Cinecore Foundation: Taiwan helping kids get digitally literate, #TaiwanCanHelp

It feels great to get your hands on a brand new computer, but have you ever wondered what happens to your old machine after you dispose of it? Most old computers in Taiwan end up in incinerators or at old computer yards, where they waste away for a few extra years until they end up in incinerators anyway. Some parts can be recycled, some cannot. Only a fraction of them gets repurposed or reused.

The mission at Cinecore Foundation is to fix up and deliver those old machines to the disadvantaged communities around the world, especially those in Africa. Cinecore is boosting digital literacy by providing people with access to the very computers that you, and our society as a whole, often sentencing them to death in flames of the incinerator, when they are still able to Make a difference and donate your old computer to us, now!

If you have upgraded your digital devices recently, don’t throw the old one in the trash even if it might be broke or seem like no one can use it. Cine core may still be able to fix the device or use it for parts in repairing other devices. Tablets cellphones and computers are more useful recycled than thrown out.

Cinecore is trying to bring digital literacy to disadvantaged children and help those children improve their prospects in the digital age. If children can develop their digital skills they can help not only themselves but their communities, too. They will more easily be able to access information that can benefit their lives and may even lead to innovative solutions for problems specific to their communities.

So don’t delay, don’t throw away! Help disadvantaged kids today!

Why Foreign Entrepreneurs Are Pitching Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan

What is Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan?

This November 21st the Dragons will gather to pass judgement on five daring entrepreneurs and funding is the goal.

The Dragons in this case are experienced entrepreneurs and investors who will lord over five hopefuls during the fifth annual Dragons’ Chamber. A pitch event for foreign entrepreneurs in Taiwan much like the hit shows Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den

2019 Dragon’s discussing pitches

Co-organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and long term foreign entrepreneur Elias Ek and his company Enspyre as well as MUSA Trademark, Reach To Teach and Anemone Ventures, Dragons’ Chamber was founded to give foreign entrepreneurs a platform for exposure and funding in Taiwan.

Foreign entrepreneurs are currently invited to apply for the 2020 Dragons’ Chamber via their website. Qualified applicants will be invited to present their business plans to a vetting panel who pride themselves on giving raw, honest feedback. The final five teams will then go through several more steps of feedback and revisions before getting on the stage at the Dragons’ Chamber big stage on November 21st. The event is taking place during the annual Meet Taipei, Taiwan’s largest startup community event which in 2019 saw 460 exhibiting startups and more than 26,000 attendants. 

Alex Wagner, CEO, Monster Foods

Why pitch at Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan?

“It is always hard to start a business but doing it in a foreign country is doubly so,” says Elias Ek. “At Dragons’ Chamber the entrepreneurs get honest feedback that helps them clarify their strategies. We also wanted to create a platform that put the spotlight on what foreign entrepreneurs in Taiwan are achieving.” 

The 2019 Dragons’ Chamber winner Monster Foods CEO Alex Wagner says, “The most rewarding part of the experience was having the opportunity to sit down and speak with professionals that were willing to give honest and constructive feedback. Sometimes when you build something yourself, without much business experience, it’s hard to know if you are doing the right thing. Having this opportunity has really given me confidence in our future. If you are thinking about making a pitch this is definitely an experience that will help you grow. “

While the mentorship and exposure are the most important take-aways from the event, the teams are also competing for about 250,000 worth of products, services and cash donated by the sponsors. 

If you are running or planning to start a business and at least one of your co-founders are a foreign resident in Taiwan, apply for Dragons’ Chamber today to help take your company to the next level.

Application link:

For more information watch this video:

Thanking Taiwan: Indian Community in Taiwan to hold Bike & Car Rally, June 13th

By Jaya Asmi 

TAIWAN CAN HELP- From the New York Times to the skies of Sydney to being printed on the millions of boxes of masks sent to dozens of countries – this slogan is everywhere! And soon you can find it on bikers’ t-shirts and flags during a rally dedicated to Taiwan’s COVID-19 success. 

Yes, Taiwan can help share the success of dealing with the grim pandemic that has taken the world by a storm this year. With millions of people affected by the novel Coronavirus around the globe, this tiny island has risen like a roaring lion. Learning from its previous SARS-2003 epidemic and the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, the island was well prepared with the appropriate laws in place, timely tracking of the outbreak in China, scrupulous monitoring and testing, and effective treatment in well-equipped hospitals. 

However, Taiwan did not just bask in the glory and praise it received from around the world in effectively dealing with COVID-19, it has gone many steps further and is sharing its technical know-how and equipment with other countries. Taiwan might have been excluded from the WHO but it has refused to be isolated. Taiwan has provided more than 16 million medical masks to support medical professionals around the world and has worked together with the US and the EU on the most advanced rapid tests and vaccines for COVID-19.The Indian community in Taiwan has felt touched by how Taiwan has treated citizens, residents and tourists alike- with respect, dignity and compassion. Taiwan has seemed like the safest place to live on earth during these tumultuous times. We have felt proud to be living in a country that was one of the few who reached out to Red Cross Society of India and sent 1 million masks to protect its vulnerable medical personnel. We want not only our fellow citizens back home but also the whole world to know how much we appreciate this beautiful island that we call home. We hope that the world will take notice of this event and support Taiwan in every way possible as it is not just Taiwan, but the rest of the world too which gains from being inclusive.

