My Reflection on EAP 2017: Human rights issues of the migrant workers
Hello everyone, I’m James (Wu Hsuan-Yi) from Taiwan. East Asia Programme(EAP) was a brand new experience for me since it is the first time I attended an international event organized by IMCS and hosted by CCUSA Taiwan, which brought students together from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and us–Taiwan to share ideas about an important issue. The topic of EAP in this year was “Human rights issues of the migrant workers”. As a resident of Taiwan, I believe we are not familiar with this theme. It’s easy to find many foreign laborers appear in some urban areas with different appearance, dresses…etc.
We can see them gathering in some transportation station. However, their words are not what we have learned, their staples are not what we usually consuming as well, as if there’s a river but streaming with different colors of water. The only thing people know is that they came overseas to a strange land and doing the lowest level of work in order to survive. Some people rule out them because they look different, or even judge them with discriminatory comments, and try to avoid them as far as they can.
Perhaps they have never thought that these foreign workers are burdened with a great expectation from their homeland therefore they came over to Taiwan accepting these physically challenging and dangerous jobs. Some people expect to earn some money to use for their brothers and sisters’ higher-level education institutions; Some women are pregnant in a young age, and since their irresponsible husband flee away, so they are forced to work abroad to support their son or daughter. When their children grow up, they might not even recognize their mom because they have been separated from each other for a long time that the impression of mother has gradually been blurred. Some people were even too fearful of poverty.
Their parents couldn’t know the feeling of using proper bath for half of their lifetime, the convenience of electricity for the night, not to mention protection from the natural disasters since they can’t build a secure shelter due to their poverty level. Therefore, they came to Taiwan with a strong determination to work hard, for the sake of improving the life of their families. After that, they have to suffer from the government’s rule which limits their ability to engage in jobs. Moreover, they are being exploited by their employers based on some disadvantage in the contract. And they can easily be mistreated by the family that they are taking care of as a result of some communication barriers or other reasons. On the other hand, it takes time for us that having well cared in Taiwan to understand those miserable experiences, rather than criticized from the appearance that saying “Foreign workers will come here to steal Taiwanese’ working chances, they are all gyroscopes” What if one day you are going to do their job, can you achieve it? Well I put a strong doubt for that.
To me, although they are doing the easiest rough works, their attitude is better than any nobles in Taiwan. They are not only outstanding brothers and sisters, parents, but also marvelous model workers, because the paid determination and effort for sure. I am looking forward that members who participated in this EAP can teach more people to treat migrant workers with giving respects and empathize. Perhaps we can also spend some time to chat with these foreign workers, to understand their culture, customs, and so on.
For the EAP program this year, I appreciate a lot for inviting many Catholic clergies which engaging in migrant workers’ issue to come and gave knowledgeable lectures in order to helps us to get familiar with nowadays’ situation. Furthermore, I really thankful that my cousin Grace Wang who introduced this activity to me so that I can broaden my horizons and make many new friends from other countries, my Taiwanese teammates and staffs that contribute their best to demonstrate Taiwanese’ enthusiastic spirits. And finally, I thank IMCS Asia Pacific coordinator Ravi Tissera who did many educational sharing’s with me during this camp. To be brief, I think I did gain a great reward. May the Lord bless all of us, best wishes~