The Anxieties of Mobility
Migration and Tourism in the Indonesian Borderlands
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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I have always been attracted to reading acknowledgments, in part because they begin to describe the sociology of the book and its author. As I find myself in the situation of needing to write my own acknowledgments, however, it is proving very difficult to do so. The reason, of course, is that over the years there have been countless people who have offered support, even ...
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Before dawn Chandra has already showered and is ready to take his bag and leave. Left behind are a thin mattress and two cardboard boxes that function as storage space. The photos of Indonesian and Western pop and movie stars, cut from old newspapers, cover the wall but are barely visible from the light of the single bulb that dangles from the ceiling. ...
1. Borderland Formations
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The lights from the Singapore skyline are still visible in the background when Pak Padil takes me out in his motorboat at dawn. In his broad Malay dialect he begins a lament that he obviously has spoken before. “When I was young,” he tells me, “there were fish everywhere. It was easy to make a living. Now the water is polluted and the fish are gone.” Born ...
2. The Diluted Enclave
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Wati gets off the ojek (motorcycle taxi), pulls a one-thousand-rupiah bill out of her pocket, and pays the driver. It is just past seven and the morning air is still cool. She has just finished a twelve-hour shift at a Singaporean electronics company in the Batamindo Industrial Park, where she is in the middle of a terminal two-year contract that began in 2002. ...
3. The Economy of the Night
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It is nearly midnight as I reach the bottom of the hill leading up to Ozon, the largest disco on Batam. Along the busy road a series of small stalls sells everything from noodle soup to cigarettes and condoms. At the top of the hill outside the club the road is packed with taxis and ojek (motorcycle taxis) waiting for passengers who will pay exorbitant fares ...
4. Fantasy Island
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It is Friday night and Andi is taking his weekly forty-minute ferry ride from the World Trade Center in Singapore across the border to the Indonesian island of Batam. He has just gotten off work at one of Singapore’s docks, where he loads containers that will be shipped around the world. Upon arrival and after passing through immigration and customs ...
5. Revolving Doors of Dispossession
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Lina grew up in a village in South Sumatra, a few hours’ drive from the city of Palembang. The daughter of impoverished farmers, she received only a few years of schooling and, at the age of fifteen, following her parents’ prompting, was married to a man twice her age. Lina moved with him to Palembang, but the marriage ended a couple of years later. ...
6. Between Stress Beach and Fantasy Island
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Along the Batam coastline that faces the Singapore skyline is an area inhabited by liar bars and housing, which is surrounded by empty lots and half-finished buildings. It is an area that is—as the Batam Industrial Development Authority would phrase it—“not yet developed.” Migrants call this Pantai Stres, or Stress Beach. From the shacks that serve as makeshift ...
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Publication Year: 2009