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Familization of Indonesian Domestic Workers in Singapore

  • Marcus Yu Lung Chiu
Chapter
Part of the Series in Asian Labor and Welfare Policies book series (Series in Asian Labor and Welfare Policies)

Abstract

Schemes introducing foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to Singapore on a large scale are put in place only after World War II. This is a necessity, rather than a luxury, when the need for economic development requires the labor participation of local women. The new FDWs are mostly women, who work in households to help with caregiving and chores; they are hired and paid on contract terms, yet they often become part of the family. This new relationship is intriguing because it is not based on any sort of blood tie; rather, it is a fixed-term contractual arrangement involving monetary reward. On the other hand, this new “family member” has little power to negotiate about the work that they do. This chapter reports on a survey study involving 352 Indonesian FDWs in Singapore. The findings support a new concept called “familization” that allows us to make sense of this new phenomenon. It will perhaps give insights into how a contractual relationship as such can become a mutually satisfying experience for both the employing family and their new family member.

Notes

Acknowledgment

This chapter is based on a survey study supported by the Research Excellence Award Grant of ODPRT, National University of Singapore. I am grateful to the several Indonesian student helpers who helped out in the translation and the data collection, and the many Indonesian FWDs who generously provided the data.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Yu Lung Chiu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Social SciencesCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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