Foreign workers were awarded prizes on Sunday in a writing contest that was characterized by the many poems and essays about the contestants’ work and home countries.
Most of the winning pieces in the Foreign Workers’ Poetry and Essay Writing Contest focused on themes such as nostalgia for home, loneliness, hardships and interaction and bonds with employers.
The third-place winner in the poetry category, Anan Srilawuth of Thailand, wrote about the sorrow he felt when he learned that his mother had died of cancer soon after he left for Taiwan. Srilawuth, 47, said he cried every day on his perch on a viaduct, where he worked as welder for more than a year.
In the essay competition, first- place winner Yayuk Sri Wahyuni of Indonesia wrote about a friend who took care of two mentally and physically challenged children in Taiwan for nine years,
Written in the first person, Wahyuni’s story recounted how her friend Acin took care of the pair — a teenager and a younger child — as if they were her own sons.
“I was often moved to tears by her story,” said Wahyuni, who has worked in Taiwan as a caregiver for five years.
Acin taught her charges to walk and to take baths on their own, Wahyuni said.
“Sometimes when she ran out of tissues she would wipe their saliva with her own clothes,” Wahyuni said.
Acin has since returned to Indonesia and is now happily married and expecting a baby, she said.
The writing competition, now in its 11th year, aims to cultivate respect for migrant workers among Taiwanese by publicizing their stories, said Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫), the commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Labor, which organized the contest.
Organizers said they received more than 1,000 entries. The first place winner in each category received a cash prize of NT$10,000, the second prize was NT$8,000 and the third prize NT$6,000.
A total of 18 awards were handed out to workers from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
There are about 440,000 foreign workers in Taiwan, most of whom are from those four countries.
See EDITORIAL on page 8