Vietnamese migrant wins Taiwan literature award

09/30/2019 05:26 PM
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Taipei, Sept. 30 (CNA) Vietnamese immigrant Tran Thi Hue (陳氏桂) won first prize at the sixth Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants for her work "That Year, the Plum Blossom Bloomed," a story about a compatriot who was abused by her Taiwanese husband and as a result suffered from mental illness.

The award was established to better showcase the literary talents of immigrants and migrant workers, with the prizes presented at Alishan National Scenic Area on Sunday.

Tran, born in northern Vietnam in 1987, moved to Taiwan in 2015 after marrying a Taiwanese man.

During the ceremony, Tran said she only started writing the story two days before the deadline.

It is difficult for Vietnamese women to integrate into Taiwanese society, Tran said, adding that she hoped her story would help more people to understand the plight of migrants and treat them with greater respect.

"That Year, the Plum Blossom Bloomed" tells the story of Tran's friend who married a Taiwanese man. However, after moving to Taiwan she was subject to domestic violence and eventually suffered from mental illness. The woman was then forced to return to Vietnam and separated from her 1-year-old daughter in Taiwan.

The winning piece depicts the story of a young girl who had never fallen in love but chose to gamble her life in a foreign land. It also depicts the pain suffered by two women from different generations -- Tran's friend and her mother.

Tran met her Taiwanese husband who, at the time, worked in the aquaculture industry in Vietnam. Following a downturn in the industry, the couple moved to Taiwan, and now run a Vietnamese restaurant in Pingtung County, Southern Taiwan.

Over the past four years, Tran said she has heard many sad stories involving female migrants in Taiwan and they inspired her to write the story, incorporating her own experience.

"With the story I wrote, I hope we can all learn to understand and tolerate each other, to take care and help each other," Tran said, hoping that as Taiwanese society makes more of an effort to make migrants feel at home, the sad experience of her friend will not be repeated again.

Tran received a trophy and NT$100,000 (US$3200) in prize money.

The Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants was organized by the Southeast Asia Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association and first held in 2014.

Chang Cheng (張正), convener of the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants, said during the ceremony that he organized the award to showcase migrants' literary talents.

It is very difficult to run but he has long wanted to do something for migrants, Chang said.

The awards received 680 entries this year, the most ever. A total of eight winners were chosen in different categories this year, including the Teen Choice Award, Macau Special Award, Choice Award, Jury Award and the First Prize.

(By Emerson Lim)


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