CORONA PANDEMIC: CURRENT SITUATION TAIWAN (1 YEAR LATER)
“Please wear your masks and follow the social distancing guidelines.” This precaution announcement, sound and clear in Hakka, Taiwanese and Indigenous languages, is probably one of the most common lines that we have been hearing in all transport hubs and media outlets since mid 2020.
Last year, Taiwan encountered many challenges - from how to maintain full medical capacity to negotiating for vaccine equity. Having been excluded from the WHO for a few decades, Taiwan has lacked that avenue of vital public health resources. Fortunately, with past experiences of SARS and H1N1, most cases were under control in a short period of time, so piano technicians have been able to continue earning a livelihood.
去年，台灣遭遇到了許多難關 --- 像是從如何維持完整醫療量能到協商國際疫苗的分配正義等挑戰。由於被世界衛生組織拒於門外幾個數十年了，台灣缺乏關鍵的公衛資源管道。 但好險有過去SARS與H1N1的處理經驗，大部份的案例都在短時間內被有效地控制，因此鋼琴技師才能持續的在疫情中維持生計。
As technicians were still coping with the widespread effects from Covid-19, local rules in Taiwan for gatherings at event venues were gradually eased after summer. Live houses, auditoriums and concert halls finally disengaged from the limits after such a long time, which also brought concert technicians’ lives back to normal.
For field technicians, there were several periods from July that we experienced a higher call volume than usual. We later figured out that most of them were musicians and music major students who had rushed back from overseas. Due to endless waves of pandemic and numerous warnings of lockdowns in different countries on separate months, they had decided to come back for a short while, but inevitably ended up staying longer.
Most of their pianos were not in a good shape, so a substantial amount of regulation, and pitch corrections were required in order to make them sing again. After all, pianos had not been maintained and played for many years while their partners were away.
However, it was a totally different story for shop technicians and rebuilders. They suddenly realized that they couldn’t get any materials and supplies, such as hammers, bushings and strings on time, due to international customs and borders’ restrictions. Importers for second hand pianos had the same problem, either finding the source scarce or logistics, like freight, postponed or cancelled.
On the other hand, events and meetings organized by the Association and Labor Union in Taiwan were still being held, albeit very cautiously. Spacious indoor places, checkerboard seating, and standard sanitizing procedures were always the priority.
From an international perspective, technicians here had to skip conventions from IAPBT, PTG and EUROPIANO. That was a pity but also an opportunity for us to ponder on what Taiwanese industry really needed at present and in the long term.
In the post-Covid-19 era, maybe how to build trust between the government and the public is one of the most crucial elements to revive ones’ society. Since the outbreak, disease control professionals have held daily press on TV for updating concerned cases, clarifying doubts and backtracking the contacts. Later, a national face mask manufacturing team formed with the app of real-time face mask availability in all Taiwanese pharmacies were introduced.
Also, afraid of potential depression and unemployment in vulnerable industries, the government issued vouchers for people to spend on Tourism, Sports, Agriculture, and Arts and Culture, respectively. The Piano Technology and Music scene, of course, was energized by the policy.
Those measures in some way have calmed the society and pulled us together gently.
Though the pandemic will not be over soon, it has perhaps allowed us to discover more about humanity and offered wildlife and Mother Nature a little reprieve.
*Published in the Summer 2021 issue of EUROPIANO (Das Magazin der europäischen Klavierbauerverbände) and the PTG Journal (Piano Technicians Guild).
後記 緣由 –
As a piano technician and human being, I hope my sharing does not only reflect the real situation in Taiwanese industry but also, from a broader perspective, outline international challenges such as public health resources and vaccine injustice during and even before the pandemic.
Truly grateful for the opportunity to share the 2020- 2021 pandemic situation in Taiwan with both the 2021 EUROPIANO (European Association of Piano Maker Associations) and the PTG (Piano Technician Guild) journals again, on behalf of Taiwan.
心懷感激歐盟鋼琴製造商協會(European Union of Piano Maker Associations) 與美國鋼琴技師協會(Piano Technician Guild)的總編群，讓自己能再度替台灣業界在歐盟鋼琴技師(EUROPIANO/ Das Magazin der europäischen Klavierbauerverbände)與美國鋼琴技師雜誌(PTG Journal)上發聲，並分享這塊土地在109年中至110所受到的影響。
Thanks again to Gunther, Jan and Andrea from EUROPIANO and the PTG, and those who have always been an encouragement to me on the path of crafts diplomacy. ：)
再次感謝歐盟、美國技師協會的會長和好友們與一路走來大家的信任，讓內心的工藝外交之路雖異常崎嶇，卻也走得感恩踏實。 : >