My friend and fellow writer John Grant Ross has called Taiwan “a graveyard of English-language publications.” I’m in my 30th year on this island, and in that time I’ve seen a good few newspapers, magazines and websites rise and fall.
I cut my teeth writing for The China Post, a daily newspaper that launched in Taipei in 1952. It ceased printing in 2017, but continues as an online publication. Taiwan News, where I worked as a copyeditor at the turn of the century, is also web-only (and seems to be far more successful, in terms of reader numbers, than The China Post).
Fountain, a biannual magazine put out by a government-backed cultural foundation, was a beautiful thing to hold and behold. For its fifth issue, I wrote big chunks of a special report looking forward to the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung. (This led to me writing about the event for other publications). A highlight of the assignment was getting to meet and interview Chi Cheng, a legendary track athlete and, in person, a gregarious and down-to-earth individual.
It’s sad but unsurprising that English-language publications struggle in Taiwan. In Hong Kong and Singapore, where far more people are likely to read something in English, the situation is hardly better…