In the afternoon on September 18, winners of 2016 Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants (TLAM) were announcedat Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. In the meantime, a new book -Sail: Breaking Waves And A Freedom Against Wind – collecting all these awarded literary works was also launched among an Indonesian-style party. The people assembled were not many, though, the milieu of this ceremony and book launch was warm and quite promising.
The first prize winner, Mr Justto Lasoo, an Indonesian migrant worker whose literary work named as “NYANYIANOMBAK”(The Song of Waves) earned him NT$ 100,000(roughly USD 3,000), remarked that he was very glad to see migrants literature were allowed to published in Taiwan. Not only the personal stories of the migrants were encouraged to record down, but also these realistic stories could prompt Taiwan government to understand the true problems and deliver appropriate solutions for the migrants, Justto said.
Migrant writers competed for TLAM mainly came from four major countries like Philippine, Indonesia, Thailand andVietnam. In order to communicate the significance of these literature to Taiwan society and the next generations of the migrants, these competing literary works will be translated into the Chinese waiting for a further jury review composed of literary judges one the one hand and a group of juvenile judges from the second generation of the migrants.
DPP Sisterhood, a women department under Taiwan’s ruling party, also supported with resources and participatedinto the project of new book launch. A two way communication to know each other between the migrants and Taiwan society was the vision hoped to reach, said Ms Tsai Wang-fen, director of DPP Sisterhood.
Prof Chen Fang-ming, Chair Professor of Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at National Chengchi University and the special speaker for the new book launch, shared his most touched experience and felt guilty after he read so many impressively sad stories of the migrants. “Taiwan society is so cruel to the migrants”, lamented Chen, “but still our migrant friends show the bright side of Taiwan”.
“I am very appreciated to these migrant friends. What a compassionate mind to see this island so generously!”,remarked Chen.
Source: The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan