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The transformation of Southeast Asian new residents’ social images and educational implications in Taiwan: From others’ perceptions to their own constructions
Tran Ngoc Thuy
Since 2016, the social image of immigrants from Southeast Asia in Taiwan and what people expect from them have changed. The most symbolic one is reflected in the New Southbound Policy launched by Taiwan’s government in 2016. This research, through interviews with five immigrant females from Southeast Asia, looks into the medial portrayals of Southeast Asian immigrants in Taiwan to clear up their negative social images in the past. By doing so, it is hoped that there can be suggestions on how to learn about the social misunderstanding and discrimination Southeast Asian immigrants face. The conclusion of this thesis includes: 1. The meaning of the social image of Southeast Asian immigrants, which includes partial and negative media portrayals, outdated stereotype in educational materials in Taiwan, discrimination amid the harsh immigration policies and government regulations, and transformation of such images over time. 2. How Southeast Asian immigrants see the social image of themselves: Southeast Asian immigrants disapprove the spouse-interview mechanism for immigrants from twenty-one specified Southeast Asia countries, and the Nationality Law that is biased and written in indefinite language, leaving immigrants living without their own nationality. They also feel disappointed with the discriminatory speeches from some politicians and hope there can be legislators who can represent and support Southeast Asian immigrants. They appreciate that Southeast Asian languages are required in the 2019 Curriculum Updates in elementary school. However, sometimes it's still a problem that the New Immigrant Development Fund is granted to Southeast Asian immigrants. 3. The inspiring life stories told by Southeast Asian immigrants: We see whole new images and inspiring life stories through interviewing the five Southeast Asian immigrants in this study. 4. The un-completed Recognition to Southeast Asian immigrants in Taiwan: The situation of Southeast Asian immigrants has indeed progressed in recent years due to government policies, yet there needs to be more suggestions for improvements in immigrants’ situation regarding the structural and subjective aspects. The structural changes focus on the government policies, education, teaching materials, and social media, while the subjective aspect centers on how Southeast Asian immigrants face stereotypes about their home country in Taiwan and how Southeast Asian immigrants see themselves?
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