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Month: April 2017

American Literature & Creative Writing in Taiwan

Introduction      I had the pleasure to serve as a Visiting Professor in the Foreign Languages and Literature Department at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan, 2015-2016. I taught undergraduate and graduate classes in creative writing and American literature, with a special focus on Asian American literature.       My teaching in fall 2015 was rewarding, but also challenging. I did not keep a formal teaching log that term. In the hopes of becoming an increasingly effective classroom teacher, I committed to keeping a teaching log in spring 2016. After every class session, I typed up a short entry on what happened in the class that day—the texts we discussed, the strong points in discussion, what worked or didn’t work, areas for improvement, and so on. My primary aim was to reflect on how to work most effectively with East Asian students who are second language learners and, in many cases, largely unfamiliar with more nuanced aspects of U.S. history, culture, and society. While edited for length and clarity, I tried to keep these reflections as unvarnished and “fresh” as possible, hopefully conveying a sense of my experience. Please note that this essay was submitted before the end of the

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Exploring the Art and the Science at Stanford

If I had to use just one word to describe my year-long sabbatical leave as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford, it would be “fruitful” on both the art and the science fronts. The Science      I am a health economist and my research interests in recent years have focused on the economics of the health systems in the Asia-Pacific region. The Center for East Asian Studies and Dr. Karen Eggleston at the Asia Health Policy Program, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, have jointly hosted my visit from August 2015 to July 2016.      In light of the significance of chronic disease, a major driver to of cost growth, the main research question in my proposed study to be addressed is: that how does Taiwan tackle the management of chronic disease under National Health Insurance (NHI) compared to the other high-income economies in the Asia-Pacific? More specifically, two primary research goals in this research proposal are: (1) to assess “value for money” (productivity) of chronic disease management in different health system settings; and (2) to give evidence-based policy advice to help prepare healthcare systems for aging populations

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The Ignored Inequality: Affective Inequality

We live in a world where inequality permeates all aspects of our lives, where we are indifferent to the emotional burdens of others, where we are victimized by fear, anger, resentment, and hatred. Economic, cultural, and political inequalities widen the gap between the rich and poor, and unemployment rates remain high in many countries (e.g., the United States and Taiwan). Such inequalities result in affective inequality which, in a vicious cycle, exacerbates these economic, cultural, and political inequalities (Lynch, Baker, & Lyons, 2009). While slogans of fighting for justice have become ubiquitous, emotional depletion has been ignored (Lynch & Lyons, 2009b; Lynch, Lyons, & Cantillon, 2009b; O’Brien, 2009; Stevenson, 2015). We are asked to pretend that we are not wounded (Enright, 2015b). A seventh-grader’s spoken word poetry entitled “Behind My Smile” gives us a vivid expression (Fiore, 2015, p. 817):                               Some wear fake smiles                              Behind those is pain                              How do I know?            

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Teaching in a Buddhist Pure Land: A Fulbright scholar on Dharma Drum Mountain

For one semester, I taught and conducted research in a Buddhist Pure Land! I spent the 2016 fall semester on Dharma Drum Mountain, a green mountainous Buddhist community located in Jinshan District, north of Taipei. This Buddhist community includes the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, where I taught a graduate seminar on Comparative Religious Texts. The Dharma Drum Mountain is also home to a 4-year Sangha University to train Buddhist monks and nuns as well as the international headquarters of Dharma Drum organization, known as the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education and the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies. Life on a Buddhist Mountain My life on the mountain was ideal for health, contemplation, and research. I ate the simple Buddhist vegetarian meals of rice, tofu, and vegetables—eating breakfast and dinner in silent rows with everyone facing the same direction. At times, I found the Chan Buddhist practice of eating in silence a surprising relief from struggling to keep up with Chinese conversations at meals. I was welcomed to eat lunch with the faculty in their dining room, who were the only ones who spoke during noontime meals. But even there, I felt that there was a

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