On June 13th, hundreds of members of the Indian community from all walks of life will come together in the form of a motorbike and car rally to show our appreciation to the government and people of Taiwan. The event is organized and supported by the different Indian associations of Taiwan. This is the first time any foreign community living in Taiwan is coming out and saying thanks to Taiwan. 





A Taste of Hakka Culture With MyTaiwanTour

Night markets, bubble tea, shrimp fishing, temples, and hot springs – these are the beloved staples of Taiwanese culture, and are indispensable items on every tourist’s itinerary. That being said, this vibrant and remarkably unique island is loaded with hidden gems and one-of-a-kind experiences that even many of the locals have neglected to fully appreciate. One of these underrated jewels is tucked away in Hsinchu County’s Beipu Township, home to the largest Hakka population in Taiwan. Taiwan Observer recently had the privilege of experiencing a taste of Hakka heritage, courtesy of our friends at MyTaiwanTour.  

Our first stop was the old market by Zhudong Train Station, which was surprisingly bustling for a Thursday morning. In true Taiwanese fashion, the bazaar was both a wet and a dry market, lined with trucks, dizzying stalls, and small eateries peddling everything from crates of fresh fruit and vegetables, and snacks to munch on as you cruise and peruse, to clothes and bedsheets. The massive spice-crusted slabs of roasted pork, a Hakka specialty, are not to be missed.

Next on the agenda was the Sky Water Tea House (天水茶房擂茶), where guests were invited to partake in the Hakka tradition of tea-pounding. Each table was provided with a large ceramic bowl, a thick wooden pestle (for added aroma), a green tea base, and an assortment of toasted peanuts, black and white sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, and grains. The tea-grinding itself was a workout, but it was well worth it. After some blood, sweat, and tears were shed, we dug into our lei cha (擂茶, “thunder tea”), paired with traditional Taiwanese biscuits.

The thick, hearty tea, topped off with oats, was a full meal for older Hakka generations, who subscribed to the “waste not, want not” proverb. Nomadic Hakkas from the Qin dynasty, as well as their descendants, ground what little grains, seeds, and herbs they had into their teas. Lei cha was especially popular among farmers, who consumed these filling tea soups before toiling away in the fields. 

After a delicious family-style lunch at a nearby Hakka restaurant (老頭擺餐廳), where we were treated to sweet potato rice, a layered pickled cabbage dish, “white cut chicken” with a side of tangy orange sauce, persimmon pork rib soup, and more, we embarked on a tour of artistic installations in Nanpu. 

First, we admired “A Pickling Story” (鹹菜故事盒): a quirky, colorful mural documenting the stages of the Hakka pickling process. We then hopped on handmade bicycles provided by the MID 單車 company, and pedaled over to BK Square, a delightful artisan bakery with an old-fashioned wood-fired brick oven, and snacked on an array of freshly baked bread and dipping sauces. The “House of Smells” we swung by afterwards – a barn shaped like an oversized basket, previously used for the preservation of crops – was a feast for both the eyes and the nose. Be sure to catch a whiff of the “marketplace” (市場) crock.

After a spot of coffee at the HuKu PuKu Cafe, we headed over to the Chiang Ah Hsin Residence (姜阿新洋樓). The Baroque-style mansion, built in 1949, was commissioned by the wealthy black tea magnate following the success of his tea production factory and export business (Yongguang Company, Ltd.). The stately residence, designed by architect Peng Yu-Li, was constructed by local craftsmen, and doubled as a reception center for existing and potential clients. The mansion has since been designated a historical landmark, its restoration completed just last year, and is memorialized for the significant role it played in the development of Beipu’s once-booming tea industry. 


The final leg of our trip was rounded off by three more artistic installations. We were fortunate enough to have the Spanish sculptor Isaac Cordal himself guide us through the winding alleys of Beipu, where he had hidden a series of “micro-sculptures,” not unlike real-life easter eggs. These small, but exquisitely detailed figurines, mostly of middle-aged men, serve as a commentary on the local life, as well as global issues. 

We then moseyed over to Beipu Xiuluan Park (北埔秀巒山), where we were greeted by Australian artist James Tapscott. Tapscott’s signature piece, “Arc Zero – Ascension,” is a circular, illuminated steel portal mounted on the stairs leading up to the mountain, fitted with a misting system, and despite its simplicity, is an absolutely mesmerizing sight, particularly come nightfall.  Local artist Liu Chih-Hung’s “Timeline,” by Beipu’s 100 Point Bridge (百分大橋) – an optical illusion consisting of a series of 1s and 0s erected along the riverbanks, designed to demonstrate the fleeting nature of time – was the perfect way to end this culturally enriching experience.    


Image Courtesy of


Taiwan National Clean Up

Taiwan’s National Clean Up Event is in its second year running this coming May 20, 2018 and will take place in twelve locations across Taiwan:

Sponsored by Roxy and organized by Taiwan Adventure Outings (TAO) in partnership with several international and local enterprises, the event is set to make an even larger positive impact this year.

