TV shows highlight homelands

THINKING OF HOME::A new series will follow children as they sample their mothers’ cultures, and aims to help Taiwanese viewers understand immigrant families better

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Feb 08, 2013 - Page 3

Three TV stations are jointly launching a series of programs this month that aim to help children of recent immigrants to Taiwan learn more about their mothers’ homelands.

The series, titled Holidays With My Grandma (到外婆家 fun 寒假), will follow in the footsteps of children from eight immigrant families as they visit their mothers’ homelands in China, Myanmar, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia, Inner Mongolia and Thailand.

The eight-part series will show children meeting their mothers’ families and relatives and learning about the local culture. The series has been jointly produced by Taiwan Public Television Service, Taiwan Indigenous TV and Hakka Television Service.

“The goal of the series is to help the children understand and appreciate their own cultures,” said Giwas Welang, one of the producers and an official from Taiwan Indigenous TV.

She added that the series also hopes to help Taiwanese viewers gain a better understanding of children from immigrant families, whose numbers are increasing.

Lin Hsiao-pei (林曉蓓), a producer and a section chief at Taiwan Public Television Service, said it is important for children of recent immigrants, who often have a disadvantaged position in society, to develop a sense of identity and connection with their mothers.

For these children to bring positive energy to society, “they need to love their homes and their roots,” she said.

Eight-year-old Chang Chia-ming (張家銘) went to Myanmar with his sister to visit their grandmother, who lives in a temple, and took part in a ceremony to become a “little monk.”

Chang, whose story is featured in the series, said he was “very happy” to be a monk “because I could wear the red kesa [Buddhist robe] and shave my head.”

Also featured in the series is Lin Yi-nung (林憶儂), 13, who saw her mother, sister and brother for the first time in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on a visit to the Caribbean nation.

Lin’s mother had to leave Taiwan over a decade ago because she could not acquire a marriage certificate. Lin said she hopes to visit her mother again after she grows up, learns English and is able to earn her own money.

The series will air every evening on Taiwan Public Television Service from tomorrow through Feb. 16, every weekend evening on Hakka Television Service from tomorrow and every Monday evening on Taiwan Indigenous TV from Feb. 18.