Filipina Melinda M Babaran hugs her mother after being presented with her award. Photo: CNA

The winning entries in this year’s Taiwan Migrant Literature Award have been published in book form, with the award’s convenor praising the powerful messages they share from foreign migrant workers.

Zhang Zheng, owner of independent bookstore Brilliant Time, said the impressive stories showed that the workers “should never be underestimated” for their contributions. The winning entries in the fifth annual award were announced several months ago.

The top award was taken out by Indonesian Loso Abdi for the second time in three years with Tentang Cinta (About Love), which tells the true story of a woman called Umi who cared for a child in Taiwan with multiple disabilities for nine years.

Umi, who is Indonesian, has two children of her own but dedicated her life to trying to help her employer’s daughter. What ensued was an unbreakable bond that was much more than the usual relationship between a domestic worker and her employer.

Loso Abdi, who is also a former migrant worker, won the 2016 Taiwan Migrant Literature Award while writing under the name Justto Lasoo.

The jury award went to Filipina Melinda M Babaran with her work Latay sa Laman (Whip Scar on the Flesh). She was taking part in the competition for the first time.

A lesbian, Babaran tells of the hardship of being spurned by her father as she grew up, but of how they had an eventual reconciliation. Her father accepted her unreservedly before he passed away.

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