The national event aims to bring environmental awareness to those living in Taiwan, as well as provide fun outdoor activities for families and individuals both young and old.

Every month, for the last two years, TAO, an environmentally conscious adventure company, has been hosting free beach and forest clean up events, with the goal of bringing communities together for environmental conservation, education and engagement.

The average Taiwan resident consumes an estimate of 800 plastic bags a year.

Globally the equivalent of one garbage truck per minute is being dumped in the oceans. Taiwan’s unique geographical location means it is prone to waste washing up on its shores.

Taiwan aims to be free of plastic by 2030, and already the Environmental Protection Agency has banned single-use bags in seven industries this year. Local initiatives like the Taiwan National Clean Up are essential to provide awareness and education about everyday plastic consumption to realize these goals.

The public is welcome to host clean up events in their local area, or join in on existing ones by contacting TAO at the email below or at the Facebook event links above.


Contact Taiwan Adventure Outings:





Roxy, Taiwan Adventure Outings, WRAPTIETM, One Brown Planet, NALA’S Mexican Food, Rising Sun Surf Inn, Taipei Hikers, Southern Taiwan Hiking, Origin Wellness and Yoga, ZIRAN, Taiwan Hiking Community, Blue Skies Adventures, Ocean Diary_我在海邊寫日記

A note from Taiwan Observer: Make sure you are allowed to volunteer on your current visa, some visa restrict volunteer work with out a permit.

Get rich with Taiwan Observer’s Monetization Scheme

[the article was a prank prepared for April’s Fools Day]

Hey there, Observers!

After producing content and aggregating news effortlessly for quite a some time now, the time has come for monetization and cashing in on our efforts. One of Taiwan Observer’s co founders has recently bought a car and this lead us to discovering new avenues of revenue generation. In order to get some income and bring you more, new content, we have decided to finally to get involved in a business and give you a chance to become rich in the process. Watch the video at the bottom of the article to see that this is legit.


We have hooked up with our Ugandan Correspondent to bring you this fantastic offer. Now you can get a case of gold weighing approximately 7.5 kilograms each for a special offer of only $99,000. The market value of 7.5 kilograms of gold is $330,000. Yet for us, thanks to our international connections, we are able to bring to you this one and only chance to buy plenty of African gold for cheap .


We want to be honest with our readers and we do admit that this offer is part of our new, Taiwan Observer Monetization Scheme. We do have a little percentage of each successful transaction. But the time has come for the Taiwan Observer Editorial Team to start earning some money in a legitimate way.


In order to participate in this wonderful offer please, send us an email to this email address: Please, include your first and last names, physical address, cell phone number, ID numbers, bank code and account number of the bank account you will be transferring the money to us from. Your cooperation and strict adherence to our instructions is necessary for a successful transaction.


Below you can find the video of our Ugandan correspondent presenting the gold to prove to you it is legit. Have a look and judge for yourself, this is the deal of a lifetime.




A Women’s Mental Health Support Group: Going Beyond and Changing the Society for The Better

Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as the three major diseases of the new century. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are at least about 50 million people with depression in Asia and their numbers are on the rise. By 2020, depression and heart disease will have become the top two diseases that affect human lives. Currently, there are about 2 million people suffering from depression in Taiwan, and 97% of them don’t reach out for help.

Now WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is trying to do something about it. WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is a women’s mental health support group in Taipei. Since December, 2017, WARM has been supporting women’s mental health, and has become a necessary part of their members’ lives. WARM IS THE FIRST AND ONLY mental health support group in Taiwan. WARM has been improving and inspiring women’s lives for the better since December, 2017.

Mental illness is extremely stigmatized in Taiwan. Treatments of depression in Taiwanese clinics are poorly covered by health insurance, it only covers about 2% to 4% of the expenses. On top of that, a single therapy session can cost about 100-120 USD.

In WARM, women meet up every Sunday. WARM provides women in Taiwan a safe platform to discuss anything that is plaguing their mental health. Generally speaking, in Taiwan, a therapy session is 50 minutes a week, a doctor’s visit is about 10-20 minutes a week, once we leave the clinics, we are all on our own again. WARM is trying to break that cycle and create a community that offers support 24/7. WARM further posts encouraging posts in their Facebook group and interactive questions or weekly challenges, such as: “look into the mirror and say ‘I accept you’ for three times, comment below and get a chance on this exclusive WARM gift”. WARM makes sure that they incentivize women every single day without failing.

In WARM, women are empowered by listening and sharing. Topics which were previously considered “unspeakable” or “weak”, or something to “be ashamed of” for women are now being spoken and discussed. Sensitive topics such as rape, abortion, body image and abuse are boldly discussed in WARM. They have given their members a voice and a place to talk about their traumas. More importantly, WARM is a place for women to find closure, support and healing. WARM exemplifies that mental health is as important as physical health, no one chooses to be sick voluntarily.

