all
are examples of solar term products devel- stewed together with pork ribs and simple sea-
oped by Taiwan Way and Aboriginal commu- soning. People from the neighborhood are reg-
nities working together. ulars at Original Food, regarding the restaurant
The over-commercialization of farming as their home kitchen away from home.
has meant that many have abandoned tra- Apart from offering solar term meals, the
ditional cultivation methods and have lost restaurant also features various pickled solar
term foods displayed in jars along the wall,
with produce such as pickled peaches made in
the Grain Full period, and Taiwanese chrys-
an themum (Dendranthema indicum) in the
Minor Snow period. Through simple preser-
vation techniques, people can enjoy seasonal
produce anytime without having to cultivate
crops in inappropriate seasons.
We are all organisms nourished by the
earth, and we can all benefit from the wisdom
of our ancestors. A deep understanding of the
solar terms helps us to learn how to live well,
and to understand our roots. People are far
better nourished by their own local resources.
We hope that the wonderful flavors of the solar
term diet can be enjoyed by increasing num-
bers of people, and hope also that the Chinese
solar term culture will proliferate forever. l
(Chen Chun-fang/photos by Jimmy Lin/
tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen)

The 24 Solar

Cheers to Craft Beers
Fresh Flavors to Delight the Taste Buds

S tarting with Grain Rain, the name of the solar term that presages
the imminent start of summer, Taiwan Head Brewers have launched
their Solar Term Series of beers, each sporting labels by renowned cal-
ligrapher Wu Ming.
After Grain Rain come Start of Summer, Summer Solstice, Ma-
jor Heat and the rest. The series is the brainchild of the three founders
of Taiwan Head Brewers, Ray Sung, Jay Duan, and Leo Yeh, and consists
of beers named after the solar terms in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Each beer is brewed to suit its respective season, providing beer lovers
with a perfect choice year round.

art by Hu Ju-yu, Henry Wang



Leo Yeh, Ray Sung and Jay Duan (left to right) have
launched their Solar Term Series lineup of beers,
section giving drinkers beers to fit each stage of each season.

38 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

In May 2015, as that years busy season for The Grain Rain solar term in the traditional
the beer industry was about to start, Taiwan Chinese calendar corresponds with a time when
Head Brewers unveiled two beers nearly a rainfall increases and the earth is left moist and
year in the planning: Grain Rain and Start fertile. This term, in late April, also corresponds
of Summer. Each of these beers combines lo with the tea picking season at Longjing near the
cal tradition with Western brewing methods, West Lake in Hangzhou, mainland China, and
creating beers that are distinctively Taiwanese. the tea collected at that time has a reputation
Drinking through the seasons for quality. This solar term has more of a con
By naming these and the beers that fol nection with tea than any other, and so Sung
lowed after solar terms, the young brew and his two partners decided to pair Taiwanese
masters and cofounders of Taiwan Head Brew spring oolong with a Belgianstyle pale ale for
ers, Ray Sung, Jay Duan, and Leo Yeh, hoped their beer Grain Rain.
to not only bust open the stereotype that beer After summer had begun in earnest, Taiwan
is for summer drinking, but also create beers Head Brewers launched the second of their
with a touch of familiarity for drinkers. summer beers, pairing a Belgianstyle specialty
For instance, the first beer of their creation, ale with winter melon in Grain Full.
Grain Rain, also uses Taiwanese oolong tea A Collective Interpretation of the 72 Phenologi-
as an ingredient. cal Terms, by Wu Cheng (12491333), describes


Taiwan Head Brewers second Solar Term beer, Grain Full, is sweetened with winter melon punch
cake. The beers in the series offer a refreshing palate overlaid with local flavors like Taiwanese
tieguanyin tea, jinxuan oolong, and jasmine. (right photo courtesy of Taiwan Head Brewers)


40 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

the Grain Full solar term, in the fourth lunar

month, as being when the crop is somewhat
full, which is to say that as we enter summer
and the weather turns warm, crops begin to
set seed, with the ears of grain growing fuller
by the day, but not yet ripening. The arrival
of this solar term has traditionally been a time
of great excitement for the upcoming harvest
among agrarian communities.
In keeping with the name and what it sig
nifies, Taiwan Head Brewers aspired to make
Grain Full beer a pleasing drop that is full of
warmth. To this end, they chose a Belgianstyle
specialty ale as the foundation, topping it off
with Taiwans own distinctive winter melon
punch cake. (The cake is made by boiling down
winter melon with brown sugar. Pieces are dis
solved in water to make winter melon punch.)
Belgian brewers have traditionally added
sugars to their brews. In earlier times trans
portation was difficult, so they used the lo
cally available beet sugar. This is the source
of the sweetness Belgian beers are known for.
Now, half a world and a couple of centuries
away, these Taiwanese brewers have similarly
utilized a local source of sweetness, making
oldfashioned winter melon punch cake their
goto choice.
Where Start of Summer is marked by a
crisp flavor full of personality that people tend
to either love or hate, Grain Full is more in
the traditional style of Belgian specialty ales,
with a touch of the familiar flavor of winter
melon on top.
Beer is traditionally considered cold in
nature, and so when winter rolls around, the
beer market tends to start its low season. Tai
wan Head Brewers, though, are determined

to swim against the current with winter beers

like Start of Winter and Minor Cold.
Taiwan Head Brewers most iconic beers so
far, Start of Summer and Grain Rain, both
Putting out more seasonal beers to match
pair their beer with seasonally appropriate the changing weather is an old tradition in
Taiwanese oolong. (lower photo courtesy of
Taiwan Head Brewers) the West. For Minor Cold, Taiwan Head


Craft beer is on the rise in Taiwan, and Taiwan Head Brewers
have not only launched several of their own craft beers, but also
opened a bar, Mikkeller, in the Dadaocheng area of Taipei.








New Hope

42 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Brewers chose to pair a Britishstyle stout Rise of the craft brewing movement
a common winter beerwith cocoa beans By day, Sung is an engineer for computer
from Pingtung to produce a wintery beer that makers MSI, while Duan is head brewmas
mixes East and West. ter for North Taiwan Brewing. Yeh became
As the Solar Term Series beers continue Taiwan Head Brewers sales specialist after
to roll out with the changing seasons and finishing his military service. Between them,
flavors, already they have begun winning they represent the growing homebrew move
awards. Their first award-winner was Start ment among children of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
of Summer, which took a silver medal at the Sungs love affair with beer started with
2015 International Beer Cup in Yoko hama, a surprise during a family trip just before he
Japan. But in contrast to the many flavored returned to Taiwan from studying overseas.
beers in the series, this brew relied purely Studying toward a degree in electrical en
on the basic ingredients of beer: malt, hops, gineering in the US, he took a trip to a small
yeast, and water. town in Pennsylvania where he dined at the
Simplicity and purity are at the core of restaurant of Triumph Brewing Company, a
Sung, Duan, and Yehs plan for the Solar Term brewery over a century old. There he tried six
Series. Not only do they want these beers to beers, each with their own distinctive, complex
be accessible, they also hope each beer will tastes, and, bowled over, he decided to begin
satisfy their collective desire as brewers to exploring the world of craft beer.
stick to the more pure brewing methods. In his senior year of college, the now32
That Start of Summer so rapidly won yearold Jay Duan started working parttime at
international acclaim was a huge source of North Taiwan Brewing, where his uncle Duan
encouragement for the trio. Kowjen worked as a consultant, beginning



Incorporating local crops like oolong, jasmine, and
Pingtung cocoa into their Solar Term Series beers
has helped Taiwan Head Brewers show their love for
their homeland.

3 3




44 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

his journey into the craft beer world. After Their first beers,
finishing school and completing his military Grain Rain and Start
service, Duan was confronted by a pessimistic of Summer, immediately got rave
reviews and flew off the shelves.

economic outlook as the financial crisis of 2008
unfurled. He decided to travel to far-off Aus The three figured they had
tralia and do seasonal work to get by, visiting passed their big test, never
some 40 or 50 Australian breweries along the expecting that it would
way. Since returning to Taiwan, he has not only be with their third beer, Summer
continued to explore the world of beer, but also Solstice, that they would start
become a multiple award winner for his work running into trouble.
as North Taiwan Brewings head brewmaster. The company responsible for producing the
The youngest of the team, Leo Yeh, first got beer for Taiwan Head Brewers made a mistake
involved in home brewing after meeting Duan when setting the saccharification temperature,
Kowjen, known as the godfather of Taiwanese which decides the quality of the body and the
craft beer. While still in school, Yeh founded sharpness of the beer. That meant that the body
Taiwans first liquid yeast company, Yehs and taste werent what theyd expected, and all
Yeast Company. that was left to do was dump two tons of fully
Passionate about cooking, Yeh taught him brewed beer.
self how to bake, enamored with the feeling So far, Taiwan Head Brewers have launched
that came with watching each item come to 11 of their 24 Solar Terms beers. Were not
gether from scratch. However, after dining at a halfway done yet, laughs Sung, so theres still
few restaurants he came to see cooking as tak time to turn back. However, in the year and
ing ingredients from life to death, whereas change that they have been in operation, the
brewing beer is precisely the opposite: After reception theyve gotten has been beyond all
you add the yeast and hops, you can watch as expectationsinitially theyd expected to sell
the beer comes alive over time. out of all their beers by the end of the year, but
These three beer lovers already knew each sales have been far, far faster than that. They
other through their shared passion before going also began racking up international plaudits,
into business together, meeting often through including at Japans International Beer Cup, the
gettogethers organized by groups like the Tai Australian International Beer Awards, the Asia
wan Craft Beer Club and Taiwan Homebrew Beer Cup in Japan, and the World Beer Awards.
Maniacs. Each time they met, they would ex While the international recognition has been
citedly share their latest discoveries, all while nice, the trio behind Taiwan Head Brewers are
quietly harboring their own ideas about going more interested in the future of craft beer in
into business. Taiwan. As they state on their website, their
One night in 2014, while idly chatting, the goal is to create great and unique beer with
three decided to pool their resources and make a local ingredients, creativity, love, and passion.
move, forming Taiwan Head Brewers and start With local ingredients like whitetip oolong
ing their journey with the Solar Term Series. tea, tieguanyin tea, Pingtung cocoa and jas
With 24 solar terms, that meant coming mine flowers from Changhua, the Solar Term
up with 24 different beers. While picking 24 Series beers are a reflection of the out-of-the-
different beers from the hundreds of varieties box thinking of these three beer geeks, and
wouldnt be a difficult task, instead we made their hope that beer lovers will be able to enjoy
the ballsier choice, basically like stepping up to a taste of Taiwan in every sip. l
the plate and pointing way into the outfield like (Liu Yingfeng/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/
were going to hit a home run, says Sung. tr. by Geof Aberhart)

T erms
The 24 Solar

Like From the Wizarding World
A Colorful New Take on the 24 Solar Terms

46 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

W inter, spring, summer, fall, Start
of Spring, Awakening of Insects,
Frosts Descent, Winter Solstice the
four seasons and the 24 solar terms of the
Chinese calendar accompany the land through
its cycles. The illustrator Cinyee Chiu, who is
still in her 20s, has employed rich creativity
and skillful technique to put an entirely new
spin on these seasonal periods.
Under her brush, the 24 solar terms appear
as magical creatures that have escaped from
a spirit world. Behold the Clear and Bright
Fox, the Limit of Heat Hedgehog, the Major
Heat Snake.

