Sunday, October 2, 2011

Books on Migrant Workers in Asia

These are titles focusing on migrant workers in Asia:

The Path to Remittance: Tales of Pains and Gains of Overseas Filipino Workers by Papias Generale Banados. The Philippines is the world's largest exporter of labour - both male and female - and their remittances have helped to keep afloat the Philippines economy for the past three decades. Successful Filipino leaders have praised the Overseas Filipino Workers - or the OFWs as they are popularly known - as modern heroes of the nation. Yet exploitation of OFWs by unscrupulous employment agencies at home and abroad; and by ruthless employers abroad goes on unabated.The Path to Remittance is a book which sheds light on the hidden issues of the OFW phenomena, which political leaders and government agencies tend to ignore at best or condone at its worse.

The Long Road Home: Journeys of Indonesian Migrant Workers by Sim Chi Yin. In today's globalized world, the story of migrant labourers is the story of our era. In this book, award-winning photographer and essayist Sim Chi Yin tells the intimate stories of Indonesian women who work overseas as domestic. Some fall prey to sadistic bosses, while others are luckier and work for kind employers. But all suffer the loneliness and frustrations of living far from their loved ones, unsure if their sacrifices are really helping their families-and especially their children-escape their fate. Told with great sensitivity and empathy, The Long Road Home is a story at once specific to Southeast Asia but universal in the migrant's tale of loss and hope.

Migrant Workers in Asia: Distant Divides, Intimate Connections edited by Nicole Constable. This book provides rich and provocative comparative studies of South and Southeast Asian domestic workers who migrate to other parts of Asia. These studies range from Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, to Yemen, Israel, Jordan, and the UAE. Conceptually and methodologically, this book challenges us to move beyond established regional divides and proposes new ways of mapping inter-Asian connections. The authors view migrant workers within a wider spatial context of intersecting groups and trajectories through time. Keenly attentive to the importance of migrants of diverse nationalities who have laboured in multiple regions, this book examines intimate connections and distant divides in the social lives and politics of migrant workers across time and space. Collectively, the authors propose new themes, new comparative frameworks, and new methodologies for considering vastly different degrees of social support structures and political activism, and the varied meanings of citizenship and state responsibility in sending and receiving countries. They highlight the importance of formal institutions that shape and promote migratory labour, advocacy for workers, or curtail workers rights, as well as the social identities and cultural practices and beliefs that may be linked to new inter-ethnic social and political affiliations that traverse and also transform inter-Asian spaces and pathways to mobility.

Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China by Leslie T Chang, Leslie. China has 130 million migrant workers - the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China's Pearl River Delta. As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life - a world where nearly everyone is under 30; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theatre, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monk-like devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

Migrant Workers in China by Han Changfu. Han, since 2009 China's Minister of Agriculture, has written this important study of China's rural-urban migration which now involves some 200 million migrants. After an overview of China's post-1968 industrialising scene, population trends and residency restrictions, the migration patterns in Brazil, United States and elsewhere are reviewed. Many aspects of migration and its impacts on industrialisation, agriculture, family stability, education and political balance are discussed. The need for social support programmes and a general overhaul of the present official and company employment requirements is urged and possible practical measures are outlined, with supporting data. Other practical measures to promote the stable absorption of migrants into urban life are outlined. Index.

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