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OVERSEA VIETNAMESE WOMEN
Vietnamese carer wins Taiwanese literary award
Posted: May 19,2008

Vi Thi Tuyet, a 39-year-old care assistant, has won a Taiwanese writing competition for immigrants.

Tuyet, from Phu Tho Province, won first prize with her short story The Seaside, about a Vietnamese woman married to an older Taiwanese man.

Taiwan’s New Frontier Foundation organizes the annual “Image/Story of the New Immigrants” contest.

Stories are written in contestants’ native language and then translated into Chinese.

Tuyet, a care assistant in a seaside village in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung County, said her short story was inspired by the people she meets on her daily outings with her elderly patients.

The Seaside contains impressions of her many meetings with her compatriot Nga, as well as the author’s thoughts about living a life so far away from home.

In the story, Nga asks her widowed husband to choose between her and his children.

She writes: “The waves on the ocean were becoming much bigger. I saw Nga running toward me. ‘They always look down on me. What’s wrong with being Vietnamese? I don’t want to be their stepmother and they don’t want me to be either.’ I replied: `It’s really not reasonable to ask a father to separate from his children’.”

The story ends with children being sent away to live with their grand-mother and Nga and her husband starting a new family.

“Now Nga and her husband seem much happier,” the story concludes.

“I am also happy and I feel like singing to the sound of the sea. I hope no typhoon comes to disturb this place, so the sea will be peaceful forever.”

The term “new immigrant” was coined in Taiwan to describe non-native people who attained Taiwanese citizenship through marriage.

New immigrants are mostly women from China and other Southeast Asian countries.

They were previously called “foreign brides,” a term considered discriminatory by women’s groups.

“Living an immigrant’s life means facing a number of difficulties in communicating with the locals,” said Hoang Oanh, an overseas Vietnamese who was part of the short story competition’s jury.

Oanh won the competition’s first prize two years ago.

“The stories help to highlight immigrants’ feelings,” she added.

 

Tuoi Tre

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"... From the beginning of the first century A.D., when the two Trung Sisters rose up to fight the enemy and save the nation, until now, whenever our country has faced danger, our women have contributed whatever they could toward the cause of national liberation.

Our people are grateful that our mothers from South and North alike have borne and raised our nation's generation of heroes....

Under the Socialist system, tens of thousands of women have become specialists in different fields and, as cadre, serve as directors and vice-directors of factories, leaders of farming cooperatives, presidents of People’s Committees, and general secretaries of Party Cells....

And so, the women of Vietnam from ancient times until now, from South to North, from young to old, are truly heroes ..."

(Excerpted from President Ho Chi Minh's speech on the 36th Anniversary of Vietnam Women's Union 20 October 1966)

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