Taking It to the Brink

At 22, John Wong is eager to begin his working life. First, however, the newly minted university graduate must spend another 18 months in a military uniform. Like all males in Taiwan over the age of 18, he's required by law to do national service. After three months of boot camp, there's a good chance he'll be sent to one of Taiwan's heavily fortified outlying islands, located just kilometers off the coast of mainland China. He doesn't relish the prospect. "You just do drills and sit in bunkers, day after day," he sighs. "I'll be miserable—and bored."


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