Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: "Temporary couples" among Chinese migrant workers in Singapore
Authors: Yang, Wei
Keywords: Social sciences::Sociology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Yang, W. (2021). "Temporary couples" among Chinese migrant workers in Singapore. Pacific Affairs, 94(2), 285-305.
Journal: Pacific Affairs 
Abstract: The article examines temporary extramarital cohabitation arrangements between low-wage Chinese female migrants and their male counterparts in Singapore, a phenomenon which is widely referred to by the migrants as becoming a “temporary couple” or “teaming up to have a life.” In the simulated households, the men usually shoulder most of the daily expenses for both members, while the women are expected to take care of the men’s intimate needs and most of the housework. The vast majority of the women involved in such arrangements are married and migrated for work on their own. This article, based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2016 and 2019, explores how these women perform and understand such temporary intimacies. I first demonstrate that the women enter the relationships as a reaction to the institutional setup that places them in a suspended status, in which they are treated as nothing more than temporary labourers. I then illustrate how the women put the relationship in a state of suspension: they instrumentalize it as a means to maximize savings, and mark it out as a short-term exception that will end abruptly once they leave Singapore. The structurally imposed and self-inflicted conditions of suspension limit the women’s agency to an ambiguous private domain that is away from both work and home. Drawing on my long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this article deploys the notion of suspension as a guiding concept to unravel the tensions and moral anxieties that the women experience with their temporary intimacies.
ISSN: 0030-851X
DOI: 10.5509/2021942285
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: © 2021 Pacific Affairs. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Journal Articles

Citations 50

Updated on May 27, 2023

Web of ScienceTM
Citations 50

Updated on May 23, 2023

Page view(s)

Updated on Jun 2, 2023

Google ScholarTM




Items in DR-NTU are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.