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 Featured Title
Remembering the Samsui Women
Migration and Social Memory in Singapore and China
Kelvin E.Y. Low  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 4/8/2014
ISBN: 9780774825757    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 1/15/2015
ISBN: 9780774825764    

268 Pages

Contemporary Chinese Studies series


About the Book

In the early twentieth century, thousands of women from the Samsui area of Guangdong, China migrated to Singapore during a period of economic and natural calamity, leaving their families behind. In their new country, many found work in the construction industry, with others working in households or factories where they were called hong tou jin, translated literally as "red-head-scarf," after the headgear that protected them from the sun.

In Singapore, the women have been celebrated as pioneering figures for their hard work and resilience, and in China for the sacrifices they made for their families. Kelvin Low explores the lives and legacy of the Samsui women, both through media and state representations and through the oral histories of the women themselves. Thus, his work sheds light on issues of their identity, both publicly constructed and self-defined, and explores why they undertook their difficult migration.

Remembering the Samsui Women is an illuminating study of the connection between memory and nation, including the politics of what is remembered and what is forgotten.

About the Author(s)

Kelvin E.Y. Low is an assistant professor of sociology at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of Scents and Scent-sibilities: Smell and Everyday Life Experiences (2009) and co-editor of Everyday Life in Asia: Social Perspectives on the Senses (2010).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 Chinese Migration and Entangled Histories
2 Politics of Memory Making
3 Local and Transnational Entanglements
4 From China to Singapore
5 Beyond Working Lives
6 Samsui Women, Ma Cheh, and Other Foreign Workers
Conclusion: Social Constructions of the Past



"Remembering the Samsui Women forensically displays just how memory works on many different levels and contexts, highlighting the intersections of different memory projects. It uses interesting original oral history material alongside the analysis of art, literature, and film, and is underpinned by a strong historiographical grasp. Low’s book will be particularly useful for those with interests in gendered migration histories and in state attitudes to ‘remembering’ minorities."
-- Katherine Burrell, co-editor of Socialist and Post-Socialist Mobilities

"Kelvin Low’s investigation into remembering Samsui women uncovers the ways in which memory plays a pivotal role in the nation-building project of any country (re)born. His comparative analysis of memory creation tells us much about the ways in which Singapore and China remember their pasts, in terms of what they choose to include and how they choose to do this."
-- Catherine Gomes, author of Multiculturalism through the Lens: A Beginner’s Guide to Ethnic and Migrant Anxieties in Singapore

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

Asian Studies
Women's Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Remembering the Samsui Women from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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