In Taiwan, a Filipino factory worker wins prestigious literary award

CNN Philippines Life Staff

Melinda Babaran has been working as a factory worker in Taiwan for almost 12 years now. In 2018, she won the Jury Award at the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants for her article titled “Latay sa Laman.”

“Wala akong balak sumali noon. It just so happened that nagkaroon ng sakit ‘yung father ko so I needed someone to talk to so instead of pouring out my emotions to an individual,” she says. “It was a poem about what’s usually happening between families if nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa ‘yung isa.”

“Latay sa Laman” was written like a monologue, in which Barbaran details her relationship with her father, who did not fully accept her sexuality. She says that unlike in the Philippines, she found that the Taiwanese had no qualms about her sexuality. “Hindi katulad sa Pilipinas na ‘pag nakasalubong ka, tataasan ka na agad ng kilay o iiwasan ka o masama agad ang iniisip sayo,” she says. “‘Yung discrimination talagang naranasan ko doon mismo sa loob pa lang ng bahay so how can I expect other people to accept me kung sa sarili kong bahay hindi ako accepted?”

Ever since she was a kid, writing has been her outlet. “Nagsusulat lang ako whenever I’m upset just to pour out my emotions and then after that, tinatapon ko na. That’s my way of hindi mapuno ‘yung loob ko at hindi ako makapagtanim ng galit.”

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