A Wake-Up Call to Improve Factory Working Procedures in a Time of Crisis

Written by Chan-Yuan Wong, Ker-Hsuan Chien, and Mei-Chih Hu. As the world enters the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Taiwan – previously acknowledged as a Covid-free nation – encountered a new outbreak in mid-May 2021. This wave of infection has been deemed critical, as the number of infection cases has surpassed 700, and the infectivity rate is as contagious as measles. To date, Taiwan encountered 635 death cases related to Covid-19 – of which 98% are attributed to the recent outbreak since 15 May 2021.

Not obedience but Dignity: A message from a former migrant worker

Written by Iweng Karsiwen and Ratih Kabinawa. Edited by Isabelle Cheng. A former domestic worker in Hong Kong for over ten years, Iweng Karsiwen is currently the Chair of Families of Indonesian Migrant Workers (Kabar Bumi). Initially she was recruited to work in Taiwan when the door opened for Indonesian women seeking domestic work there. However, instead of going to Taiwan, Iweng found herself arriving at a Hong Kong MTR station late one evening a year later. Knowing how the brokering industry functioned at home and abroad, after returning to Indonesia, Iweng was determined to help those who worked abroad and who faced similar challenges at various stage of their migration. She has particularly campaigned to outlaw salary reduction. This, as well as other practices mentioned by Iweng, are commonly adopted by brokers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

Migrants’ Voice in Taiwanese Documentaries: Narrative, Language and Space

Written by Adina Zemanek and Lara Momesso. Since the early 2000s, immigrants from mainland China and Southeast Asia have been an increasingly visible component of Taiwan’s social and public landscape. As such, they have received growing recognition both in terms of legal provisions and in the public discourse. An example of this acknowledgement is the December 2019 issue of Taiwan Panorama, a promotional magazine issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Half of this issue is dedicated to highlighting migrants’ presence in Taiwan. One of the articles calls for listening to their unique life stories, which would have the transformative effect of understanding the world from a new perspective and dismantling preconceptions about Southeast Asian cultures.

Changing Circumstances Call for Taipei to Lift Its Effort in Promoting Democracy on China and beyond

Written by Chen Jie (陈杰). There are remaining concerns urging the government of democratised Taiwan to support democratic causes and human rights in China. In fact, for the Tsai Ing-wen administration, these issues have strengthened. Despite their disdain for the one China project, politicians of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) share the sentiment that Taiwan’s own democratisation inspires China. This is echoed internationally. The former US Vice President Mike Pence spoke positively about Taiwan’s “embrace of democracy” and the example it had set for “all the Chinese people.”

The Fashioning of Filipino Community in Taiwan: OFW Beauty Pageants in the Era of Social Media

Written by Yi-Yu Lai. As an anthropologist who studies Indigenous movements in the Philippine highlands, my experiences of beauty pageants’ are not rare. The beauty pageant has been culturally entrenched in the Philippines and its diasporic communities for many decades. Because these contests are very popular with Filipinos, some Indigenous youth advocates use them as an instrument for cultural activism, empowering participants and attracting those who were previously indifferent to political issues. Nevertheless, the Filipino beauty pageants of Taiwan are quite different from those I previously experienced.

台灣「新二代」運動

作者:鄒佳晶。二十世紀八〇年代開始,跨國婚姻、移民為全球化人口流動的現象,在多元、種族文化的環境下,間接影響台灣人口結構的改變,新移民、新二代人口總數的增加,成為台灣的第五大族群。同時,新二代的文化形象在這三十年間也經歷了轉變。起初,由於文化碰撞,以及過往的資訊不發達,媒體輿論也出現許多負面社會新聞版面,東南亞被形塑為落後、經濟不穩定、人口素質低落的國家,也實際影響台灣的整體社會氛圍對於婚姻移民產生刻板印象,政府將新移民、新二代視為「社會問題」,使新二代在不友善的環境中成長,2016年政府推行新南向政策,新移民、新二代的議題開始被重視,隨著政策的改變,新二代的身份從過去的弱勢變成社會優勢、資本,希望透過擁有雙語言、雙文化優勢擔任國民外交南向小尖兵的角色

The Activism of the “The New Second Generation”

Written by Chia-Ching Tsou. Around 2016, following the Tasi government’s New Southbound Policy, the government suddenly focused on a particular group of Taiwanese — the so-called “the new second generation.” The new second-generation refers to a group of young Taiwanese, some of whose parents are immigrants from Southeast Asian countries following the era of cross-border marriages. The government saw “the new second-generation” as human capital with the advantage of dual culture and language. Thus, it was well-positioned to serve as the vanguard for the New Southbound Policy. However, the government’s framing of the new second-generation ignores and overlooks the new second generation’s life experience and perspective.

Living with and through Patriarchy: My Experience as a Migrant Worker and Migrant Wife in Taiwan

Written by Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hà and Isabelle Cheng. It has been more than three decades since Southeast Asian nationals began to work and establish their families in Taiwan. Men and women from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia fill the labour shortage in construction, fishing, manufacturing, care and agricultural industries, whilst the women became members of Taiwanese society because of their marriage and family formations. This ongoing regional migration flow has enriched the socio-cultural landscape of Taiwan, where multiculturalism becomes the prevailing normative value that respects and appreciates differences. Nevertheless, this development has not been smooth or unchallenged.

The Problem of Taiwan’s Lost-Contact Migrant Workers’ ‘Illicit Enjoyment’

Written by Linh Le. Taiwan and its migrant workers are tangled in a bitter-sweet marriage: one needs another but cannot stand the flaws of the other. Like Director Tsai Tsung-lung’s attempt to show the human side of migrant workers through his latest documentary “Nine shots,” this article shares the same sentiment by highlighting these workers’ needs for leisure, enjoyment and entertainment like any other human being. However, these needs are rarely satisfied due to many unfortunate circumstances.

The Politics of Hate and Fear

Written by Andreas Sierek. A migrant construction worker was enjoying himself at a river. We might have disapproved of him being drunk, drugged and naked. We even might have been incensed by his rampageous behaviour. But shooting him dead? Like a stray dog infected with rabies? Not with one bullet but with nine? Insisting that the man – while lying on the dirt, in a pool of blood, dying – must be handcuffed before medics can approach him?

Imagining a Tragedy in Cyberspace: Online Postings after the Death of an Undocumented Migrant Worker

Written by Isabelle Cheng. On 31 August 2017, Nguyen Quoc Phi, an undocumented Vietnamese worker, was shot dead by a policeman in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan. Public responses to Phi’s death were polarised between pro-police campaigners, who supported the police’s use of force, and human rights activists, who emphasised the plight of migrant workers who are exploited by brokers and employers and who are regulated by a hostile guest worker system. This polarisation is also evident in cyberspace. The reporting of Phi’s death in September 2017, the sentencing of the policeman in July 2019, and the deaths of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks in the U.S. in May and June 2020 prompted Taiwanese netizens to comment on PTT.

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