TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Filipina Instagrammer Shaira Habon said that she was "very hurt" by itinerant Kaohsiung mayor and Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu's reference to migrant workers and Southeast Asian visitors as "chickens" and insinuating that they look to "cause trouble."
Habon, who goes by the handle shairahabon, has over 450,000 followers on Instagram and traveled to Taiwan late last year to promote its food and destinations through her photos and videos. In an interview with SET News, Habon said that she was hurt by Han's comments and could not believe that such discriminatory remarks could be still be made in such a modern country.
Habon told SET News, "I have been to Taiwan. I love everything in this country. There are many places where there is great food and the people are beautiful. We don't go to Taiwan to do dirty things, especially beautiful girls." Habon, said that she was "very hurt" by Han's comments.
During a livestreamed Facebook video discussion about policies on Aug. 29, Han touched on the topic of Taiwan's brain drain. In the video, Han described the flight of Taiwanese talent and the arrival of migrant workers as "phoenixes flying away and a bunch of chickens coming in!" (鳳凰都飛走了，進來一大堆雞！), insulting many in the immigrant community.
On Wednesday (Sept. 4), Han conceded that when he said, "phoenixes flying away and a bunch of chickens coming in," it sparked a huge uproar and immense confusion. He said that he was grateful to all those new immigrants who came to Taiwan to work legally, "But, as for those who come here illegally and enter the country to cause trouble, this is absolutely unacceptable."
He also said that customs officers were on the front lines of questioning suspicious people from New Southbound Policy nations. Han claimed that many customs officers are "very suspicious about their purpose in Taiwan. Especially recently, many prostitutes and illegal workers have been found in Taiwan."