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dot Telling Your Own Stories: Seasonal Migrant Workers from Dalin 2
 

Dalin, at that time, was one of the major suppliers of agricultural labor to Japan. At its peak, more than 50 regular workers were from Dalin. The youngest worker among them is now almost 80 years old. It is an indispensable part when talking about Taiwan's economic history. It was very touching that these workers aged 70 to 80 managed to show up in every session of the exhibition to share their experiences and interact with the visitors.

 

The elderly migrant workers spoke about their life overseas. They missed their children at hometown very much, and they were kept on tenterhooks under their employers’ inspection. However, they were proud to mention their mixed feelings when fixing their houses and improving quality of life with earnings as overseas labor. They made the whole room roar with interesting episodes; while locked the audience in contemplation with their struggles.

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In preparation for this exhibition, the university students communicated with the grandmothers in broken Taiwanese, tried to understand what the elderly wanted to express, and reinterpreted the history in a clear and easy way. This was an achievement of “generations united” and “young entrepreneurs and retirees” emphasized by community empowerment in recent years. With the efforts of the Dalin community, who initiated to explore the history of its export laborers, and of students who devoted to the rural areas with enthusiasm and creativity, the cultural continuity and collective memory were able to be preserved among different generations.

 

The Shanglin Community Development Association said the percentage of the aging population has been more than 27% of the total in this community. Thus, in addition to issues of elderly care, memory preservation is also very critical. Through interviews and stories collection, as well as community empowerment projects, the goal was to present the collective memory of the elderly in various forms. By doing so, the precious accounts and life history could be passed on, and further, serve as communication channels among different generations.

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