Winners of literature awards for migrants gather in Taipei

2018/09/30 21:09:22 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Winners of literature awards for migrants gather in Taipei

Taipei, Sept. 30 (CNA) The leading literature awards for immigrants and migrant workers were presented Sunday in Taipei to the winners, who come from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

According to Hsiao Shu-chen (蕭淑貞), head of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, their writing has enriched Taiwan's literary landscape and promotes cultural understanding.

"We are grateful to all the participants in the competition. Your entries have made Taiwanese literature richer and more splendid," Hsiao said at the award ceremony.

Now in its fifth year, 553 pieces of work written in Tagalog, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Thai by immigrants or migrant workers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia were submitted to the 2018 Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants, making it the largest of its type in the world.

Loso Abdi, from Indonesia, won the top prize and the Teen Choice Award for his piece titled Tentang Cinta (About Love), a portrayal of the love a migrant caretaker bestows upon a Taiwanese child with special needs whom she looks after.

Loso Abdi

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Taiwan for hosting the competition," said Loso Abdi, who was a migrant worker in Taiwan from 2011-2015.

Melinda Babaran, a Filipino migrant working in a semiconductor factory in Taiwan, shared second place with Louie Jean Decena, who is also from the Philippines and works in Taiwan.

Melinda Babaran

In the piece titled Latay sa Laman, Babaran expresses her love for her father when she misses him and has no one to talk to.

Decena's narrative, Ang Mahiwagang Kahon ni ltay, meanwhile, describes the longing of migrant workers for their families back home.

Yuli Riswati's work titled Luka Itu Masih Ada di Tubuhku and Pratiwi Wulansari's story, Orang-orang Penampungan, were two of the three pieces chosen for third place. The two Indonesians, both working in Hong Kong, discuss migrant issues in their entries.

"I hope my story will bring more people to understand the issues facing migrant workers and treat us decently," Wulansari said in her acceptance speech.

The other third-place winner was a Filipino migrant worker whose name was not released because she is serving a prison sentence in Taiwan.

In a pre-recorded video shown at the ceremony, she said that her work addresses the difficulties she encountered in defending her innocence during the judicial proceedings of her case, including being denied the right to hire a lawyer from the Philippines.

She said a Taiwanese lawyer was assigned to her, but she did not know if he interpreted what she said correctly when he spoke to the authorities in Mandarin.

The award, initiated in 2014 by the Southeast Asian bookstore Brilliant Time, is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Pegatron Electronics Co. and various other sponsors.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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