[Listner] Love, regardless of nationality

Author: Lý Xì Dầu Photo provided by Lý Xì Dầu
Author: Lý Xì Dầu Photo provided by Lý Xì Dầu
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Editor/ Tim Wu (吳宗翰)

[Taiwan Immigrants’ Global News Network] cooperates with [Listner, Listen to You] to launch self-identity or family stories written by the second-generation immigrants. Through their self-analysis, the dialogue between different cultures is more profound and inclusive. [Listner, Listen to You] is an NGO platform that provides free consultation on law and public health for the second-generation and new immigrants.


This article "Love, regardless of nationality" was written by the author Lý Xì Dầu. [Taiwan Immigrants’ Global News Network] also compiled the content of this article into 5 languages including Chinese, English, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian.

Love, regardless of nationality

Author: Lý Xì Dầu (translated into Chinese means Li soy sauce. When the author was born, the family in author’s mother’s home country thought that Taiwanese people like to add soy sauce to food. It contains the family’s love and self-identity. With this name published)

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When the author returned to Vietnam five years ago, her family would prepare a lot of things for them to bring back to Taiwan Photo provided by Lý Xì Dầu

The Calling from Hometown

 I would return to Vietnam every three to five years with my mom. I would see Vietnamese family members holding signs with my name and my mother's name calling us as soon as I exited the airport gate. I had to travel for half a day on a long-distance bus to go to Bac Lieu Province, where my grandma lives, after leaving the airport. It was a straightforward country home with a sizable front yard and a backyard brimming with fruits and prawns.

 Even if I come late at night, the waiting family members will be there to greet you. I felt overwhelmed with affection from my family. They always greeted me warmly, despite the fact that we couldn't speak to each other easily. Even though I couldn't communicate there, I always wanted to go back to Vietnam.

Who is labeling me? 

I have lived in Taiwan for 19 years, and I have not been labeled as a second-generation immigrant. My classmates always think that my background is cool and special. I get along well with my mother, and I like everything in Vietnam. I go back to Vietnam with my mother from time to time, and I am loved by the Vietnamese family. I seem to be no different from ordinary children.

But even with the seemingly smooth growth experience, it is still difficult for me to clarify my identity.

 I remember my mother has been telling me since I was a child: "Don't tell others that your mother is Vietnamese, or they will look down on you." Even though I told her again and again, "Don't worry, my classmates are very good to me", my mother still insisted repeatedly . Looking back, my mother's perception may be due to the negative feelings she experienced in Taiwanese society, and I don't want me to repeat the same mistakes.

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Author Lý Xì Dầu took a group photo with her family Photo provided by Lý Xì Dầu

What if my birth was sin?  

Every night before or the morning of leaving grandma's house, my mother and family members are always very sad, and I am no exception. It may be hard for ordinary people to imagine, but for new immigrants, it is a torment and a long time to see their families every three to five years. But returning to my hometown is not only the most relaxing and carefree time for me, but also a place for my mother to relax. She always smiles here, a bright smile that I have never seen in Taiwan.

 "Why did she travel across the sea to Taiwan, but did not live a happy life?" Could my birth be the root of evil? As I get older, I often ask myself. I am lucky to have a Vietnamese mother, but if my identity is based on my mother’s pain, then is my identity of the second generation immigrant become a burden?

Self-identity found in love

There are so many complex feelings intertwined in the self-identity of the second-generation immigrant that I have yet to find the answer. Just thinking about it from another angle, if the identity of the second-generation immigrant was given to me by my mother, it is already an irreversible necessity of life. Maybe the only thing I can do is to be my mother's back in Taiwan.

For this reason, I have been working hard to learn Vietnamese since I went to university, hoping to shorten the distance with my mother and Vietnamese family members, and I also feel that a common language can indeed bring us closer. The identity may still be confused, but I think, in the expression of love, for me or for my mother, there is no nationality.

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