Aek's fiancée, Fern, was already married to a European man. But each month, she sent remittances back to Aek so that he could build them a home and rubber orchard in their hometown in northeastern Thailand. In the meantime, Aek waited for Fern to return. But in the time spent waiting, plans, aspirations, and even bodies changed. As Aek and Fern charted a life together, this deferred life grew more and more spectral. This article is an ethnographic study of the Thai male romantic partners of Thai women working abroad as sex workers or marriage migrants, and their engagement with the problems of impermanence and deferral. Via the "work of waiting" (Kwon 2015) of those left behind, I argue here that waiting is in tension with the impermanence of hopes, selves, and bodies. I ask: what does it mean to "wait," when what is promised, who promises, and the future date when promises are to be realized are each in flux?


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pp. 307-324
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