Thai immigrant got a house mortgaged to work in Taiwan, now serving as an interpreter to help migrant workers

Lin Xiu Wen from Northern Thailand shared her story of working in Taiwan after her house in Thailand was mortgaged. (Photo / Provided by the National Education Radio)
Lin Xiu Wen from Northern Thailand shared her story of working in Taiwan after her house in Thailand was mortgaged. (Photo / Provided by the National Education Radio)
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Translated by CHI CHIA I

In cooperation with the National Education Radio, a series of exciting stories about new immigrants in Taiwan is launched. This episode invites Lin Xiu Wen (林琇文) from Northern Thailand to share her story of having an opportunity to work in Taiwan only after her house in Thailand was mortgaged. The hosts are Chen Ya Yu (陳亞鈺) and Chen Yu Shui (陳玉水).

Lin Xiu Wen came to Taiwan as a migrant worker and encountered numerous challenges at first. After becoming an immigrant in Taiwan, she never stops learning and now serves as an interpreter in the Taoyuan City Migrant Workers Service Center.

Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】presents this episode in 5 languages including Chinese, English, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian, enabling more readers to explore immigrants’ life in Taiwan.

“Can I go to Taiwan? Because I want to venture outside, I want to be independent, and most importantly I want to make money!” She recalled what happened 20 years ago. As booms were occurring in Taiwan, many Thais would choose to earn money here. Lin told her mom about the idea of taking a break from university and working in Taiwan.

Lin mentioned that she had been taking part-time jobs to support the family financially, so her mom trusts her a lot. “If you have prepared all documents and only lack money, we can just get our house mortgaged,” Lin’s mom said. Unexpectedly, neighbors gave bitter comments about it.

However, these words did not have a bad influence on Lin’s mom. Instead, Lin’s mom encouraged Lin by saying “You have to do well.”

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Lin entered Taiwan with a supplementary recruitment permit, doing work left by the previous migrant worker. Therefore, she saved large amounts of agency fees when she came to Taiwan for the first time.

At the workplace, she often heard two words in Chinese – “foreign labor”. At that time, she almost had no knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, and asked a colleague, “Is he calling me?” In the end, she inferred the definition of “foreign labor” by herself, meaning “do your tasks, and do not talk.”

Lin frankly said that she was not happy during that time. She even encountered a proprietor who intentionally raised vegetable prices just because she was a foreigner. The host was surprised by this incident. “But this kind of problem no longer exists, the government made efforts to teach us Chinese, so migrant workers can communicate in basic Mandarin Chinese.”

After returning to Thailand, Lin came back to Taiwan again and got married. Her identity changed from being a migrant worker to an immigrant. When her daughter entered elementary school, Lin was also learning the Chinese language in evening classes at school.

“Back then, she was always with me in evening classes,” Lin said. “I bought her a bento and she just sat quietly and listened to the lecture.” The host then had a vivid picture of mom and daughter studying in a classroom, and said, “That’s so cute!”

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While Lin was receiving evening classes at school, she met a Vietnamese who recommended her to attend “academic staff lessons.” The course changes her life. She then had more opportunities to take the empowerment program held by the New Immigrant Family Service Center of Taoyuan, and now is serving as a Thai interpreter. She not only teaches migrant workers Chinese but also provides work and life counseling.

Because she used to be a “foreign labor”, she has deep empathy for all migrant workers she was serving. “I understand what they need and what they lack.”

Hearing Lin’s story, the host felt touched. Lin devoted herself to helping migrant workers once she is capable of doing so. Therefore, the migrant workers could live and work with ease in Taiwan. The host said, “I express my gratitude to Lin.”

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