Transnational Migration and Asia: The Question of Return 9789048523306

This timely volume examines how migration trajectories in Asia are experienced and how they acquire new meanings.

179 52 892KB

English Pages 208 [204] Year 2015

Report DMCA / Copyright


Table of contents :
1. Introduction. Return Migration/the Returning Migrant: To What, Where and Why?
2. Neither Necessity nor Nostalgia. Japanese-Brazilian Transmigrants and the Multigenerational Meanings of Return
3. The Fluidity of Return. Indian Student Migrants’ Transnational Ambitions and the Meaning of Australian Permanent Residency
4. Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians. Gender, Labour and the Return to India
5. ‘It’s Still Home Home’. Notions of the Homeland for Filipina Dependent Students in Ireland
6. Looking Back while Moving Forward. Japanese Elites and the Prominence of ‘Home’ in Discourses of Settlement and Cultural Assimilation in the United States, 1890-1924
7. Return of the Lost Generation? Search for Belonging, Identity and Home among Second- Generation Viet Kieu
8. ‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’. A Discourse Analysis of Vietnamese Student Migration to France in the Late Colonial Period
9. ‘The Bengali Can Return to His Desh but the Burmi Can’t Because He Has No Desh’. Dilemmas of Desire and Belonging amongst the Burmese- Rohingya and Bangladeshi Migrants in Pakistan
Recommend Papers

Transnational Migration and Asia: The Question of Return

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Transnational Migration and Asia

Publications The International Institute for Asian Studies is a postdoctoral research centre based in Leiden, the Netherlands. Its objective is to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of Asia and to promote (inter)national cooperation. IIAS focuses on the humanities and social sciences and on their interaction with other sciences. It stimulates scholarship on Asia and is instrumental in forging research networks among Asia Scholars. Its main research interest are reflected in the three book series published with Amsterdam University Press: Global Asia, Asian Heritages and Asian Cities. IIAS acts as an international mediator, bringing various parties together, working as a clearinghouse of knowledge and information. This entails activities such as providing information services, hosting academic organisations dealing with Asia, constructing international networks, and setting up international cooperative projects and research programmes. In this way, IIAS functions as a window on Europe for non-European scholars and contributes to the cultural rapprochement between Asia and Europe. IIAS Publications Officer: Paul van der Velde IIAS Assistant Publications Officer: Mary Lynn van Dijk

Global Asia Asia has a long history of transnational linkage with other parts of the world. Yet the contribution of Asian knowledge, values, and practices in the making of the modern world has largely been overlooked until recent years. The rise of Asia is often viewed as a challenge to the existing world order. Such a bifurcated view overlooks the fact that the global order has been shaped by Asian experiences as much as the global formation has shaped Asia. The Global Asia Series takes this understanding as the point of departure. It addresses contemporary issues related to transnational interactions within the Asian region, as well as Asia’s projection into the world through the movement of goods, people, ideas, knowledge, ideologies, and so forth. The series aims to publish timely and well-researched books that will have the cumulative effect of developing new perspectives and theories about global Asia. Series Editor: Tak-Wing Ngo, Professor of Political Science, University of Macau, China Editorial Board: Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University, Australia / Hagen Koo, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii, USA / Loraine Kennedy, Directrice de recherche, Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France / Guobin Yang, Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Transnational Migration and Asia The Question of Return

Edited by Michiel Baas

Amsterdam University Press


Global Asia 4

Cover illustration: Michiel Baas, model aircraft at the airport in Kuala Lumpur Cover design: Coördesign, Leiden Lay-out: Crius Group, Hulshout Amsterdam University Press English-language titles are distributed in the US and Canada by the University of Chicago Press. isbn 978 90 8964 658 3 e-isbn 978 90 4852 330 6 (pdf) nur 764 © Michiel Baas / Amsterdam University Press B.V., Amsterdam 2015 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both the copyright owner and the author of the book.

Contents Foreword 7 1 Introduction

Return Migration/the Returning Migrant: To What, Where and Why? Michiel Baas


2 Neither Necessity nor Nostalgia


3 The Fluidity of Return


4 Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


5 ‘It’s Still Home Home’


6 Looking Back while Moving Forward


Japanese-Brazilian Transmigrants and the Multigenerational Meanings of Return Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer

Indian Student Migrants’ Transnational Ambitions and the Meaning of Australian Permanent Residency Michiel Baas

Gender, Labour and the Return to India Amy Bhatt

Notions of the Homeland for Filipina Dependent Students in Ireland Diane Sabenacio Nititham

Japanese Elites and the Prominence of ‘Home’ in Discourses of Settlement and Cultural Assimilation in the United States, 1890-1924 Helen Kaibara

7 Return of the Lost Generation?

Search for Belonging, Identity and Home among Second-Generation Viet Kieu Priscilla Koh


8 ‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’

A Discourse Analysis of Vietnamese Student Migration to France in the Late Colonial Period Cindy A. Nguyen


9 ‘The Bengali Can Return to His Desh but the Burmi Can’t Because He Has No Desh’ 157 Dilemmas of Desire and Belonging amongst the Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi Migrants in Pakistan Nausheen H. Anwar

Contributors 179 Bibliography 183 Index 199

Foreword The seeds to compile a volume on the role and the meaning of return in the lives of migrants and transnationals were planted during a panel at the joint ICAS AAS conference held in Honolulu between March 31 and April 3, 2011. The initial aim of the panel was to revisit the ‘myth of return’ in light of the transnational turn in migration studies. We soon started discussing what ‘return’ actually means to (transnational) migrants and whether it was possible to give the ‘question of return’ a more central place in our research. The chapters in this volume all engage with what the ‘question of return’ means to (groups of) migrants and how it influences their (daily) lives and lifestyles. I would like to thank all authors for their contributions to this volume. Over the period of time it took for this volume to come out a number of other people were of crucial importance to the project. I would like to thank the following persons in particular: Barak Kalir and Nel Vandekerckhove for their involvement and inspiring input at an early stage of this project; Maureen E. Hickey, whose comments on individual chapters and the overall structure greatly benefited the volume; and Mary Lynn van Dijk and Paul van der Velde for making this publication possible with Amsterdam University Press. Finally I would like to thank the Asia Research Institute (National University of Singapore) and Nalanda University (Rajgir, India) for providing a more than inspiring and collegial environment to work on this project. Michiel Baas Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

1 Introduction Return Migration/the Returning Migrant: To What, Where and Why? Michiel Baas Introduction Most migrants will be intimately familiar with the question of return. The question of returning ‘home,’ to the ‘homeland,’ the ‘country of origin,’ ‘the place left behind’ is something that is intrinsically linked to the migration decision itself and how the migration trajectory ultimately is experienced. The way individuals deal with the question of ‘return’ often seems to reflect, or be in dialogue with, the reasons for leaving in the first place, ranging from the economically and/or politically motivated to more personal ones that often seem infused with socio-cultural expectations. Whether migration is permanent or temporary or something in-between – temporary at first, perhaps permanent in the long run – where one comes from, what one leaves behind, is likely to continue to influence the way the migration process is experienced even well into a ‘settled’ life elsewhere. While the question of return thus shapes and gives meaning and direction to a migration trajectory it also demands an answer not just at ‘some point’ but also at regular intervals. More than ever before ‘return’ has become a regularly ‘returning’ feature of having migrated abroad. In some cases the frequency of return has become such a regular feature of a migrant’s life that we have come to speak of a transnational lifestyle; one characterized by being ‘here’ nor ‘there,’ or maybe exactly the opposite: ‘being in both,’ maintaining social and/or business relations in one’s country of origin as well as settlement, and thus firmly rooted in multiple locations. What does ‘return’ mean to migrants? This is the central question this volume puts forward. What does ‘return’ mean for different groups of (Asian) migrants – temporary and permanent; voluntary and forced; international and internal; skilled and unskilled; and those that fall into in-between categories? How do they strategize towards, discuss, negotiate and perhaps also avoid the question? The case studies presented in this volume take a migrant-centred approach in that they examine the question from the perspective of migrants themselves. In doing so these case studies differ considerably from the majority of studies examining ‘return


