Xia Xiao-Juan Encouraged New Residents’ Public Participation, Inject ‘New’ Strength into Taiwanese Society

Xia Xiao-Juan encouraged new residents, new residents’ second generation to actively participate in public issues. Image: Taken from National Education Radio
Xia Xiao-Juan encouraged new residents, new residents’ second generation to actively participate in public issues. Image: Taken from National Education Radio
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Translated by Erinne Kinata 紀佩言

[Taiwan Immigrants’ Global News Network] partnered with the National Education Radio Station “Happiness United Nations” to report on the stories of new residents in Taiwan. This episode ‘How Can New Residents Participate in Public Issues’ (broadcasted on National Educational Radio on June 14th), co-hosted by Li Pei-Ying and Yang Wan-Li, and specially invited Professor Xia Xiao-Juan from Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies of Shih Hsin University to encourage new residents and new residents’ second generation to actively participate in public issues and speak out for their own rights and interests ; at the same time, ‘vaccinate’ the new residents, even though you face problems in the process of initiating issues, keep your original intention, which is adding new vitality to Taiwanese society together.

[Taiwan Immigrants’ Global News Network] also translated this article into 5 languages, including Chinese, English, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian, so that more readers and listeners can better understand the life of new residents in a foreign land.

Xia Xiao-Juan encouraged new residents’ public participation.Image: taken from Facebook

“Three stooges, better than a Zhuge Liang.” Xia Xiao-Juan, who has been involved in the issue of new residents for more than 20 years, uses this proverb to describe the promotion of public issues which often requires from individuals ‘discovering problem’ to ‘finding partners’, and then ‘establishing organizations’, to gather people with common ideas on certain issues, and through the connection of the internet age, take to the streets together to speak up and change society.

During her fieldwork in Meinong, Kaohsiung in 1991, Xia Xiao-Juan found that the new residents, who were still known as "foreign brides" at that time, had difficulty integrating into the local society because of the language barrier, and this was her first contact with the new residents; In 1995, she set up a literacy class to encourage new residents from different countries to learn Chinese. This group of sisters from different places later established the "Nanyang Taiwan Sisterhood Association", and in addition to continuing to pay attention to the issues of new residents, they also began to pay attention to the parent-child issues, growth issues, education issues, etc. of the children of new residents.

This group of sisters from different places established “Nanyang Taiwan Sisterhood Association”.Image: Take from the “Nanyang Taiwan Sisterhood Association” Facebook

The program talked about the "Nanyang Taiwan Sisterhood Association", and host Li Pei-Ying shared that at the beginning of her visit to Taiwan, in order to quickly integrate into the local society, she took the initiative to sign up for literacy classes and join the sisterhood, so that she could adapt to life as soon as possible and no longer have to trouble her husband to lead the way. Hearing the host's experience, Xia Xiao-Juan said with satisfaction, "This is the original intention of establishing a sisterhood", new residents who have crossed the ocean to Taiwan, generally have brave and positive characteristics, if the scattered sisters are gathered, it can show the power of immigration unity.

With the development of the era of global immigration, Taiwanese society has also begun to pay attention to various public issues that not only local people should participate, "New residents should participate in the promotion process, because they are part of Taiwanese society." Xia Xiao-Juan said "Sisters! Don't worry about language barriers and don't worry about not finding like-minded people, as long as you have goals and ideals in mind, you can start with relatives and friends around you to exchange ideas and find partners."

"The publicity of an issue has a group of people with the same needs behind them." This sentence resonated with host Yang Wan-Li, recalling the previous severe moment of the epidemic in Taiwan, which The Command Center immediately took "border strict control measures", as a result the sister in the United States is unable to return to Taiwan with her children, because the sister has a Taiwan identity card, but the children's identity is American, so they cannot enter Taiwan.

During severe epidemic in Taiwan, the Command Center took strict border control measures.Image: Taken from Pixabay Gallery

Then, Yang Wan-Li posted a question on Facebook and LINE groups, unexpectedly, he received responses from netizens. There are many people who face the same problems. The group consists of netizens with immigration needs and families in Taiwan, writing petition letters to the government. Finally, on 14 September 2021, the Command Center loosen the application for “foreign spouses and minor children” to enter Taiwan in the form of a program. The inconveniences cause by epidemic control have finally crossed the policy wall with the efforts of ‘a group of people with the same needs.’

Therefore, Xia Xiao-Juan encouraged new residents to make good use of "How can new residents participate in public issues" website, when we are faced with problems, we can attract people with the same ideas through social platforms, YouTube or short videos, combining different backgrounds with same consensus; After all, public issues are "public", even if your identity is new residents, as long as we live in neighborhoods, townships, we can unite and influence Taiwanese society, even the whole of Asia and the world, highlighting new residents are an important force.

Further Reading

First Response

Popular News