Embracing Taiwan:

Southeast-Asian TV Teams Take a New Look at Formosa

2019 / December

Esther Tseng /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

The Department of International Information Services (DIIS) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently worked with broadcasters from the Philippines, Vietnam, India and Thailand to produce travel programming in different languages under the title Embracing Taiwan. The production teams included many frequent visitors who had previously created travel programs about the island. But this time around they discovered that Taiwan has much more to offer than just Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum and night markets. It also has powerful smart technology, an outstanding and friendly educational environment for overseas students, and beautiful and sustainably managed mountains and forests.


Embracing Taiwan was broadcast during the first two weeks of November in four nations. Unlike previous occasions when government agencies suggested the old standbys of Taipei 101, the NPM and night markets, the DIIS this time considered the unique national character and preferences of their visitors so as to focus on connections between Taiwan and the individual nations. It was a more in-depth approach toward discovering Taiwan.

Green agriculture, sustainable beauty

CNN PH from the Philippines brought three cameras and a nine-member production team to Taiwan at the end of August. Among them were Rovilson Fernandez, the host of the popular variety show Ang Pinaka, and Valerie Tan, a famous blogger and Internet influencer, who have marvelous chemistry and are both great singers and dancers.

They first went to Taiwan Sugar’s organic farm in Tainan’s Guantian District, where they put on farming clothes and spread fertilizer made from sugarcane bagasse and rice hulls as they introduced Taiwan’s chemical-­free organic vegetables, and the aims of ­organic farming in raising soil fertility and protecting nature.

The production team then went to Yilan County’s Dongshan River Forest Park, where they boarded a small boat to experience the river and the poetic scenes of little egrets and Daurian redstarts prancing un­hurriedly on sandbars amid a misty rain. They thus came to understand Taiwan’s emphasis on environmental education and its determination to restore the natural environment.

Fernandez is full of vitality and passion. While strolling the old streets of Nanzhuang in Miaoli County, he showed a charming approachableness and sense of humor, telling food stall proprietors that he was famous in the Philippines and engaging in a little self-­promotion by advising them to put up his photo to attract ­customers.

Tan, who is of Chinese descent and has the Chinese name Chen Yuyun, speaks pretty good Mandarin. She and Fernandez have come to Taiwan many times, and they’ve both made programs introducing Taiwan. She says, “This time while making ­Embracing Taiwan, I went to an organic farm in ­Guantian, and visited the small town of Nanzhuang. I was delighted to find that even in the countryside, the streets were clean. The Taiwanese people are really orderly and polite!”

Amazing technologies

The Philippines production team went to the National Space Organization, introducing Formosat-5, a satellite that Taiwan developed itself, and Formosat-7, a satellite designed to record climate data that was launched in June of 2019. They amply demonstrated Taiwan’s powers in space R&D.

The group from HTV, the biggest television channel in Vietnam, likewise gained a sense of Taiwan’s technological prowess. Its eight-person team visited the Sha Yang Ye Robot Wonderland, Asia’s only interactive museum or “tourist factory” devoted to robots and robotics, in Taoyuan. Sha Yang Ye Industrial, whose headquarters is adjacent to the museum, is the world’s largest producer of gear motors. In 2005 the company entered the realm of smart manufacturing. Its museum displays more than 30 robots, including robots that welcome guests, “Third Prince” Taoist deity robots that sway in time to temple music, and a first-responder robot that runs on caterpillar tracks. When the host Quang Vinh (Chinese name Chen Guangrong), a former singing star who has been described as Vietnam’s answer to the Taiwanese boy band F4, took the controls of a fighting robot, he quickly became engrossed with battling another robot.

Quang Vinh’s team next went to the Hutoushan Innovation Hub, also in Taoyuan, where he rode in a driverless vehicle and went to the control room to try the self-driving simulation training system. The segment demonstrated how the “5+2 Innovative Industries Initiative” brings together artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and related technologies to develop self-driving vehicles, cybersecurity applications, and other powerful technologies.