Recently WARM has been featured in the Taiwan Observer, Taiwan News, Taipei Times, and ICRT. This shows how much society needs them and the important jobs they are doing. They are not a group therapy but a support group. They do not offer professional treatment to “fix” people, but guide their members to seek professional help outside of the group when necessary. The WARM meeting style is based on the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) format, providing a safe platform for women to share and encourage each other. WARM has a safe and effective platform for women with mental health related issues. It has been proven by past meetings that WARM’s structure is more than helpful to their members.

WARM holds their weekly meetings at MOWES, a community space run by and for women. Besides their weekly Sunday meetings, they have various events dedicated to mental health at different venues with a wide selection of partners to collaborate with. WARM is the true example of what happens when people unite, speak up and raise their voice for themselves. WARM believes: together, we can fight anything, even the profound stigma of mental illness. WARM is trying their best to not just be a support group, but a cause for de-stigmatizing mental health and raising awareness about mental health. WARM’s ultimate goal is that hopefully, WARM won’t need to exist one day. When that day comes, hopefully, we can walk up to a stranger, and say “Hey, I don’t know you, but I support you.”.

This is the link to WARM’s Facebook group (ladies only):

The link to WARM’s Facebook page (for the public) :

Earthquake Survival Guide


Compiled by Tobie Openshaw


Looking back at the last 20-odd years of earthquakes and disasters in Taiwan and elsewhere in the region, one can learn a few lessons and prepare some necessities to ensure that you can survive similar scenarios to what we have seen play out here.


Disasters in Taiwan


Disaster  scenarios 

1. AT HOME, BUILDING DAMAGED, BUT YOU CAN GET OUT (The 9/21/1999 Earthquake)
During the earthquake of 9/21, we were living on the 10th floor of an apartment building in Taoyuan. The building swayed to such an extent that our bed moved away from the wall by about a meter. We got the kids into jackets and shoes in between violent aftershocks, and got them down the stairwell and bundled into the car. We covered them up with the duvet we had brought down with us, drove to an open space, and spent an

921 earthquake
An image showing aftermath of earthquake that occured on Sep 21st, 1999.

uncomfortable night sleeping in the car. The next day we spent driving around because there were still aftershocks and we thought the apartment was unsafe. 7-11 remained open but all necessities were quickly sold out. All other businesses and restaurants were closed, ATMS were dead, so we were running out of cash. On the 3rd day we found a lone bank employee with a generator, running one ATM! We snacked on whatever we could find at 7-11. Eventually we returned, but we had no electricity and no water for over a week. We did have gas supply so we could cook. The most severe problem, that was the most immediately sign that you were in a state of emergency, was the fact that without water, you can’t flush the toilet. We developed a system of only flushing once a day, and getting water out of the swimming pool for that.   Carrying a 20l can of water up 10 flights of stairs was no joke, and that was barely enough for one flush. The men peed into the sink. It was almost 2 weeks before things were normal again.


2. AT WORK (The Fukushima 2011 earthquake)

You’re at work. You are uninjured but you need to get home. You don’t know where your loved ones are or if they are safe. PHONES ARE DOWN. Cellphone networks are vulnerable to damage to towers, complete power outages, and system overload immediately after a disaster. In Taoyuan after the 9/21 earthquake it took several hours before I was able to send and receive text messages. During the Fukushima earthquake, some of my colleagues in Tokyo chose to walk home because all transportation was halted. Some of them walked for FIVE HOURS in very unsuitable shoes.

3. AT HOME, BUILDING TOPPLES, YOU ARE TRAPPED (The Tainan 2/6/2016 earthquake)

You wake up to the building toppling. Everything happens incredibly quickly. Everything slides down, you are trapped at an awkward angle, with only the stuff next to your bed in a mess around you. You get the weight of the bed off you where it crushed you against the wall. The water pipes break and the water tanks on the roof tip out their contents. There is a gush of water, some of which drenches you. You are stuck in a narrow space because the floors pancaked. It is dark and cold. You can smell gas. A piece of rebar gashed your leg. It’s not bleeding too badly, but you’re not sure if it’s fractured. You are in shock. It may take hours, even days, before rescuers can get to you. You need to let them know you are alive so they can hone in on you. You need to dry out, give yourself first aid, you need to keep warm, and you need to keep your spirits up. You have to stay alive.

Some general thoughts in no particular order:

Have a plan

When the building is violently shaking and shelves come crashing down, it’s well past the time for you to think, “Aaaah what should I do?”

Discuss with all members of your household, and have a solid plan.

LARGE-SCALE DESTRUCTION such as in Haiti or Nepal is uncommon in Taiwan. It’s usually just single buildings that go down. If your building is still standing after the first shake, chances are that it will stay that way. If you can get out, you are safe – you can get to shelter, you will get government assistance, you can also go stay with friends or family – Best to have this conversation before disaster strikes.