Michiel Baas

migration’ which explore the question of return mostly as a traceable and/ or predictable flow or process that requires and thus also ‘predictably’ provides clear-cut answers in terms of composition (Who returns?), factors (Why return?), duration (When did they return?), and impact (What are the consequences of return?). While these studies have clearly proven their value providing important statistical/quantitatively informed evidence of migration flows, the case studies in this volume show from the perspective of the individual or group of migrants what return actually means to them, and how it influences them in terms of giving shape and meaning to (individual) migration trajectories. In this volume, ‘return’ is primarily formulated as a question. As such it seeks to draw attention to the idea that for migrants, return is not only an actual process but also imbues what could be conceptualized as a thought process. Return is a question that connects to other questions which relate to leaving and staying, home and belonging, moving and settling. While a ‘permanent’ return may never happen, as evidenced by many studies bringing to the fore the mythology of return (e.g. Brettel 1979; WaltonRoberts 2004; Bolognani 2007), it is likely to continuously shimmer in the background one way or the other; as a possibility, something that may ‘one day’ happen, or as unavoidable, something that comes with little to no choice. The contributions to this volume are particularly interested in how the question of return is dealt with on a day-to-day basis. Yet they also explore how ideas and notions of return change, mutate and acquire different meanings over a longer period of time. However, chapters in this volume also investigate what it means to actually have returned as well as the opposite: how one deals with the knowledge that one might never be able to return. With regards to this, questioning expectations seems particularly important; not just for individuals or groups of migrants but also from the perspective of the nation-state and related ‘interest’ groups. How do individuals or groups of migrants engage with such ‘expectations’ and how do these subsequently permeate the way people deal with and/ or strategize towards return? Return, in that sense, is not just a personal choice, a desire that binds a group or an inevitability that informs daily life, it is also something that comes with specific politics and discourses that are tied to larger processes both on national and international levels. The case studies in this volume address the question of return within a regionally and temporally diverse context, ranging from Karachi (Pakistan) to Bangalore (India’s Silicon Valley) and from contemporary rural India to early-twentieth-century Vietnam. The migrants that take centre stage in these case studies are far from a homogeneous group either, including

Introduc tion


international students, highly skilled professionals, lowly skilled workers and refugees. By presenting such different case studies this volume brings to the fore the relevance of the question of return for different groups of migrants who find themselves in a diverse range of situations. It highlights the diversity of answers that the question of return tends to generate and as such it makes an important case for giving ‘return’ in both actual and imaginary terms a more central place in migration research.

The Problem of Non-Return and Brain Drain ‘Return’ as a question of scholarly interest in relation to migration flows, patterns and processes has known a long and winding history. In 1885 E. G. Ravenstein (1885) formulated a number of migration laws in an article for the Journal of the Statistical Society. One of these laws holds that each main current of migration produces a compensating counter-current. With this ‘law’ he was the first to draw attention to what since then has come to be referred to as simply ‘return migration.’ It cannot be argued, however, that return migration featured high on the research agenda in the decades afterwards. This is in a sense surprising considering that more recent scholarly work suggests that the numbers for returning migrants sometimes equalled or even surpassed those heading for new shores (Guarnizo 1997: 284). However, analyses of the experiences and meaning of return remained largely absent from the early literature. If a migrant ‘returned’ to his country of origin it generally made sense considering the circumstances (usually economic) and as such did not require further investigation. In this period, transatlantic migration was understood, to a large extent, as a one-way phenomenon, something imbued with a certain irrevocableness; migrants left not to return (see Gmelch 1980). Iconic images of this period, of ocean steamers filled with migrants, remaining family members and friends on the quay waving them off, certainly conjure the feeling of a ‘final goodbye.’ Naturally, such images are infused with romantic notions of loss and longing, and as such are an almost mandatory ingredient in the Great American novel and the stuff of movies. Migration being ‘permanent’ and thus ‘return’ mostly associated with economic downturn and/or failure was further informed by developments of mass urbanization at the time, leading to large-scale rural-to-urban migration, another movement mostly thought of, at the time, as one-directional (Rhoades 1979). While internal migration thus vectorially described a one-directional process from rural to urban, its international variant signified a one-way movement from underdeveloped


Michiel Baas

(economically stagnant) countries to developing/emerging ones, invariably the US though also to a lesser extent Australia and Canada. Studies on return migration became more prominent from the 1960s onwards, in particular driven by concerns of non-returning international students and related issues or ‘expectations’ of brain drain, non-development and even the threat of communism (see Cassarino 2004: 254). Although the popularity of studying abroad started taking off from the late nineteenth century, it remained a largely elitist affair till the Second World War (Rao 1979; Ritterband 1968; Safford 1972; Singh 1963). Many former colonies gained independence and, as it was perceived in the West, were at risk of falling in the hands of communism. According to Rao (1979), Western nations approached this problem by concluding security pacts, forming military alliances and also by directly encouraging social and economic development, all with the goal of inducing political stability. The recruitment of international students who would study in the West and then return was an important aspect of such plans. It was expected that these students would ‘return home’ after completing their studies in order to aid the further development of their countries and by doing so deepen intercultural links as well. The Colombo Plan, a plan for co-operative economic development in Southeast Asia signed in 1950 after a meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, is a prime example. Basically, the plan could be divided into two separate components, one that revolved around providing economic aid, the other relating to the provision of technical assistance. In the field of economic aid, developed countries made gifts to beneficiary countries in the form of equipment and capital goods. Technical assistance, however, meant the provision of trained personnel, sometimes directly provided by developed nations but in far greater numbers this concerned ‘able young men’ who were sent to developed nations where they were trained and who would subsequently return ‘home’ to put to use what they had learnt there (see Sauer 2001; Oakman 2004). ‘Return’ was thus an indispensable element of such plans. From the 1960s onwards, however, studies start to show that ‘non-return’ was actually becoming an issue (see, for instance, Tanenhaus & Roth 1962). Charles Ritterband (1968), grappling with the problem of non-return among Israeli students in the US, argues that the likelihood of such students not returning to Israel after having completed their studies is overwhelmingly predetermined prior to arrival in the United States. Cortés (1969), writing on non-returning Filipino students, frames this in a term called ‘anchorage.’ His study shows that migration of high-level persons from the Philippines to the United States could be linked to the person’s basic attitudes towards

Introduc tion


the Philippines, although personal characteristics and circumstances also play a role. Cortés summarizes that persons weakly ‘anchored’ or loosely committed or attached psychologically and socially to the home country, tend to emigrate and/or not return. It is at the time of these studies that the concept of brain drain becomes more prominent, in particular with relation to the medical brain drain, triggered by an increase of foreign medical graduates, particularly from Latin America, who either migrated to the US directly after graduation or stayed on after completing their studies there (Margulies 1969). Scholarly interest in the topic of brain drain and related issues of nonreturn started to abate somewhat by the 1980s but it clearly left its mark on the way ‘return’ would be approached in the decades to come. In recent years however, with the arrival of so-called ‘talent migration’ schemes, often the direct product of specific migration programs devised by nation-states to attract the best and brightest from elsewhere to provide a solution to various skills crises, as well as the development of highly specific recruitment schemes aimed to streamline labour migration (construction, health and domestic workers, in particular), interest in the concept of ‘brain drain’ – and related terminology such as ‘brain gain’ and ‘brain waste’ – has been reawakened. Ronald Skeldon (2009: 3), zooming in on the case of health workers, for instance, argues that the debate on brain drain has ‘taken on greater urgency in the context of a globalizing economy and ageing societies.’ Recent studies, for instance, have investigated the reverse flow of technologies/knowledge as well as the motivations and considerations of highly skilled professionals and scientists to return (see for China, Zweig, Chung and Vanhonacker 2006; for Africa, Logan 2009; and for the UK and India, Harvey 2009). In that sense these more recent studies built directly on the concerns that informed earlier mentioned ‘brain drain’ studies and as such ‘making sense’ of (non-) return remains an important question throughout.

