【New Stories in Taiwan】 Unfair Advantage! Cheng Yao-tien Transformed His Indonesian Mother Tongue into a Career Change

Hit : 66
Date : 2019/7/4
Updated : 2019/7/15 下午 04:29:00


Cheng Yao-tien, 29, is the son of a new immigrant. He used to work at Pou Chen Group Indonesia branch but recently changed to Hon Hai Precision Industry Indonesia branch. His annual salary has already topped NT$1 million before turning 30. He said he was able to reached where he is now is because of a strong sense of inferiority. "I was not a top student; I knew that if I wanted to make something of myself, I must go overseas! So, I chose to take advantage of my Indonesian, since it is my unfair edge, and fulfilled my dream of going overseas."

** Being half Indonesian doesn't affect interpersonal relationships
Cheng Yao-tien's father was sent to Indonesia by his company when he was young. That's where he met Chang Hui-fang, Cheng Yao-tien's mother. When Cheng Yao-tien was one year old, the whole family moved to Indonesia, and they did not move back to Taiwan until he was in elementary school. He said being half Indonesian doesn't interfere with his relationships or make him awkward. On the other hand, new-immigrant children who are embarrassed by their identity and lack self-identity are often bullied and single out by other students.

** Family education is the key to positivity
Cheng Yao-tien wore a batik outfit as he shared his experience with great enthusiasm.
He said that family education is the key. If parents give positive family education and energy, their children will not feel as if they are different from other kids. Because his own mother was confident and generous, he never felt inferior to others.

After graduating from Tzu Chi University Department of Social Work, Cheng stayed in Taiwan and worked for two years. Then he wanted to work overseas. The world's largest shoe manufacturer, Pou Chen Group wanted to interview him via video chat, because he speaks Indonesian. At the time he had not spoken Indonesian for more than 10 years, and he had to turn to his mother for help. Cheng's mother drafted a self-introduction in Indonesian for him. He stuck the introduction to his computer screen and read it to “fool” the interviewer. He got the job.

** More languages means a stronger resume
Cheng encourages new-immigrant children who are in high school and college to learn their mother tongue. He said, "I cheated on my interview, but you don't have to!" Having an extra language skill on your resume is what makes your resume stand out from hundreds if not thousands of resumes. Whether you end up getting hired or not, you already have a better chance than those who were eliminated immediately. After entering Pou Chen Group's factory in Indonesia, Cheng noticed that managers from China did not understand Indonesian and frequently swore, which resulted in bad relationships between them and Indonesian workers. Cheng spent a lot of time practicing Indonesian and was able to win the hearts of the Indonesian workers. He even helped Taiwanese and Chinese managers learning Indonesian. Cheng said he did not study at a star school, and his grade was often at the bottom of the class, so he decided to take advantage of his language skill and go overseas. He saw the success of his older brother in Indonesia and wanted to go there as well.

Cheng sincerely recommended that new-immigrant children learn their mother tongues. It is much easier to re-learn a language than it is to learn a brand-new language at an older age, when it is much more difficult and painful.

** A multicultural background helped him get a head start in life
Chang Hui-fang said that in Taiwan most grandparents speak Chinese to children at home, but she would speak simple Indonesian to her three children when they started Kindergarten. She started her Indonesian lessons with the simple phrases "eat, take a shower, and brush your teeth," and when her children knew how to write, she would start teaching them to write in Indonesian. In many cases, Taiwanese families will not allow new-immigrant mothers to teach their native language to the children. Chang Hui-fang said that in her personal experience, many families often believe that if a new-immigrant mother can't speak Chinese, she will not be able to teach her children. However, Chang noted that children are smart. They can speak Chinese to their father, their mother tongue to their mother, and Taiwanese to their grandmother. Children can absorb and learn different languages when they are young, without being forced. This is the most natural way to learn a language.

Language skill and a multicultural background gave Cheng Yao-tien an advantage. As a fluent Indonesian speaker, he had a head start in the fourth most populated nation on earth: Indonesia.

Article Origin: UDN Vision (Reporters: Sun Chung-ying and Su Wei-hsuan / Image: Wang Teng-yi)

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