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Day 17, July 25: Taiwan's Foreign Workers

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Day 17, July 25: Taiwan's Foreign Workers

Where can they go? Indonesian labourers

Sunday, 19 August 2012, marked the day of Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the month of Ramadan. It started as a happy day for more than 10,000 Indonesian labourers who gathered at the Taipei Railway Station. They flooded into the lobby, a convenient spot for them to sit down and meet friends, to celebrate this important Muslim holiday. The large, one day gathering unintentionally paralyzed the normal flow of the multilevel subway, railway, and high-speed station.

After receiving complaints from passengers, the station authorities began closing off a large part of the main lobby at weekends. That sparked an angry reaction among some Indonesian foreign workers. So on 12 September, around 50 workers protested in front of the station. Holding “anti-racism” placards, they demanded the right to gather in public places, shouting, “We want a place for leisure time!” They then marched into the station and sat on the main lobby floor.

A common sight

Weekend gatherings of foreign labourers are commonly seen in Taipei and cities such as Taoyuan and Taichung. They gather in stations, at parks and even along pavements of certain streets. Their gatherings cause frowns, but rarely does anyone look seriously into a solution on their behalf.

Today, Indonesian workers are the most common domestic labourers in both Taiwan and Hong Kong. According to September 2012 statistics, they number 155,000 in Taiwan and 151,000 in Hong Kong. Many of them work for Christian employers.

Several Hong Kong churches care and minister to those whom they call TKI (Tenaga Kerja Indonesia, meaning Indonesian domestic helpers). They set up care centres offering language and computer education, Internet studies and social programmes. Other Christian support facilities in Hong Kong include TKI worship/fellowship centres and TKI boarding houses.

In Taiwan, only a few churches and Christian organizations are reaching out to Indonesian workers.

Prayer ideas:

* Pray that Taiwanese churches will start TKI centres like those in Hong Kong.

* Pray that churches and Christians in Taiwan will have a kingdom vision, learn about the culture of their longterm domestic workers and reach them in love.

* Pray that churches will work with agencies to establish a longterm strategy as to how to help and care for the foreign labourers, and evangelise and disciple them.

* Pray that the Indonesian foreign workers will open their hearts to Christ.

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