Making Sense of Return Migration: Push and Pull Factors In very general terms it can be argued that when it comes to ‘return migration’ scholars were and continue to be mainly interested in two interlinked questions: what are the reasons for return, and what impact (socially, economically, politically) do migrants have once they return? Such questions are directly informed by a neoclassical approach to migration in which push-and-pull-related factors feature prominently. Within


Michiel Baas

these approaches, migration needs to be, and in fact can be, explained in rational terms; and thus, naturally, the same is assumed to hold up for what motivates or triggers an eventual return. While a decision to migrate often seems influenced by negative factors at home (pushing the migrant across the border) and positive ones pulling a migrant abroad, the reverse is assumed to hold up for ‘return.’ It is perhaps not surprising that ‘failure’ in various ways and forms (to make it, to adapt, etc.) seems to permeate many studies. An influential article in this regard is Francesco P. Cerase’s (1974: 249-251), in which he discusses four types of (Italian) return migration from the Unites States. The first is the most commonly encountered in other studies of return migration as well; it concerns ‘return of failure.’ Cerase laments on those – a minority – who fail in their attempt to make it in the US, and who start thinking ‘sadly’ of returning, especially when they still have a family and a home to return to. ‘What remains of their experience in the new society is a sense of suffering, fear, and abandonment, mixed with the memory of “marvels,” incomprehensible “great things,” seen through amazed eyes’ (Cerase 1974: 249). But return can also be a matter of conservatism, he argues. At some point a migrant will have to make a decision where to spend his hard-earned money: in the country of settlement, increasingly separating him from home conditions or towards a better life once he returns home. The third form of return (‘the return of innovation’) Cerase discusses is somewhat related to this dilemma. It involves migrants who are unwilling or unable to fulfil their position in the new society. Reasons may be myriad, but Cerase notes that generally these migrants start subsequently detaching themselves from their host society and at some point thoughts of returning ‘home’ become more prominent. ‘[T]he immigrant sees in his return home the possibility of a greater satisfaction of his needs and aspirations’ (Cerase 1974: 251). But Cerase makes a point to note that aspirations to return home are different from the intentions the migrant had departed for the US with; it is the experience abroad itself that has influenced this. The final ‘return’ is one of retirement. The combination of getting older with other dissatisfactions in the host country can cause real suffering making a return home inevitable at some point. ‘That desire for a piece of land returns now in the image of a comfortable house, perhaps with a garden, where he can quietly spend his old age’ (ibid.). The Italian migrants Cerase studies hailed mostly from the rural parts of Italy, at the time ‘on record as a country of emigration’ (ibid.: 245). Although migration was no longer thought of as a once-and-for-all decision, returning home was certainly no easy decision as it was by nature almost always a permanent one.

Introduc tion


In subsequent years studies would frequently point out that although migrants often discuss a possible return, perhaps with the kind of savings and related increased status Cerase also alludes to, actually returning home is rarely anticipated. This would be captured in the infamous ‘myth of return’ or the lesser known ‘ideology of return’ (Anwar 1979; Brettel 1979; Rubenstein 1979; Schierup 1990; Walton-Roberts 2004; Bolognani 2007; Sinatti 2011; see also Guarnizo 1997: 286), evoking a certain melancholic longing and sadness, only marginally compensated for by a submergence in the local diaspora, providing a home away from home where old traditions – sometimes long out of fashion in the homeland – continue to live a vibrant though slightly essentialized life. In relation to this ‘myth’ or ‘ideology’ of return it is interesting to note the many studies that have attempted to predict the statistical likelihood of migrants’ return over the years. The number of articles delivering impressive calculations, building upon complex statistical and mathematical formulations, the product of household and other kinds of questionnaires, datasets and related sources of quantitative material, far exceeds articles taking a qualitative and/or historical approach (see for instance: Fangmeng & Zhongdong 2006; Falkingham et al. 2012; Martin & Radu 2012; Lianos & Pseiridis 2013). In such calculations migration is often reduced to a simplified mathematical equation in which mostly rational and logical factors determine the outcome. The ‘income variable’ is said to play an important role in return migration since ‘[t]he proportion of return migrants is likely to vary negatively with the state of the labor market’ (Vanderkamp 1971: 1013). However, analyses of ‘optimal migration duration’ through statistical models are also able to argue that migrants do return home despite continuously increasing wages in the host country (Dustmann 2003: 353). Another variable that is argued to play a key role in predicting or understanding return migration is ‘savings.’ In regards to this it is frequently noted that migrants, in particularly temporary ones, save more than native-born ones, possibly with the intention to invest in the home country or to support family members (Galor & Stark 1990; Dustmann 1997: 295-296). Savings are also recurrently analyzed in terms of return migrants’ entrepreneurialism especially with an eye on the probability of these returnees contributing positively to the development of their countries (see for instance Diatta & Mbow 1999 for Senegal; McCormick & Wahba 2003 for Egypt). Employability is another factor often added to the statistical mix. Lindstrom, for instance, argues that migrants from economically dynamic areas in Mexico are less likely to return since opportunities for employment and small-scale investments are comparably better than in economically


Michiel Baas

stagnant areas where savings can be less productively used. As a reason migrants coming from economically stagnant regions are less likely ‘to withstand the psychic costs of separation from family and friends than do migrants from economically stagnant areas in Mexico’ (Lindstrom 1996: 357). Zhao shows that in the case of rural China, which has experienced substantial outmigration, return migration is of limited scale but that return migrants invest significantly more in productive farm assets yet are no more likely to engage in local nonfarm activities than, for instance, non-migrants (2002: 376). With regards to Eastern and Central European countries Martin and Radu argue that expected labour market opportunities along with community ties, discounted costs of resettlement, and the eligibility to benefits in both the home and the host country are stronger predictors of return than actual financial incentives and other government programs that are aimed to attract returnees (2012: 125). Age, children, and other family members are also weighted into various analyses. In a study which compares Switzerland, Germany and France it is argued that the propensity to return increases with the age of entry but decreases with the number of years of residence, the latter a result of strong assimilation in the host country (Dustmann 1996: 214, 240). Concern about children back in the home country also affects the likelihood of return but the role of gender is likely to play a role in this. ‘[C]oncerns about detrimental, or beneficial effects of remaining in the host country on the child’s future welfare may differ according to whether the child is a boy or girl’ (Dustmann 2003: 816). In an article dealing with migratory flows between Tonga, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand it is, however, argued with respect to these countries that return migration is actually less strongly linked to income opportunities than to family and lifestyle reasons (Gibson & McKenzie 2011: 18). While these studies reach important conclusions, they also have serious shortcomings, which will be addressed in the next section (and in this volume as a whole).

Practicalities Aside: Towards a More Inclusive Perspective This volume argues for an inclusive and integrated approach towards (return) migration that not only draws upon existing theory and methodology but also dares to think beyond existing paradigms especially where it concerns explaining ‘return.’ It is useful to briefly revisit an influential article by Cassarino (2004) here in which he posits that (return) migration has basically been subjected to four different kinds of approaches. The neo-

Introduc tion


classical approach views migrants mainly in terms of profit maximization, the migration decision clearly influenced by push-and-pull factors and thus as a result making sense. Return is mainly a matter of failure in financial sense, something the second approach, New Economics of Labour Migration, clearly differs on as it views ‘return’ as the logical and thus expected outcome of a calculated strategy. Return is thus most of all a matter of success (see Constant & Massey 2002). However, Cassarino also points out that the success/failure paradigm that was central to the studies discussed earlier cannot fully explain return migration. The structural approach is helpful here. Referring also to Cerase’s article on Italian return migration to the US, Cassarino holds that whatever returnees expected to get out of their return, local realities and traditional vested interests in countries of origin often stand in the way of innovative capacities. A structural approach thus lays bare limiting contextual factors standing in the way of migrants’ successes. At the same time such a proposition clearly harks back to the core versus periphery dichotomies that understand migration typically as a flow from traditional and underdeveloped nations to modern, developed ones. Problematic of course, is that as a result it assumes a model where there is little communication, knowledge or socio-cultural influence between the two worlds.1 At the time of Cerase’s study such a model might have had some merit – though scholars have also criticized this assumption – but faced with ongoing globalizing influences the structural model makes increasingly little sense. The fourth ‘transnational’ approach is clearly an improvement here, as it assumes the migration story to continue. Guarnizo argues in this regard that being a transnational, ‘implies becoming habituated to living more or less comfortably in a world that encompasses more than one national structure of institutional and power arrangements, social understandings, and dominant political and public cultures’ (Guarnizo 1997: 310). Cassarino mentions social network theory as a final approach, one that ‘views returnees as being the bearers of tangible and intangible resources’ (2004: 264). Return migrants are social actors involved in what Cassarino phrases as ‘a set of relational ramifications’ (ibid.). An analysis of how migrants are members of networks and thus also how they operate in the context of such networks might shed light on the multiple involvements and the way this influences their behaviour. Additionally it is likely that different network structures produce different opportunities (depending 1 Cassarino refers here specifically to Rachel Murphy (2002), a fierce opponent of the structural model.


