The first edition of The Big Issue (大誌雜誌) hit the streets of Taipei on Thursday. Vendors are selling the magazine at exits of MRT stations in Taipei City and Taipei County.
There was a concert at Huashan Arts Park this afternoon to promote the magazine. Nylon Chen (陳乃榮), tomodachi (偷摸大雞), Staycool and 1976 performed to show their support for the launch of the magazine.
The Big Issue was founded in London in 1991 and Taiwan is the ninth country in the world to publish the magazine. It is a form of social business that provides employment for homeless people who sell the magazine on the streets. In Taiwan the magazine sells for NT$100 with half of that amount going to the vendor.
Portnoy has an article about The Big Issue’s Taiwan launch on Global Voices. He has translated the reactions of Taiwan bloggers to the magazine’s launch. While bloggers are positive about the magazine some express concern about the difficulties it might face in Taiwan’s market. AmberTaipei writes at Twitter, “For white collars who are only interested in online auction sites, read only Apple Daily and GQ everyday, they don’t care about the middle aged man shouting and selling unpopular magazine outside a MRT station.”
The magazine itself is rich in content and features a range of articles on culture, technology and international issues. The first issue also includes a poster illustrated by Jimmy Liao (幾米). This is a great project and if you see the magazine on sale in Taipei buy a copy to show your support.