  • Remember to take your house keys, with you, keep duplicates in your bag – you don’t want to evacuate, stay outside in the cold for a while and then discover you’ve locked yourself out of the house.
  • Keep your floors clear of kids’ toys etc. … you don’t want to be tripping over Legos in the dark.
  • Include your pets’ needs in your preparations.
  • If you keep your shoes by the door, keep at least a pair of flipflops right by your bed.
  • A car provides shelter and warmth and relative comfort, and the ability to get out of danger. If you have one, it is a very important part of your plan.
  • Check Websites/FB Groups if people offering help and rooms, and mark yourself safe.
  • EVACUATION CENTERS are usually at a school in the neighborhood. Go there to get help, to be accounted for, and to find loved ones. Don’t just bug out and go sit it out somewhere without letting people know you are safe.


Usually the following applies:

The building starts shaking. You wake up and assess.

  • Is the building just swaying, and then stops? You can probably just go back to sleep.
  • Is the building groaning and things falling off shelves? You should probably leave.
  • Is the building tilting/pancaking, pieces of concrete breaking out of ceiling and walls? – You should protect your head as best you can, ride it out. This will be a very violent experience, it usually happens VERY quickly. You will probably be hurt. Once everything settles down, check yourself for injuries, control any bleeding first, get your flashlight from your grab bag, and seek an escape route. Be careful of upsetting things that are precariously balanced. If there is no escape, keep warm, treat yourself with what you have to hand, try to communicate to let others know you are alive and your location (blow a whistle, tap on beams or pipes) and sit tight. YOU WILL BE RESCUED. The Taiwan Rescue Services are very experienced, very well equipped, and they do not stop before they have every single person accounted for.

It’s best to NOT try to run out of a building when things are still shaking and falling. That’s the most vulnerable period. It’s best to STAY and COVER. Get under a table or bed or doorway (pick out suitable spots in EACH room beforehand) or whatever will protect you against falling things. Wait for the shaking to subside.

  • Now grab the THINGS ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE and your BUG OUT BAG (be prepared for aftershocks, take cover again if they come immediately)
  • PUT ON YOUR SHOES, PUT ON A JACKET, GRAB CHILDREN OR PETS, (maybe sit out another aftershock)
  • ONCE OUTSIDE, you now have the option to wait and see if it’s safe to go back inside, get in your car and get out of the area, or, if your building catastrophically collapses, vacate the area so that emergency services can get in, and get to a shelter.


Some people will find their first instinct is to help others who may be trapped. In fact, in most disasters, such as the Haiti and Fukushima earthquakes, the first 24 hours is when MOST people are rescued – mostly under their own steam, or helped by relatives and others – many of them dug out by people using their bare hands. Therefore in my earthquake kit I have a hammer, cold chisel, hacksaw, pry bar, gloves, goggles and helmet. However, while I have had SOME experience with this kind of thing, I know my limitations. Once the trained and equipped emergency services arrive, give them whatever useful information you may have, then GET OUT OF THEIR WAY.



This is my list. Yours may be tailored according to your needs. Some of these are essentials, others can be described as “comfort Items”.


Here you should have the stuff that you really cannot do without, things that you can grab in an instant – or, should you be trapped, they are immediately to hand.


  • Phone on charge
  • Wallet with money and ID
  • Shoes
  • Keys


  • Automatic flashlight (plugged into wall, this keeps its charge and switches on automatically when there is a power failure)



This bag should be tailored to your specific needs and will change depending on your household situation, do you have pets or children to provide for, etc. You might prepare a bag for each member of the family. This should ideally also be reachable from your bed.


  • Personal ID
  • Folder with personal documents
  • Beanie hat
  • Warm gloves
  • Scarf
  • Hand warmers
  • Sweater
  • LED Flashlight
  • Multi-tool
  • Umbrella
  • Powerbank for phone plus variety of cables
  • Wallet with 5k and small change Masks
  • Work Gloves
  • Lighter
  • Light plastic raincoat/s
  • Small roll plastic bags
  • Goggles
  • Whistle
  • Spare Reading glasses
  • Spare keys to everything including car
  • Cigarettes
  • Hard candy/chocolate nuts
  • Small first-aid kit:
    • Band-aids
    • Iodine
    • Gauze
    • Bandage
    • Sanitary towels
    • Aspirin
    • Antacid
    • Water purification tablets
    • Paper clips
    • Safety pins
    • Dental floss
    • Any meds that you depend on
  • USB Memory stick with:
    • Scans of Passports
    • ARCs
    • Will
    • Family photos
    • Car registration
    • Medical info
    • Emergency contacts in other city/country
  • Change of socks/underwear
  • Wind-up charger/flashlight
  • Pry bar for jammed doors
  • Spare batteries for flashlight
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Wetwipes
  • Sudoku
  • Pen/pencil
  • Strong metal water bottle
  • Jacket
  • Small battery-powered FM radio
  • Roll of plastic bags
  • Toilet tissue
  • Duct tape
  • Helmet (skating helmet is cheap and will protect against falling things.)


3. Elsewhere in your house:

Know where the electricity, water and gas taps are to shut them off. Do so if you have an orderly evacuation. In fact, it might be a good idea even to turn your gas tap off every evening before going to bed.


