Lin Yi Nong, 14 whose mother, Sherine Khan-Pierre lives in Couva, Trinidad. Yi Nong, who lives in Taiwan, has gone missing.
A bittersweet reunion
Part I of this article appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Express. Today the Express continues the story of Trinidadian mother Sherine Khan-Pierre who is searching for Lin Yi Nong, the daughter she had to leave in Taiwan when she was just a baby.
A TAIWANESE television station producing a documentary about immigrants reunited in search of their families came to Trinidad in January on a mission of love.
They were able to arrange the reunion of a local-born teenage girl who grew up in Taiwan, with her mother, after more than 13 years of separation.
The meeting of Lin Yi Nong, 14, and her mother Sherine Khan-Pierre, of Couva, was filmed by a crew from the Taiwanese Indigenous Television station company, which documented the child’s life story.
Khan-Pierre told the Express that she had last seen the child when she was eight months old.
At that time she had been married to Yi Nong’s father in a ceremony which was not recognised by the Government of the Republic of China.
Unable to satisfy demands by Taiwanese immigration, the young mother returned to Trinidad.
She said she travelled with Yi Nong’s two older siblings, and was promised by her children’s father that Yi Nong would be brought to Trinidad with a relative.
The infant was never sent to Trinidad, and she grew up in Taiwan, with her grandmother her main care-giver.
Yi Nong kept in contact by telephone with her mother, who speaks fluent Mandarin.
Khan-Pierre said Yi Nong’s two older siblings and their Asian physical features were a constant reminder that a part of her was missing.
Through the offer of Taiwan Indigenous Television to produce a documentary on Yi Nong’s life story, Khan-Pierre said she finally reunited with her daughter.
Yi Nong had never previously left Taiwan, but she embarked on a 36-hour journey across the world with the television crew.
On a sunny afternoon on December 30 she met her mother and siblings at Piarco International Airport.
The teenager blushed and laughed and walked slowly towards her mother.
Her mother rushed to throw her arms around the teenager and locked her in an embrace.
Their emotions which they had bottled for 13 years, overflowed. They laughed, they cried and dried each other’s tears.
Yi Nong met her brother and sister for the first time, and they also embraced.
Khan-Pierre had remarried and introduced her new husband and their two children to Yi Nong.
Yi Nong said she loved them all.
Khan-Pierre told the Express: “She came to Trinidad in January to do a documentary with a TV station from Taiwan about immigrants living in Taiwan. It was the first time people were hearing about Trinidad and the TV station decided to travel here to do a documentary to see where she came from. Yi Nong was here for four days. She did not want to go home. She said she wanted to live with her mother. Her grandmother died less than a year ago”, said Khan-Pierre.
That night, Yi Nong went to Couva where her mother and family lived.
She opened her suitcase, and distributed presents. Among other things, she brought with at least 50 packets of noodles—sent as presents from Yi Nong’s father’s family.
For the next four days, Khan-Pierre and the family toured parts of Trinidad with Yi Nong.
Yi Nong had never been to the beach. She laughed when her feet crushed the sand at Maracas beach, and smiled when the sea breeze fluttered her long black hair.
Mother and daughter joined hands and ran into the waves.
Yi Nong ate pomeracs and doubles, and spent evenings meeting neighbours, family and friends, most who said they remembered her as an infant.
They watched the fireworks usher in the New Year at midnight, and during the day an early birthday party was held for Yi Nong since she never celebrated anything with her mother and siblings.
The family tried to make up for lost time with each other, but eventually, there was none left.
The tears flowed as Yi Nong boarded a plane and returned to Taiwan.
The promise was that they would meet again. What has happened since is an international nightmare, involving local police, and Interpol.
—Tomorrow: Khan-Pierre’s search for her lost daughter.