Singapore University of Social Sciences

Civic Altruism in Taiwan

Civic Altruism in Taiwan (OEL334)


The main objective of OEL334 is to provide students with the conceptual tools and learning experiences to develop a deeper understanding of civic altruism in Taiwan. This is achieved through a combination of experiential learning, e-learning, classroom activities, and participation in an overseas trip to Taiwan. Anchored by rather conservative Asian values, the Taiwanese have widely been known to possess a sense of belonging and a strong community spirit despite their encounter with the deleterious effects of modernity. They have been observed to engage in self-directed acts of helping one another - without looking to the authorities for guidance. This form of ""civic altruism"" stands out as a unique Taiwanese trait, especially in comparison to the nature of civil society in other authoritarian societies. Students can look forward to opportunities for experiential learning through visits to social work organizations, NGOs and interactions with groups of various demographic profiles, and witness how they mobilise themselves to deal with various social problems, from a greying population, stagnating wages, and rising income inequality. Through comparing how Taiwanese, Singaporeans, and other members of modern societies throughout the world engage in civil movements, students will get to critically reflect on how cultural variations shape both the definition and development of altruistic behaviours, and in consequence, develop a more global perspective on ethical conduct.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • Experiential Learning
  • Civic Altruism
  • Development of the social work profession
  • Social services in Taiwan
  • Working with different communities-in-need
  • Self-discovery via experiential learning
  • Cultural impact on ethical conduct

Learning Outcome

  • Identify the key drivers behind civic altruism in Taiwan
  • Compare systems of social services between Singapore and Taiwan
  • Describe the role of the government, private foundations, social enterprises, businesses and social sectors in supporting social services in Taiwan
  • Discuss the impact of culture on shaping ethical conduct
  • Review social service provisions in Taiwan
  • Examine how the locals address selected social issues
  • Construct a customised social service approach in Singapore
  • Relate the influence of self-awareness to cultural competency
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