(Taiwan Immigrants’ Global News Network) – Today, Taiwan is moving towards a brand-new, multicultural society. The population composition is no longer only dominated by the "four major ethnic groups (local people, people from other provinces in China, Hakka, and aboriginal people)." Since the 1990s, Taiwan’s "Foreign spouses" are mostly from Vietnam. The total population of new immigrants and their children in Taiwan has exceeded the million mark. Therefore, new immigrants and other related issues have gradually received attention, and various government agencies and NGOs are dedicated to advocating the rights of new immigrants. In the field of art and literature, everyone is also looking forward to seeing more film works with themes centered around the "New Immigrants in Taiwan."
The "Taoyuan City New Immigrants Family Service Center" (桃園市新住民聯合服務中心), which has been promoting welfare measures for new immigrants for many years, including care and counseling, recently held "New Immigrants, New Second- Generation, Migrant Workers-Video Workshop" (新住民、新二代、移工－影像工作坊), and invited professional lecturers to teach new immigrants and their children photography skills and editing techniques. This will allow new immigrants’ families to present their unique stories through the camera lens and provide diverse presentations. Among the trainees of the workshop, there is a Taiwanese gentleman, Hsiao An-Ting (蕭安廷), who recounted his transnational love story with his "Vietnamese wife", and even brought his son and daughter to reinterpret the Taiwanese and Vietnamese love story with his wife Chao Li-Ming (趙麗明) and released the "Sleepless in Saigon" (西貢夜未眠) micro-film.
Hsiao Ant-Ting produced "Sleepless in Saigon" to engrave their Taiwan-Vietnam marriage. Photo/Provided by Siu Anting
After 4 months of production and filming, Hsiao An-Ting not only assumed the role of director, but he did everything by himself, from expressing ideas, creating the plot, filming, and editing to film post-production. Hsiao An-Ting shared with the editor of "New Immigrants’ Global News Network" that he accompanied his wife to participate in the video workshop activities. The original one-month physical courses were changed to online classes because of the epidemic. The workshop has also been extended from one month to four months. During the learning process, he realized that he was interested in images and videos. After several discussions with the instructor, he decided to re-live their love story, from how he met and fell in love with his wife in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, until they walked down the red carpet together.
Hsiao An-Ting said frankly that transnational love is not easy. In addition to overcoming the difference between their mother languages, both must adapt to the culture and customs of the two countries. Fortunately, he is full of curiosity about "new" human affairs and is also open-minded to accept the differences between a foreign country and Taiwan. He remembers the first time he arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, which was then known as the “Paris of the East" (東方巴黎), while the older generation called it "Saigon", (西貢). The city is full of rich French feeling, especially with the memorable French architecture. however, while making "Sleepless in Saigon", it was like falling in love again with his wife.
Hsiao An-Ting's children jointly interpret the love journey of the two in the past. Photo/Provided by Hsiao An-Ting
The micro-film "Sleepless in Saigon" is not only the realization of the love between Hsiao An-Ting and his wife Chao Li-Ming, but also shows the close exchanges between many people in Taiwan and in Vietnam, that similarly led them to get to know and fall in love with each other and get married. The number of Vietnamese people getting married to Taiwanese has been increasing. The central government has taken the lead and promulgated many friendly policies that benefit foreign spouses, improving the quality of life and welfare of new immigrants in Taiwan, and reducing the difficulties they face as they integrate into Taiwanese society, including differences in culture, customs and habits, language barriers, lack of understanding about Taiwanese husbands, living environment, and marriage and family laws.
"Sleepless in Saigon" also shows that early Taiwanese society has stereotypes of Southeast Asian women. For example, Hsiao An-Ting’s grandmother initially was "opposed to her grandson to marry a Vietnamese woman" until he brought Chao Li-Ming home to Taiwan from Vietnam and "Meet Grandma". During that time with Grandma, she showed a Vietnamese woman's attentive, diligent, and caring love for the family. She accompanied Grandma to watch local dramas every day. Even though Chao Li-Ming did not know the Taiwanese language at the time, she slowly became close with Grandma. When it was time for Hsiao An-Ting and his wife to go back to Vietnam, Chao Li-Ming took the initiative to give Grandma a close hug, and the scene was very warm and touching.
Hsiao An-Ting gave "Sleepless in Saigon" as a commemorative gift for their 10th wedding anniversary. Photo/Provided by Hsiao An-Ting
With a sudden hug, Grandma immediately said, "When will Li-Ming come to Taiwan again to see Grandma?" At this time, Hsiao An-Ting knew that from the bottom of her heart, Grandma wanted the two of them to get married and bring Li-Ming home. Hsiao An-Ting said that now their family can be happy and in addition to thanking his wife for not fearing their transnational love, he is more grateful for Grandma’s change of heart. Hsiao loves both his wife and his grandmother as his favorite family members. This Taiwan-Vietnamese love story shows that every experience is unique. When filming "Sleepless in Saigon", Hsiao An-Ting was eager to squeeze each phase and every detail into the film.
Hsiao An-Ting told the editor of "New Immigrants’ Global News Network" that the love relationship with his wife is like a seed, the fruit of a happy marriage. Therefore, he wanted to include many of their experiences in the film, but only after the guidance of the instructor of the video workshop, did he learn that the editing of the film should "break, give up, and leave", reorganize the scattered fragments, and present them in the most beautiful and essential way. Hsiao An-Ting also revealed that this year marks their tenth wedding anniversary. After participating in the "New Immigrants, New Second Generation, Migrant Workers-Video Workshop", he will give his wife the "Sleepless in Saigon" film, which he completed alone, as a gift. Their children and Grandma witnessed the beautiful love of their "transnational marriage".