The third of a three-part look back at TNL's best stories from 2018.

TNL's Top Stories of 2018, Part 3: Taiwan's 'Han Wave,' Long Hours & Plastic Beaches

2018/12/31 ,


TNL Staff

Credit: Depositphotos

TNL Staff

The News Lens International is a Taiwan-based independent digital media, providing balanced reporting and thought-provoking opinions from Taiwan and all around Asia. 

What you need to know

The third of a three-part look back at TNL's best stories from Taiwan and around the region in 2018.

Today is Day 365 of the year 2018... or 107, if you’re an adherent of the Minguo calendar.

Yesterday, we looked back at our coverage of Chinese development on the Cambodian coast, a rising Taiwanese hip-hop star, and the resilience of the urban poor in Manila’s “dumpsite slums.”

As we turn the calendar into 2019 (or 108, if you prefer), here’s our final batch of our top stories which defined the region this year:


CONFESSION: How I Became Complicit in Overworking Taiwan's Bus Drivers

Ho Yu-hsuan (何宇軒) reports a tell-all confession from a safety inspector once tasked with overseeing Taiwan’s overworked bus drivers.

“Even though they have a day off, they end up working every day of the week, and the day after volunteering, they have to drive the bus, but as they are still tired, they will probably cause another accident, receive another strike against their name and will therefore have to volunteer again… completing the vicious cycle.”


Taiwan Should Abandon the Illusion of the 7-Day Week

Morley J Weston proposes an unorthodox solution to Taiwan’s labor law woes. Did the DPP miss a chance to think outside the box last November?

“If Taiwan is going to compete with the whims of an increasingly mobile global labor market, it will need to do so with some simple upgrades to quality of life, and skipping Tuesday would be a massive step forward. And wouldn’t it truly frustrate China to make Taiwan the worker’s paradise?”


Death by Drowning in Plastic on Taiwan's Beaches

Jules Quartly takes us along for a cleanup of one of Taiwan’s plastic-riddled beaches.

“Beach bums, surfer dudes and weekend divers will all tell you the same, Taiwan’s beaches and coastal areas are a mess. For the volunteers who return each month to clean the beaches, it’s a bit like King Canute trying to stop the tide, however much they clean it up more trash keeps washing ashore.


Get to Know Taiwan's 680,000 Migrant Workers

We look into the lives of Southeast Asian workers in Taiwan, who are often mistreated by employers yet are undoubtedly indispensable to life on the island.

“Interactions between migrant workers and Taiwanese can be limited; they seem to many to be invisible, an unknown group of strangers. However, they also call this country home, spending years, if not decades, here. Many migrant workers learn at least basic Mandarin or Taiwanese. They have weathered just as many typhoons and earthquakes as you have.”


Out of the Blue: Who Is Han Kuo-yu and Can He Win Kaohsiung?

Courtney Donovan Smith unpacks the “Han wave,” a driving force behind the KMT’s shocking political revival.

“The airwaves buzzed with endless speculation around whether the KMT was ‘back,’ and whether the wave would carry the opposition party to victory all across the island – or if this was all just a manufactured movement that wouldn’t carry beyond pan-Blue KMT supporters. The short answer is both.”


INTERVIEW: Down and Dirty with Taipei Drag Star Magnolia La Manga

Cat Thomas catches up with a Taiwan drag icon on the country’s exploding drag scene and its slow lurch towards LGBT equality.

“Before the gay bars were mainly centered around Hong Lo, there were smaller venues scattered around the city, as well as weekly gay club nights at long-gone venues where you could catch a drag show – or at least an impromptu *performance* of some sort, on a bar top, or in the gutter. Now, Taiwan has international drag stars coming here regularly and everyone’s a drag queen. Literally. Everyone.”

Happy New Year from The News Lens!

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TNL's Top Stories of 2018:

A look back at TNL's best stories from Taiwan and around the region in 2018.

All feature article