  • Fire extinguisher
  • Large water container with water (for toilet)
  • Smaller water container (drinking)
  • Battery –powered LED Room Light
  • Large plastic bags
  • Duct tape
  • Canned food – soups etc.
  • Dry noodles
  • Pastas
  • Rice
  • Trail mix
  • Pet food
  • Candles (Naked flame only to be used if 100% sure no gas leak!)
  • Stock of batteries for devices, flashlights etc.
  • Toilet foam (Spray into bowl to cover sight and smell so you can flush less.)
  • Battery-powered FM Radio


4. Always in car:


  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Silver windshield sunscreens
  • Machete
  • Wood saw
  • Hand axe
  • Pry bar
  • Folding Table
  • Folding chairs
  • Tarp
  • Large Umbrellas
  • Blanket



What you keep in your car is a very personal choice. Many things like food on this list will spoil if you leave in your car too long. Maybe you could have a bin in your house in which you keep those items, and only put it in your car during heightened risk periods, like typhoons approaching, or earthquake swarms like we’ve been having. You can also check the expiry date on things at least once a year and swap them out. I like to camp so a lot of the stuff I have in my car is to survive in an outdoors, camping, living-out-of-the-car situation, but that would be almost unheard of in Taiwan, you will be better off going to a shelter or with friends.




    • Camping stove and gas canisters
    • Camping pot x 2
    • Can opener
    • Knives/forks/spoons
    • Bowls
    • Plastic cups
    • Kitchen knife
    • Cutlery
    • Dry food
    • Energy bars
    • Dry noodles
    • Canned foods
    • Hard candy
  • Baby stuff (Even if you don’t have a baby yourself, diapers are good for wound dressings, and also for barter with families with babies)
  • Wetwipes
  • 2 small Towels
  • Sanitary towels
  • Flipflops for everyone
  • Wide duct tape
  • 20l Water bottle
  • Bucket
  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet paper
  • Roll black garbage bags
  • Disposable underwear & socks
  • Books:
    • Survival manual
    • First-aid manual
    • Novel
    • 3lb hammer
    • Cold chisel
    • Pry bar
    • Hatchet
    • Hacksaw
    • Wire cutters
    • Pliers
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Gloves
    • Masks
    • Goggles
    • Water and gas main wrenches?
    • Scissors
    • Soap
    • Shampoo
    • Dental floss (roll, many uses)
    • Toothbrushes
    • Toothpaste
    • Toothpicks
    • Dishwashing liquid
  • Green oil for insect repellant/smell
  • Firestarters
  • Windproof Lighter
  • Sunglasses
  • Candles
  • Solar charging panel
  • Blow up travel pillow
  • Umbrellas
  • Raincoats
  • Reflective vest
  • SD card
  • Spare camera battery
  • Ziploc bags
  • Pack of cards
  • Rope – paracord, climbable rope, towing rope
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bleach
  • Aluminum foil
    • Painkiller
    • Antiseptic
    • Wound clotting
    • Tourniquet
    • Stretch bandage
    • Wound Gauze
    • Stomach medicine
    • Bottle of saline
    • Sanitary pads
    • Lip balm
    • Sunscreen
    • Water purification


  • FOOD
    • Foodstuffs – candy, trail mix, energy bars
    • Cans of food
    • Hard candy
    • Trail mix
    • Energy bar
    • Baby Porridge/food
    • Multivitamins
    • Pao mien
    • Pet food

6. At the office:

Small backpack with:

  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Empty water bottle (fill up from water dispenser immediately)
  • Candy
  • Emergency phone numbers of family members



  • All the stuff you keep by your bedside
  • Clothes
  • Bug-out bag
  • Camera bags

8. TO BUY immediately if available:

  • Draw all cash money if possible
  • Water – 20l
  • Bread
  • Snacks
  • Chocolate
  • Coke
  • Charcoal
  • BBQ
  • Firelighters
  • Newspapers
  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Instant Coffee


In closing, remember that Taiwan has had a lot of experience in dealing with disasters, and if you can survive the first hours of an event, you will probably be ok.



Don’t let “On Happiness Road” be the last animated film made in Taiwan!

by: Jean-Jacques Chen

Animation, and Taiwan.

Two words that seemingly don’t mesh automatically in the same sentence in most people’s minds.

And most people would be wrong !

Taiwan has actually got quite a long story in the worldwide animation industry.
Ever seen those little indie animated movies called Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Lion King and Mulan, made by an up and coming indie studio called Disney ? Well, it turns out that if all the preproduction, scriptwriting, character designs and storyboarding of these movies were made in Disney’s HQ in California, most of their animated production were actually contracted to… Taiwan !

Long before China, Korea, and now other SE Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia got on board; Taiwan has been, for almost 2 decades, the world’s animation production powerhouse, from the 80’s to the early 2000’s, having orders coming from the USA, Europe and even Japan ! This period was commonly called by nostalgic Taiwanese veteran animators who are still connected to the trade nowadays, the golden era of Taiwanese animation.

So what prompted it to end ? How could such a profitable business suddenly fall apart, leaving all its former employees to either become animation teachers in arts universities (such as yours truly), or joining only a sparse number of small to medium sized studios, scrambling to make ends meet, working mostly for the video game industry because that’s where the money is today?

Toy story is what happened.


