in reply to files saved in unicode are not being read correctly

If you want to use new feature of perl-5.8.0 and to read directly unicode data, you should tell to perl that your file is Unicode:
open(my $fh,'<:utf8', 'anything'); my $line_of_unicode = <$fh>; open(my $fh,'<:encoding(Big5)', 'anything'); my $line_of_unicode = <$fh>;
I got that code samples from perluniintro.pod, which is beautiful reading to start.

And yes, if you're not ready to move to perl-5.8.0 yet, then use Unicode::Map module to solve your task.

Courage, the Cowardly Dog.