Now living in the United States and a recent

graduate of the Maryland Institute College of
Art (MICA), Cinyee Chiu created her 24 Solar
Terms Project for her portfolio when applying
to art schools in 2014. Thanks to Facebook, the

illustrations have since garnered a lot of atten-
tion online.
Theyre so beautiful! Like from the wizard-

by Henry Wang
ing world! Many have expressed sincere and
unabashed praise upon seeing Chius creations.
New takes on old seasons
Drawing on animals such as foxes, ele-
phants, rabbits and goats, Chius carefully
rendered magical images corresponding to the
24 solar terms are deftly rendered and inge-
niously arranged.
For instance, a deer that seems to have run
out from the wizarding world represents the
last solar term of spring: Grain Rain.

Start of Autumn Squirrel, Frosts Descent Goat, Major

Cold Eagle The illustrator Cinyee Chiu has put a
creatively beautiful and magical new take on the 24
solar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar.





Chiu takes great joy in bringing to life the creative

visions in her mind, one stroke at a time.


Tawny in real life, here the deer is light Zhou). Instead, she picked a
pink, with antlers shaped like peonies. The squirrel to play the leading role
beautiful, magical style of design was inspired for fall. Squirrels are suggestive of
by a story describing the legend of Grain pine cones in Chinese since they are
Rain that Chiu just happened to read. In the literally known as pine rodents.
legend, there was a young person known as She has added an image of the Asian
Grain Rain, who was a very good swimmer. fruit longan, whose translucent flesh, black
When the floods came, he saved a peony. pit and brown peel set the paintings visual
Later, the peony turned into a fairy who ex- tone. Start of Autumn Squirrel was thus born.
pressed her gratitude, and he fell in love with In contrast to the bleakness of falls arrival
her. One day, Grain Rain died attempting to depicted in Start of Autumn Squirrel, Chiu de-
save his true love. So now, every year at that picts the heat of Summer Solstice with reds,
time, rains fall from heaven, and peonies yellows and greens. Cicadas, whose songs fill
bloom. The peony fairy of the story became summer days, are an obvious choice to take
the inspiration for Chius Grain Rain Deer. the leading role in depicting that solar term.
Chiu embellishes the painting with images Cicadas and watermelons, two things
of turmeric, which is harvested during Grain associated with summer, are the principal
Rain and is used in Chinese medicine as an elements of her composition on the Summer
antipyretic and a diuretic. Solstice solar term. But because there is also
Chiu has captured Start of Autumn, a mention of deer antlers in the Yi Zhou Shus
when the heat of summer abates, with an im- description of that period, Chius illustration
age of a squirrel. Summer Cicada, in addition to featuring the
She ignored the description of Start of deep greens of watermelons, also has an im-
Autumn that is found in Shixun Jie, a age of deer antlers that can be found within
chapter of the Yi Zhou Shu (Lost Book of the delicate patterns of the cicadas wings.
For Major Cold, which conveys a sense
of the year coming to an end, Chiu created
the illustration Major Cold Eagle, which draws
inspiration from a passage in Yi Zhou Shu: At

Major Cold, waterfowl start laying eggs. Later,

After graduating from the Maryland Institute
College of Art, Chiu decided to pursue work as an falcons hunt prey and rivers freeze over.
illustrator for periodicals, a highly competitive field.
A soaring eagle is the image that Chiu
chose to use for the solar term Major Cold.
The deep blue and purple coloration and the
images of frozen rivers found in its plumage
convey a sense of winter s bitter cold. The
work has a striking elegance, and close in-
spection reveals that Chiu adopted daikon
radish leaves for the eagles tail, since the
radishes are harvested during the winter.
Coming after Minor Cold Pigeon, Ma-
jor Cold Eagle is the last of the 24
solar terms and the final one to
receive its own animal represen-
tation. Without having previously



Project 10

Stone of Youth
Even though Chiu had at one point set aside her
brushes and pens, she is still young and now certain
of her choice to pursue artistic creation. Shown here,
Chius picture book Stone of Youth.


50 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Chiu got the task of handling the art design

for a report. As a consequence, Cheng Ande,
a fellow team member who was her junior,
discovered her talent. After graduating she
joined his Project 10, a 4D projection map-
ping project, handling art work.
received professional training, Chiu thus cre- Returning to creative work after having set
ated her careers first series of illustrations. it aside several years before, Chiu felt under a
I just want to paint! lot of pressure. She had forgotten the joy she
Full of color and beautiful magical style, took from artistic creation, but upon finishing
the series kicked off Chius career as an illus- the project, she says, I became convinced
trator. Using it as her portfolio, she applied that I wanted to pursue art as a career.
to the Maryland Institute College of Art and Cheng, who had worked side by side
three other art schools in the United States with her on the project, pushed her. When
with the intention of becoming a professional he saw Chiu goofing off, he would urge her
artist. She had previously believed that only to regain her focus on the art. The reminders
very fortunate people would be able to de- highlighted an irony: Previously, when I
vote their lives to artistic creation. spent too much time on my art, it meant that
Born in 1988, Chiu began to create art in I was neglecting my studies. Yet now, when
junior high school. Mainstream Japanese and I wasnt spending enough time illustrating, I
Korean anime was a major influence. She was goofing off!
temporarily set aside her passion when she Yet it wasnt as if Chiu never harbored any
enrolled in college. It wasnt until her last doubts about pursuing art as a career before
semester that her passion was reawakened she decided to attend art school. She had tried
during an Innovation and Entrepreneur- the kind of jobs that economics graduates typ-
ship class. Students from a variety of majors ically get: executive-track jobs in finance firms
formed groups and divided up work for or at foreign companies. Even if she knew that
their project. Though an economics student, business management work wasnt something





Whether her series of illustrations on the 24 solar
terms or pieces created for class, Chius artworks
often display childlike whimsy.

52 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

that she loved, Chiu wasnt rejecting those who doesnt know how to draw, Chiu says.
jobs out of hand. Perhaps in her mind she was Nevertheless, she found herself captivated by
regarding that sort of work as simply a way to the warmth of handmade illustrations.
make ends meet, knowing full well that few Even if she is still groping her way toward
people in the world are so lucky as to be able a better command of this new genre, Chiu,
to make a career from their passion and joy. who has been in America for more than two
Economic sense vs. artistic sensibility years, is looking closely at various career
After Chiu graduated from National Tai- options as an illustrator. In Taiwan, illus-
wan University with a degree in economics, trating is typically regarded as a fun leisure
her life took a big turn toward artistic cre- pursuit that doesnt provide a reliable means
ation, but her personal style and modus ope- for making a living. But in the United States,
randi still bore much of the rationalism of an the market for illustrations is quite mature
economics student. a fact that is reflected not only in the fields
Her first job doing artwork for a video wages but also in the breadth of employment
game company was a result of that rational- options. Illustrators there can make a living
ism: To use the economics term, it was an both in packaging design and in the publish-
example of risk aversion. I wanted to avoid ing industry. Chiu has chosen to work in the
exposing myself to potential loss. Even if she highly competitive field of illustrating for
had earlier contemplated the idea of going periodicals. Creating illustrations for text is
abroad to attend an art school, Chiu deeply particularly challenging, she says, having
understood that her technical mastery was already accepted her first commission for a
insufficient, so that she need to prepare better local American publication.
before leaving for foreign study. As she takes the first steps in her career, the
She selected a gaming company to start her illustrations of the 24 solar terms that she cre-
career. Her work was to illustrate the leading ated to apply to art school three years ago are
character in a game, and it gave her lots of op- garnering new attention online. Chiu hasnt
portunities to practice. After three years at the let herself get too excited about the renewed
company, Chiu applied to MICA in 2013, pre- interest, but she has taken advantage of the
paring to study art formally for the first time. opportunity to reorganize the works and put a
As opposed to how she had lived in Tai- statement online about the artistic conceptions
wan, at MICA Chiu began to spend her days behind them. Furthermore, she has taken the
fully devoted to creating art. After her classes two-dimensional representations found in
let out, she would often draw and paint late Start of Spring Fish, Cold Dew Duck and others,
into the night. But she didnt regard that devo- and turned them into animations.
tion of her time as exhausting. To the contrary, After completing the animation of Greater
producing art had become quite addictive. Cold Eagle, the last of the 24 solar terms, Chiu
During her first year in the United States, has brought her work on the series to a close.
Chiu attained a stable, recognizable style for Dont worry, Ill soon start illustrating an-
her computer-created works. But she boldly other of these series! she has told readers
discarded it, and began instead creating new on her Facebook page. To her as an artist, the
works on paper. With computer illustrations, 24 solar terms resemble a gift from the ever-
color, line and rendering effects can all be cal- revolving cycle of seasonsone that keeps on
culated exactly, but thats not the case at all giving, with ever new creative possibilities. l
for works created by hand. Its like youre (Liu Yingfeng/images courtesy of Cinyee
starting all over again and are a total novice Chiu/tr. by Jonathan Barnard)


