The Gaming Industry in Taiwan (with Iain Garner)

We are joined by Iain Garner of the Taiwanese-based games publisher Neon Doctrine. He shares with us his insights into the world of game development and Taiwan’s unique position in this industry. He also gives descriptions of just a few of the many games that Neon Doctrine has published. These include:
Legend of Tianding – ‘Robin Hood’ during the Japanese colonial occupation of Taiwan
Yuppie Psycho – a new employee in a corporate hellscape who’s discovered his job title is witch-hunter
The Library of Babel – stealth platformer, full of intrigue and mystery
My Lovely Wife (and My Lovely Daughter) – dark story about how far you’d go for those you love
Simulacrac – found phone horror games

Neon Doctrine’s website
Neon Doctrine’s list of published games on Steam
Death Trick: Double Blind – free demo (availability time-limited)
The Legend of Tianding (on Steam)
Liao Tianding’s Wikipedia page

-Other Game Developers
A Space for the Unbound (Toge)
Dungeon Munchies (maJAJa)
Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games)
-Game Shows
Taipei Game Developers Forum
Summer Game Show
-Rami Ismail
Tweet about games being miracles
Full article on the subject of milestones

Episode 24 – Dominican Hermosa

The mendicant religious orders within the Catholic church, started in the 13th Century, were products of the highly religious and meant to rebuild the church’s failing image. Over the centuries rivalries grew between these orders and, although they had generally the same goals and often worked together, they also vied with one another for power and influence.
The Order of St. Dominic led the Catholic charge into Hermosa, partly to counter the protestant Dutch in the south, but mostly with an eye to forging new pathways to China and Japan. Here we look at a few of the most prominent of these Dominicans and their actions in Taiwan.

St. Dominic Coat of Arms
Portrait of Saint Dominic, 1170-1221

The Catholic Church in Taiwan (extract)
The Catholic Dominican Missionaries in Taiwan (1626-1646)
La Isla Hermosa (How Taiwan Became Chinese, Ch. 4)
Peter Kang (Academia Sinica)

Taiwan’s Covid-19 Story

It’s 2023 (as least as I type this) and for most people Covid-19 is little more than a painful memory. The virus isn’t gone and infections still occur, but the existential threat compounded by the ridiculous levels of hygiene theatre that turned the experience in an exercise in virtue-signaling is finally over. People are able to once again breathe easy and get back to living their lives. Yet some things linger

Mask mandate eased in December 2022
17th April 2023 Response to ending public transport mask mandate
The Minister of Health and Welfare won’t recognise mental health issues
Taiwan universities recognise mental health

Episode 23 – Isla Hermosa

Flag with the Cross of Burgundy, used by the Spanish Empire.

From 1624 the Dutch were encamped in southern Formosa (their name for Taiwan) and heavily disrupting trade in the region for the Spanish and Portuguese. By 1626 the Spanish had decided to take action and sent an expedition to form a colony in northern Hermosa (their name for Taiwan). After finding an apparently perfect place, complete with a village ready and waiting for them to occupy, they began experiencing difficulties. Supplies were in short demand, as Hermosa was the most distant outpost of the Spanish empire.

(above left) an image of Keelung Bay from 1626 showing what is today known as Heping (Peace) Island in the north.
(above right) an image of Taiwan from the late 1630s showing the Dutch in the south and the Spanish in the north.

The Craft Beer Industry in Taiwan (with Joe Merrell)

For a long time the beer industry in Taiwan was under the control of a government monopoly. Started in 1919 under the Japanese as Takasago Brewery Co., it remained a government monopoly through the Japanese police state and the KMT police state until the markets opened up in the 1980s. Even today Taiwan Beer (produced by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation) accounts for the vast majority of beer sales in Taiwan. It’s easy to understand why craft beer is still a relatively new industry here.
To help us understand more we welcome Joe Merrell from Taihu Brewing to share his knowledge of the industry. He shares his general knowledge of Taiwan and of the craft beer industry which he joined in 2016.

