Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Iruan appears on Brazilian TV show

HAPPY ENDING Iruan Wu Ergui, who was taken from Taiwan in compliance with a court order to live in Brazil with his grandmother, appears happy with his new life

CNA , SAO PAULO

Iruan Wu Ergui, the Taiwan-Brazilian boy who was at the center of a bitter three-year custody battle which ended with his return to Brazil in February, was interviewed by a Brazilian TV station on Friday night.

Iruan, also known by his Chinese name Wu Yi-hua (吳憶樺), touched many hearts in Taiwan when he cried bitterly after being taken away from his uncle's home in Kaohsiung by police carrying out a court order to turn the boy over to the Brazilian representative to Taiwan, Paulo Pereira Pinto, after the uncle had refused to do so voluntarily.

Lively

In Friday's 10-minute interview on the news program Reporter, Iruan was as lively as any normal nine-year-old boy, at one point shoul-dering a TV camera and at another posing as a singer for the reporters to take pictures.

He also displayed tiny paper flowers he had made with the words "papa" and "mama" written in Portuguese inside, showing that he missed his parents who have passed away.

The boy's appearance has changed little since the spotlight was focused on him, but he has put on a few kilograms, and his family has heeded instructions from doctors to monitor his weight.

After three months in Brazil, the boy now speaks fluent Portuguese, although he still has a bit of a Taiwanese accent.

Iruan now lives with his 48-year-old grandmother, his 16-year-old aunt and his 13-year-old half-brother in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul, a small town on the outskirts of Port Alegre in southeastern Brazil. Every day, he goes to school with his brother to a nearby French school.

Because of his limited Portuguese upon arriving back in Brazil, Iruan was placed in a Grade 1 class, instead of Grade 3, but he has made a lot of friends his age, showing that he has adapted well to his new life in Brazil.

The news program also aired some scenes from the boy's past, including some with his father and mother, his life in Taiwan, his grandmother's visit to Taiwan in 2001 after filing for custody of the boy, and the media mob upon his return to Brazil at Rio Grande do Sul Airport.

Iruan's aunt said in a touching tone during the program that the boy belongs in Rio Grande do Sul. "We've seen him born, heard his first words, accompanied him as he grew, and saw him returned to us. We will give him a happy life because he deserves it." During the program, scenes of Iruan holding hands with his aunt when shopping and kissing her cheeks are shown.

Meanwhile, Wu Huo-yen (吳火眼), the boy's uncle, said in Kaohsiung yesterday that he did not see the interview, but as long as Yi-hua is happy living in Brazil, he will be content.

Approval

Iruan has been out of the spotlight for months as the prosecutor at Rio Grande do Sul Court asked that the boy be allowed to enjoy going to school and playing like any other child his age without being hounded by the media. The TV station had to get prior approval to conduct the interview, and the cameramen were not allowed to enter the boy's home to take pictures, only his outdoor activities.

Iruan was born out of wedlock in Brazil in July 1995 to a Brazilian mother and a Taiwanese father. His mother died six years ago, and his grandmother was appointed as the boy's legal guardian.

The boy was brought to Taiwan in March 2001 by his father, who died a couple of weeks later. The boy's uncle in Kaohsiung then adopted him.

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