Though filled with joy that her 15-year-old daughter Kuo Ting-yen (郭庭言) was among the 30 recipients of this year’s National Filial Piety Awards, Tai Shu-ching (戴淑卿) could not stop worrying that the family might soon lose their home and have nowhere to live.
“My child’s happiness and my parents’ health are two things that I care most about,” a teary-eyed Tai told a press conference held by the Ministry of the Interior yesterday. “I’m so glad that Ting-yen is able to help take care of her grandparents and brother after school, so I don’t have to worry about them while I’m at work.”
After her divorce in 2007, Tai, together with her daughter and son, moved in with her parents, both of whom have cancer.
Despite having to take care of her family and household chores, Kuo has performed well in school. She also helps sell recyclable items at school during lunch break to make some extra money.
“I’m very happy that my daughter received this award. This is such an honor,” Tai said.
However, Tai is worried that her family might soon have nowhere to live.
“The government has charged us with illegally occupying government property, saying the small house that we live in right now is an illegal building,” Tai said. “We had no money and no time for the lawsuit, so we negotiated with the government outside the court.”
“We agreed to move out of the house — we don’t want to, but what else can we do?” Tai said.
She said her parents bought the house in 1979, without knowing it was an illegal building, and “even if we had known, we had no choice because we had no money.”
While the deadline for eviction was in November last year and the government has not taken any action so far, the idea that the house could be torn down any time is enough to make the whole family live in fear.
“I don’t think we can do anything to stop it if they want to take the house away from us. We would need to find another place to live,” Tai said. “But I really don’t know where we can move to.”
Aside from Kuo, 61-year-old -fellow award recipient Hsieh Huang Tian (謝黃甜) was also present at the press conference.
Hsieh Huang took care of her parents-in-law and after her father-in-law passed away a few years ago, she started to learn farming with her husband, hoping to support the family.
An official ceremony for all the award recipients will be held later this month.