Friday, December 9, 2011

Books: Taiwan From the Eyes of a Foreigner

Nick Kembel, a Canadian who's been living in Taiwan since 2008, has produced an interesting and beautifully-illustrated book. Kembel's blend of history, travelog and personal observations is aimed at both Taiwanese people who'd like to know what Westerners think of their country and Western people curious about the island's culture. The text is in both English and Chinese; the two versions run side by side, which is very useful if you're reading one and want to refer to the other to find a place or person's name in its original language.

As someone who's read a lot of Taiwan's history (and been here much longer than Kembel), I expected to find a few odd interpretations of the past in a book written by a relative newcomer. But Kembel has clearly done his homework, and comes across as very fair-minded. As a result, this is a book I'd confidently recommend to anyone thinking of relocating to Taiwan. The 100-odd photos deserve a special mention. They're very good (if a little small), and show not only conventional tourist attractions like temple parades and aboriginal dancers, but also prosaic scenes such as crowds of commuters and parking lots packed with bicycles.

Taiwan from the Eyes of a Foreigner is published by Tsai's Idea, is available throughout Taiwan and costs NT$366.


  1. From the eyes of a foreigner? From? Not through? Chinglish in the title doesn't make me wanna buy it.

  2. Title has been modified to "Taiwan IN the eyes of a foreigner" in most recent print