Interracial families in Taiwan will have a chance to showcase their culture at a multicultural fair to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Pearl S. Buck Foundation said yesterday.
The foundation said the fair would be held on Sept. 18 at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in which new immigrants, particularly foreign spouses, would share their feelings in the run-up to the festival, which falls on Sept. 22 this year.
Ke Yu-ling (柯宇玲), executive director of the foundation, expressed hope that the fair would raise public awareness of the need to embrace the mores of the different cultures that co-exist in Taiwan.
“Taiwanese have experienced a much more diversified society in the past few decades, and we must learn to care for our friends from neighboring countries,” Ke said.
Back in the 1990s when she was raising money to help new immigrants, Ke said she often encountered people who were hostile toward the newcomers.
“The public used to hold this stereotype that immigrants came here only to cash in,” she said. “But as people realized their contributions to society, things changed.”
Huynh Thi Vy Nhan, a Vietnamese who came to Taiwan in 1997, said she was thankful for the foundation, which since 1968 has provided services to children fathered by US soldiers stationed in Taiwan and then extended its aid to other interracial families.
Tasked with caring for her cancer-stricken husband and her parents-in-law, Huynh said she struggled a lot, mainly because of her limited Mandarin ability.
Ke said that while foreign brides like Huynh could be role models for new immigrants, the government should take a more aggressive approach to accommodate their growing population, such as improving the poorly planned language and counseling programs offered through primary schools.