19 8 4

19 9 6

1 9 8 6
199 6

1 9 8 4


19 9 6

40 - 41


19 4 8 11

19 8 4

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19 67



19 97.10

2 0 1 6 8 2 1

2 0 0 4 1 2 1 5
1916 2 0 0 4

2 0 07.7

56 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Critique Gntique

L a

C o u r n e u v e

19 9 5



19 9 5


B o b b e a t

D y l a n generation

58 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

b e a t n i k Wo o d y G u t h r i e

D i n k y t o w n

h i p s t e r

F e r l i n g h e t t i


b e a t

b e a t C o r s o

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h i p s t e r



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A l l B a c k H o m eH i g h w a y 61 1 9 6 5
RevisitedBlonde on Blonde
S u b t e r r a n e a n H o m e s i c k
B l u e s1958
A H a r d R a i n s G o n n a T h e S u b t e r r a n e a n
F a l l

O n t h e R o a d A g a i n
19 6 3
B r i n g i n g I t A l l
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D e s o l a t i o n R o wJ u s t
19 6 5 19 6 6 Like Tom Thumbs Blues

60 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

h i g h

19 61



62 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

no bra


Our Good Neighbor at 120

Chunghwa Post Adapts to a New Era





The designer Aaron Nieh (left)
adopted a simple pixelated style for
his stamps commemorating the ROC
presidential inauguration, turning the
small space of a stamp into a platform
for artistic expression.

66 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

play their precious stamps and other philatelic products
for collectors from around the world.
Stamps, which have long provided necessary enu-
merations of postage and have gone with letters to
locations around the world, offer a glimpse of history or
culture within their tiny frames. They serve as the name
cards of their nations. Food, nature, ancient artifacts and
paintings, as well as images of famous persons, typically
provide their themes.
The Taiwans Scenic Beauty stamp set features
colorfully lined images of sky lanterns, dragon boats,
Yushan (Mt. Jade) and Sun Moon Lake. Chunghwa Post
120, on the other hand, ingeniously commemorates the
post offices history with a series of small illustrations
featuring various mailboxes, delivery vehicles and so
Chunghwa Post hosted the 2016 PhilaTaipei World Stamp forth that have been used in different eras. Commemo-
Championship Exhibition, spotlighting the themes of legacy
and innovation. The exhibition brought attendees on journeys rative stamps of ROC presidential inaugurations began
to the past and to the future.
with the ninth president and previously featured tradi-
tional portraits of the president and vice president. For
the inauguration of the 14th president and vice president

W ith the prevalence of email and instant mes-

saging apps, people dont write letters as
often as they used to. But with the postal delivery
in 2016, designer Aaron Nieh took a fun digital-age spin
on the portraits, creating simple pixelated illustrations
that left their eyes as single dots. Over time, these series
of products sold by online retailers, with postal of commemorative stamps have become platforms for
savings accounts and remittance services, and with showing off Taiwans design abilities, where artists can
the friendly hellos from the aunties and uncles both highlight their talents and promote a love for philat-
behind the counters, Taiwans post offices seem a ely among young people.
safe bet to remain a part of peoples lives and collec- New mailboxes with special Aboriginal flavors were
tive memories. Established for 120 years, Chunghwa also unveiled at the exhibition. They too represent a
Post has long been acting as a friendly neighbor. bright spot of innovation in the history of ROC postal ser-
vices. Chunghwa Post commissioned the Aboriginal artist
Chunghwa Post was first established in 1896, so this Lavuras Matilin to design mailboxes that draw on images
year marks its 120th anniversary (though it has recently symbolic of various tribes, including colorful representa-
moved from being a government agency to a govern- tions of the lilies of the Rukai, the flying fish and wooden
ment-owned corporation). It handles an increasingly canoes of the Tao, and the Mayasvi Festival of the Tsou.
wide variety of products and services: postal services, Chunghwa Post has consulted with various town-
savings deposits and accounts, life insurance, philatelic ships about where to install these special mailboxes. For
products, and property rentals, among others. It even instance, Paiwan-themed mailboxes will be installed in
serves as an agent for sales of retail products. Shizi and Taiwu in Pingtung County, and Atayal-themed
PhilaTaipei 2016 mailboxes are being sent to Hsinchu Countys Jianshi
At the end of October 2016, Chunghwa Post held the and Yilan Countys Nanao. Meanwhile, there are plans
2016 PhilaTaipei World Stamp Championship Exhibi- for an island-wide activity that will encourage people
tion after two years of preparations. It had worked very to put photos of themselves next to these special mail-
hard to get the rights to host the exhibition on behalf of boxes on Facebook in the hope of deepening the publics
the Fdration Internationale de Philatlie for the first understanding of Aboriginal culture and spurring local
time. Some 80 nations were invited to attend and dis- tourism.





68 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

become extensions of peoples living rooms and young
people can be enticed to enter them. Giving post office
branches a younger and more community-minded ori-
entation starts with attention to appearances.
The post office on Renai Road in Taipei, originally
built over 50 years ago, was among the first wave of
renovations. The counters have been lowered in height.
Interactive computers allow customers to purchase
many postal products. Lines have been replaced with

computerized take-a-number systems and seated wait-
ing areas. The facilities are brighter with a better sense
of style. The traditional image of the post office has
Chunghwa Post chairman Philip Ong (far left, been overhauled, while the public has been provided
photo courtesy of Chunghwa Post) is looking to
innovate and raise the quality of service so that with even more efficient and professional service.
the post office moves beyond its traditional image.
The Renai Road post office was chosen as the pilot
The middle photo shows the historic Beimen post
office after renovations. Above: Stamps issued by branch for the project, and renovations have followed
Chunghwa Post in commemoration of its 120th
anniversary (courtesy of Chunghwa Post). elsewhere with the addition of local elements, such as
traditional eastern-Fujian-style architecture at the Matsu
branch and images of Mt. Alis sea of clouds and its
narrow-gauge railway in the palace-style architecture of
A changing post office Chiayi Countys Alishan branch. Chunghwa Post hopes
Over the past few years, Chunghwa Post has been to incorporate local elements so that post office branches
sparing no effort at refurbishing its facilities in the hope will become part of their locales collective memories.
of giving the public a comfortable postal environment, The Fangshan branch in Pingtung, which has been
as well as providing outstanding service. redesigned as one gigantic flat-rate shipping carton, rep-
After being appointed Chung hwa Post chairman, resents another amazing breakthrough. The post office
Philip Ong toured post offices in various locations and in Ping tung hired a design team to think about how
discovered that many of them were showing their age. to redesign the packaging of the post offices flat-rate
Facing the decline of industry in Taiwan over the next boxes to have some local panache: Carrier pigeons were
decade, Ong says, he realized that aging facilities needed replaced with shrikes, and the sides of the boxes were
to be renovated so that local township post offices can festooned with colorful representations of onions and

The Fangshan post office

in Pingtung County
was turned into a huge
locally themed flat-rate
shipping box, featuring
images of local crops
and wildlife, such as
onions, mangoes and
shrikes. Its an excellent
example of local postal
innovation. (courtesy of
Chunghwa Post)


JP Tower



70 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

medicine to seniors who are living alone, as
well as to offer them warm greetings. They
can thus provide a social service as they per-
form their professional duties.
Some say that mail carriers resemble
Santas elves in their green clothing. Apart
from bearing gifts for seniors living alone,
they have also helped small farmers sell
fruit. By making use of its own online sales
platform, Chunghwa Post has helped small
farmers expand their sales channels. In
cooperation with National Taipei University of Technol-

ogys Department of Cultural Vocation Development, it

Under the leadership of Philip Ong (in green in the photo at has also designed some culturally creative packaging
left), the post office is emphasizing public-service work, helping
elderly people who are living alone and assisting small farmers in that makes various plays on words involving fruit.
marketing their fruit. (courtesy of Chunghwa Post). With high-quality services, Ong says, business
revenues will naturally follow. After Chung hwa
Post began to help small farmers sell their fruit, some
mangoes, both local crops. Then the outside of the local branches deposits actually increased. It turned out that
branch was transformed to appear as one huge such small farmers transferred savings that they had origi-
box. Even the mailboxes were adorned with images of nally kept at farmers associations or credit cooperatives
shrikes and mail carriers. Rooftop solar panels supply to the local post office branch. Consequently, the Dashu
both the facility and the grid with power. Fangshan is on branch in Kaohsiung climbed one grade in Chunghwa
the way to Kenting, but tourists used to just pass right Posts internal classifications.
through it. Now it has become an attraction itself. Chunghwa Post has thrown itself into raising quality
The peoples considerate friend and improving its image. Casting off the shackles of
All of Taiwans cities and townships, including those being a government agency, Chunghwa Post is creating
on its outer islands, have post office branches, and mail a new corporate structure and working hard to act as a
carriers can be found carrying out their duties every- good neighbor and provide far-reaching services that
where in Taiwan. It used to be that mail carriers would can accompany us through our lives. l
get to know the lonely old people of their routes while (Chen Chun-fang/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/
delivering mail. In recent years Ong has led the way tr. by Jonathan Barnard)
on public service efforts, once
even accompanying mail carriers
to deliver care packages to low-
income households. He has also
encouraged mail carriers, as they
deliver mail, to deliver rice and

For 120 years, the green-uniformed

mail carriers of the post office have
been accompanying us through our
lives. (photo by Chin Hung-hao)



The International
In the half-century since
Taiwan dispatched
its first agricultural

Cooperation and
aid mission in 1959,
government and NGO
foreign assistance

Development Fund
efforts have marched
steadily forward. Aid
efforts have left their

20 Years On
mark on Haiti, Nauru,
and other countries on
five continents.


72 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1


Countries like Nauru and
or the last two decades, the International Cooperation and Develop- Kiribati, where the climate
ment Fund has shouldered the important responsibility of conducting makes it difficult to grow
fruit and vegetables, have
Taiwans foreign assistance programs. Since its founding in 1996, the made use of the assistance
of ICDF technical teams to
ICDF has undertaken agricultural, medical, and humanitarian programs get better harvests.
in all corners of the Earthfrom Africa to Central and South America to
the AsiaPacific region. And through its initiatives it has closed the dis-
tance between Taiwan and the wider world.


At the ICDFs 20th anniversary celebration, Secretary General Weber V.B. Shih expressed his
hopes that Taiwans aid programs would help share the Taiwan experience with the rest of the
world. (photo by Lin Min-hsuan)





74 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

The year 1959 marked a major shift in Taiwans interna- Changing with the times
tional status. After a decade of US aid, a mature and prosper- Today, international cooperation programs directed
ous Taiwan reached the point where it could, in turn, lend a at improving agriculture and public health are still an
helping hand to the rest of the world. Taiwans transition important part of the ICDFs work. Yet, from early agri-
from aid recipient to aid donor constitutes a rare historical cultural missions to todays technical assistance teams, the
achievement, says Weber V.B. Shih, secretary general of the ICDFs foreign assistance has continued to change with
International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF). the needs of recipients. Initiatives have become more com-
More than a half century after Taiwan dispatched its first prehensive and more detailed, and today cover a broader
agricultural team to Saigon, Vietnam, governmental and range of aid programs, including information and com-
nongovernmental foreign assistance has marched steadily munications, the environment, and education. As a result,
forward. From the earliest work in the African nation of foreign assistance is producing more tangible results.
Liberia, initiatives have since crisscrossed the Middle East, In the agricultural sector, for example, the ICDF in coor-
Central and South America, and the AsiaPacific, address- dination with its technical teams established So Tom and
ing various needs from agriculture and fishery techniques Prncipes first multifunctional agricultural center, which
to irrigation projects and disease prevention. Indeed, there incorporates a farmers market and wholesale distribution.
seem to be few regions receiving foreign aid that have not In the past, famers sold their crops by the roadside after the
felt the presence of Taiwans assistance. harvest, but this resulted in wildly fluctuating prices and
In 1996, the ICDF inherited the foreign aid responsibil- exploitation by wholesalers. After learning the lessons in-
ities of two earlier government bodiesthe Committee of troduced by the technical teams and combining wholesale
International Technical Cooperation and the International and retail strategies, the farmers saw a rise in income as the
Economic Cooperation Development Fund. In the 20 years public proved to be keen buyers for their produce.
since, the ICDF has brought Taiwan closer to the global Other ICDF assistance programs have rivaled agricul-
community by implementing effective agricultural, medi- tural programs in importance, and none so much as the
cal, educational, and other programs both in countries that numerous medical aid initiatives that have saved count-
maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and in less lives.
those that dont. In 1962, several decades before the ICDFs founding,

Volunteers with a medical
mission to Guatemala, a
diplomatic ally of Taiwan,
provide free clinics for
local residents who have
limited access to medical



1962 21Taiwan
International Cooperation Alliance35






Aside from the well-known agricultural
and medical assistance, information
and communications technology and
environmental programs are today
important facets of the ICDFs work.

76 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Taiwan dispatched military
doctors to Libya to offer med-
ical assistance. Subsequent
army medical teams were sent
to Saudi Arabia, Liberia, and
Kiribati. And for many years,
Taiwan has provided medical
aid to the West African nation of
Burkina Faso. This long-lasting
aid mission epitomizes Tai-
wans commitment to the world
of international assistance.
Just after its formal establish-
ment, the ICDF dispatched a
medical aid team to the Friend-
ship Hospital, located in Kou-
dougou, Burkina Fasos third
largest city, where it offered
emergency medical services to
local residents. Aside from treat- Children in St. Lucia attend classes provided by
volunteers from the ICDFs Overseas Services Corps.
ing patients at the hospital, the
Burkina Faso medical mission
traveled to country villages some 40 or 50 kilometers Taiwan International Cooperation Alliance, which co-
from Koudougou, where they provided a mobile medi- ordinates an international scholarship program with 21
cal clinic every two months. participating Taiwanese educational institutions. To date,
Aside from treating patients directly, ICDF personnel 35 courses have been set up to meet the needs of stu-
also sought to address local deficiencies at a more basic dents and their employers. Short-term training courses,
level by training local medical personnel. As a result, in fields such as business management and ICT, are also
the overall quality of the areas medical treatment im- on offer for nationals from both diplomatic and non-dip-
proved. In 2011, for example, ICDF medical staff taught lomatic partners.
local students basic medical procedures, such as how to The increasing diversity and complexity of its assis-
administer first aid and provide checkups for pregnant tance programs notwithstanding, the ICDF has not wa-
women. And in 2005 the ICDF launched the Healthcare vered from its commitment to the spirit of the OECDs
Personnel Training Program, which instructs frontline Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Localization,
medical personnel at hospitals in Taiwan. Since then, the consistency, coordination, a focus on results, mutual co-
program has trained more than 300 healthcare workers operation and trust are all guiding principles for the inter-
from more than 30 countries. national cooperation programs undertaken by the ICDF,
Meeting local needs Shih explains. Our programs are not intended to deliver
In terms of information and communications tech- aid blindly. In each case, the remedy must fit the problem.
nology, the ICDF is currently engaged in various joint IT Belize, for example, originally sought help controlling
initiatives. Generally, this entails helping local govern- kidney disease. After a medical team was dispatched to
ments implement e-government projects. During this investigate, it discovered that the incidence of kidney
years annual WTO trade facilitation workshop, an ICDF disease was extremely high and that late-stage treatment
initiative intended to streamline the collection of customs was no substitute for early prevention and public edu-
duties in Belize was presented as a successful case study. cation. Thus, the medical aid program was fine-tuned in
In the field of education, the ICDF has established the response to suggestions from the ICDF specialists.

Getting rich by

Roger Martnez Bonilla
Taiwan has a long history of assistance to El Salvador, a
diplomatic ally, including aid programs for aquaculture and
agriculture. Pictured here, Hugo Roger Martnez Bonilla, foreign

minister of El Salvador, meets with Weber V.B. Shih, ICDF
secretary general, in Taiwan in 2014.




An ICDF technical team and local partners build a tourism farm

from scratch in St. Kitts and Nevis.

78 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Technical missions and the Taiwan experience Each humanitarian and public health assistance
The ICDFs assistance programs have not only initiative strengthens the bonds of friendship between
substantially improved local economic and living con- Taiwan and other countries, whether they are formal
ditions, they have also introduced the diet, culture and diplomatic allies or not. And behind the scenes, it is the
lifestyle of Taiwan, bit by bit, into the societies of the aid blood, toil, tears and sweat of the frontline personnel
recipients. A good example is the farmers market estab- that make this possible.
lished by the ICDF in So Tom and Prncipe. At a banquet celebrating the ICDFs 20th anniver-
Weber Shih, the IDCF secretary general, points out that sary, attendees stopped to remember 39 colleagues who
because of the geographic and climatic conditions in So have perished in the field. The aid organization is most
Tom and Prncipe, there were only potatoes and other active in developing countries, in which conditions can
root and tuber crops in the market in the past. But walking be hazardous. For technical teams stationed abroad
through the market now, one can find green beans, leeks, and manning the frontlines of aid work, hardship is
and other leafy green Taiwanese vegetables. And in Papua commonplace. Difficult conditions, however, will not
New Guinea, the haggling over prices during market prevent this important work from being carried out.
weeks carries a strong Taiwanese flavor. Without realizing Over 100 of the ICDFs frontline aid workers are active
it, you feel like you are back in a traditional market in Tai- in 33 countries today, working tirelessly to improve the
wan, Shih says with a smile. lives of local people.
In both the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, After reaching its 20th anniversary, the ICDF will
fruit and vegetables were once rare sights in traditional mar- continue to open up new opportunities for interna-
kets due to the local climate. Yet after the ICDF established tional assistance. Shih hopes that through each of its
a presence in the countries, fruit and vegetables become a international aid initiatives Taiwan will be able to share
regular offering, signifying not only the successful devel- its own unique experience with the rest of the world. l
opment of new crops but also the acceptance of Taiwanese (Liu Yingfeng/photos courtesy of ICDF/
dietary habits into the daily life of the local population. tr. by Robert Green)

The ICDF has dispatched agricultural and public health aid teams to Tuvalu, Kiribati, and
other nations in the South Pacific. Shown here, children in Kiribati dash about playfully.


The Golden Age of Taiwanese Tea Exports

Located on the banks of the Danshui River, Taipeis Dadaocheng area was once a hub for Taiwanese
tea exports. The more than 200 tea merchants who used to operate here were the beating heart of the
industry in its glorious heyday. (courtesy of Sin Hong Choon)

Top-quality soybeans bring excellent flavor to Hsin

Formosa Oolong Tea
Oriental Beauty

T aiwanese tea enjoyed a star turn in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries with domestic tea merchants and foreign traders ex-
porting it around the globe. Formosa Oolong Tea was the first of
Taiwans teas to claim international recognition, but others soon
followed. Britains Queen Victoria was so taken with the unique fla-
vor of a particular Taiwanese oolong tea that she named it Oriental
Beauty. Nearer to home, for a time black tea grown in Guanxi Town-
ship was selected for the use of the Japanese imperial household.

n Lai Yuans white soy sauce.




1 0 0



Formosa Tea
Formosa Tea was Taiwans first internationally recognized

82 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

(above) Women stemming tea in Dadaocheng. (courtesy of Wang Tea)

(above, right) Wang Tea and Sin Hong Choon were once major exporters of Taiwanese pouchong tea to Southeast Asia.

