International College of Innovation “Starlight Cinema: The Lucky Woman Screening and Post-Screening Discussion”.
Date : 2021-01-05 Department : International College of Innovation【Article by International College of Innovation】
On December 28th, 2020, the USR team of “New Immigrants Entrepreneurship and Education” from National Chengchi University held an event “Starlight Cinema: The LuckyWoman Screening and Post-Screening Discussion”. They invited Director Wen-Chen Tseng, Professor Ai-Hsuan Ma from the Department of Sociology, NCCU, and the coordinators from the Serve the People Association, Yi-Cai Hsiao and Dani Huang.
Before the screening started, Professor Tzu-Chi Ou from the International College of Innovation, who is also the co-director of the USR team, mentioned the vision of holding this project, “We hope that by looking at these issues, we can improve the living conditions and working environment of migrant workers in Taiwan.”
Why did the migrant workers choose to run away? Before 2016, migrant workers had to return to their original countries once their contracts were expired, and they were not allowed to come back to Taiwan and keep on working until they pay another big amount of agency fee. Since many of the migrant workers were not able to earn enough money before they should leave, they decided to escape and became the so-called “runaways”. The protagonists in the documentary, Thao Van and Duy Huang, were both “runaway migrant workers” from Vietnam.
During the post-screening discussion, the coordinator Hsiao and Huang informed the audience that, the public is having a rather negative image of the migrant workers, who did not violate the law or commit any crime. They reminded that the phenomenon results from the fact that the police in Taiwan often see the workers as crimes while interrogating them, and they often asked those workers to show their identifications without specific reasons. Meanwhile, the media plays a role in causing the stereotype by portraying foreign workers as potential criminals. In response to this, coordinator Dani Huang sighed, “If they can stay and maintain their legal status, why would they leave and be on the run?” After all, if it were not because of the poor payment and working environment, who would be willing to give up a stable life and take the risks?
Working as a field worker, Professor Ma raised several questions about how Director Tseng gained trust from the informants and entered their world. She was also curious about what are the messages Director Tseng trying to convey through the titles in Chinese and English, which are respectively “The ones who escaped” and “The Lucky Woman,”while they are quite different in meanings. Responding to the questions, Director Tseng revealed that compared to other migrant workers, Thao Van was pretty lucky. Though her life in Taiwan was never easy, she returned to Vietnam in a relatively healthy state, and she was able to improve her family’s economic conditions while fulfilling what she wanted to do. It is also her personal blessings for Thao Van. Having been filming her for so many years and seeing her experiencing those ups and downs in her life, Tseng hoped that Thao Van can have a better life after returning to Vietnam.
Lastly, Tseng talked about the motivation for filming this documentary. During her filming, she gained a deeper understanding of how Taiwanese and the migrant workers interacted. Instead of putting focuses on the working contrasts, she suggested that the audience pay more attention to how people interact with each other as human to human.
Through this documentary, Tseng also hopes to diminish the stereotype people have against the migrant workers and convey that, the migrant workers are just like anyone of us, having their own dreams and hoping that their families can have better lives. They are also human beings after all.
Next semester, the International College of Innovation will open a course named“Migration and Globalization,” its instructor Professor Tzu-Chi Ou welcomed students in NCCU to participate and devote themselves to creating a better working and living environment for those who work day and night in Taiwan.