The tight itineraries left no time for breaks: After visit­ing Hualien, with its glistening yellow sea of day lilies on 60 Stone Mountain and its boundless azure views from Qingshui Cliff, Quang Vinh then hurried back to Taipei to ride a Gogoro electric scooter and a YouBike in the city’s Ximending neighborhood. After showing how a single IC card makes it so easy to ride mass transit and make purchases, he then donned a surgical gown to observe surgery at National Taiwan University Hospital. With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons used robotic arms to perform gynecological surgery. The advantages include small incisions, min­imal bleeding and shortened hospital stays.

A great place to study

With his beautiful singing voice and friendly, unpretentious manner, Quang Vinh was swarmed by fans when he visited Minghsin University of Science and Technology. Students and faculty from Vietnam couldn’t believe that they were seeing a star from back home at their university campus in Taiwan. They jockeyed for position to get a photo or selfie with him. “Seeing so many Vietnamese who have studied in Taiwan and then stayed on to make successes of themselves, I felt honored myself,” he says.

Minghsin has more than 1200 students from Southeast Asia, and the university’s president, Lin Chii-ruey, believes that education has no borders. With these students willing to study hard and overcome language barriers, Minghsin has educated many outstanding and talented young people who possess great international mobility.

Taiwan’s successful and innovative research environment for semiconductors has attracted Indian students to study here, so the planners arranged for a group from Zee TV, India’s largest television station, to interview some Indian students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs at Tsinghua University, including Manoj Kriplani, who works in tech. They also interviewed Mayur Srivastava, an Indian chef working in Taiwan. In their own words, they recommended Taiwan as an outstanding place for overseas study and employment. 

Manoj Kriplani won a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study in Taiwan. Upon graduating, he immediately got a job at ASRock, a motherboard company. Now he is at Century Development Corporation, helping the Taiwan‡India Business Association open up the Indian market. Speaking in his native Hindi, Kriplani uttered high praise for Taiwan to the Indian filming team: “In 2019, InterNations, the world’s biggest Internet expat site, ranked Taiwan as the best place to live and work as an expat because Taiwan is safe, convenient, and relaxed. Moreover, the Nangang Software Park, where I work, is accessible by metro, regular rail and high-speed rail. What’s more, when I first arrived in Taiwan, the number of Bollywood dance clubs in Taiwan numbered in the single digits, whereas now there are more than 30. Indian restaurants have become quite common as well.”

The host of the famous show The Great Indian Global Kitchen, Shamoly Khera, is an out-and-out gourmet. When she tasted Sun Moon Lake black tea, she described it as fresh, clean and lively, and she also gave a thumbs up to the Ganquan Fish Noodles noodle shop chain, as well as the gua bao pork-belly buns of Nantou.

Taiwan-India exchanges at 50-year peak

Suave, pretty and talented, Khera interviewed Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu at the Taipei Guest House. She specially raised the question of what can entice Indians to come to invest or travel in Taiwan. Wu said that according to Forbes magazine, Taiwan is one of the top 15 safest places in the world, joined only by Singapore and Japan in Asia.

Wu cited numbers to emphasize the growing ties between Taiwan and India: “In 2018 ROC investment in India reached US$306 million, which is equivalent to half of the cumulative total for the past 50 years…. In 2018, there were nearly 2500 students from India studying here, a 56% increase from 2017…. Taiwan and India have agreements covering a wide variety of sectors, including transportation, agriculture, and trade. [Connections] will only deepen in the coming years, as we look to sign further agreements in areas such as tourism and cultural exchange.”

Cultural exchange, seeing Taiwan

Coming with a production team from CH5, which is Thailand’s most popular general-interest channel, Thai TV actress, singer and model Khemanit Jamikorn (better known as Pancake) has many fervent fans, including those who belong to the Pancake Khemanit Fan Club in Taiwan. Visiting the SL Towel Tourism and Explore Factory in Yunlin County, she placed a NT$20,000 order of towels to give as gifts to her fans.

Thailand is famous for its handicrafts and design prowess, so the trip organizers arranged for Jamikorn to visit the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, which is well known for its innovative cultural products made by Taiwan brands.