After Pixar launched its surprise worldwide smash hit Toy story in 1995, compounded by a Bug’s life and Toy Story 2 in 1998 and 1999, something happened in every big animation studio executive’s mind, especially with Disney’s : “THIS is the future of animation ! CG animation is the way to go ! Be damned with outdated hand-drawn animations, nobody wants to watch that anymore.”

Following this mindset, Disney closed one by one all its long-established hand drawn studios worldwide, throwing away decades of experienced craftsmanship and talents, and started focusing on working on CG movies only. That, in turn, meant cutting Taiwan’s animation industry from its biggest client (and then some, as in a snowball effect, the whole world’s animations projects, except Japan, had turned CG !)
Taiwan’s biggest animation companies were caught completely unaware and unprepared by this massive tectonic shift, and frantically scrambled together to try to breed some locally Made in Taiwan animated movie projects to keep the machine rolling. While all these attempts showed lots of  heart and goodwill, they all tanked completely in the box-office due to one major factor : Taiwan was full of veteran animators, but lacked experienced storytellers, scriptwriters and lead directors. Therefore, those movies were just simply not at the same level of compelling storytelling that Taiwanese audience were used to see from both the USA and its direct neighbour, Japan. Thus marked the agonizing decline of what was once a thriving business and a source of national pride. Most of its once seemingly invincible animation companies went bankrupt, and all its talents scattered to the winds.

As a former animation film director myself (I completed my 7 years-long animation directing master program in Brussels Belgium, and came afterwards in Taiwan for 10 years, where I’ve worked in the animation industry in Taiwan for my first 8 years before giving it up and becoming a photographer and animation teacher), I’ve always complained about the dearth of worthy animation film projects that were 100% made in Taiwan for these past 10 years.

Which finally leads us to today’s main topic : On Happiness road !


The movie is telling the story of Lin Hsu Chi, a Taiwanese woman born in the mid 70’s who’s now married and living in America. Due to her beloved Amis grandmother’s passing, she rushes back to her childhood neighborhood in Xinzhuang, a suburb of Taipei, at her old family’s house located on the titular Happiness road, for helping with the funerals. There, while rediscovering her surroundings and the life that she left behind years ago, she gradually reminisces (in a series of flashbacks back and forth between past and present) all the things that led her life to what it is now, from her innocent and whimsical childhood, through her quickly maturing teenage rebellious years and leading to her hard working young adulthood age, before getting married and leaving for her American dream, to the pursuit of happiness. But did she get it ? And what’s happiness exactly? Those are the important questions the main character is constantly asking herself all throughout the movie.

Interestingly enough, the movie’s story is not only Hsu Chi’s, but also the rest of the ensemble cast, making some detours into the lives of its endearing supporting characters, from her family to her whimsical aboriginal grandmother (one of the best characters of the film), to her childhood friends, their direct environment and backgrounds, as well as a crash course of Taiwan’s tumultuous history of these past 30 years, both culturally, politically, educationally, and socially, all of these seen through the eyes of Hsu Chi and her entourage, going beyond the status of an animation film, to sometimes look more like a documentary, all the while sprinkling a few visually poetic dream sequences all throughout the film, that only the power of animation could offer.
Although that seems a lot to digest for a single movie (and at moments, it does feel a bit overwhelming to the audience), the script is so well written that, at the end, all these seemingly sparse moments come together for an emotional finale that leaves butterflies in the audience’s stomach.
2 years ago, I started hearing echoes of the production of this great looking Made in Taiwan animated project, and it did catch my curiosity, after more than 10+ years of a creative desert on the island, I decided to follow its production story. There I learned the project actually initially started in 2013, where a short pilot was shown, and earned a prize for best film project at the Golden Horse festival that year ! As a result, its author and director, Hsin Yin Sung was awarded a 1 million NT$ fund for kickstarting the project. While 1 million NT$ sounds great, it is nowhere near enough to make an animation film, so the director had to fight all the way up to find people who would support her crazy dream of making a female-led, Made in Taiwan, animation story.

The films path would follow an avalanche of hurdles to have the film produced, where for the first few years, very few would take this project seriously, nor believe in its feasibility (read in Chinese : profitability) to want to help finance it.
But it also led to some unexpected positive encounters, such as famous Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun Mei, whom after reading the script, was brought to tears by it and decided on the spot that this movie’s story needed to be told, asking the director Sung (to her shock !) if she could be the main voice actress, thus weighing in a lot of her star power to help make this movie’s future financiers happier. Another unexpected help would come from famous Cape No. 7 and Seediq Bale’s director, Wei-Te Sheng, who also happens to be an old schoolmate of director Hsin. He also decided to support the movie as one of the characters voice (and most probably pulled some strings in the background to help the movie’s financing). To be honest, the whole production of this movie would deserve a movie on its own.

And finally, last week, the film got on screen ! Excited as I was to finally see the finished version of this movie project that I’ve been following for so long, and took even longer to make, I went to Spot Huashan for its afternoon screening. Little did I know that the director and the movie’s adorable young lead actress (XiaoChi’s kid’s voice actor) would be in the attendance for a Q&A session after the screening. Having met the director on a previous occasion at TNUA’s Kuandu animation film festival, for a lecture about her movie, we’ve already discussed a bit about her purpose with this film, and I was curious to expand a bit on our previous conversation. Ultimately, we didn’t have lot of time to talk, as she was on a promo tour and had to move on to another theater for the next screening, but she did have the time to tell me that the box office of the movie has so far, been really bad, and that there were talks about slashing the movie from the big screen, as soon as this thursday, only one week in.


