The 2018 Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants, one of the biggest literature awards in the world, were handed out in Taipei on Sunday.
Hsiao Shu-chen, the head of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, said at the ceremony that all the entires enriched the nation’s literary environment and also brought awareness to cultural understanding.
A total of 553 entries written in Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese and Thai were submitted by migrant workers in various Asian countries.
Indonesian Loso Abdi, a migrant worker in Taiwan from 2011-2015, won the top prize as well as the Teen Choice Award for his entry Tentang Cinta (About Love), a portrayal of a loving relationship between a migrant caregiver and a Taiwanese child with special needs.
Two Filipino writers shared second place. Melinda M Babaran, who works in a semiconductor factory in Taiwan, wrote Latay sa Laman (Whip Scar on the Flesh), which narrates her own life experiences as well as a lovely tale of reconciliation between a daughter and her father who had passed away.
Meanwhile, Filipina Louie Jean M Decena expressed her love for her family through her entry Ang Mahiwagang Kahon ni ltay (Dad’s Mysterious Box).
Third place was shared among three writers. They were Indonesian workers Yuli Riswati – with his entry Luka Itu Masih Ada di Tubuhku (The wound is still inside me) – and Pratiwi Mulansari – with Orang-orang Penampungan (People inside the Manpower Reserve Center) and a Filipina writer whose name is not disclosed because she was in jail in Longtan Women’s Prison, entered Nabigong Mga Pangarap At Pader sa Paligid (Broken Dream with Four Walls).
She spoke in a pre-recorded video about the obstacles she faced in the judicial proceedings during her trial as she was barred from hiring a lawyer from the Philippines and assigned a Taiwanese lawyer who she was uncertain about because she could not understand Mandarin.
The award, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and others, was first held in 2014 and was founded by the bookstore Brilliant Time.