【Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】translated by CHI CHIA I
Gen Huang (黃琦妮) from Cebu, Philippines, has been residing in Taiwan for about 13 years after getting married to a Taiwanese husband. Besides looking gorgeous, she can speak English and Chinese fluently and is living a fulfilling life as a ‘slashie’.
Presided over numerous major competitions and events, starred in micro movies of Ministry of Health and Welfare and National Taiwan University of Arts, Gen is also the founder of Hello PhilTai Gen (菲臺之音黃琦妮) who built bridges between Filipino new immigrants in Taiwan and other groups. Having helped countless Filipino fellow friends, she has been hailed as ‘Teacher Zhang’ (張老師) who is enthusiastic about resolving problems encountered by new immigrants in Taiwan.
Moreover, Gen’s helping hands expanded to the underprivileged children in the Philippines. In these 15 years, her supports and care in the forms of supplies and food delivered to them never stop. Speaking of her name Gen Huang, it is arguably most Filipino new immigrants can recognize her.
Gen’s 15-year love offering collects stationery, second-hand clothing & toys from her friends for children in the Philippines. (Photo / Provided by Gen Huang)
‘Hello PhilTai Gen’ that has helped countless people
The Facebook group created by Gen was firstly named the ‘Phil-Tai Organization’. However, she wished to make the group more inclusive and changed the name to ‘PhilTai The Voice’. Furthermore, the current name ‘Hello PhilTai Gen’ was given because the previous name sounds like a singing competition.
“When I got married to my husband, I knew that I would be needing a family here in Taiwan. So, I created an online network,” says Gen. She believed that a network was needed for Filipinos and Taiwanese to communicate with each other so that everyone could discuss and share the latest news.
Initially, most members were Filipino fellow sisters who got married in Taiwan. Later, the group was spread by word of mouth and shared among the new immigrant groups, attracting Taiwanese and people of different nationalities to join.
Since 2007, she organized online contests & giveaways for months out of hert own pocket, and the Love offering program continues for 15 years. She collects stationery, second-hand clothing & toys from her friends and some netizens, and sends the supplies to children in need in the Philippines.
Other than necessities, Gen also collaborated with Jon, the CEO of a multinational company BeamAndGo who took the initiative to contact her via the Internet, to provide children in the Philippines with rice grain.
Gen also collaborated with Jon, the CEO of BeamAndGo, to provide children in the Philippines with rice grain. (Photo / Provided by Gen Huang)
Gen collected clean second-hand clothes and sent them to the Philippines for donations. (Photo / Provided by Gen Huang)
A new immigrant who became Filipino fellow sisters’ ‘Teacher Zhang’ and ‘Women Empowerment Promoters’
Graduated from Cebu Normal University with a Bachelor of secondary education, major in social sciences, Gen delved deeply into the study of cultural messages and cultural differences in society and obtained relevant insights. Together with the kind heart that she has, she lent a listening ear to many new Filipino immigrants, Taiwanese who have a close relationship with Filipinos, and foreign workers in Taiwan.
‘How do I get a divorce?’, ‘What should I do if I don't get along well with my mother-in-law?’, ‘The language barrier troubles me a lot.’ To these 3 questions commonly asked by strangers or Gen’s friends via private messages on Facebook and emails, she would patiently replay them by understanding what happened first and encouraging them to have open and honest communication.
In addition to the identity of being ‘Teacher Zhang’, Gen has held three rounds of Empowered Women's Gala before. The theme of 2020 is to teach the new immigrants from the Philippines how to build their self-confidence, as well as learn employability skills. There were also information sharing sessions and the family cruise experience from Guandu Wharf to Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf. This grand event enabled Filipino fellow sisters in Taiwan to boost their confidence and enjoy quality time with their families.
Gen has held three rounds of Empowered Women's Gala before to help Filipino fellow sisters in Taiwan boost their confidence. (Photo / Provided by Gen Huang)
Gen Huang, who is experienced in hosting, held an information sharing session in an Empowered Women's Gala. (Photo / Provided by Gen Huang)
‘Try to bridge the gap between cultures’ with an optimistic attitude
For cross-cultural misunderstandings and conflicts, Gen always tries her best to educate and change the mindset of the public. When she first arrived in Taiwan, the biggest culture shock she experienced is that in Taiwan, many newlyweds live with their parents-in-law.
Besides, she also met many Taiwanese who have stereotypes of Filipinos. For example, she was asked by some people, “I never know there is such a beautiful, well-dressed and fair-skinned girl like you from the Philippines.”
Facing this kind of problem, she explains with great friendliness, “There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and each island has different races and cultures, and we all are Filipinos.”
“I love to bridge the gap between cultures by giving a cultural education to aunties in the wet markets and taxi drivers in a light-hearted and interesting way,” she says with a cheery tone of voice.
Lastly, Gen not only promotes cultural exchanges between Taiwanese and the Philippines but she is also dedicated to sharing Taiwanese culture to audiences around the world via her Podcast - WOW!! Taiwan that was launched recently.
To new immigrants living in Taiwan, a message she would like to send is ‘Love yourself first, learn the Chinese language that is inextricably intertwined with Taiwanese culture, be willing to communicate, choose to have a good mood, and your smile will be contagious and positively influence everyone around you.’