Michiel Baas

on the context) with different orientations and strategies as a consequence. While Cassarino seems particularly taken by the final, network-oriented approach, it needs to be noted that some more recent research – including my own (2010) – indicates the absence of clear networks making migration an increasingly ‘individual’ affair. Networks that do play a role are often commercial operations functioning strictly on a paid-for and profit-oriented basis. This is not to argue against Cassarino’s network-oriented focus but such considerations do underline the call for a more integrative perspective on return migration itself. It is crucial that such an approach works beyond the need to explain and/or predict (return) migration yet clearly draws from the perspectives discussed above in order to capture how migrants engage with the question of return and how they give shape and meaning to ‘return’ trajectories. In relation to this it seems particularly important to examine critically the bifurcation between temporary and permanent migration and the expectations from the perspective of the state as formulated in policy documents and related analyses (see Gmelch 1980; Dustmann 1997; Guarnizo 1997; Dustmann & Weiss 2007). Whereas it has been argued that the bipolar model (permanent versus temporary migration), as Guarnizo (1997: 289) puts it, simply won’t do when examining transnational processes, a question rarely engaged in is the permanency or temporariness of transnationalism itself. Although studies often present transnational lifestyles as the follow-up phase of migration trajectories, the question remains for how long migrants/transnationals intend or imagine living such ‘lives.’ And with regards to this it should be noted that, as Gmelch already did 30 years ago, migrants often simply do not have definite plans. Instead they go on a trial basis and let their decisions (to return, continue, etc.) be guided by opportunities in the host country (1980: 138). As the contributions to this volume show, ‘return’ is imbued with meaning that goes well beyond what statistical models, structural approaches, or even a focus on the complexity of networks can lay bare. Emotional processes clearly plan an important role in this (see Holmes & Burrows 2012; Svašek 2012; Teo 2011) but brought in as a factor has a tendency of introducing a certain ‘murkiness’ which typically tends to stand in the way of a rational analysis of migrants’ intentions. The integrated approach towards (return) migration that this volume calls for should by definition be one that is open to the idea of migration as ‘murky.’ As such we need to start thinking of migration as a process, not simply as one that travels in a unilinear direction, halting briefly at a preset number of staging posts and then moving forward as intended, but also as one that is allowed to meander, be fluid, to veer of course and to behave, in a sense, irrationally, outside

Introduc tion


the parameters of clearly definable (push-and-pull) factors. This thus also means that we should not only focus on migrants’ agency in migration decisions and trajectories but also to allow for this agency to be irrational, illogical, bipolar even. Our methodology should be open to this; only then can we capture what (return) migration means on an individual level in an increasingly (transnationally) mobile world where once-and-for-all decisions are never quite that anymore.

Return Migration and This Volume In this volume we consider ‘return migration’ as a shorthand for a variety of terms that in essence deal with the same phenomenon: migrants returning to where they (initially) came from. Such terms include those that Gmelch already catalogued more than 30 years ago ranging from reflux migration, homeward migration and remigration to return flow, second-time migration, repatriation, retromigration, and circular migration (1980: 36). However, more recent terms such as transmigration, transnationalism, or even (transnational) mobility could be thought of as sharing a similar narrative of return as well (see Sinatti 2011). Taking this into consideration, the contributors in this volume stress that the finality that once imbued the way ‘return’ was approached is something that is central to their reexamination of what return migration actually entails. We argue that the ‘transnational turn’ in studies of migration in that sense not only proves relevant for recent cases of (transnational) migration but that it also opens up scope to re-examine or reinterpret historical cases of migration in terms of the way these migrants experienced and gave shape and meaning to their own migration trajectories. Terms like temporary migration and permanent migration which habitually divided migration into two neatly separate realms in the past, especially where it concerned the question of return, are now up for discussion in terms of the way migrants themselves juggle(d) with, negotiate(d) and perceive(d) these terms. The same goes for dividers such as voluntary and forced, economic and political, and internal and international migration (see Ma 2002; Wang & Fan 2006; King & Skeldon 2010). When it comes to ‘return,’ what needs to be at the forefront of the discussion is that return is often a highly personal, individual decision and that the compartmentalization into artificially created subfields obfuscates a muddling but exceptionally interesting overlap that brings us much closer to an understanding of the way migrants engage with their own migration trajectories.


Michiel Baas

This volume builds upon the above and presents a variety of papers dealing specifically with the ‘return’ of migrants to countries in Asia. The chapters are not ordered based on overlapping themes but follow each other in such a way that the diversity, fluidity and complexity of ‘return’ gets highlighted. In that sense the chapters follow a certain thought process with the aim of showcasing not just the many different ways that migrants and related actors and bodies deal with the question of ‘return’ but also to provide an open-ended discussion that aims to encourage further research that builds upon the findings and ideas presented in these chapters. The first case study explores three different threads of return for Brazilians of Japanese descent which, as Sara LeBaron von Bayer shows, weave into the broader tapestry of transmigration that currently exists between Brazil and Japan. According to LeBaron von Bayer, up until now, scholarly focus has mainly been on the experiences of so-called Nikkei-Brazilians either in Brazil or in Japan. Her research, however, engages with experiences of return and/or back-and-forth movement to Brazil, and the way different generations of Nikkei-Brazilians negotiate their positioning between home and host society. She argues that what unites different generations of socalled Nikkei-Brazilians in a transnational field is their desire to be global, mobile and flexible citizens. Return means different things to different generations of Nikkei-Brazilians, and as such, rarely signifies a final arrival or stopping point in people’s life trajectories. While return often channels Nikkei-Brazilians’ lives, it is not so much in the forefront of people’s minds as much as the desire to move flexibly across borders in ways usually reserved for a more mobile, global elite. Finally for Nikkei-Brazilians of all generations, return often means ‘What next?’ as well as ‘Where to?’ In the following chapter Michiel Baas makes a comparable case for Indian student migrants in Australia. Although the prevalence of application for permanent residency (PR) after graduation is relatively high, actually permanently staying in Australia is often not the objective. Instead a PR is imagined to facilitate transnational mobility. By taking a long-term perspective on the cases of a number of Indian student migrants, Baas is able to examine the ambivalences and less-than-straightforwardness that comes with the trajectory from student to migrant. As a result Baas critically examines the study of migration’s engagement with the agency of its would-be-migrants and the assumptions and expectations that inform and infuse skilled migration programs. While Indian student migrants enter Australia as ‘temporary migrants’ they often do so with the ambition to become ‘permanent’ ones; however, this ‘permanency’ is layered with temporariness in that an Australian PR actually facilitates ‘temporary’

Introduc tion


stays in both Australia as well as India. ‘Return’ thus also takes on a double meaning; ‘return’ refers to the option to return to India (either temporarily or permanently) yet also to the freedom of returning to Australia at any time. Highly skilled migration is also the topic of investigation in Amy Bhatt’s contribution on the way Indian IT workers fashion themselves as circulating subjects beyond would-be citizens or immigrants living in diaspora. Bhatt draws attention to the way return migration is a gendered phenomenon that impacts not only workers but also their family members. In particular she looks at the effects of return migration on the women that accompany IT workers as they travel between India’s largest cities and locations in the West. A question she puts at the centre of her analysis is how return to India impacts gender roles and social relationships. And by doing so, she asks: is this truly ‘return migration’ or are new patterns of transnational movement and community formation emerging? Building upon fieldwork in Seattle and Bangalore from 2008-2010, she demonstrates that the pathway to reintegration in India is often far from smooth and that it has a differential impact on women compared to men. She furthermore points out that while return migration boosts Indian economic development, patriarchal gender roles, expectations regarding taking care of (often complex) households, as well as a ‘reverse culture shock’ complicates women’s reintegration into India. As such Bhatt raises the question whether ‘return’ is truly possible, ‘particularly as geographically disperse modes of work, family life, and the pursuit of opportunity overtake the material and symbolic importance of geographic or national ties (p. 56).’ Return takes on a rather different meaning in the next chapter in which Diane Nititham examines the experiences of Filipinas who have come to Ireland as dependent students but who have faced complications in ‘staying on’ afterwards. Nititham examines the liminal position of two Filipinas in order to come to a deeper analysis of notions of return and the intersections of everyday experiences, which are engendered by social policy and the dynamics of migration. For these Filipinas, the meaning of home is not necessarily rational or consistent; in fact home does not even denote one specific space or place. Instead, home signifies a complicated landscape that exists in many spaces and has different faces. It is a place of comfort as well as conflict that cannot produce a singular experience. Nititham argues that people use their orientations in order to feel at home and although this home can have many locations it is not to be said that her informants are without roots. Yet, she adds that whether ‘home’ is envisaged as rooted in the country of origin or destination or as having one’s family nearby, or having constant


