Care work in Singapore and Taiwan: Beyond ‘Migrant Maids’ and Female Employers

Written by Lynn Ng Yu Ling. From the domestic caregivers in both locations, I gather that although there are important differences in the hiring criteria for employers, the root problem of employers having the upper hand in an asymmetrical working relationship remains unresolved. On the whole, it is harder for Taiwanese families to hire a ‘migrant maid’ (wai yong) than in Singapore, and several differences in the hiring process seem to indicate that Taiwan treats home care more seriously.

Taiwan’s Migrant Workers Versus Labour Brokerage System 

Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Wen-Chin Cheng. Taiwan’s labour brokerage system has made migrant workers vulnerable to a myriad of untransparent fees. Under the current system, migrant workers must pay hefty fees, including service fees and related pre-employment fees for migrant labour agencies or brokers, adding up to the total amount ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$200,000. To make matters worse, the current system has allowed brokers to charge migrant workers a monthly recurring fee, from NT$1,500 to NT$1,800. The “service fee”, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour, is used to arrange work and daily life for migrant workers. However, brokers or agencies charge employers “very few or no fees”, shifting the disproportionate financial burden onto migrant workers.

The Penghu Migrants Behind Kaohsiung’s Post-war Boom

Written by Tshinn-Hun Miguel Liou. Strictly speaking, there’s nothing inherent about the connection between the people of Kaohsiung and Penghu, and the route that many people from Penghu took from Kaohsiung was often more treacherous than the path for those emigrating within Taiwan. However, the consensus linking people from these two places should give pause for thought. So, why is Kaohsiung the first choice for people from Penghu who move to Taiwan? 

Reinscribing Taiwanese Americans into Transpacific History

Written by Catherine Chou. For a country that greatly restricts the ability of foreigners to acquire dual nationality, and that also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, the second-and third-generation diaspora in the United States represent under-tapped human capital. Yet, for both US institutions like Pew, and Taiwanese government and civil society, it seems, fuller recognition of the demographics, diversity, social networks, identity formation, and political and professional commitments of Taiwanese Americans – and the impact of their “civic transnationalism” – remains elusive.

The Long History of Taiwan’s Medical Emigration “Problem”: Part II

Written by Hsu Hung Bin.The history of doctor outflow in Taiwan tells us that doctors of all eras are continually reflecting on what it means to be in the medical profession and what the “good life” of a doctor is. The unique history of Taiwan’s medical system is an essential resource as we come to reflect on the issues of today. This history reminds about the diverse sets of values (not all of which have been good) that have existed within the system. It also provides clues of what a new system might look like.

The Long history of Taiwan’s Medical Emigration “problem”: Part I.

Written by Hsu Hung Bin. The phrase “五大皆空” (all the key fields are lacking) has become common, referring to the lack of doctors in internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and emergency care. There has also been discussion of the net outflow of doctors from Taiwan. All of this brought doubts to the once hopeful students as they began their medical education. I often hear students asking questions like “is the medical system here really going to collapse?” “Do we have to leave Taiwan and start a new life abroad?” “Did I make the right choice for my career”?

Raising Global Families: Notes from My Book Tour

Written by Pei-Chia Lan. My recent book, Raising Global Families: Parenting, Immigration, and Class in Taiwan and the US, started with a puzzle: Why do Taiwanese parents nowadays face even more intensified pressure, anxiety, and uncertainty, despite their expanded access to cultural resources, market services, and global mobility in comparison with the earlier generations?

Nostalgia and Exile in the Diasporic Literature of Mainland-born Taiwanese

Written by Fang Tang. The word ‘diaspora’ derives from the Greek – dia, ‘through’, and speirein, ‘to scatter’, and was used to refer to the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, the historic Israel. William Safran extends this concept in modern society to encompass a feeling of alienation, a nostalgic longing for the homeland and the self-consciousness act of defining one’s ethnicity. Over the past several decades, Chinese diasporic literature has generally been concerned with the motifs of nostalgia, homesickness, cultural identity and a sense of belonging.

‘Why Wasn’t She Nominated?!’ The Disillusion of an Immigrant Leader in the Electoral Politics of Taiwan

Written by Isabelle Cheng. For most Taiwan election observers, mid-November 2019 was full of high drama and factional struggle as the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) adjusted their nominations of non-constituency legislators (bufenqu daibiao, 不分區代表) on party representative lists. It was probably less likely, though, that observer attention would be drawn to how immigrant candidates featured on the list. However, for immigrant leaders, such as the one who rang me at 2:20am on Monday 18 November 2019, the two parties’ nominations caused a strong sense of disillusionment.

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