Info Tech, Politics, Taiwan

True bilingualism is a rare thing. As we get flooded by more and more information, who has the time to painstakingly read through hundreds of blog posts in a foreign language on the vague hope that there might be one good article? No matter how much I try I rarely read more than a couple of Chinese language blog posts a week, at best. And I know few of my Taiwanese students venture into the English speaking online world if they can avoid it.

For this reason, I’m happy to announce two excellent projects:

I’ve written about Global Voices on Savage Minds:

Ethan Zuckerman calls the bloggers linked to in the Global Voices news aggregator, bridge bloggers.” These are bloggers who are able to cross not only a linguistic divide, but also a cultural one.

But previously that bridge was mostly from other languages into English. Now it is being translated into Chinese as well! You can read more about those efforts on the GVO 翻譯計畫 wiki.

The second project is equally exciting. Interlocals is somewhere between and Global Voices. It might be considered a more grassroots and activist version of Global Voices, albeit smaller in scope. (To be fair, I discovered Interlocals via a Global Voices post.) As they put it in their mission statement: is a website for the non-english speaking world to communicate with each other on their social, cultural, and political issues through the collective efforts of a group of media activists, in translating local news and debates into an international context and in entering a dialogue with each other concerning the cultural, socio-economic and political background of their own locality.

Looking on their Taiwan feed, I discovered two stories about labor issues in Taiwan which I would not have otherwise seen in the English language blogsphere: First, a story about how the Alliance for Handicapped People (AHP; 殘障聯盟) is protesting changes to Taiwan’s labor laws which would grant more rights to foreign homecare workers. And, second, a story about a November 12th protest by twenty unions against DPP economic policies:

In the past six years, DDP government has sold a lot of state-run business to big corporations with very low prices, which included Chunghwa Telecom Corp, the nation’s biggest telecom operator, and Taiwan Sugar Corp. What’s more, about one hundred and fifty public works in Taiwan were left unused, wasting more than forty billion dollars. In many cases, building contractors can benefit from the works because they conspired with local government.

I know many pro-Green English language bloggers will not like some of what they read on Interlocals, but I’m glad to be getting a greater variety of opinions in the English language blogsphere.

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