The Songshan Cultural and Creative Park worked with Thailand’s Creative Economy Agency to put on “Material in Motion: Tai‡Thai Design Exhibition.” And in October they brought 12 Taiwanese brands to the Style Bangkok Fair, Asia’s most important design industry event, exploring opportunities for cooperation with the ASEAN market and directing Taiwan’s outstanding cultural soft power toward foreign markets. The goal was to give the international community a look at the rich energy of Taiwan’s cultural and creative industries.

CH5 producer Ann Krissananan says, “Thailand today is an economically developed nation with growing incomes, and Taiwan has become one of the main destinations for Thais who travel abroad.” Similar points were made by each of the four nations’ television production teams. Whether they were witnessing the energy of Taiwan’s scientific and technological develop­ment, experiencing the richness of the island’s traditional culture, or tasting its varied gourmet cuisine, their shared conclusion was: Don’t miss a chance to come to Taiwan!

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文‧曾蘭淑 圖‧林格立

外交部國際傳播司(簡稱「國傳司」)首創與菲律賓、越南、印度與泰國的電視台合作,製播「攜手台灣(Embracing Taiwan)」電視特輯,製作團隊中有許多人曾製作過介紹台灣的旅遊節目,可以說是「台灣通」。但在此次拍攝的過程中,他們發現,台灣不只有101大樓、故宮與夜市,還有高技術能量的智慧科技、友善優質的留學環境,以及永續共好的美麗山林。





菲律賓CNN PH電視台出動三架攝影機、九人的製作團隊,八月底來到台灣拍攝。在菲律賓十分受歡迎的電視綜藝節目「Ang Pinaka」主持人Rovilson Fernandez,與電視、IG網紅與知名部落客三棲的Valerie Tan兩人默契十足,唱作俱佳。




充滿活力與熱情的 Fernandez,逛南庄老街時展露他的親和力與幽默感,告訴攤販老闆他在菲律賓很有名,自我推銷可以放他的照片在招牌上攬客!




同樣感受到台灣創新科技實力的,還有越南最大的電視頻道HTV。八人拍攝團隊,造訪全亞洲唯一的機器人觀光工廠──祥儀機器人夢工廠。籌設機器人夢工廠的祥儀企業是全球最大齒輪箱馬達的製造商,2005年起跨足智慧製造領域,觀光工廠中展示30多種機器人,包括造型可愛的迎賓機器人、會隨宮廟音樂搖擺的三太子機器人、履帶型的救難機器人等。被稱為是越南的F4、這幾年從偶像歌手轉型為網紅主持人的Quang Vinh,中文名為陳光榮的他,試著操作格鬥機器人進行打鬥,不知不覺間也著迷地玩了起來。

製作團隊接著到「虎頭山創新園區」,Quang Vinh搭乘無人車,並且實地到機房操作自動駕駛模擬訓練系統,呈現台灣「5+2產業創新計畫」中,結合人工智慧、物聯網等相關技術,發展自駕車、資安認證的科技力。

緊湊的行程沒有停歇,從花蓮六十石山,拍攝黃澄澄的金針花海、湛藍無際的清水斷崖,Quang Vinh再趕回台北,騎Gogoro電動機車,在台北西門町騎YouBike,介紹在台灣一卡在手,坐車、購物與旅遊的便利之後,他又穿上手術衣,實地觀看在台北醫學大學附設醫院進行達文西手術,醫師使用機器人手臂進行婦科手術,具有傷口小、出血量低,大幅減少住院時間的優點。

越南的工作人員獨鍾台灣的珍珠奶茶,每人、每天一定要買上一杯。他們透露,在越南也有賣台式珍珠奶茶,但價位比照上星巴客咖啡館。在台灣買不僅便宜,而且比越南還要好喝,尤其在西門町嚐到黑糖珍珠鮮奶,連主持人Quang Vinh都讚不絕口。


歌聲好聽,親切沒有明星架子的Quang Vinh,在拜訪明新科技大學時,受到粉絲「蜂擁式」地歡迎,來自越南的老師與學生難以置信地發現,可以在台灣的校園遇見自己國家的明星,紛紛爭著與他合照、自拍。「看到許多來台灣留學的越南人,留在台灣工作很有成就,我也感到與有榮焉。」Vinh說。


