Month: November 2020

Reflections on Failure and Resiliency in Taiwan

Becoming familiar enough with Taipei that you countenance yourself enough to get to where you are supposed to be going without being glued to Google Maps; understanding just enough Chinese that make daily interactions so much more manageable and less stressful; figuring out how to pay your bills at 7-11; becoming a regular at one of your favorite Taiwanese breakfast joints; not being completely overwhelmed when trying to find your way around Taipei Main Station; sharing a smile and small talk with your neighbors while waiting for your trash to be picked up; laughing together with older Taiwanese hikers as they speed past you and your friends on your way up a mountain.  Telling your taxi driver on accident that you need to go to Taoyuan Airport instead of Songshan Airport and completely missing your flight to Matsu; getting on the bus in the complete opposite direction of where you need to go; just nodding along when someone says something that you don’t understand; getting caught way too many times in the rain without an umbrella; trying to ask for something in your broken Chinese and failing miserably; still not understanding Taiwan’s traffic rules; forgetting your mask at home.  When

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Learning Taiwan’s Concepts of Social Justice: My Fulbright Journey at National Chengchi University

It was a colder night than usual in Kaohsiung. For me, it was mildly warm, but the locals all had to wear coats because they are used to scorching hot weather. We were sitting in a tightly packed living room with a mini projector discussing a strategy to get Taiwan’s legislators to promote basic income. I was nervous because I was organizing my first ever large-scale conference based on basic income research in the Asia Pacific, and the date was quickly approaching. This was my first glimpse at the enthusiasm among Taiwan’s activists toward the idea of basic income, even though the idea was not well known in early 2017. Although the meetings did not produce much in terms of feasible strategy, it did calm my nerves that there may be potential for enough support in Taiwan to create a sustainable organization for basic income. Fast forward to 2020 and I have been re-elected to my second term as chairman of the UBI Taiwan NGO, which researches and promotes discussion of Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). We legally founded the NGO in 2018, although we had been actively holding conferences and writing white paper policy proposals well before then. In the

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「Fulbright基金會使用二戰留下來的軍武財產來促進文化交流,希望透過文化交流,讓世界各地的人們因為更了解彼此而減少衝突,不再有戰爭。」,2018年8月24日,時任Fulbright Taiwan 學術交流基金會執行長William Vocke對著來參加獎學金被提名者工作坊的我們說。至那時起,我就像被賦予了重大的使命般時刻提醒自己:「我來到美國,不只是來追求學術上的成就,同時也肩負著文化交流的重責大任!」

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Genetics and Public Health of the Taiwanese Population

My research centers on the identification of inherited genetic variation that influences disease risk in humans. Only within the last decade, following the completion of the human genome project and rapid developments in DNA sequencing technology, has this been possible. Results from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have demonstrated both the feasibility and the potential for identifying unexpected biological pathways of disease – pathways that seem likely, in many cases, to be the targets of successful new therapies and predictive risk assessments at the individual and population levels. Most GWAS are case-control studies that look for significant genotype frequency differences at 500,000 to 1,000,000 variable DNA sequences (termed SNPs) throughout the genome. Success is dependent on sample size, typically involving 1,000’s of subjects. This is because the relative impact of a variant tends to be minor, and because the large number of independent statistical tests that are performed  requires statistical power. Over the past decade, such GWASs have been cobbled together with collections of existing DNA samples, and collectively they have identified from the low dozens to the low hundreds of genes associated with many of the most common human diseases. Many of the discovered genes have turned out to be

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