Taiwans tea industry was one of the islands early ex- land and built Sin Hong Choons facilities in 1934.
port sectors and an important source of foreign exchange Those facilities became a waystation for tea-industry
earnings. It helped Taipei flourish, and was integral to the workers and entrepreneurs who had just immigrated to
northward migration of Taiwanese business. The more Taiwan to make their fortunes, a place they could enjoy
than 200 tea merchants based in Tai peis Dadaocheng a meal and a break before leaping back into the fray. In
area during the industrys most prosperous period were a its heyday, the company would go through a sack of
potent force driving Taiwans booming tea exports. rice [about 60 kg] every three days.... [Formosa Plastics
Dadaochengs century of tea founder] Wang Yung-chings father often used to come
Though no longer in business, the Sin Hong Choon by to sell us rice, recalls Wang Lianhes son Wang Guo-
Trade Company was once one of Taipeis largest tea mer- zhong, who is now in his eighties.
chants and occupied three adjacent three-story buildings Wang Tea founder Wang Jinghui was also Fujianese.
along Taipeis Minsheng West Road. Its founder, Wang One of many natives of Anxi, the home of tieguanyin
Lianhe, immigrated to Taiwan from Fujian Province with tea, to relocate to Taiwan during Taiwanese teas export
his father Wang Fangqun at the age of 16. Wang and his heyday, he opened Wang Tea in Dadaocheng in 1890.
father bought and processed raw tea leaves before re- Now run by his fifth-generation descendant, Jason
selling them to Southeast Asia. The Wang family bought Wang, Wang Tea is still in business today.




84 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Wang Teas roasting bins have seen hard use over the years.

(left) Grading and tasting raw tea leaves. (courtesy of Wang Tea)

(below, left) Sin Hong Choons roasting room delivers a new media experience in a very old space,
with screenings of a film in which Wang Guozhong explains the roasting process.

The Luo family pooled its resources to found the The next step was stemming, which involved re-
Formosa Black Tea Company in 1937, to address a moving stems and other unwanted debris from the raw
problem particular to Hsinchus Guanxi Township. The leaves. After that came roasting, which reduced the
township had a long history of making tea, but its farm- water content, aided preservation, and created a sweeter-
ers struggled to profit from their labors because the area tasting beverage when the leaves were ultimately brewed.
lacked its own export channels. The Formosa Black Tea It was a fine art, in which a master roasters control over
Company integrated Guanxis tea-leaf production, then the time and temperature of the roast was critical to the
arranged to export leaves directly to buyers in the US teas flavor. The old roasting rooms used by Sin Hong
and Europe. Choon and Wang Tea still exist, packed with double rows
Producing fine teas of roasting ovensdepressions set 60 centimeters deep
In the old days, tea merchants purchased raw tea in brick. The roasting bins were woven from bamboo.
leaves, then processed them prior to export. This process- Roughly cylindrical in shape, they also had a slight waist
ing involved a number of steps, from grading, stemming, in the middle. Workers packed tea leaves on top of a filter
and roasting, to blending, winnowing, and packaging. seated inside the bins to keep the leaves from direct con-
Tea experts and merchants sampled and tasted the tea tact with the heat source.
leaves purchased from each growing area, then graded Anxi tea makers began their traditional roasting pro-
them based on their shape, scent, and flavor. Wang Guo- cess by packing their ovens with roughly 60 kilograms
zhong says: The evaluation process was taken very se- of charcoal, which was broken into small chunks to min-
riously. Only a few people were allowed near the tasting imize the space between pieces. They then placed a layer
table. of previously cooked rice husks on top of the charcoal,



s h i p p i n g
m a r k



Wang Guozhong lived through the glory days of Taiwanese tea. Although his familys Sin Hong Choon tea company has
closed, its facilities have been preserved. Now renovated, they tell the story of Taiwanese tea. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju)

A photo showing a truck
filled with crates of tea,
from the collection of the
Formosa Tea Industry and
Culture Gallery.


(far left) Luo Ching-shih
says proudly that Formosa
Black Tea has exported
its products to some 85
international ports.

(left) Jason Wang, the
fifth-generation head of
Wang Tea, has applied the
creativity of youth to the
task of revitalizing the old

and set the charcoal alight. The husks and charcoal were A golden age
burned down to ash, which helped moderate the tempera- In the late 18th century, mainland Chinese merchants
ture of the roast, and then the tea leaves were packed into dominated the Southeast-Asian export market for pao-
the bins, placed on top of the ash, and turned every three chong tea. In an effort to claim some of that market for
hours to ensure that they cooked evenly. This roasting his company, Jason Wangs grandfather Wang Cheng-
process was integral to the development of the teas flavor. qing, the third-generation head of Wang Tea, processed
During blending, master tea makers applied their tea leaves in Taiwan, then sold them to his own father,
skills and senses to eliminating the peculiarities of indi- Wang Xiaojin, in Thailand, where Xiaojin was attempt-
vidual batches of tea leaves, mixing them to match the tea ing to develop the local market.
merchants own flavor profiles. Jason Wang says this was Sin Hong Choon utilized a similar model, with Wang
necessary because Taiwanese tea growers had small plan- Lianhe handling the familys business in Thailand when
tations, and merchants were unable to source their leaves he was in his 20s. When his father, Wang Fang qun,
from a single grower. Merchants also used the roasting came across a particularly good batch of tea, he roasted
and blending processes to create their own signature fla- it and sent it to Lianhe to sell. The tea was of such good
vors and differentiate their products from those of other quality that Lianhe was able to negotiate an exclusive
merchants. deal with Thailands largest tea merchant, and begin the
Tea exporters had to be able to produce reliable quan- spread of Taiwanese paochong tea through Thailand.
tities at a given quality, and the blending and roasting Luo Ching-shih, the elegant and aristocratic-looking
processes were at the heart of their quality control efforts. managing director of the Formosa Black Tea Company,
Their ability to produce tea of consistent quality helped leads us to the second floor of the companys produc-
usher in a golden age of Taiwanese tea exports. tion facility. Among the first things we see there are


The second floor of the Sin Hong Choon
building includes an exhibit on the historic
structures restoration.

The Formosa Tea Industry and Culture

Gallery is a converted warehouse that now
displays many precious historical photos.

R E P U B L I C O F C H I N A 1976




88 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

The interior of the Sin Hong Choon building includes an atrium that lets in light and air. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju)

hundreds of metal stencils covering one wall. Luo erning tea manufacturers, led to small farmers process-
explains that these are the stencils with which the com- ing their tea leaves themselves. This had the dual effect
pany printed export information onto the sides of the of making it much harder for tea merchants to obtain
wooden crates in which it shipped its tea. raw tea and removing them from their central position
We may be a small company, but weve exported in the industry. When the tea merchants went into de-
to 85 ports. And thats just our company, not all of Tai- cline, the golden age of Taiwanese tea ended.
wans tea merchants, says Luo with a hint of pride in Wang Tea saw the writing on the wall. It opened its
his voice. first retail outlet on Taipeis Jinan Road in 1976 in an
Three of the stencils on the wall highlight the effort to raise its profile and begin a transition from ex-
changes to Taiwans international status over the years: ports to domestic sales. My father personally drove a
Republic of China, Taiwan Free China, and, in Chi- small delivery van to markets to sell our tea. He ran it
nese, Made in Taiwan, ROC. After Taiwan withdrew something like a modern-day coffee truck, says Jason
from the United Nations, the company could no lon- Wang. Wang Teas efforts happened to coincide with
ger print ROC on exports destined for nations with the rise of Taiwans economy and teas emergence as an
which Taiwan did not have formal diplomatic relations. everyday beverage, enabling the company to establish a
But government regulations stated that export products solid footing in the new market.
had to be clearly marked with the location at which The Formosa Black Tea Company responded to the
they were produced. Luo says that the company used a changes differently. Recognizing that the companys
workaround: meeting the ROC governments require- black tea production was no longer competitive with
ment in Chinese, which officials in the destination ports that of major international manufacturers, Luo shifted
were unable to read. its focus to Japan in the 1970s. He imported Japanese
New ideas sencha processing techniques and equipment, and began
But the heyday of the international tea trade even- selling tea there. Luo also developed his own process
tually came to an end. Changes to the business climate for making green tea powder: steaming the tea flushes,
and to Taiwans own tea industry, together with the baking them dry, then crushing them into a powder
governments 1982 withdrawal of its regulations gov- that is mixed with water and drunk. The tea contains


The family shrine on the third floor of the Sin Hong Choon
building includes the Wang familys ancestral tablets in the
center, with deities on either side. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju)

Even though Taiwans tea industry has declined, it has become

an integral part of our culture. Local tea farmers, processors, and
retailers continue to work tirelessly to bring us each cup of our
beloved beverage.

1970 4





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catechin, a powerful antioxidant, and is marketed as a Dadaochengs glory days and enabled visitors to experi-
health drink. ence the old companys magnificence for themselves.
Formosa Black Tea recently rebuilt its old factory to The Wang family ancestral shrine was moved back
repair damage suffered in the Jiji Earthquake of 1999 into the building just a few days before we met with
and to get out of the way of a road widening project. Wang Guozhong to talk about Sin Hong Choon. In fact,
It also took advantage of the reconstruction to convert he had to first run up to the shrine on the third floor
some of its floor space into the Formosa Tea Industry to light some incense in front of the ancestral tablets
and Culture Gallery and house precious portions of the before we spoke. He explained that he had been doing
factorys 80-year history there. this routinely for years in a different location, but was
Sin Hong Choon was less fortunate than either pleased to see the tablets returned to the site of the
Wang Tea or Formosa Black Tea. Although the com- family business because now his ancestors can continue
pany avoided physical damage during World War II, it protecting their descendants.
couldnt adapt to the decline in Taiwans tea industry Just as Sin Hong Choons history has been preserved,
and closed in 2004. we too can continue to pass along the wonders of Tai-
After designating Sin Hong Choons facilities a wanese tea. For all that the heyday of Taiwanese tea
historic site in 2009, the Taipei City Government used exports has ended and we now import roughly 30,000
a transfer of development rights to preserve its main tons of tea per year, we are fortunate to still have with
building, and hired a construction company to restore it. us many old tea merchants who remember and are will-
Four years of renovation work transformed the Sin ing to share the story of how things used to be. The next
Hong Choon building back into the gorgeous and fre- time you enjoy a cup of tea, savor the taste, but also
quently visited hotspot it had once been. The city gov- take a moment to reflect on the glory days of yore. l
ernment commemorated its reopening with a special Sin (Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
Hong Choon exhibition on the first floor that recaptured tr. by Scott Williams)


Fragrant Spaces
Daxi Tea Factory

T ea makers in the Daxi Tea Factory start
work early. Leaves that were picked only
yesterday have already been through a series of

processes: withering, fixation, rolling, and drying.

Various aromas infiltrate the air depending on the
process under way at any time, ranging from the
deliciously fresh fragrance of newly picked leaves
to the stronger aromas of the tea after drying.
Driving up the main road toward the mountains
in Taoyuans Daxi District, when we turn into an al-
ley off Fuxing Road, a tall building with many large

windows appears: the Daxi Tea Factory. In 1899, a

Japanese firm named Mitsui came to Taiwan to cul-

tivate tea; then in 1926, they built a tea processing
1926 planttodays Daxi Tea Factorybeside Mt. Jiaoban
(Jiaobanshan), opening a new page in the history of
black tea in Taiwan.

Fusion architecture
1895 Taiwans black tea cultivation and production

flourished under Japanese rule after 1895. While

oolong tea exports were dominated by Western com-

panies and pouchong tea was controlled by Taiwans

local tea merchants, black tea gained increasing pop-

ularity under Japanese management. Mitsui was a
leader in this area in Taiwan, establishing the Nittoh
Black Tea brand, which it sold into the US and Eu-
8 rope. The company owned a number of plantations
19286 and tea factories throughout Northern Taiwan, so
in fact the Jiaobanshan Tea Factory was only one of

eight. The plant boasted the most up-to-date tech-

nology of the time, using the latest machinery for

processing. In 1928, the factory introduced six British
Jackson tea leaf rolling machines and began mass

Located in the mountains of Taoyuan, the Daxi Tea Factory
integrates British, Japanese, and Chinese architectural styles.
The main structure with its very high ceilings is based on a tea
plant in Assam, India. The interior layout was commissioned to a
Japanese designer, and the building was constructed by Taiwan
army engineers.

These Jackson rolling machines, more than 80 years old, are still
soldiering on, producing quality black tea.

The blue paintwork of the old cast-iron processing machines
1946 echoes the green-blue of the new sales area.




94 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

production. To meet the demand, the factory operated
three shifts with machines running around the clock,
processing an annual output of up to 6 million pounds
of tea. This was the black gold era of Taiwan tea.
The Jiaobanshan Tea Factory was renamed the Daxi
Tea Factory in 1946, its tea exports continuing to earn
valuable foreign exchange for Taiwan after the islands
return to Chinese rule. The good times didnt last for
long, however. In 1956, the factory was destroyed by
fire. But as luck would have it, on the way to his coun-
try villa on Mt. Jiaoban, then-president Chiang Kai-shek
was disappointed to see that the familiar tea factory
had disappeared. After finding out what had happened,
Chiang ordered that the factory should be rebuilt.
The reconstructed tea factory is of brick with a cy-
press frame, the design based on an Indian Assam tea
plant with very high ceilings. The interior layout was
commissioned to a Japanese designer, and the build-
ing constructed by Taiwan army engineers. So the new
building was a fusion of English, Japanese and Chinese
cultures, says Tammy Liu, vice president of Taiwan Tea
Green architecture
Unusually for its day, the Daxi Tea Factory cleverly

brings nature into its indoor spaces. This building was
well ahead of its time with this concept of green archi- Although the Daxi Tea Factory is more than 80 years old, it is still
in the business of making tea. The photo shows the withering
tecture, says Liu. process, wherein the tea leaves are carefully layered in bamboo
Because tea production had entered the era of mass baskets to allow moisture to evaporate.

production, the enormous quantities of leaf that were

needed could not be dried naturally in the sun, so the
second floor was used for withering while the first
(ground) floor was a warehouse and processing area.
Using the principle that hot air rises, when machines
like driers were operating on the lower level, the heat
they generated rose to the second floor and accelerated From these details, its clear how effectively the
the withering process. Japanese designers integrated nature into the design
And this was not the only aid to withering. The of the building. Later, the business was taken over by
northern and southern walls of the second-level wither- the Taiwan Tea Corporation, eventually closing down
ing area were equipped with four ventilation fans, while for around 15 years. Then in 2010, renovations began
the windows facing east and west could be opened to and the factory was revived: Our companys English
bring in fresh air, maintaining optimum temperature name is Taiwan Tea Corporation, which gives us some
and moisture levels. Its an example of how the factory responsibility for the countrys tea industry. We had
used natural processes to aid production. a sense of mission, and our aim was to refurbish the
The withered leaves passed through hoppers directly brand, says Liu.
down to the Jackson rolling machines on the first floor, Rebuilding the glory
a design that saved a lot of time and labor. In 2013, the old tea factory was re-opened. Renovation





96 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

work was carried out by architect Divooe Zein, who spe-
cializes in integrating architecture with nature. Reviving
the past glories of the old factory was the focus for the
design, but it was also considered important to retain
the basic structure and style of the old building.
The main color used was a low-key gray-blue. The
inspiration for this decision came from the gray-blue
lattice windows on the second floor, revealing a sense
of the ages. The tea processing machines also featured
cast-iron frames that were painted blue. The wall be-
hind the sales counter was painted green-blue, set off
with filament bulbs hanging from the roof on red wir-
ing. Under the dim lighting, the low-key color scheme
imbues a feeling of subdued luxury.
Many details of the old building have been pre-
90 served, enabling people to ruminate on the past of the
tea factory. The gift shop manager at the factory, Wan
The east and west walls on the second floor feature
large windows which can be opened or closed to Guangjiu, points to the polished stone floor and tells us,
control ventilation, an example of how the factory The parts of the floor covered with cement were where
uses natural processes to enhance efficiency.
the tea processing machines were located. Looking up,
one notices the blackened ceiling, resulting from the
heat of the three dryers working hard over many de-
cades. The use of steel shelves in the gift shop and book
caf areas was inspired by the iron racks which were
used in the past to dry tea leaves in the sun. The shelves
create a sense of openness, and also reinforce the link to
the history of the old factory.
The space outside the book caf was originally the
warehouse. The architect removed its roof in the ren-
ovations, and set up a long rectangular water feature
surrounded by a walking area. This innovation has
brought natural light into the building, integrating the
sky and clouds, plant life and water into the book caf.
The ceiling of the withering area on the second floor

was also removed, exposing the original 151 timber

roof trusses. They were the work of the army engineers,
The blackened ceiling is the result of the heat from the
three dryers working hard over many decades. The who demonstrated their building skills using mortice
withering area on the second floor uses the principle and tenon joints to create an intertwined fantasy space,
that hot air rises. The dryers and other machinery on
the lower level generate heat which accelerates the presenting a stunning sight to those below. Light comes
withering process on the upper.
in through the long rows of old blue lattice windows
according to the weather and seasons; nearby, several
round stools are placed, helping to create a place of re-
flection where time seems to stand still.

(left) The old tea processing section has been A new soul
transformed into a modern gift shop area. Filament The tea factory is still operating according to the so-
bulbs hang from the ceiling on red wires, creating a
low-key environment with a feeling of subdued luxury. lar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar. Tea leaves

The wall of the tea room is decorated with 737 black and white Pu-erh tea bricks, exuding an atmosphere of timeless stability.




98 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

are picked soon after the Qing ming Festival (Tomb
Sweeping Day), green tea is produced in spring and
(top) The colored metal chairs bought from Java
match the light-industrial atmosphere of the tea fall, and black tea in summer.
Enjoyment of a good cup of tea has always been the
primary goal of the tea factory. Today, they emphasize
products from their own plantations, with organic teas
cultivated, picked and processed by the factory. They

also connect with the local community, inviting local

(above) After removal of the ceiling in the second- organic farmers to sell their produce in the tea factorys
floor withering area, the original 151 timber roof
trusses were exposed. These were the work sales area, and they run a vegetarian buffet on the
of army engineers who demonstrated their
woodworking skills with the many mortice and premises, emphasizing the use of fresh local ingredients
tenon joints, creating an interwoven fantasy space. in season.
Its a stunning sight when seen from below.
How would one describe the Daxi Tea Factory in a
few words? An old tea factory with a new soul! says
Tammy Liu, pouring a cup of teaand enjoying a sip. l
(Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen)


Your Way to Happiness

The Seven Bowls of Tea is about lifelong tea-aholic Lu Tongs
sensations while drinking seven successive bowls of tea.

O ver the past century, Taiwanese peoples lives
have progressed from meeting basic needs for
food and drink to the pursuit of a refined, soulful,

aesthetic, emotive and spiritually uplifting lifestyle

of superior taste. The way of tea has made progress,

too. Traditionally, drinking tea has been a social,

artistic, and ritual activity that is also a form of
personal cultivation, but now the way of tea is also
infused with diverse aesthetic elements derived from
modern technology, installation art, philosophy and
religion, brewing up a superb new style with a Tai-

wanese flavor.

The progress in the Taiwanese way of tea can be

attributed to teas long history in Taiwan and to the in-

stillation of Japanese, American and European culture,
including Dutch and Spanish. Today, in the National
Palace Museum, you can see Chinese tea sets made a
millennium ago, material evidence of Chinas ancient
tea culture. Taiwan is one of the few countries in the
world capable of producing unfermented, partially fer-
mented, and fermented teas, which it exports to over

130 countries and which have gained Taiwan a world-

wide reputation for quality.

Song of the Seven Bowls of Tea
What is tea? Upon first discovering tea, people only
knew it as a medicinal infusion. As human wisdom
worked upon it, tea was domesticated into an everyday
beverage. But when tea flows into the human body,
it produces a feeling of harmony with Nature that

Tang-Dynasty poet Lu Tong celebrated in his Song of

A bowl of cozy-warm security in hand, you engage in an exercise
in mental discipline.

102 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

the Seven Bowls of Tea, a poem that has remained pop- the fruit that began to sprout upon my first encounter.
ular for over a thousand years, from the Tang through Since then that seedling has grown tall and strong, and
the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing, until today, and is as I feel blessed, as if Ive been at the right place at the
famous as Lu Yus The Classic of Tea. right time with the right people, who helped me along
Lu Tong was a tea-aholic. The Seven Bowls the way of my spiritual journey. Chou has a deep un-
describes the gradual changes in the taste of tea over derstanding of the truth that the seed of the way of tea
seven steepings. can only sprout in a happy heart and grow in one who
Tea master Chao Kun-hsiu, who has studied the seeks fulfillment through cultivation in the realm of tea.
way of tea for more than 20 years, is the director of In the beginning
Peaceland Art Studio, which has held a number of The first bowl in The Seven Bowls steadies the
major international art festivals in Taiwan. For Chao, heart. The first bowl only moistens lips and throat.
tea is a vocation. For her, inward contemplation is People are usually unprepared for the
the beginning, while the way is the idea that tea only first bowl. Drinking a tea of high
releases its perfume in a peaceful heart. The culmina- quality, they just think it tastes
tion is peace and harmony in communication. With a good. Unenlightened ob-
commitment to aesthetics and artistry, Chao devotes servers often wonder why
herself to the development of Taiwanese tea culture the way of tea requires so
while promoting international artistic exchange.
To show us the way of tea, Chao held a solemn tea
ceremony in which she elaborated on all things tea. The
reason why Ive spent so much time studying the way
of tea is because my heart was like a seed burst from

Having studied the way of tea for over 20 years, taking tea as her
vocation, Master Chao Kun-hsiu strives to develop Taiwans tea
culture and promote international artistic exchange.

A solemn tea ceremony is an invitation to enter upon the happy
way of tea. (photo by Lin Ming-lung)

The more time and energy one spends on oneself by studying tea, the more inner strength one develops.

many complicated steps and aesthetic embellishments. what remains is words of wisdom stored in all the books
That is because the function of the first bowl of tea is Ive ever read. After drinking the third bowl, people
often just to quench peoples thirst, that is to say, to re- start to worry about the individual in relation to society.
lieve the human animals physiological need to drink. It Whither human society in a world without love, espe-
is only with the second bowl that one begins to appreci- cially today? Without love, there will be no future. And
ate the aesthetic subtleties. then there would literally be nowhere to abide. Thus,
The second bowl can break ones loneliness. After how can a tea drinker who loves both self and society
drinking the second bowl of tea, peoples bodies warm remain indifferent to people and things around them?
up and relax, producing a sense of physical security. The fourth bowl causes one to lightly sweat, flush-
They start to observe an ambiance in the surroundings ing doubts and troubles through the pores. Drinking
that is qualitatively different from that of ordinary daily the fourth bowl, one realizes that to everything there is
life. Their minds become quiet and clean. a season, and there will always be ebb and flow in any
As it is written in The Diamond Sutra, one should re- life, highs and lows in any land. You should therefore
alize this state of mind by abiding nowhere. Chao has change what you can and accept what you cant.
found that the way of tea is a truly gradual process of The fifth bowl purifies my flesh and bones. The
settling down that begins with the body and proceeds sixth bowl is communion with the saints. Drinking the
to the mind. Only when they feel settled, peaceful and fifth and sixth bowls in a row boosts the bodys energy
secure can people attain clear minds and resolute hearts. and clears the mind, making you realize that the power
The third bowl purifies my heart and mind, and of love has a source, and that one can train the mind


The traditional way of tea was a social, artistic and ritual
activity, and a form of personal cultivation. Now its been given
a make-over as new aesthetic elements have been mixed in.
(middle photo by Lin Ming-lung)

106 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

and settle oneself down by drinking tea. Via inward the Buddhists sum up the sorrows of existence. Yet the
contemplation, and continual, repeated training, one insight granted by successive steepings is the power of
can attain a sense of joy. the present moment.
The seventh bowl I do not taste at all, I only feel a Taiwans tea processing craft has undergone long
wind beneath my wings. The seventh bowl is a chance maturation and refinement. There are collectors of old
to enter a realm where one is touched by all the graces teas and antique tea sets from different eras, but there
of life. This is how drinking tea touches one, transform- are also laboratories where the way of tea is studied,
ing ones emotions and awareness. This is the source of substantially enriching the way of tea. For instance,
its power. selection of the bowl by the shape of its mouth, the era,
Subjective awareness and aesthetics and the material can produce different mouthfeels
But what should people do to experience the same different textures in the mouthnot to mention teas of
sensations as Lu Tong? If youve never savored the different vintages and teapots from different dynasties.
flavor of a bowl of tea, you will never know the pro- After all, the way of tea is a study in the awareness of
fundity of feeling that lies within, says Chao Kun- the beautiful subtleties of life. Without these essential
hsiu, almost intoxicated with the taste. emotive elements, the way of tea would be mere per-
Awareness in the act of drinking tea is a way to formance and storytelling.
care for ones self. It takes time to master the materials Taiwan, the place to go to gain profound insights
and attain a true tea sensibility. As one repeatedly into the way of tea, can only be described as a happy
steeps tea, the flavor goes from fragrant to flat, from land of tea. l
sweet to insipid. The seven bowls are just like the (Lin Ming-lung/photos by Jimmy Lin/
stages of life, from birth to age, sickness and death, as tr. by Darryl Sterk)


Dedicated to
Community Service:
World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce President Jason Lin

108 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

J ason Lin, the newly elected president of the World
Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce, has a schedule
packed with meeting after meeting, yet somehow

manages to smile sincerely and greet every attendee

in friendly Taiwanese. A native of rural Yun lin

County, Lin looks more like an amiable farmer than
a business leader, but he escaped the poverty of his
childhood through his own diligence, and used his
career as a shipping agent to see the world.

As a pre-teen from the hills of Lin nei Towship,

Yunlin County, Jason Lin spent more than two hours

walking to and from school every day. In the summer,

when afternoon downpours flooded the river valley,

he would have to wait another two hours for the water
level to fall to calf height before wading through and
continuing home. Once he got there, hed change into
his work clothes and begin
his chores as the eldest
son: feeding the pigs and

preparing his younger sib-
lings dinner.
Lin says: Taiwan is a maritime nation, which means figuring
out how to expand into the world outside. Shipping agents Lin was in the fifth
operate internationally. Working in the business connects grade when his family
you to the world and its major cities. He is convinced that
Taiwan must reach out to thrive. home finally got electric-
365 ity, and in middle school
when it got running wa-
ter. His parents worked

every day of the year, even

Lunar New Year s day.

Lin was in high school

before he learned how

different his classmates
lives were from his own
they played basketball and
marbles, whereas he didnt
know the meaning of the
word play.

Lin studied hard and

did well in school in

spite of his familys pov-

erty. When a supportive
homeroom teacher paid
his registration fees, he
became the only student

from his school to test into

Jason Lin (third from left) is the 23rd president of the World Taiwanese Chambers
of Commerce. (courtesy of Jason Lin)



Free on Board

110 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

Changhua Senior High School. Unfortunately, his fam- the Taiwan market, and persuaded Taiwanese firms to
ily had no money to pay for college after hed gradu- direct the selection of shippers themselves.
ated. Instead he moved to Taipei, where he worked and The nature of Lins work convinced him that Tai-
studied part time and gained admission to what is now wans future depended upon reaching out beyond the
the National Taiwan Ocean University. He then went island. Taiwan is a maritime nation, which means we
on to start a business of his own that worked with cli- have to figure out ways to expand into the world out-
ents all over the world. side. Shipping agents operate internationally. When
Reflecting on his journey from Yunlin to Taipei and you work in the business, you become connected to the
then on to Australia, Lin remarks a little ruefully, It world and its major cities.
was poverty that gave me the courage to try things. Lin founded his own company, MIT Chartering &
Venturing abroad Agency Co. Ltd., at age 32, after more than a decade
After getting into the university, Lin instituted his working in and around the industry. A business has
own three noes policy: no civil service work, no to make money, but thats not the only goal. Shipping
graduate school, and no study abroad. He resolved in- agencies must deliver a high level of service, but run-
stead to learn the ropes in the shipping industry. ning an agency well also requires fulfilling its corporate
He became a shipping agent, helping shippers with responsibilities, increasing employment opportunities,
importexport inspec- and attracting new
tions and customs people, says Lin with
clearance, in addition some pride.
to managing their ship In 1996, he took a
building, purchasing, friends advice and
and leasing needs. established an Aus-
The work also gave tralian subsidiary. A
him a good look at number of factors in-
the bulk carrier mar- fluenced the decision,
ket, which led to him including the strength
taking contracts as a of Australias mining
freight broker: helping industry, its abundant
clients find carriers for raw materials, and
their goods and ship Melbournes standing
owners find cargoes 32 as a global shipping

to carry.
hub. He also weighed
W h e n Ta i w a n s Jason Lin founded his company, MIT Chartering & Agency, at the age of 32. the educational oppor-
After moving to Melbourne, Australia, he became an active participant in
economy took off, im- civic affairs, going on to work on behalf of the overseas community and its tunities the country
ports of raw materials Taiwanese businesspeople as secretary general of the citys chapter of the offered his children,
Taiwanese Association of Australia and then president of the World Taiwanese
and exports of man- Chambers of Commerce. and chose to move his
ufactured goods be- entire family there.
came common. Taiwanese exporters generally sought to Divng into public affairs
keep things simple, and did most of their shipping free What prompted him to get involved in public affairs?
on board (FOB). Under these terms of sale, the sellers Lin heard old sayings like return a kindness ten-
responsibilities end with loading the cargo on a ship at fold and thank the trees for their fruit repeatedly as
the export port. Beyond that point, any transportation a boy, but didnt really get their deeper meaning until
fees and risks are the responsibility of the buyer. In this he was much older. It wasnt until I moved abroad
situation, the foreign buyers were choosing the ship- that I realized that Taiwans nurturing embrace was
pers and all the associated profits went to the foreign what made it possible for me to get into this business
agencies they employed. But Lin saw an opportunity in and move to Australia, explains Lin.



Lin promises that the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce will support Taiwanese businesses,
serving as a platform through which they can communicate with local governments, and working with
them on Taiwans behalf.




112 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

When he saw an internationally and
article in the local Chi- within the overseas
nese-language news- compatriot commu-
paper about a Lunar nity, in order to win
New Year s banquet local government
being arranged by the protections for the
Melbourne chapter of in vest ment rights of
the Taiwanese Asso- Taiwanese businesses.
ciation of Australia, Asked about Tai-
his gratitude towards wans New South-
Taiwan prompted him b o u n d P o l i c y, L i n
to phone the group offers a positive take
about participating. He on the potential of
soon began attending Southeast-Asian mar-
other TAA activities, kets, and says that
eventually becoming Jason Lin and family. (courtesy of Jason Lin) WTCC is planning to
the groups secretary help integrate person-
general and then its nel resources via the
chairman. Lin organized a variety of events aimed launch of a platform that connects professionals resid-
at bringing the Taiwanese community together, and ing in Southeast Asia or with an interest in the region.
made a point of inviting members of the national and Lin also suggests that Taiwanese businesses provide
state parliaments, and the state premier, to attend as scholarships, similar to the one that enabled him to
well. He then encouraged local Taiwanese to offer continue his own studies as a young man, to local
contributions and support to candidates for politi- young people to cultivate new talent and enhance
cal office as a means of developing the communitys businesses own image. Concerned about changes in
political clout and ensuring that local politicians rec- the global situation and about passing on the torch to
ognized it. His years of participation in public affairs the younger generation, Lin wants to use his tenure
eventually earned him an award from the premier of at WTCC to strengthen ties between the group and
Victoria for his contributions to cultural diversity. its Junior Chapter ( WTCCJC), which was founded
Lins Christian faith encourages him to be an active six years ago. He also hopes to provide young entre-
participant in events, make donations, and help out preneurs in Taiwan with access to angel investors by
his fellow Taiwanese when they are in need, while bringing them into contact with the WTCCJC.
never asking anything in return. He applied the same Elected the 23rd president of the WTCC with the
principle to his six years as a commissioner on Tai- support of Taiwanese businesspeople, Lin believes
wans Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), that the actions of Taiwanese businesses can play an
organizing Melbournes first Taiwanese Culture Fes- important role in changing Taiwans international
tival to introduce more people to Taiwan and its cul- situation. Taiwanese businesses around the world
ture, and working hard to be a bridge between the ought to do their utmost to fulfill their corporate so-
overseas community and the government. cial responsibilities and build a positive image for
A bridge to Taiwan themselves, argues Lin. With that in mind, the WTCC
When Lin decided to contend for the presidency will offer support to Taiwanese businesses, serving as
of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in a platform through which they can communicate with
March of this year, he visited Taiwanese businesses local governments, and working with them on Tai-
on six continents to gain a better understanding of wans behalf. l
their situation. His overriding objective in running for (Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
the office was to enhance the WTCCs standing, both tr. by Scott Williams)


AsiaPacific Cultural

Festivals Take the Stage

in North and South

114 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1


T aiwan has played host to scores of festivals celebrating the cultural

diversity of Southeast Asia and the larger AsiaPacific region. This year,
events such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs fifth annual AsiaPacific
Culture Day and Chiayi Citys 2016 Immigrants Festival brightened Taiwans
cultural landscape with delicious foods and international dance performances.


The recent fifth annual AsiaPacific Culture Day was a hit with the public. It featured
more than 50 booths offering information on the ROCs six diplomatic allies in the Asia
Pacific region, as well as the New Southbound Policy.


Vice President Chen Chien-jen and foreign minister David Lee are garlanded with flowers
as they make a stop at the booth of ROC diplomatic ally Tuvalu.





116 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the first
AsiaPacific Culture Day in 2012 to promote cultural ex-
changes and greater understanding of our neighbors in
the AsiaPacific region.
This year marked the fifth annual APCD. Held in the
Taipei Railway Station, it featured more than 50 booths
providing information on the ROCs six formal diplomatic
allies in the region, as well as Japan, Korea, and nations tar-
geted by the New Southbound Policy. The festivities began
with a concert, but also included dance performances and
delicious foods highlighting the regions cultural diversity.

Cultural diplomacy
During a visit to the festival, Vice President Chen The New Southbound Policy will bring Taiwan closer to the world
by focusing on tangible cultural exchanges as well as trade and
Chien-jen delivered a speech in which he reminded lis- education.
teners: President Tsai Ing-wen has noted that culture is a
nations soul and a key driver of national progress. cultural diplomacy to bridge the distance between
The vice president then observed that Taiwan is itself Taiwan and the world beyond our shores.
culturally diverse, and that in recent years new migrants Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee raised the cur-
have been further enriching our native soil with elements tain on the 2016 APCD by noting that it marked the fifth
from their own cultures. edition of the event since its 2012 inauguration, and
Taiwans South and Southeast Asia diplomacy used to observing that last years festivities had demonstrated
be dominated by trade and economics. But, recognizing Taiwans tolerance of and affection for diverse cultures
that culture is at the core of our relationships with our by attracting more than 100,000 visitors.
neighbors, the new government has put forward a New Lee stated further that such cultural exchanges not
Southbound Policy that addresses not just trade and eco- only enrich ones cultural experience, but also foster
nomics, but also education, tourism, science and technol- mutual understanding, reduce interpersonal and in-
ogy. The policy places particular emphasis on strength- ternational prejudice and conflict, and bring the global
ening these relationships through culture and tangible community together.

More than 20
nations taking
part in this years
APCD included
Kiribati, India, and
Malaysia. Booths
drew large crowds
with samples of
national cuisines and
fascinating dance




10E n d r i

E n d r i




ROC diplomatic partner the Solomon Islands sent hand-carved

wooden sculptures all the way to Taiwan for the festival
so that attendees could experience the Hana
islands passion and culture for


Indonesian caregiver Endri has
been working in Taiwan for more
than a decade. She chose to
spend her day off at the APCD to
reimmerse herself in the flavors of
her homeland.

118 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1



Chiayi Citys 2016
Immigrants Day
included an exhibition
of wedding wear from
nine nations, including
Vietnam and Nepal.
(courtesy of Chiayi
City Government)

City and county participation nicipalities in the nations targeted by the New South-
This years APCD featured more than 50 nationally bound Policy.
themed information booths, including stalls set up by New Southbound nations
overseas community organizations from Australia, Bru- This wonderful cultural banquet attracted many
nei, and Fiji, as well as those from the six AsiaPacific visitors, both domestic and foreign. Large numbers of
nations with which the ROC has formal diplomatic rela- migrant workers and immigrants from Southeast Asia
tionsKiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the also took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a taste
Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu). of home.
This years APCD also featured exhibits on the lo- Endri, an Indonesian woman who has been work-
cal cultures of Tai pei, Kao hsiung, Tai chung, Tai nan, ing in Taiwan for more than a decade, is a caregiver
New Tai pei City, Tao yuan, in Xinzhuang, New Taipei City, who spent her day off
and Hsinchu County, all of visiting the festival and sharing her culture with other
which have signed attendees. The Indonesian booth included a clothing
sister-city agreements exhibit featuring traditional attire from the northern
or declarations of Indonesian island of Sumatra. Endri told us that the ex-
friendship with mu- amples on display were very different from those you
might see around her home in East Java, explaining
that each Indonesian island and ethnicity has its own
traditional clothing.
The rear of the booth also displayed examples of the
carefully crafted leather puppets used in the puppet
shows beloved by Indonesians. Endri noted that the
puppet shows given at weddings represent a distinc-
tively Indonesian cultural asset and that puppetry is
most common in central, eastern and western Java.
Another target nation of the New Southbound Policy,
India operated a booth that also exhibited traditional
handicraft items that highlighted some of the beauty
of its culture, and attracted still other visitors with the
enticing scent of Indian cuisine, an interactive virtual

reality installation that let attendees try on tradi-

tional Indian clothing, and an artist who used natural

Hello, Taiwan. How are you? Representatives at the Nauru booth henna to draw traditional Indian motifs on their skin.
greeted Taiwanese visitors in Mandarin, English and Nauruan.
(courtesy of CNA) A Chiayi festival
In a bit of serendipity, the Chiayi City Government
also held its 2016 Immigrants Festival, an event cel-
ebrating the many cultures of new residents, shortly
after the APCD.

Noting that Taiwan is itself multicultural, Chiayi

2016 mayor Twu Shiing-jer remarked that the biggest dif-
ference between that citys Aborigines, long-estab-
lished ethnic Chinese residents, and new immigrants
2016 is merely when they arrived. Twu went on to state that
ethnic integration is the path to social progress.
In a new twist, this year s festival included both
Aboriginal- and new-resident-themed activities, and
highlighted another side of multiculturalism with an

eye-catching exhibition of wedding attire from nine

different countries, including Nepal, Ghana, Vietnam

and Japan.
The Chiayi festival was arranged into morning and
afternoon sessions, with the former focusing on the
many cultures of new residents, and the latter consist-
9 ing of a harvest celebration organized by Aborigines

living in the city.

A total of 4,780 new residents currently reside in

Chiayi City, and comprise 1.76% of its population of

270,000. The citys annual Immigrants Festival is sure
1.76% to help all of its residents, new and old alike, get to
know one another. l
(Liu Yingfeng/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/
l tr. by Scott Williams)

120 Taiwan Panorama 2017/1

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