|Lifting Up Taitung|
On July 27, Kuo Hsing-chun took home a gold medal for Taiwan in 59kg women’s weightlifting. For Kuo, this was an inspiring pinnacle to her illustrious career in weightlifting. Her moment on stage clutching her well-deserved gold metal, however, comes on the back of years and years of struggle, dedication and sacrifice.
Kuo’s intense dedication is all the more interesting because wanted to play basketball and run track as a kid. However, in 7th grade she was noticed for her explosiveness, flexibility and jump strength. Two years later, she won a national title for junior weightlifting.
She joined the Taiwanese national team after getting a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games. From there, she moved into the national team’s training facility in Kaohsiung and lived the Spartan life of a solo athlete. Training was a consistent 6 days a week for over five hours a day. Kuo had a strict diet that consisted mainly of salad and lean meat. Visits home usually only happened once a year.
The training paid off as Kuo garnered more international acclaim. At 19, she got 6th place in the 2012 Olympics and then won her first world title in 2013. However, her career almost derailed during a training accident that tore 70% of her left thigh. She fought through her rehab and went on to get a bronze at the 2016 Olympics.
Kuo is also an extremely generous philanthropist. She’s given hundreds of thousands of NT dollars to her alma maters in Taitung. Kuo hopes that this money will allow kids from more rural areas to get into sports.
When Kuo eventually retires, she hopes to keep giving back. She’s mused with the idea of coming back to Taitung to open a breakfast shop. That way, more kids in her hometown will have a fully belly to start their day of pursuing their dreams.
Congratulations Kuo Hsing-chun for bringing home Taitung’s first ever Olympic gold medal. Thank you for having such a positive influence on our community.
|Self-Cooking Kits Hit the Streets|
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads through Taiwan, and the world is increasingly practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the disease, millions of Taiwanese are spending a lot more time at home than they used to. Everyone has to eat, but restaurants are closed for dine-in. The only option other than delivery and takeout is cooking at home. It has become a necessity. Home cooking also functions as a way to pass the time and feel productive. It is a form of entertainment when many other activities, such as movie theaters, museums, concerts, and bars are closed or canceled.
E-commerce has become a flourishing industry since the epidemic started in 2020. The public is worried about going to local fruit and vegetables wholesale markets because of the COVID-19 risk. Therefore, restaurants in Taitung have come up with a new business model of “self-cooking kits.” The number of people cooking at home has grown substantially after the epidemic prevention reached Level 3 this year.
Taitung’s Longgang Restaurant launched the "anti-epidemic vegetable box" to enter the market in response to a surge in demand. The restaurant provides vegetable packages that include burdock, kale, chayote leaves, mushrooms, and other seasonal greens. In addition, there are 2 combinations of vegetable packages. Customers can choose the combinations for different recipes such as barbecue, hot pot, and stew. Dailykitchen also provides a DIY pizza package for parents and kids. Get the kids involved in making their own meals with these super easy DIY ingredients! They can be proud of making their own pizza. In addition, this idea makes cooking a fun experience for the whole family.
People do not have to go out, fresh self-cooking kits can be delivered directly from farms or restaurants straight to people’s homes. This new business model has brought convenience to the public. It saves time for the public from preparing for purchases as well as the risk of infection, and it can also fill the time at home. “Self-cooking kits” showed public's flexibility and creativity to adapt to the epidemic. It gives people a way to eat fresh food while providing a good source of income for farmers and owners.
|A Beacon of Hope|
Taiwan, Japan and the US have aided each other in many ways since the outbreak of COVID-19. In the early days of the pandemic, Taiwan donated millions of face masks to the US and Japan. Since May, the US and Japan have donated vaccinations to help Taiwan achieve herd immunity as quickly as possible. This is the latest example of Taiwan, Japan and the US helping each other in times of need.
A testament to this cooperative relationship stands proudly off the coast of Taitung. The Green Island Lighthouse shines into the Pacific Ocean warning sailors of the surrounding hidden reefs.
However, there was a time before the lighthouse existed. In 1937, an ocean liner set sail from San Francisco to Manilla via Kobe. Usually, ocean liners would sail through the Taiwan Strait. However, the Second Sino-Japanese War had recently broken out. Therefore, civilian ships started sailing along Taiwan’s east coast to avoid the fighting.
Everything was fine until monsoon winds started pushing the ocean liner towards Green Island. It struck a reef off the coast and started sinking.
Eventually, the villagers on shore saw what was happening and came to the aid of the ocean liner. They set up a cable between the boat and the beach, then used it to guide lifeboats towards safety. In the end, all 503 passengers and over 300 crew members were rescued.
Over the next few weeks, people in the US heard about how the villagers of Green Island helped during the rescue. In response, the Red Cross opened up a fund and donations started pouring in.
The lighthouse was finished in 1939. It was funded by the US, designed by Japan, and built by the people of Green Island. In 2013, the Taitung County Government opened the lighthouse to the public.
Both the donation of vaccines and the Green Island Lighthouse show that the friendship and bond between Taiwan, Japan and the US is beyond distance or boundary.
|* PLEASE NOTE: Event dates are subject to change or cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to the websites of specific events for more information.|