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A Whale of a Tale

This post was originally used as a speech for the Young Diplomatic Envoys Competition in 2017. It has been reproduced here to help visualize and represent the merits of Taiwans New Southbound Policy.

The head of a great beast begins on the southeastern ridge of New Zealand. The creature’s mouth opens to engulf the Great Australian Bight, it’s body covers much of the lands that wrap along the eastern rim of the Indian ocean, with the tail fittingly curving to embrace the southern tip of the ocean’s namesake of lady India, following the coastline, embracing the culturally magnificent land of Pakistan. Taiwan serves as the dorsal fin, the guiding temple of this great whale that now leads economic prosperity in the region. The New Southbound Policy is not only an evolution of the early 1990s movement to bridge trade linkages and goods mobility in South-East Asia, but even visually it speaks of the great legend of the Puyuma people of the Taitung region.


A man, conceiving of a future where his people never went hungry, came upon a great whale who brought him to the many islands that surround his cherished home. Upon travelling through these wondrous lands he acquired 5 great seeds. At the time these seeds represent nourishment and life, today they serve as the pillars to the New Southbound Policy; fostering innovative industries, laying the foundation for medical cooperation, enhancing political discourse in the young and professional environment, funding regional agriculture research and cultivating new and proven talent. The man returned to his village with these seeds, planted them in his soil and produced a harvest that was unlike any that had been seen before.


This whale was the vessel through which the entire area prospered, the sharing of information led to this century old story, a story that serves the same purpose today. Allow us to examine this modern great whale one part at a time.


Beginning with the head, of this majestic promising creature we see the economic powerhouses of Australia and New Zealand. Resolute in their global position, they offer stability in the agreement and a new assurance of success. Much of the strategy behind this New Southbound vision is located in the head of this whale, a strong connection with these bedrock nations will help stabilize some of the more risky pursuits of development in new industries.


Next you have the body, the housing of all the key components of the whale that keep it alive and thriving. These nations have held firm agreements with Taiwan over many years of disruption and turmoil. They also serve as the lifeblood of current trade growth and tourism in the region. These markets support one another in many capacities through a long history of similarities in both culture and climate. They are the heart of this new strategy offering resources and energy to allow the whale to travel successfully on its journey.

The tail is the newfound commitment to the Indian subcontinent, this generates the power to move this initiative forward. Cooperation with this area gives this new initiative the speed for projectile growth and uninhibited energy. Key issues must be solved in this region in order to bolster this cooperation, it will be no easy task, but a whale is nothing without its tail.


Finally, the dorsal fin is our lovely island of Taiwan, it offers the stability in the whale. We are the leader of the New Southbound Policy, it starts and ends with our commitment to uphold its purpose and value for all those who make this great whale. As students we must be the whale rider, the man who took the risk and traveled to other lands and used their knowledge to support his own community. We must acknowledge the beauty of those around us, but not lose sight of where we came from. We may enjoy what exists out there on this great whale, and even inspire new ideas among our new found friends when we study abroad or work outside of Taiwan; but we must always remember to return. Not just return as the same person, but return a better person to bring life to a better Taiwan. As young people, this is our unbridled commitment to the New Southbound Policy.

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