由於台灣在半導體的成就與獎勵創新的研究環境,十分吸引印度學生來台灣念書,策畫單位安排印度最大電視台Zee TV的工作人員,訪問在清華大學攻讀碩、博士的印度學生、在高科技業工作的馬諾基,與在台灣落地生根的印度廚師馬友友,由他們現身說法,推薦台灣優質的留學環境與留在台灣工作的原因。

以拿外交部留學獎學金來台灣念書的馬諾基為例,他一畢業就進入台灣華擎科技上班,現於「世正開發公司」協助台印商業協會開拓印度市場,馬諾基以母語向印度拍攝團隊大力推薦台灣:「全球最大旅外人士網站InterNations公布,台灣是 2019 年全球最適合居住和就業國的榜首,因為台灣安全、便利、從容,以我工作所在的南港軟體園區而言,同時可以搭捷運、火車與高鐵;就連寶萊塢舞團從我剛來台灣是個位數,現今全台超過30個,顯示台灣流行的寶萊塢熱!印度餐廳現今也十分普遍。」馬諾基的推薦,讓大多是第一次來台灣的製作團隊感到十分好奇!


基於台灣日月潭的阿薩姆紅茶,係日治時期自印度引進,可以說台灣紅茶與印度有親戚關係。負責接待的和菓森林莊主陳彥權,拿出由台灣山茶與緬甸大葉種選育而成的台茶18號「紅玉」,與中國大陸祈門茶種與印度大葉種Kyang培育而成的台茶21號「紅韻」,讓印度攝影團隊品茗,同時也是製作印度知名「The Great Indian Global Kitchen」美食節目的製作人兼主持人Shamoly Khera,本人是不折不扣的美食家,她喝到日月潭紅茶,直呼清新鮮活,對甘泉魚麵與南投當地買的刈包則舉起大姆指說好吃。


台風穩健、才貌出眾的Shamoly Khera在台北賓館獨家專訪了外交部長吳釗燮。Shamoly Khera特別提問,台灣有何吸引人之處,可以向印度人推薦來台灣投資與旅遊?吳釗燮指出,根據富比士雜誌的排行榜,台灣是世界前15大最安全的地方,亞洲只有新加坡、日本與台灣上榜。不論是美食、便捷的生活環境及高品質的醫療水準,台灣都是旅客與外籍工作者的首選,更不用說台灣溫暖的人情味。



第一次來台灣的主持人Shamoly Khera事先從網路找了 許多資料來認識台灣,實際到台灣之後,她發現台灣的天氣與印度很類似,尤其是台灣基礎建設完善,高科技的發展及親切的文化面向,都是網路資料沒有發現的。


泰國最受歡迎的綜合頻道CH5,同步透過泰國TGN(Thai TV Global Network),向五大洲的170個國家提供24小時節目。此次泰國錄影團隊在四國電視台中陣仗最大,主演許多電視劇聞名的Khemanit Jamikorn(Pancake),除了經紀人,還帶著專屬服裝師、化妝師來台製作節目。

Jamikorn擁有許多追星的粉絲,也有以Pancake Khemanit為名的台灣粉絲團,她造訪興隆毛巾觀光工廠時,大採購二萬元的毛巾,作為送給粉絲的禮物。


松山文創園區不僅與泰國創意經濟促進局合作進行「2019年台泰設計師交流計畫」,2019年10月更前進亞洲設計產業最具指標性的「曼谷國際禮品暨居家用品展(Style Bangkok Fair)」,帶領台灣12家在地設計商品,探尋東協市場合作商機,也將台灣優秀文創軟實力輸往海外市場,讓國際看見台北文創產業豐沛的能量。


由於採訪行程緊湊,沒有安排夜市行程,但工作人員特別央求要去逛夜市。電視製作人Ann Krissananan說:「現今泰國經濟發達、所得增加,台灣成為泰國人出國旅遊的首選。在我們印象中,台灣民眾十分謙遜、有禮貌,台灣是和諧又美麗的社會,讓泰國人對台灣旅遊抱持高度的興趣。」


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