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NIA gives awards to filmmakers showing immigrant struggles

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The National Immigration Agency (NIA) yesterday presented awards to a group of amateur directors for documentaries depicting the challenges of being a new resident in Taiwan.

The contestants — divided into adults, college students and elementary school children — were asked to direct and produce short documentaries on new residents originally from mainland China, Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries.

The documentaries focused on the hardships they encountered as well as their struggles to overcome their challenges.

Sixth grader Lai Hung-kuang won first place in his category. Lai's documentary centers on the relationship between his parents, as well as his decision to learn Vietnamese.

“The prize is the best Mother's Day present I could give (my mother),” said Lai, whose mother passed exams to teach Vietnamese in Taiwan. Nearly half of Lai's classmates are from new resident families.

NIA Director General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said that his agency hopes to share the everyday lives of new residents with native-born Taiwanese through films,“giving (native-born locals the chance) to see the vibrant and energetic side (of new residents), as well as their contributions to Taiwan.”

A total of 35 films were submitted to the “New Residents' Happy Family Life Film Contest,” with five being selected for awards.

Other documentaries told the life stories of Hsiu-hsiu, who is originally from Myanmar and who raised her children by running a small juice stand, Yeh Su-san, originally from Indonesia, and her Pili glove puppet performances, and Jih Ping, who is originally from mainland China and who raised her autistic son by herself following the death of her Taiwanese husband.

Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) praised the filmmakers, adding that although the children of foreign spouses and new residents inevitably learn to speak Mandarin Chinese, the government would like to see them stay in touch with their roots as well.

The NIA announced that the films will be shown to the public for free at the Taichung Hero House (台中國軍英雄館) on May 17 and the Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station (美麗島站) on May 24.

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National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功), second right, poses with the young directors of “new resident” documentaries in Taipei, yesterday. Having told the stories of foreign spouses in their short documentaries, two groups of elementary students received awards from the NIA. (The China Post photo)

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