Taihu Brewing
on Instagram
on Facebook
Distributing (on Facebook) for updates on new beers

-Landmark (Xinyi) Google Maps link and the Facebook link
-CYS (Daan) Google Maps link and the Facebook link
-Driftwood (Ximen) Google Maps link and the Facebook link
-Gyoza Bar (Daan) Google Maps link and the Facebook link

-CYS Taichung (West District) Google Maps link and the Facebook link
-Med (West District) Google Maps link and the Facebook link

-Taihu Tokyo Google Maps link and the Facebook link

-TCRC bar in Tainan (not Taihu, but mentioned in the episode) Google Maps link

Links to other craft breweries mentioned in the episode:
The Bruery (California, USA)
Other Half Brewing (Brooklyn, New York, USA)
Mountain Culture Beer Co. (NSW, Australia)
Wildflower Beer (NSW, Australia)
Range Brewing (Brisbane & Melborne, Australia)

And just for fun, here’s a link to a short YouTube series from Extra History on the history of beer (and coffee).

Episode 22 – The Spanish in the East

The Spanish and the Portuguese were important players in the actions of Europeans in the East and Far East. Though they had worked together to oust the Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula, they were still rivals for colonial territories. King Philip II of Spain would inherit the Portuguese crown in 1580, which lessened open conflicts between the two countries, but that rivalry still persisted.
Though the Spanish were largely preoccupied with conquering the Americas, they (like all European powers) had their eye on the Spice Trade. Due to treaties with the Portuguese, the Spanish needed to find a western route to the East going past the Americans and across the Pacific Ocean. Silver from Mexico gave them wealth with which to trade, but they needed to establish an outpost in the East. Ideally they wanted something on China’s doorstep, like how the Portuguese had Macau. In the end, they would settle in the Philippines and then look for expansion opportunities.

1597 map of Luzon (northern Philippines), Isla Hermosa (Taiwan) and the China’s east coast.
Dividing lines for Portuguese and Spanish claims by treaties.
Portuguese and Spanish trade routes to the Far East. (Portuguese east below Africa, Spanish west past the Americas)
Dutch map of the Moluccas – Spice Islands (map oriented with west at the top)

Episode 21 – Among the Head-Hunters of Formosa, Part II

In this episode we discuss the religion of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, including their gods and ancestors, the duties of the priestesses and how they deal with illness and death. We also look at their architecture, their various arts and crafts, including pottery and fabric, as well as their styles of tattoos.

People squatting in the same manner that men do during courtship rituals.
Note the slate walls and roofing of the Paiwan buildings, including the artwork above the door indicating it to be a chief’s house.
The people in the picture are children, showing you how low the Paiwan houses are. Most of the house is subterranean.
An example of women’s facial tattoos in Tayal culture, 2006. Here the tattoos cover the entire space below the bottom lip, as opposed to only partially, as Janet McGovern observed in 1916.

For those of you interested in reading McGovern’s work for yourself, here are some links to online versions of it.
One long scrolling page from Project Gutenberg or as a flip book from Archive.org or another flip book by Manybooks.

Prof. C.J.’s Alliance of Throne & Altar

Episode 20 – Among the Head-Hunters of Formosa, Part I

Janet Blair Mongomery McGovern was an anthropologist and explorer who visited Formosa from 1916-1918 during the first phase of the Japanese colonial period. While ostensibly working as an English teacher, she spent her free time travelling the countryside to meet and learn about the indigenous peoples of Formosa. Using the information in her book, which has the same title as this episode, we will learn all we can about the Taiwanese indigenous and compare it to Dutch records from the 17th Century.

Janet McGovern’s mapping of the indigenous distribution across Formosa.

Link 1 and Link 2 to newspaper articles on the skull discovered in 2022 believed to have belonged to a pygmy.

Videos about the Jew’s Harp (mouth harp)
French performance
Brazil performance
American performance
Description on how to play the instrument
A short history lesson on the mouth harp

Update – World War II

Around eight months ago, Cameron Reilly and Ray Harris invited me to join them on their Cold War podcast. Despite my incessant tangents, it seems I left a good impression with my gracious hosts for Ray then invited me onto his long-running World War II podcast. Below are links to my appearance on his podcast and to Ray’s website.

The link to my episode on his website.
The link to the homepage on his website.

The link to my episode on Spotify.
The link to his list of episodes on Spotify.