Talk at the Library: Following Domestic Workers from Indonesia to MalaysiaVIEW EVENT DETAILS
A Discussion on the Gendered Control of Mobility and Labor
A quarter of a million women from Indonesia are employed by middle-class homes in Malaysia. Transnational domestic work has become a highly politicized issue. In Indonesia, a heated public debate has emerged about the legitimacy of the government's encouragement of overseas labor migration in the wake of cases of terrible abuse. In Malaysia, the presence of Indonesian migrant workers has been problematized for decades, leading, more recently, to the criminalization and deportation of illegalized workers on a massive scale, but also to moral panics about Indonesian 'maids' being employed in the most intimate spaces of middle-class homes.
Who are the women that leave their homes in Indonesia to work in Malaysia? What are their aspirations? What are common recruitment procedures and typical experiences abroad? How are Indonesian domestic workers perceived in Malaysia? And what does their ‘return’ home look like? To what extent has labor migration affected the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia?
Let’s follow the path of domestic workers from Indonesia to Malaysia with Dr. Olivia Killias, senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology of the University of Zurich. Olivia has studied the moral, social, economic and legal processes by which Indonesian women are turned into ‘maids’ for the global care economy. This talk will be moderated by Anne Semadeni George, a member of the Asia Society Switzerland.
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Please note that the event will be held online only depending on the Covid-19 measurements in place. At the moment, participation at our office is open to 10 people. Contact details of all participants are collected during registration to allow contact tracing. Participants are required to wear a face mask. Face masks will be available on site. If you have any symptoms, we kindly ask you to stay at home and to join online.
Attendance is free. In order to avoid no-shows, a CHF 50 no-show fee will be charged if you do not cancel your registration for the live event at our office.
Dr. Olivia Killias is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology (ISEK) of the Unviversity of Zurich. She studied social sciences at the Universities of Lausanne and Amsterdam (UvA), and completed her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Bern. Olivia has carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands. Her recently published book Follow the Maid: Domestic Worker Migration from Indonesia (NIAS Press, 2018) explores domestic worker migration in and from Indonesia. Currently, Olivia is working on a new research project entitled ‘Caring not to Forget: Memory, Colonialism and Loss in Dutch Elderly Care’ for which she carried out twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Netherlands.
Anne Semadeni George is a committed member of the Asia Society Switzerland. Malaysian by birth, she is of Indian origin and has spent the past 30 years in Switzerland. Anne has, despite being away from Malaysia, first hand experience with domestic workers in Malaysia, through her employing a Filipino "maid" who cared for her elderly parents for over 12 years. She was also informed of real life experiences of her network of Malaysian community with domestic workers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, for instance. Anne's work interests cover intercultural communication and interfaith dialogue. She has been working as an English tutor for more than 15 years.
Asia Society Switzerland
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/switzerland/events/talk-library-following-domestic-workers-indonesia-malaysia Asia Society Switzerland Mühlebachstrasse 20 8008 Zurich (Map)