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Migrants, investors help forge warm Taiwan-Indonesia ties

2018/05/27 21:28:26

Photo courtesy of Pindy

Jakarta, May 27 (CNA) Although Taiwan and Indonesia are not diplomatic allies, they are forging deep and warm ties through the efforts of Indonesia migrant workers in Taiwan and Taiwanese businesspeople in Indonesia.

The ties between the two sides have also resulted from the "people-centered" spirit of the Taiwan government's New Southbound Policy.

Pindy, an Indonesian migrant worker who initiated a monthly activity to pick up trash along the routes running through newly renovated Lyu-Chuan canal in Taichung, is one of the advocates of the deepening friendship between the two countries.

"Taiwan is our second home," she said. "We want to contribute to the society."

She said that she hoped the cleanup, which is done on the first Sunday of each month by about 30 Indonesian volunteers, would help change the stereotypical view of migrant workers, who are sometimes subjected to discrimination for no apparent reason.

Pindy, who has been working in Taiwan for six years, makes dough figurines in her spare time, bringing Indonesian characteristics to the traditional Taiwanese folk art.

In the hope of equipping migrant workers with new skills so they can run businesses when they return home, she also often hosts events for migrant workers to learn new vocational skills.

"Migrant workers are not just migrant workers. We can live a better life," she said at an event organized by the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta.

She said she was also encouraging Indonesians to acquire new skills when they migrate to Taiwan to work.

Meanwhile, a group of Taiwanese businesspeople in Indonesia have established a charity called the Three Wheels Foundation to provide assistance to people living in slums.

The charity donates rice, water-pumps, and material for the construction of toilets, classrooms and school dormitories, according to one of the members, Chung Wen-lin (鐘文燐).

The charity work and genuine support offered by Taiwanese investors in Indonesia have set them apart from other foreign nationals in the eyes of local people, Chung said.

Indonesians realize that Taiwanese investors are different from most ethnic Chinese because of their philanthropy, Chung said.

The charity work has changed the way Indonesians feel about Taiwanese investors, Lai Huan-tse (賴煥澤), director general of the foundation, told CNA.

Previously, the main impression was that foreign businesspeople were there to run factories, exploit the local people and take away profits, he said

Now, there is a more positive perception of Taiwan in Indonesia, Lai said.

(By Jay Chou and Shih Hsiu-chuan)