That would be a profoundly unfair fate for a production that has been through so much, brought upon by the sweat and tears of all the hard-working younger generation of animators and visual talents who believed in it (if you’ve never worked in the animation industry, I can assure you from an insider’s point of view that in the show-business world, it is by very far one of the most gruesome and heaviest workloaded career one could choose to tell a story).
And not only for this specific movie, but for the entire animation industry of the country, marred with massive failures for the past 15 years. One could easily imagine why Taiwanese mass audience would be reluctant to go see that new Taiwanese animation film, as they could very well believe it’s one of those half-baked failures of old again.
And they would be absolutely wrong !
All early attendance have been raving about this movie, and the word of mouth is so far excellent, prompting some very enthusiastic reviews in news media such as Taipei Times and Apple Daily.

The movie is not perfect, of course. It has its flaws and as a veteran animation film director myself, I couldn’t help but notice that it suffers occasionally from a common mistake that lot of filmmakers do on their first animated feature film : the attempt to cram too many things in just one movie ! But, overall, it’s also what makes its charm, as it doesn’t necessarily abide by the international rules of visual storytelling, and tells its own story, in its own very taiwanese way (which for once, actually translates well on screen, thanks in big parts to the great quality of the script).   


If such a gem of a movie, which is so great at addressing personal questions about self worth, family bonds and values, and one’s own place into society and life, and addressing it to so many different audiences, both to kids to teenagers to young and older adults (which really is a first in Taiwanese animation history), if such a great made in Taiwan animation still can’t crack the bamboo ceiling of its own country’s audience’s…. then, no one ever will, and it will just show all potential future investors that they were right from the beginning, that the Taiwanese broad audience just don’t care about this particular niche of filmmaking (adult animation) therefore is simply not worthy of attention anymore.

This would simply kill the whole Taiwanese animation industry once and for all,  the next national project to happen may be in the next 15 years if we’re lucky… meanwhile, all the young talent that have been growing up on this project and could have the potential of becoming Taiwan’s future in the animation industry, will either starve, change career, or move abroad…

Yes, this movie is THAT important !

It is Taiwan’s animation industry’s last hope to break through, to be even allowed to exist in the future.

And it’s fading into darkness as you’re reading this article…

If you have the time, and intend on starting 2018 with a great bittersweet but warm hearted movie, please, go watch it ! Not only you will help support Taiwan’s animation future, but you’ll also thank me for recommending you to go watch one of Taiwan’s best films to date.



W.A.R.M.: Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues, a women’s support group in Taipei


Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as one of the three major diseases of the new century. It lines up with cancer and AIDS to devour the people’s physical and mental health. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are currently between 200 and 400 million people in the world suffering from depression. It is estimated that there are at least about 50 million people with depression in Asia and their numbers are on the rise. By 2020, depression and heart disease will become the top two diseases that affect the huge human lives.
In response to this current widely-watched issue, Shen Wudian, director of psychiatry at Taipei’s Wanfang Hospital, pointed out that the proportion of people with depression in Taiwan is seriously underestimated. Anxiety disorders can easily cause depression, and 58% of anxiety patients can transmit into depression, and is now considered to be one of the most serious causes of stress or disability in all diseases. According to statistics, the prevalence rate of depression in Taiwan is about 7.3%. In other words, about 1.5 million people in Taiwan suffer from depression at present. This shows that the problem of depression is very serious.
However, treatment of depression and other mental illness is not included in health insurance in Taiwan. A single therapy session can cost about 2500-3000 NTD. This is where we, W.A.R.M. (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally), comes in. W.A.R.M is a weekly Sunday meeting where women with similar states of mental health can come and share their stories, talk about what they are going through.
W.A.R.M. is the first support group in Taiwan to support women with these mental issues, which are so stigmatized by society. The weekly Sunday W.A.R.M. meetings are based in Taipei, we are not “classes”, “sessions” or “group therapy”, also in no way intended to be viewed as providing any form of “professional treatment” to fix people. The participants can choose to remain anonymous and there will be no formal sign up. The W.A.R.M. meetings style are roughly based on the AA meeting format – although without any steps, agenda or programs. W.A.R.M. meetings are just a safe platform for women who are struggling in life to share and connect with each other, without any pressure, judgement or expectations. We are providing a safe space for women to talk and listen to their individual predicaments. We are building a support network in order to encourage and empower women by having these weekly group meetings.
Within our growing support network, we see how women unite and empower each other. As women, we have the guts to be vulnerable, and by being vulnerable, exchanging life experiences, we bond over the similar hardships that we went through. We welcome all ladies with any background to join our support network. You are not alone.

W.A.R.M. Facebook group:
Co-Founder: Vanessa Wang (
Jenn Crimin (

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: