TNL's Top Stories of 2017

TNL's Top Stories of 2017
Credit: Despoitphotos
What you need to know

As 2017 draws to a close, take a look back at some of TNL's best stories from Taiwan and around the region.

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2017 was a year of wild uncertainty — Taiwan (sort of) legalized gay marriage, Donald Trump managed to not plunge the world into a nuclear winter and Myanmar's turn towards liberalism fell apart like a cheap suit.

Plenty more stories happened away from the front page. With a new year right around the corner, let's take a look back at some of the stories shaping the region.

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Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像
This could be you.

Stark Reality: Singaporeans Waking from the Housing Dream

Justin Hugo takes a deep dive on housing prices on Singapore and the implications on the lives of the young and poor.

“It is a silent admission that Singapore can no longer sell its “home ownership” program, as it is becoming clearer to Singaporeans that they do not actually “own” their homes and will lose their homes after 99 years.”

gay
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Gay Man Speaks on Indonesian Intolerance from Jakarta Prison

Jeffery Hutton gets inside one of Indonesia’s most notorious prisons to interview a man locked up for a victimless crime.

“Young and educated with a razor-sharp intellect, which he wields with flawless English, his future seemed assured. Instead he’s now a pariah.”

Almighty

An Almighty Con? Taiwan’s ‘Purple Shirts’ and their Master

ZiQing Low pulls the curtain back on a self-proclaimed Buddhist guru.

“At the prayer sessions, Miaochan’s followers practically climb on top of each other just to get their money into the collection box.”

Forget
Credit: Eryk Smith

Forget the ROC and Independence – Meet the 'Real' Government of Taiwan

Eryk Smith meets with a fringe group that believes that Taiwan is still rightfully under Japanese rule.

“The TCG couldn't care less what the Chinese Communist Party or any political party in Taiwan wants or thinks as they don't legally matter. The final word on Taiwan rests with Uncle Sam and the Japanese Emperor.”

Taipei
Credit: Morley J Weston

INFOGRAPHIC: How Climate Change Will Impact Taiwan

Morley J Weston examines what would could happen to Taiwan’s cities if sea levels rise.

“Farmland in Yilan and on the west coast could be submerged by the end of the century.”

Lee

Lee Ming-che's Sentence Chills Taiwan NGOs

David Green examines how China’s jailing of a democracy activist will have a chilling effect on Taiwan’s civil society.

“Lee's case has caused many to think twice about what they say on social media, either to protect themselves or those living on the mainland.”

Long_wait
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Innocent Criminals: The Long Wait for Taiwanese Justice

Olivia Yang examines the decades-long ordeal to prove the innocence of Su Pin-kun.

"We sometimes joke that writing an application for a retrial is like sending out a love letter and then getting rejected."

Reasons
Photo Credit: KODAO Productions

Five Reasons Why the World’s Longest Communist Revolution is Still Going Strong

Michael Beltran explains the enduring appeal of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“Every president since the inception of the NPA has had their own counter-insurgency program with the promise of eradicating the guerrillas. None have really come close to wiping out the movement.”

Witch

A Taiwan Witch Burning

Edward White examines the media crucifixion and ensuing trial of a mentally disabled woman accused of murder.

“News of Lin’s arrest and the story spread like wildfire. The country’s television talk show hosts and their equally excitable panelists feasted like a pack of hyenas.”

Isthefirst
Credit: REUTERS/Edgar Su

Is the First Family Finally Waking from Singapore’s Orwellian Nightmare?

Back in Singapore, Kirsten Han explains a family feud between elites.

“Politics is a tightly-controlled game in the city-state, and such a dispute provides a rare insight into the machinations and conflicts of the ruling elite.”

Joshua
Credit: REUTERS/Bobby Yip

INTERVIEW: Hong Kong’s Joshua Wong Goes Global

Edward White talks to the leader of the 2014 student uprising about his life on the knife’s edge.

“In Hong Kong, it is hard for us to ensure our personal safety, but it doesn’t mean that we can step backward. If we step backward, we will just give them more incentive to use the same method to hurt other activists or politicians in Hong Kong that support democracy.”