The Plight of International Workers in Taiwan Is Depicted in Huang Wei Jie's "Foreign Dreams"


Huang Wei Jie is a singer-songwriter from southern Taiwan, who utilizes both eastern and western instruments in creating his folk rock centric music. He has also incorporated traditional Hakka mountain songs into his work, with lyrical themes inspired heavily by social and environmental issues.

His two albums Daybreak and Dim Night were nominated for several Golden Melody Awards; including Best Hakka Album, Best Hakka Singer, and Album of the Year. He also received the Best Folk Song award for the Golden Indie Music Awards, and Best Hakka Album in the Chinese Music Awards.

Taiwan currently employs more than six hundred thousand Southeast Asian migrant workers, who make substantial contributions to both the economy and society of Taiwan. While they bear the brunt of the numerous labor needs, whether they are in construction, fishing, or social welfare, of the island, they have long been marginalized by Taiwanese society. The marginalization comes not only from lower wages and working conditions, but also due to restrictive labor laws that see migrant workers pay exorbitantly high fees to brokerage firms. Though migrant workers continue to endure hardships in Taiwan, they are able to persevere with the hope of providing a better life for their families back home. This song is based upon the experiences of thirteen Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan, in which Huang Wei Jie seeks to facilitate consideration and discussion regarding their often dire working conditions.