TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Google last week released its Year in Search for 2017, including the results for the top news-related searches in Taiwan, which revealed that sporting events, mobile games, cram school abuse, typhoons, transportation, electricity shortages, computer viruses, and North Korea were on the minds of Taiwanese netizens this year.
The most searched word of the year was Universiade, which refers to Taipei's 2017 Summer Universiade, the largest international sporting event ever held in Taiwan. Despite a widely condemned disruption of the opening ceremonies by protesters, the rest of the event was a success for the country with Taiwan raking in a record number of 90 medals, including 26 gold.
Image from Kuo Hsing-chun Official Facebook Account.
Last year's top search term, Pokemon, only slid one spot to second place this year, indicating the mobile game still has many addicted fans in Taiwan since it landed in the country on Aug. 6, 2016.
3. Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise
In third place, is the novel "Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise" (房思琪的初戀樂園), which was published two months prior to its 26-year-old Taiwanese author Lin Yi-han (林奕含) committing suicide. The book tells the tale of a young girl being raped by her cram school teacher.
It has been speculated that the book is based on Lin's own experiences being allegedly sexually assaulted by her Taiwanese cram school teacher a decade earlier, however, she denied this publicly. In response, the government decided to tighten its laws regulating cram schools, and expand those new rules to include foreigners, which drew a large backlash from the expat community, which saw itself being unfairly stigmatized.
Lin Yi-han. (Image from Lin Yi-han Facebook page)
4. Typhoon work and class closures
The fourth spot was taken by twin the twin typhoons Nesat and Haitang which struck within 24 hours of each other and the resulting controversy of the poor timing of the closures of work and schools in Taiwan. After the chaos of the twin typhoons subsided, Taipei City mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) apologized to Taipei citizens for having a "fake" typhoon day off on July 30 when the weather was fine, while Tainan's mayor received intense criticisms from internet users for declaring a day off at the last minute on July 31 as Typhoon Haitang battered southern Taiwan.
Predicted paths of Nesart and Haitung. (Central Weather Bureau map)
5. World Baseball Classic
Taiwanese are passionate about baseball, and despite a miserable performance at World Baseball Classic (WBC) held in Seoul, South Korea, where the national team could not manage a single win and finished in 14th place out of 16 participating countries, it was still the fifth most popular term.
Taiwan's Chang Chih-hsien hits a single in game against Israel. (AP image)
6. Airport MRT
After 20 years of planning, construction and testing, the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line (桃園機場捷運) officially opened for operations on Mar. 2, with a discount of 50 percent off for fares during the first month, and by Aug. 25, it had already registered 10 million commuters.
Airport MRT. (CNA image)
7. Power outage
Amid sweltering heat, a power outage at Taoyuan City’s Datan Power Station (大潭電廠) plunged traffic, shopping malls and offices across Taiwan into chaos beginning in the afternoon of Aug. 15.
Preparing food by the light of smartphone in Taipei's Beitou District. (CNA image)
8. Yunlin Lantern Festival
The 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival officially kicked off in Yunlin County on Feb. 11 showcasing both traditional culture and modern technology and featuring local specialties. With more than 3,000 lanterns in a combined area of 50 hectares, it is the largest lantern festival in Yunlin's history and the largest in Taiwan for many years. The Tourism Bureau began in 1990 in Taipei and has rotated through counties since 2001.
2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival. (Photo by Taiwan Tourism Bureau)
9. Ransomware virus
Taiwan became one of the top targets of the WannaCry ransomware attacks in May, with 10 schools, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), a hospital in New Taipei, and a trading company in Taichung being reported victimized by the malware.
Screenshot of message computer owners see if they have been attacked by the WannaCry malware. (Wikimedia Commons)
10. North Korea
Taiwan and North Korea crossed paths in unexpected ways this year, with the former being the fourth largest trading partner of the latter in the world. Taiwan was one of the top targets of the WannaCry ransomeware attacks this year, and it is believe that North Korea was behind it.
In addition to the seemingly endless missile launches and nuclear weapons tests by North Korea, Taiwanese were also horrified by the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's brother Kim Jong Nam at a crowded airport in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13.
CCTV images of suspected assassin wearing T-shirt with letters "LOL" (screen capture of South Korean Channel A News)
To read more, click on the Top 10 search terms for Taiwan in 2017.