Tue, Dec 20, 2011 - Page 2 News List

NIA to unveil book describing foreign spouses’ lives

Staff Writer, with CNA

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) is to unveil a book tomorrow about the lives of foreign spouses in Taiwan, describing some of the stories of this sizable group over the past decade.

The book, titled Niang Chia, which in Chinese means the home of a married woman’s parents, includes 67 stories about foreign spouses and how they view their new home.

“The NIA hopes to become the niang chia for new immigrants in Taiwan,” National Immigration Agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said in an interview.

He said the agency published the book out of the need for Taiwanese to better understand immigrants. Part of the proceeds will go to immigrant support groups in Taiwan, the agency said.

There are currently 450,000 -foreign spouses in Taiwan, the agency said.

One of the people featured in the book, Li Tsui-heng, was born in rural Vietnam. Li was introduced to her Taiwanese husband, Chang Tan-ching, in 2003.

When the two married, Chang was working in a gravel pit, a dangerous job that required long working hours.

After many discussions, the two decided to move back to Chang’s hometown in Yilan County, where they began growing scallions.

Now the couple’s hard work is paying off with a stable increase in yields.

“That is the taste of happiness,” Li said in the book.

When 34-year-old Lin Li-chan from Cambodia moved to Taiwan in 1997 after getting married to a Taiwanese man, she could not speak a word of Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) and knew little about the country.

However, through hard work, Lin now speaks fluent Taiwanese and works as a hairdressing lecturer at a local community college.

She also found herself assuming another role, as the mother of a champion. Her 12-year-old daughter, Hsieh Pei-ju, won the championship in her age group at a national tennis competition in Taiwan last year.

South African Toinette Lees settled on Taiwan as the place she wanted to live after coming here nine years ago on a round-the-world trip.

Lees was a senior computer systems planner in charge of high-tech plants and major transportation infrastructure before she settled in Miaoli County.

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