Michiel Baas

comfort, home is fleeting, always remaining out of reach. She stresses that striving for a sense of home ‘should not be seen as a binary of being “fully at home” on one end and feeling “complete dislocation/alienation” at the other, but rather as a continuum, where multiple circumstances affect how one experiences life.’ Helen Kaibara’s exploration of the case of early-twentieth-century Japanese migration to the US reveals that ‘return’ to Japan was in fact discouraged and Japanese migrants were highly encouraged to treat the US as their ‘new home.’ The Japanese Association of America’s (JAA), appalled by the treatment of fellow Japanese countrymen in the US, believed that altering the behaviour of Japanese migrants, pushing for cultural assimilation, curbing ‘immoral behaviour’ and advocating permanent settlement could aide towards improving the image and welfare of this group. Kaibara argues that this was less about a genuine desire to become ‘good Americans’ or to deal with ‘yellow peril’ sentiments and much more out of reverence for the homeland itself. The study draws attention to the complexities informing ideas of return (in this particular case, a desired non-return) and by adhering to this by paying homage and reverence to the homeland. While return was not a ‘desired’ option for Japanese migrants in the early twentieth century, Pris Koh’s study highlights the ‘desire to return’ of second-generation Viet Kieu or overseas Vietnamese. Following the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975, they left Vietnam as children, but are now planning to ‘return’ to a country still governed by the political regime their parents once fled. Their motivations for ‘returning’ to Vietnam are not only multifaceted, but also mutually related and reinforcing, as Pris Koh elegantly demonstrates. Issues of alienation and marginalization foster a need for Viet Kieu to create, as Koh puts it, webs of belonging that produce a fragile sense of belonging. This sees itself counteracted upon return to the ‘parental’ homeland, which enables Viet Kieu to come to terms with their past and their conflicted identities. However, Koh stresses that ‘return’ does not necessarily need to constitute an end of the migration cycle itself. ‘In the view of individuals who have multistranded ties and networks in different national settings and cultural communities, the migration story likely continues (p. 133).’ The idea of home also plays an important role in Cindy Nguyen’s chapter, which zooms in on Vietnamese student migration from 1900 to the end of the 1930s. The complex social and ideological pressures these youth faced, caught in a transnational, colonial relationship of personal belonging, revolve around the question and meaning of return. Nguyen is particularly interested in the physical and emotional experience and representation

Introduc tion


of this group, both at home and abroad. Her chapter considers ‘how the discourse of “the student” was shaped both by the obligation to return to Vietnam and the students’ rejection of that cultural world.’ Nguyen demonstrates how shifting dimensions of the home (familial as well as national) relates to the symbolic power and responsibility carried by young educated Vietnamese. The limited options to pursue studies in the homeland at the time meant that the opportunity to study in France was layered with notions of empowerment both for the individual as well as the community. Carefully examining the experiences and related discourses of Vietnamese student migrants, Nguyen brings to the fore ‘the intricate ideological and emotional interrelationships of students and their sending communities, relationships that are constructed, rejected, and reinscribed against the socio-cultural changes of early-twentieth-century colonial Vietnam (p. 155).’ In the final chapter Nausheen Anwar delves into the question of a (forced) return to a land which may not necessarily be considered home anymore. Through the narratives of two groups, Burmese-Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi immigrants, Anwar attempts to understand these migrants’ ambivalence about belonging and aspirations to return. Both groups discussed share common cultural characteristics, reside mainly in Karachi and arrived with about ten years of each other (the Burmese-Rohingyas in the late 1960s and the Bangladeshis in the late 1970s). For these undocumented populations, recent shifts in the norms for Pakistani citizenship have had considerable consequences. While Anwar acknowledges that there are major differences between immigrants and refugees displaced by political crises, research has shown that both interpret their stay ‘abroad’ in terms of it being temporary. However, especially for the Burmese-Rohingyas, the idea of ‘return’ to Burma is not only no longer possible but also not desirable. As Anwar argues: ‘for them the idea of return can only exist in the imagination and be idealized from a distance (p. 176).’


Neither Necessity nor Nostalgia Japanese-Brazilian Transmigrants and the Multigenerational Meanings of Return Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer

Summary What does return mean to different generations of transnational migrants between Brazil and Japan, and how does it help us understand return in other contexts around the world? Over 20 years have passed since Japan first turned to people of Japanese descent as a source of foreign labour. A number of these early Nikkei migrants – most of them Brazilian – spoke of their decision to work in Japan not only in economic terms, but also as a form of return to their ethnic homeland. As the population of Nikkei-Brazilian migrants continued to increase, many of them brought families to Japan, raising their children partially or even entirely outside their country of birth. While some Nikkei-Brazilians speak of returning to Brazil, others seek to settle permanently with their families in Japan, viewing themselves no longer as temporary workers but as long-term members of Japanese society. As a result of the 2008 global economic crisis, however, the number of Brazilians in Japan decreased significantly, and many Nikkei migrants struggled to find work and a sense of home upon their return to Brazil. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in 2009 and 2010, this chapter aims to demonstrate the extent to which, for many Nikkei-Brazilians living in Japan, the desire to be global, and globally mobile – rather than either settled or temporary – shapes their decisions and day-to-day practices, whether or not they do in fact return to Brazil. Thus, just as the distinction between immigrants and migrants is problematic, so too are the conceptual uses and limitations of the idea of return in a transnational context.

Introduction Brazilians of Japanese descent, also referred to as Nikkei-Brazilians, are markedly entwined in Japan’s social fabric, and have been for over two decades now. As a result of reforms to immigration policy in the late 1980s

26 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

and early 1990s, Japan witnessed a sharp increase in the number of NikkeiSouth Americans, particularly Brazilians, registered as foreign residents. In the ten-year span between 1986 and 1996, for example, the number of Nikkei-Brazilians living in Japan leapt from about 2,000 to 190,000 people. At their peak in 2007, Brazilians in Japan exceeded 300,000. Even recently, despite their dramatic drop in numbers due to the global financial crisis of 2008 and the Fukushima disaster of 2011, Brazilian nationals remain the third largest group of registered foreigners in Japan following ethnic Chinese and Koreans, and are the country’s most important source of foreign labour. When Japan’s revised immigration law f irst drew large numbers of second- and third-generation Nikkei workers ‘back’ to the country of their parents and grandparents, scholars of Nikkei-Brazilian transmigrants quickly turned their attention to the factories and feijoadas of Japan (De Carvalho 2003; Kawamura 2003; Linger 2001 & 2003; Roth 2002; Tsuda 2003b; Yamanaka 2003). These early studies on Nikkei-Brazilians in Japan were essential in understanding the initial formation of transmigrant1 lifeways and identities, as well as the shift that, in the 1990s, many Nikkei-Brazilians experienced from identifying as Japanese in Brazil to Brazilian in Japan (Linger 2001; Roth 2002; Tsuda 2003a and 2003b). Up until now, however, scholars have tended to focus on the experiences of Nikkei-Brazilians in Brazil or in Japan, but not the experience of return and/or back-and-forth movement to Brazil, nor the way different generations of migrants negotiate their positioning between home and host society. In this chapter, I draw from interviews and participant-observation conducted over two summers of fieldwork (2009 and 2010) in Brazil and Japan2 in order to demonstrate that one of the central links uniting different generations of Nikkei-Brazilians into a single transnational social field – and hence guiding many of the decisions and day-to-day practices of their lives – is neither settlement nor return, Japan nor Brazil, but in fact the desire to be global, mobile and flexible citizens across, as well as beyond the two nation-states. Thus, just as we must problematize the distinction between individuals classified as settled – that is, immigrant – and those classified as temporary – that is, migrant (Guarnizo 1997), so too should we examine 1 Following the work of Glick Schiller (1999), I use the term transmigration as well as the related adjective transmigrant instead of simply immigration/immigrant or migration/migrant in order to signal the ongoing interplay between Brazil and Japan that characterizes many of my informants’ lives. 2 Originally presented as a paper at the 2011 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) meetings in Honolulu.

