Taiwan’s national drink, pearl milk tea, has taken the world by storm in recent years, and it is the addition of tapioca balls — also known variously as “pearls,” “boba” and “bubbles” — that creates the beverage’s unique flavor and textural experience. However, foreign media are reporting that logistical delays have caused both Taiwan-produced tapioca balls and tapioca powder from Thailand to be stuck inside shipping containers as the shipments await customs approval.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global shipping industry, goods and commodities shipped from Asia, including Taiwan and Thailand, have become held up at US ports, caught up in a backlog of unprocessed shipments. This has led to shortages of some raw materials, causing many US drinks vendors to grumble nonstop. One such vendor has fumed that with no tapioca balls, many customers will not set foot inside the shop to buy a drink.
Oliver Yoon, global vice president of sales and marketing at Boba Direct, a pearl milk tea product supplier based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, US, says that about one month ago the company began to experience shortages of raw materials. Yoon adds that it is a nationwide crisis and says he expects the situation will not begin to improve until the end of the month.
Photo: AP 照片：美聯社
Tea & Others shop owner Alex Ou says some customers will not buy a drink if the shop has run out of boba, adding: “They are literally here for the boba.” Ou says he hopes that customers can be patient, since the shortage of raw materials is only temporary. Nonetheless, it is understandable that this is a depressing time for many businesses, adds Ou.
According to California-based supplier US Boba Co, 99 percent of boba comes from overseas, and although the company has a boba factory in the US, they are still reliant on imported tapioca starch. According to reports, in addition to bubble milk tea vendors, other US businesses are also suffering shortages. Starbucks has reported it is experiencing shortages of cups and sugar syrups, while the pandemic has also caused shortages of home fitness equipment, ice skates and furniture.
(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)
Photo: AP 照片：美聯社
位於芝加哥的珍奶產品供應商「Boba Direct」銷售副總奧利佛（Oliver Yoon）說，大概在一個月前就出現原料短缺情形，這是一場全國性的風暴，最快要等到四月底才能紓緩。
「Tea & Others」飲料店老闆艾利克斯（Alex Ou）則表示，如果沒有珍珠，一些顧客根本不願上門購買飲料，「他們都是為珍珠而來」。艾利克斯希望消費者能更有耐心。原料短缺只是暫時的，然而對其他業者來說，這件事的確讓人感到沮喪。
加州珍珠供應商「美國波霸公司」（US Boba Co.）表示，美國有百分之九十九的珍珠來自國外進口，即便他們在美國有自己的工廠，仍需要依靠國外進口木薯粉。報導指，除了珍珠奶茶外，星巴克也出現杯子和糖漿短缺情形，甚至健身器材、溜冰鞋、家具等其他產品，幾乎都受到影響。
Hsinchu boasts the highest salaries of any city in Taiwan, thanks to the large concentration of technology talent clustered in the city. A woman who works at the Hsinchu Science Park published a revealing post on Monday in the WomenTalk chatroom on Professional Technology Temple (PTT), the nation’s largest online bulletin board. The post’s author wrote that six months ago she changed career and began working for a technology company at the park. During a recent conversation with a 30-something colleague who is 20 weeks pregnant, the colleague mentioned that she had intended to join a fairly well-known mothers’ group
Despite anonymous accusations and attacks online, the Rising Star Rhythmic Gymnastics Association, founded last year by Ukraine-born Taiwanese entertainer Larisa Bakurova, has won acclaim internationally. On May 2, Bakurova announced that athletes from her association won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at this year’s Gym Kids Eastern Cup. Bakurova, who is a former rhythmic gymnast, obtained her National ID Card to become a “new Taiwanese resident” in 2019. She said her association would continue to work hard, while expressing her appreciation for the public’s support while she faced the mud-slinging. Late last month, a netizen attacked her anonymously
Just get the landlord around to take a look at it (1/5) 請房東過來看就好了（一） B: You look like you could sleep for 1,000 years. A: Tell me about it. I’m exhausted. I’ve finally moved to the new apartment. Had I known it was going to be this much mental and physical effort… B: Well, it’s done now. You can sit back and relax in your new home. A: We still haven’t unpacked everything, the apartment looks like a bomb hit it, and we’re having a few teething problems. The whole thing is really testing my patience. B: You’re just tired. Your nerves are frayed. What kind of teething problems are you having? B: 你的樣子，看起來好像一躺下去就可以睡到天荒地老。 A:
Just get the landlord around to take a look at it (3/5) 請房東過來看就好了（三） A: We also have problems with the washing machine and the extractor fan in the bathroom. B: What’s wrong with the washing machine? A: We need to change the drain cover for the outlet pipe. The drain hole has bars going across it. I can’t get the pipe in, and if it isn’t a snug fit, it will flood the floor. B: And how about the extractor fan? What’s wrong with that? A: It doesn’t exist. A: 我們的洗衣機和浴室抽風機也有問題。 B: 洗衣機怎麼了？ A: 出水管用的排水孔，上面的蓋子必須換掉，因為排水孔的蓋子有金屬橫條，所以沒辦法把洗衣機排水管裝進去，如果沒有安裝密實，地板就會淹水。 B: 那抽風機是怎樣？是哪裡有問題？ A: 問題是沒有抽風機。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文: