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Curious John

English Service host John Van Trieste is curious. There’s nothing about Taiwan’s many cultures that he doesn’t want to know more about. Join him every week as he gets to the bottom of yet another question. What will he be curious about this time?

What's On

07 November, 2020
Vy Pham: Vietnamese radio host and actress

This week, I interview my friend, the RTI Vietnamese Service's Vy Pham about Taiwan's sizable Vietnamese community, about how she came to Taiwan and RTI, and about her other life as a TV star.

31 October, 2020
A Burmese immigrant's story

When Chang Li-ying immigrated to Taiwan to marry her Taiwanese husband, her days as a Burmese flight attendant were over, and her days were filled with caring for her growing family. It seemed that bringing up her children was the main thing life would have in store for her from then on. But she came to Taiwan at an interesting time for immigrants from Southeast Asia like herself. In recent years, Southeast Asians, whether immigrants, spouses, workers, or students, have taken to the spotlight. From the parents bearing the next generation of Taiwanese children to migrant workers who keep Taiwan running, people from the countries of Southeast Asia have shown how indispensable they are to Taiwan, and the government, for its part, has made paying attention to our southern neighbors a matter of official policy. Amid this shift in Taiwan’s society, Ms. Chang unexpectedly found her new calling. She joins us today to talk about her work as an elementary school Burmese language teacher and her volunteer position as a translator for the National Immigration Agency. She’ll also share the work she’s put into raising her Taiwan-born children the Burmese way.

24 October, 2020
How Taiwan's award-winning wine came to be

When the late Ben Yang said that his dream was to make a world-class Taiwanese wine, there were only a few who believed it was possible. Ben Yang didn’t live to see it, but he proved the naysayers wrong. Though he had no background in winemaking, he did have a background in agriculture, and he believed in Taiwan’s soil and its farmers. He also happened to know many experts spanning a range of fields, who, when assembled as a team, filled in all the pieces of how Taiwanese wine could succeed. The result is Weightstone, a Taiwanese winery with several estates, and a number of outside grape farmers to boot. Last week, we heard from the brand’s Sean Huang about the story of Ben Yang and his daughter, the current owner. We also heard about how the brand’s unusual name came to be. This week, though, Mr. Huang will fill us in on all the technical challenges that stood in the way of Mr. Yang’s dream, and how the company overcame them to create wines fit for well-heeled VIP’s and heads of state.

17 October, 2020
Award-winning wine, made in Taiwan

Bordeaux, Napa…central Taiwan? If it seems to you like one of these names doesn't belong, you're not alone. There are many famed wine-producing regions around the world, but you won't find any of them in Taiwan. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Taiwanese wine not only exists but has won global awards. Over the past few years, a small Taiwanese company called Weightstone has created a range of wines worthy of well-healed VIP's and even heads of state. And you don't have to be a wine connoisseur or even drink wine at all to appreciate the remarkable story of how this wine came to be. Here with us this week to share that story is Weighstone's Sean Huang.

10 October, 2020
National Day live broadcast behind the scenes

A look at just how much goes into RTI's annual live broadcast on National Day.

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