The internet power of Southeast Asia housewives
Sally Yu (余慈薰)
Education: Master of Social Work (MSW) Community Organization and Advocacy, Monash University
Current Position: Founder of the Formosa Budding Hope Association
Managing Supervisor of Formosan Association for Immigrant Human Rights
There are many challenges for a new immigrant to start a new life in a foreign land. Many new immigrants in Taiwan are from Southeast Asia, and they moved to Taiwan because of marriage or work. Some fell in love with a Taiwanese man and moved to Taiwan.
New immigrants often face many difficulties. Not only do they have to adapt to the Taiwanese culture, but also, they need to overcome the language barrier.
In 2010, Sally co-founded the Formosa Budding Hope Association and contributed Humanitarian aid to Cambodia. During her time in Cambodia, the volunteer team encountered a little girl named Rui Jun Ni (瑞君妮) with “Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome”(KTWS). Through the help from doctors in the free clinic volunteer team and the Taichung Veterans General Hospital, the two-year-old little girl traveled to Taiwan to received treatment.
However, the team faced another challenge. Rui, who was only two years old, kept on crying because of the discomfort after the treatment. The team did not know how to comfort the girl since no one could speak Khmer. The hospital and local new immigrant service centers heard the news, and four new immigrants from Cambodia rushed to the hospital and comforted the little girl whose mother was not beside her. And Rui’s mood was stabilized afterward.
Sally said that because of accompanying Rui back to Taiwan for medical treatment, she was able to meet this lovely group of Southeast Asian sisters who all came to Taiwan for marriage. Sally also joined their LINE group.
Furthermore, Sally mentioned that, five years ago, someone sent a message for help in the LINE group. The message was sent by Su, who came to Taiwan from Cambodia for marriage. Su was married to a Taiwanese named Mr. Wang, and she was applying for a dependent visa in Taiwan. However, the travel agency made a mistake, and Su was unable to complete her application procedures. Therefore, Su had to leave the Taiwan border immediately, and couldn’t come back to Taiwan in a short time. But Su had to take care of her newborn baby.
After the New immigrants in the LINE group received Su’s message, they tried their best to assist. Several people contacted relevant agencies for assistance. They searched for related agencies to obtain relevant documents. They also contacted the Immigration Department and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City. According to the report of the staff of the visa office at that time, if there is no assistance from various units, Su may not be able to apply for a visa to enter Taiwan for two years because of the problem of overstaying. And she will not reunite with her family for a long time.
In this “Rescue Su” operation, the Southeast Asian sisters in the LINE group were able to contact the right agencies in a short time, showing high efficiency.
The agencies and units not only allowed the Su family to reunite but also helped the sisters in the group learn about the channels and agencies on how to correctly handle visa or legal issues.
Sally mentions that, for those new immigrant housewives who came to Taiwan because of marriage. Taiwan is both a foreign land and homeland. These Southeast Asian sisters cherish the people they meet in Taiwan, and at the same time, they try their best to assimilate into the Taiwan culture. In recent years, more and more new immigrant service centers were set up, and the resources provided services very sufficient, such as language services.
This group of sisters who are new immigrants does not have any formal associations, nor associations or units to back up. They usually talk about mothers and family affairs through LINE. With the spirit of self-help and help others, the rise of women's power is the strongest. The effectiveness of social network communication has become the best link between many Southeast Asian sisters and new immigrant service units.
It also helped many newly arrived foreign housewives to assimilate into Taiwanese culture. And become a happy new immigrant housewife in Taiwan.