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The Visible Invisibles: Stories of Migrant Workers in Asia Paperback – 8 November 2022
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A domestic worker from the Philippines runs away from her husband who's set out to kill her. A mine-blaster looks at his X-ray scan to realize that all he has earned from his sixteen years of work is a catalogue of chronic diseases. An undocumented factory worker in Malaysia takes refuge in the wild to escape from the police.
A construction worker in India is abducted and sold as a bride to a stranger. Migrant sex workers in Thailand scrimp to stretch their vanishing savings, having lost all their customers due to COVID-19. A cleaner from China struggles to cope with the cultural oddities while working in an Indian restaurant. Domestic workers in Singapore lament the hopelessness of finding love in a foreign land. A landscaper tries to rebuild his life with a reconstructed 'alien' face after he suffers a massive explosion. A project engineer who once hated his native village, now plants trees to preserve its nature.
Told in their own voices, the stories presented in this collection paint an intimate portrait of the lives of low-wage migrant workers in Asia. By exploring themes of employer-employee power imbalance, love, death, religion, racism, friendship, alienation, family dynamics, digital inequality, social liberties, and migration's transformative capacity, the collected stories provide a nuanced understanding of domestic and international migration, one of the defining trends in our world today.
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Shivaji and Yolanda have a special talent for extracting and distilling information from people that many of their readers will never meet, struggling in circumstances that many will never experience. These are indeed depressing stories, but also very human and compelling, as we are introduced to their families, their aspirations, and their sacrifices, sometimes with optimism, and sometimes with resignation and despair.
May the stories in this book remind us of the brilliance and sanctity in every person. May this book enable us to see how the labour of many individuals makes possible the growth and prosperity of wealthy societies, and that our tolerance of these inequalities betrays the idea of what economic success should guarantee.
Migrant workers often emigrate to escape from the harsh reality and discrimination brought about by unfair social distribution, as well as the exploitation and alienation brought about by capital and power. While they come to a foreign land with a lot of hope, they often struggle between survival and life. We should listen to the voices of the migrant workers. They deserve the world's attention and contemplation. In this outstanding work, the authors capture these voices with sympathy and compassion, clearly demonstrating their plight and suffering without being patronizing. -- Zheng Xiaoqiong ― noted poet and erstwhile migrant worker
About the Author
Shivaji Das is the author of four critically acclaimed travel, art and business books. He was the first prize winner for Time Magazine's Sub-Continental Drift Essay contest and shortlisted for Fair Australia Prize for Short Stories.
Shivaji has been actively involved in migrant issues and is the conceptualizer and organizer for the acclaimed Migrant Worker and Refugee Poetry Contests in Singapore, Malaysia and Kenya and is the founder and director of the Global Migrant Festival.
Shivaji's work and his interviews have been featured on BBC, CNBC, The Economist, Travel Radio Australia, Around the World TV, etc. Shivaji's writings have been published in magazines such as TIME, South China Morning Post, Think China, Asian Geographic, Jakarta Post, Conscious Magazine, PanaJournal, Freethinker, etc.
Shivaji Das was born and brought up in the north-eastern province of Assam in India. Shivaji is a graduate from IIT Delhi and has an MBA from IIM Calcutta. He works as the Managing Director-APAC for Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting company. Shivaji is currently a Singapore citizen.
Yolanda Yu is a multi-time winner of the Golden Point Award. Her book Neighbor's Luck, a collection of short stories was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Award 2020. Yolanda's work has been featured on LianHeZaoBao, Cha Journal, New York Times Travel, Zuopin Magazine, and Guangxi Literature Magazine. Her story 'The Twelfth Man' has been adapted for a film, while her story 'The Missing Clock' is a recommended read for O-Level students by Singapore's Ministry of Education, collected in the anthology How We Live Now.
Yolanda is a co-organizer of the Singapore Migrant Worker Poetry Contest and Global Migrant Festival, also an event host and coordinator for outreach for the Chinese migrant worker community. Born in North-Eastern China, Yolanda came to Singapore on scholarship in 1998 and has been living there since then. She holds a Computer Science degree from the National University of Singapore and an MBA from INSEAD Business School. After her twenty years of corporate career, Yolanda is now an Executive Coach for career and leadership development.
- Language : English
- Paperback : 226 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9815017780
- ISBN-13 : 978-9815017786
- Best Sellers Rank: 45,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- 423 in Sociology
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