Written by Hsuan Lo. Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. In Taiwan, a narrative concerning the opposition of migrant and Indigenous workers appears to be a continuing source of contention. In 1997, director Ming-hui Yang released a documentary, “Please Give Us a Job.” One of the film’s impressive scenes depicts an off-duty Indigenous worker sobbing uncontrollably in front of the camera while lamenting the employment difficulties caused by the introduction of migrant workers. In 2016, Chen Ying, a DPP legislator from the Puyuma Indigenous community, brought this issue back into the public eye by highlighting the impact of “illegal migrant workers” on the employment of Indigenous workers. Unfortunately, the notion that “migrant workers take jobs from Indigenous workers” has become deeply ingrained.
Written by Roy Ngerng. Taiwan’s minimum wage — and wages as a whole — have been severely depressed over the last two to three decades in spite of years of high export and profit growth. Not increasing the minimum wage will violate workers’ rights and place an unfair burden on their livelihoods..
Narrated by Yosa Wariyanti, written by Isabelle Cheng. I have spent a total of 16 years abroad. When we return home, we have our savings, and we may open businesses. But businesses do not always go well. It is difficult for us to find jobs because we do not have good education or professional certificates. No one would hire us. Soon my daughter will go to university. I want to give her a good education. I need to work for at least another five years to pay for her tuition fees. So, I will just go on, and on, and on working abroad.
Written by Timothy S. Rich, Madelynn Einhorn, and Isabel Eliassen. Taiwan’s efforts at gender parity for electoral offices have resulted in a legislature where women currently hold 41.6% of seats. This leaves Taiwan ranked 12th globally, with only one Asian country (Timor-Leste) with similar rates. However, despite the success of President Tsai Ing-wen, the vast majority of executive offices (mayors and magistrates) are still held by men. Gender equality and the rise of women in national politics are common narratives when discussing Taiwanese politics.
Written by Huang Yi-Ching, Translated by Sam Robbins. Although everyone is at risk of catching COVID-19, the impact of the disease and preventative measures fall most harshly on already marginalised communities. Wanhua district of Taipei, which has a relatively high proportion of such disadvantaged groups, was also one of the first places to experience community transmission. This outbreak has dramatically increased the stigma attached to Wanhua, and many shipping companies, food delivery services and other recourses stopped servicing Wanhua. In the face of these pressures, communities in Wanhua have had to rely on their collaboration and communal work to help provide the recourses that are no longer present.
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.
Written by Natalie Dai（戴淨妍）, Jessica Hsu（徐卉馨）, Sophia Lee（李昕儒）, Dennis He（何正生); Translated by Sam Robbins. In August 2020, Lin Nuo-ning signed a half-year contract with her landlord and planned to stay in this apartment during her career move. However, when Nuo-ning applied for the subsidy for a second time, she received a call from her landlord whilst at work, criticising her for applying for the subsidy without telling her landlord first. As a result, her landlord asked her to move immediately. In applying for the subsidy, Nuo-ning had unintentionally caused the national tax bureau to contact her landlord to expect her tax records.
Written by Natalie Dai（戴淨妍）, Jessica Hsu（徐卉馨）, Sophia Lee（李昕儒）, Dennis He（何正生); Translated by Sam Robbins. For recent graduates like Yi-ting, mostly all renters, rent typically takes up between one quarter and one-third of their monthly income. According to the Ministry of Labour, the average monthly salary for recent graduates in 2019 was 28,231NTD (£724; $1021). Judging by mean rental prices per region, if they are willing to move out to the suburbs of New Taipei City, they can expect to pay around 8,000NTD (£205; $289) a month for an eight ping (26 square meters; 285 square feet) apartment.
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.
Written By Willian Kung. Ten years ago, Many Chinese, Malaysians, and Indonesians left their hometowns and moved to the Philippines to chase the gold rush triggered by online gambling. In recent years, the latest wave has attracted many Taiwanese. According to statistics from the Philippine Immigration Bureau, in 2018, more than 200,000 Chinese workers applied for work visas, 90% related to online casinos. There are also many Taiwanese living in the Philippines. In 2016, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines issued a message stating “recently, there has been an increasing number of Taiwanese people going to the Philippines to work in the gambling industry, please be wary that risks often outweigh the rewards. Many have had their passports detained.”
Written by Ming-shan Lee. Although single-parent families are increasingly common in Taiwan, this family-structure generally remains under-discussed in the public discourse and – if discussed – is framed negatively. Such stigma confounds other challenges that these families already face. Through family interviews, I have been trying to understand better the experience of such pressures, stigma and challenges.
Written by Yu-lien Cheng. 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. However, the long process of fighting for marriage equality was not without objections inside the LGBTQ+ social movement. In the 2014 Taiwan Nine-in-One Election, there was a new party called “Poor Queer Political Equality Party” (貧窮同志參政團， PQPEP ) whose main goal is improving the life quality of precarious gay people. The appearance of PQPEP highlighted a paradox: there were already many precarious gay people searching for help, but in the past twenty years, there has been hardly any LGBTQ+ NGO in Taiwan that stated “class” or “precarity” as its main focus.