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


Table 1.1 Population of Brazilians in Japan 1985-2012*

* Numbers drawn from the Japanese Immigration Association and Japan’s Ministry of Justice websites.

the conceptual uses and limitations of the idea of return in a transnational context. To this aim, it is important to include the experiences of various generations of transmigrants in order to understand how return gets configured differently according to age, experience, and stage of life. For transmigrants and their families, the desire to return to Brazil or to be even more mobile is a not always a smooth operation, as the kite of one person’s hopes and dreams tangles in the strings of another generation’s needs, and as people constantly negotiate the challenges of movement across borders. In discussing Nikkei-Brazilian transmigrants today, and the conceptual as well as practical challenges of return, I aim therefore to include the experiences of 1.5- or second-generation Nikkei-Brazilians, as well as their parents. While youth under 20 have, since the early 1990s, represented from a fifth to a quarter of the overall population of Nikkei-Brazilians in Japan, they have until recently remained largely under-represented in the literature on this subject. Many of the Nikkei-Brazilians in their 20s and 30s in Japan today in fact spent a significant amount of their childhood and adolescence there. Thus, their identities and experiences differ not only from those Brazilians who have arrived more recently in Japan, but also from their parents or other family members who migrated to Japan as adults. As Paul

28 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

Green, an anthropologist who worked with Nikkei-Brazilian youth in Japan in the early 2000s notes, young migrants often do not share a myth of return with the old (2010: 524). What is more, older migrants may have ’built a future in Japan for the sake of their children and yet dreamed of going back to a homeland that was very much in their hearts and nostalgic memories,’ not necessarily their children’s (ibid.). In the examples explored later in this chapter, therefore, I demonstrate that family considerations as well as differences amongst generations are essential to analyzing the experiences of transnational migration and return. Table 1.2 Population of Brazilians in Japan by Gender and Age (2006)3 2006 0 to 4 yrs 5 to 9 yrs 10 to 14 yrs 15 to 19 yrs 20 to 24 yrs 25 to 29 yrs 30 to 34 yrs 35 to 39 yrs 40 to 44 yrs 45 to 49 yrs 50 to 54 yrs 55 to 59 yrs 60 to 64 yrs 65 to 69 yrs 70 to 74 yrs 75 to 79 yrs Over 80 yrs Total

Total # 17,959 18,611 12,876 17,340 36,546 43,728 39,375 33,463 29,227 23,109 18,030 12,387 7,390 2,114 628 147 49 312,979

# of Men

# of Women


% Men

% Women

9,229 9,577 6,558 9,249 19,650 23,786 22,021 18,744 16,449 12,952 10,199 7,239 4,295 1,112 283 62 24 171,499

8,660 9,034 6,318 8,091 16,896 19,942 17,354 14,719 12,778 10,157 7,831 5,148 3,095 1,002 345 85 25 141,480

5.7% 5.9% 4.1% 5.5% 11.7% 14.0% 12.6% 10.7% 9.3% 7.4% 5.8% 4.0% 2.4% 0.7% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%

5.4% 5.6% 3.8% 5.4% 11.5% 13.9% 12.8% 10.9% 9.6% 7.6% 5.9% 4.2% 2.5% 0.6% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%

6.1% 6.4% 4.5% 5.7% 11.9% 14.1% 12.3% 10.4% 9.0% 7.2% 5.5% 3.6% 2.2% 0.7% 0.2% 0.1% 0.0% 100.0%

Background: A Century Ago to Today In order to understand the emergence of a Nikkei-Brazilian diaspora in Japan beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it is important to return, first, to events of the last century. Between 1908 and 1940, some 140,000 Japanese immigrated to Brazil alone, and another 60,000 in the early postwar period. Most were second- or third-born sons and daughters who would not 3

Data drawn from Japan Immigration Association; table modified from Sasaki (2009).

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


inherit their family land or business in Japan. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, which officially opened Japan to the outside world, private emigration companies organized groups of people to be sent to Canada, the United States, and Hawaii. In the early 1900s, however, Canadian and US immigration policy grew increasingly exclusionary towards Asians and the flow of Japanese migration shifted to South American destinations, particularly Peru and Brazil. During this period, Japanese emigrants were encouraged by the government to move to South America, Manchuria, and the Philippines in what can be classified as ‘state policy emigration,’ aimed at easing the population pressures at home. In the case of Brazil, the rates of Japanese emigration remained strong well into the 1960s, creating a large population of ethnic Japanese in the already diverse South American nation. Most of the early Japanese emigrants to Brazil had a dream of striking it rich and returning home, an idea that parallels the goals of many NikkeiBrazilians moving to Japan today. Despite their initial intent, many Japanese ended up staying on in Brazil. A substantial number of first-generation immigrants in Brazil continued to teach their children and grandchildren Japanese, though second- and especially third-generation Nikkei-Brazilians are now often far more fluent in Portuguese than Japanese (if they speak Japanese at all). The fact that Nikkei-Brazilians originally left Japan for economic reasons does not signify that they maintained a culturally or linguistically ‘Japanese’ lifestyle in Brazil. In the late 1980s, demographic shifts and structural changes in the Japanese labour market led to an insufficient number of people working in demanding manufacturing and service sector jobs at the wages being offered. Due to Japan’s rapidly aging population and an extremely low fertility rate, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of ‘economically active’ citizens, ‘contributing to a dramatic increase in the dependency ratio, that is, the ratio of people over sixty-five to those between fifteen and sixty-four’ (Brody 2002: 33). In other words, the number of young, skilled workers in Japan constitutes a progressively smaller proportion of the labour force and, consequently, the government must now look towards other sources of labour. In contrast to many European countries, which, as a result of labour shortages in the 1960s, launched extensive foreign labour schemes to improve their economic situations, after WWII Japan did not officially open its doors to foreign migrants until the late 1980s and early 1990s. The high economic growth in Japan in the 1970s and 80s ‘brought about the necessary conditions for migration and, since the mid-1980s in particular, Japan has been chosen by migrant workers as one of the major destination

30 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

countries’ (Weiner 1997: 178). However, having never relied on high numbers of voluntary foreign workers before, Japan remains hesitant to open its tightly regulated job market to an influx of manual labourers from abroad. In addition to the aging population of Japan, there are several other factors that point to the need for more foreign labour. One of these is the higher level of educational attainment in Japan that has changed the attributes of the working-age population, skewing the occupational preferences of people entering the work force. Young Japanese now overwhelmingly shun what is generally considered to be ‘3K’ work (that is, kitanai, kitsui and kiken, or dirty, difficult and dangerous) in favour of higher status or better-paying jobs. Besides this demographic shift, there have also been structural changes in the Japanese labour market that create a strong demand for workers in certain sectors of the economy. At the same time as the education attainment among the younger generation increased, so too did the number of high value-added, low-energy and low-resource industries in Japan. Beginning in the 1980s, Japan faced a serious shortage of workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors. The need to fill these gaps in the labour market sparked officials and scholars into a controversial debate over the potential ramifications of opening Japan to unskilled foreign workers, resulting in the final changes of the immigration policy in 1990 that granted special consideration to people of Japanese descent. The official enactment of Japan’s new Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (ICRRA) in 1990 was created in response to the persistent demand for labourers in certain sectors of the economy as well as the need to curtail illegal workers. The first major feature of the new law was that it stiffened the penalties for both the employers of illegal and undocumented workers and the workers themselves. The second characteristic of the newly amended ICRRA was that it made people of Japanese descent (up to the third generation) and their spouses eligible for long-term residence and employment in unskilled labour in Japan. Since 1990, people of Japanese descent can apply for a visa valid for six months to three years with no stipulation on the type of activities they may be engaged in while in Japan. This so-called ‘Nikkei provision’ in the newly reformed ICRRA thus created a legitimate avenue for the Japanese government to hire unskilled foreign workers, albeit only those of Japanese ancestry. The result of the new reforms in immigration policy was a staggering increase in the number of Nikkei-South Americans, particularly Brazilians, registered as residents in Japan. Today, roughly 80% of Nikkei migrants in Japan are from Brazil, with another 15% from Peru and 1% from Argentina. Although the influx of Nikkei labour aided in filling empty positions in

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


Japanese industry, the new immigration policy affected the discourse and treatment of migrants in Japan. By giving preference to Nikkei migrants over other foreigners, the Japanese government proved that ethnicity, not skill or experience, was the determining factor in deeming which foreign labourers were eligible to enter and work in Japan. Still, despite the fact that they emerged as the only legally accepted group of foreign unskilled workers in Japan, Nikkei workers, as well as illegal migrants, occupied a subordinate position in the domestic labour market (Weiner 1997: 194; Roth 2002, 2007). Fragile working conditions, as well as gaps in the housing, education, and social spheres rendered first-generation Nikkei-Brazilian migrants relatively isolated from broader Japanese society.

Three Threads of Return Against this historical and political backdrop, three threads of return weave into the broader tapestry of transmigration that exists at present between Brazil and Japan. This current reality is characterized not by a simple binary of either home or host society, but a constant and dynamic interplay between the two. To begin with, there is the idea of ‘return to an ancestral homeland,’ as documented in the first ethnographies on the subject (e.g. Linger 2001; Roth 2002; Tsuda 2003b). These studies, based on fieldwork in Japan in the 1990s, illustrate the extent to which both Japanese immigration policy and certain Nikkei-Brazilians themselves initially conceived of migration to Japan as a return to their ethnic origins, even though many of these second- and third-generation Nikkei-Brazilians had never before been to Japan and were usually more comfortable communicating in Portuguese than in Japanese. Second, for the Nikkei-Brazilian diaspora currently living in Japan, there is the idea of temporary or final return to Brazil, usually a personal and individual decision, but one that was brought to international attention in recent years when the Japanese government offered to pay Nikkei-Brazilians to ‘go home’ following the economic crisis of 2008. Although there are no exact figures as to how many Nikkei-Brazilians actually accepted government money to return to Brazil (in doing so they forfeited the right to work in Japan again for at least three years), the number of Brazilians in Japan has dropped significantly, from approximately 317,000 in 2007 to 210,000 in 2011. As was the case when the Japanese government first opened a backdoor visa to descendants to ‘return’ to Japan (thereby considering them ethnic insiders), here too the government assumed return – in this case, to Brazil – to be the natural solution for descendants deemed cultural and social outsiders.

32 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

Finally, on an individual level, many Nikkei-Brazilians since returned to Brazil face significant difficulty readapting to life in the country of their (or their parents’) birth. Some of them, for example those who currently contemplate moving to Japan again whether for the short or long term, consider their recent return to Brazil not so much as a final or end result, but rather as yet another event in a life trajectory shaped by repeat or onward migration. At the same time, for Brazilians who continue to reside in Japan, the question of return is a complicated one, and many transmigrants do not have a clear answer as to where they intend to move. In the cases that follow, I hope to demonstrate how return in a transnational context is not only conceptually problematic but also variously conceived and contested by different generations of Nikkei-Brazilians, both those living in Japan and those recently returned to Brazil. 1.

The Matsudas

This first case brings us to a suburb of Nagoya, Japan, on a sweltering day in July 2010. There, I met Elisa and Emilio Matsuda, 4 who were born and raised in the same small city in the interior of São Paulo state. Both Elisa and Emilio are Nikkei-Brazilians, the descendants of Japanese emigrants. Today, they live with their three children: two daughters, ages 24 and 21, and a son, now 11 years old. The Matsudas left Brazil in the mid-1990s, at a time when changes to immigration policy and the opening up of factory jobs in Japan attracted thousands of Nikkei workers from South America. Like many of the Nikkei migrants who moved to Japan in the 1990s, they planned to stay for only a few years, saving enough money before returning to open a business or pay for further education in Brazil. While the majority of Brazilians intended to work in Japan for only a few years, many of them, like the Matsudas, in fact settled there long-term, so that by 2008 an estimated one-third of the Nikkei population in Japan had acquired permanent residence. Meeting with the Matsudas for the first time in a coffee shop near their home, they discussed the possibility of naturalizing to become Japanese citizens. ‘We arrived here when the girls were very young,’ Elisa explained to me. ‘We sent them to public Japanese school, hoping that it would make life easier for them to speak Japanese. Now they don’t even speak Portuguese, and they aren’t affectionate with us. Without meaning to, we’ve built a wall between us 4 All names are drawn from my fieldwork (2009 and 2010), but remain pseudonymous in order to protect individual informants.

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


and our girls. We’re doing things differently with Takuya, though,’ Elisa said, smiling at her son who, not understanding what we were saying in Portuguese, whiled away the time playing video games on his shiny blue mobile phone. ‘The thing is, our children might as well be Japanese,’ added Emilio, who is employed as a manager of Brazilian workers at a nearby factory. ‘They grew up here, and they don’t want to go to Brazil. We’re thinking of naturalizing to make things easier for the kids, but … We miss our parents, too, and we’re worried what we’ll do if we need to return to São Paulo to take care of them.’ Clearly, return, whether it is a myth, a reality, or a distant possibility, means different things to different generations of transmigrants. For NikkeiBrazilians who moved to Japan as adults, return to Brazil is sometimes necessary in order to care for family members who stayed behind. But for those who have children in Japan, the decision is often far more complicated. Elisa and Emilio, though they originally intended to return to Brazil after a few years, ended up changing plans when their son Takuya, born in Japan, was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two. The intensive medical treatments and fragility of Takuya’s health and the availability of the national healthcare system in Japan led Elisa and Emilio to reconsider. Even for people who do not face such dramatic and difficult life decisions as this, the questions of what it means to be both Nikkei and Brazilian in Japan, and whether or not to return to Brazil one day, constitute central and defining aspects of many Nikkei-Brazilians’ lives. Elisa and Emilio’s two daughters, for example, have chosen to go by Japanese nicknames rather than their Portuguese given names. Sayuri, who is now 21, graduated from a public Japanese high school before starting work at a nearby factory. The day I met her she wore her hair tied in a bun high on top of her head, and her jean shorts and black leggings were very much the vogue in Japan that summer. Having been bullied in elementary school as one of the only Brazilians in her class, Sayuri explained to me that she prefers to speak in Japanese, and avoids telling her peers that she is originally from Brazil. For Sayuri, return to Brazil was unimaginable not only because she did not feel comfortable speaking or writing Portuguese but because she did not remember what life is like there. In this way, return to her homeland of Brazil would not mean going ‘home,’ it would mean migrating to a new and wholly unfamiliar place. In contrast to the case of Sayuri, who considered herself fully Japanese,5 both culturally and ethnically, and intended to work and eventually raise 5 The interesting question in the case of Sayuri is whether or not the term transmigrant even applies to her. While the Japanese government might label her as an immigrant (移民 – imin) or

34 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

a family in Japan, a growing number of 1.5- and second-generation NikkeiBrazilian transmigrants do not imagine their job or life opportunities to lie solely in Japan and/or Brazil. Rather, they imagine and desire a more global, mobile future, one where neither Japanese nor Portuguese, but English in fact operates as the most useful and valuable linguistic currency. While the Japanese government and local international centres offered increasing opportunities for foreign labourers to learn Japanese for free, many of the young Nikkei-Brazilians I spoke with preferred to spend their leisure time (as well as whatever disposable income they might have had) on private English lessons. 2. Celso Celso, a 20-year-old Brazilian of partial Nikkei descent, is an example of someone who spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Japan, having migrated together with his parents and sister. Unlike the Matsudas’ daughter Sayuri, Celso only ever attended private Brazilian schools in Japan, and was much more comfortable speaking Portuguese than Japanese. In 2010, during a brief period of unemployment, he decided to take advantage of the free Japanese lessons offered by the government to Nikkei workers following the economic crisis of 2008: Now I’m taking these Japanese lessons because they’re free,’ he said, ‘and because I don’t have full-time work. The truth is, though, I want to be learning English, not Japanese. If I learn English, I’ll be able to move somewhere else, like Australia, and have better job opportunities there than I have in either Japan or Brazil. I’m paying a lot of money for English lessons on the weekends, but it’s worth it because the more English I learn, the more I feel I can see of the world.

Celso, like many of his peers from the Brazilian school he attended near Nagoya, did not necessarily want to or ever imagine returning to Brazil. At the same time, however, having gone to work at a factory straight out of high school, he longed for more than what was currently available to him in Japan. According to Celso, it made more sense to learn English and attempt at the very least a long-term resident (定住者 – teijuusha), Sayuri is only minimally tied to Brazil. Though her Brazilian passport claims her as part of the nation-state in which she was born, she considers herself ‘Japanese’ more than anything else and can hardly be considered a social actor of Brazil in any relevant way. In this way, the use of the term and concept transmigrant, when applied to Sayuri, might actually serve to further reinforce the ideology of Japaneseness that refuses to recognize her as a full-fledged member, despite her cultural, ethnic, and linguistic identity.

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


to work abroad than it did to improve his Japanese and aim for employment outside of the factory in Japan. Before moving to Japan as a child, however, he might not have even considered living somewhere else; rather, it was the experience of migrating from Brazil to Japan that opened up a horizon of further possibilities in Celso’s mind. Second-generation Nikkei-Brazilians like Celso are often caught between countries and languages since their parents’ desire to work in Japan in order to assure their future life in Brazil gives them an ambiguous position of being both sojourners and immigrants or, as Daniel Linger writes, a ‘dual diaspora, suspended between two possible homelands’ (2003: 211). While many children of Nikkei-Brazilian workers in Japan dream of a life beyond either Brazil and/or Japan, family obligations remain an important factor when it comes to actual decision-making. 3. Emi Lastly, I consider the case of Emi, someone who was born in Brazil but grew up mostly in Aichi prefecture, attending Brazilian schools there and speaking primarily Portuguese. Like Celso, she is a Nikkei-Brazilian of mixed descent, who stands out clearly as a visible minority in Japan. When I met her for the first time, she was 20 years old and had a three-year-old daughter, Jessica, who she raised with the help of her father and friends. I’m learning English in my spare time so that I can have a different life outside of Japan and Brazil. Maybe I’ll go to Canada one day. That would be good for my daughter. She doesn’t know anything yet, but I want her to see more than just this. I don’t want her to start working at a factory when she’s a teenager, the way I did. It’s hard to study English here though. In school, they want us to learn Portuguese so that we can go back to Brazil one day, even though I don’t think I can get a good job there. And then it’s difficult to do things here if you can’t speak Japanese. But … English. I think that’s the only way to a new situation, to getting out in the world.

As demonstrated in this quote, for a number of young Nikkei-Brazilian transmigrants, particularly those who are primarily educated in Portuguese in Japan, the ability to speak English represents the necessary linguistic capital to move beyond Japan and Brazil, and, consequently, to a desired third space of global mobility and flexibility. Whether or not these young transmigrants do in fact end up migrating to a third space is beyond the scope of my current research. However, it is important to note that the

36 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

desire, if not the actual ability to do so, informs many of these individuals’ daily lives, longings, and leisure activities. Finally, though none of the younger Japanese-Brazilians I have mentioned so far aimed to move back to Brazil at the time I interviewed them, many Nikkei-Brazilians do end up returning, either temporarily or permanently, to their country of birth. Ever since Nikkei-Brazilians began moving to Japan on the new work visa available to them in the 1990s, they have engaged in circular migration between the two countries. For example, in São Paulo, the state with the largest number of people of Japanese descent in Brazil, numerous assistance centres, which have been around since the 1990s, prepare Nikkei-Brazilians either for their upcoming move to Japan or their reintegration into Brazilian society.

Workshopping Return Despite the fact that circular migration has always been a part of migration between Brazil and Japan, the idea and issue of return to Brazil has recently taken on new meanings for Nikkei-Brazilian transmigrants and their families. In 2009, the Japanese government decided, in response to the global economic crisis, to pay Brazilian migrants to ‘go home.’ Nikkei-Brazilians who lost their jobs were offered approximately US$3,000 to return to Brazil on the condition that they not return to work in Japan for the next three years. Consequently, between 2008 and 2009, the population of Brazilians in Japan decreased by at least 45,000, with estimates ranging to 100,000 or more people to date. The important point here is not, of course, who and how many people accepted government money, but what return in fact meant and continues to mean to the Nikkei-Brazilians who have recently left Japan. For many, the economic situation of recent years has spelled a forced return to Brazil. People who intended to continue working and living in Japan for years to come have had little choice but to leave the country after a prolonged absence from Brazil. In 2009, for example, at a workshop on culture shock in São Paulo for Brazilians recently returned from Japan, I joined a group of ten NikkeiBrazilian women and men of various ages for a seminar titled ‘Big Dilemmas of Return.’ Carlos, the Nikkei-Brazilian who led the seminar, was trained in psychology and had himself worked in Japan years before. Writing in purple marker, he began the lecture by posing the following two questions on the whiteboard in front of us: (1) What to do? (2) To stay in Brazil or return to Japan? ‘These are questions you have to ask yourselves,’ he said,

Neither Necessit y nor Nostalgia


and questions that may never go away. No matter what, it’s important not to confuse saudade [nostalgia] with necessidade [necessity]. Just because you miss your life in Japan doesn’t mean you need to go back there. Similarly, once you’re in Japan again, just because you miss Brazil doesn’t mean you have to come back here.

At this point, a Nikkei woman of about 40 years old, recently returned to Brazil, raised her hand. ‘In my case, I want to go back to Japan as soon as I can,’ she explained in Portuguese. ‘Both Brazil and Japan are my home.’ In this woman’s statement lies one of the central and complicating factors of current transnational migration between Brazil and Japan. On the one hand, especially for those who moved to Japan as adults such as the Matsudas, Brazil still represents an important focus of nostalgia; many of these migrants view return to Brazil as a distinct possibility or goal even as they maintain important ties in both countries. On the other hand, as Nikkei-Brazilians come to constitute an increasingly permanent part of Japanese society, particularly for those raised in Japan, return to Brazil is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. Still for others, especially younger Nikkei-Brazilians such as Celso and Emi, the question is not one of either settlement or return but, in fact, of onward migration – onward, they hope, to a new, more flexible lifestyle. In this way, their desire to move beyond the expected Japan-Brazil migratory route might be seen as a strategy to challenge what Nobuko Adachi (2004: 71) calls their ‘diasporic racialization,’ in other words, that Nikkei-Brazilians ‘are displaced from nation and homeland and can neither be fully integrated into the host society nor return to the society of their origin.’ Rather than consider them displaced – itself a concept that relies, like the notions immigrant, migrant, and returnee, on ideas of either fixedness or temporariness – I suggest instead that different generations of Nikkei-Brazilians play with these categories according to their own desires, dreams, and available resources. Thus, they are not so much displaced as they are multiplaced, marking out their day-to-day lives against the shifts of settlement, return, onward migration, or else, as is often the case, some combination of the three.

Conclusion Today, as we continue into the third decade of migration between Japan and Brazil, the horizon of possibilities for Nikkei workers and their families

38 Sar ah LeBaron von Baeyer

includes permanent settlement and naturalization in Japan, circular migration between the two countries, onward migration to a country outside of the Japan-Brazil circuit, and temporary or final return to Brazil. None of these options necessarily represent a final result, however, as transnational migrants continue to navigate the complicated terrain of shifting immigration policy, economic upturn and downturn, generational differences, and personal circumstances and aspirations. For Nikkei-Brazilians today, there are at least three trajectories to the notion of return within the context of transnational migration between Brazil and Japan: (1) the initial return of Nikkei-Brazilians to their ethnic homeland of Japan starting in the 1990s; (2) return to Brazil, whether voluntary or not; and (3) the circular migration of Nikkei-Brazilians to Japan again, or else onward to somewhere else. By offering brief glimpses into the lives of some of the Nikkei-Brazilians I worked with during fieldwork in both Japan and Brazil, I hope to have demonstrated the extent to which return means different things to different generations of transmigrants, and how it rarely signifies a final arrival or stopping point in people’s life trajectories. For older generations, for example, return to Brazil may be discussed as a matter of nostalgia or necessity, while for younger generations, it may be neither. Based on my findings I find that return, then, while it often channels people’s lives, is not so much in the forefront of people’s minds as is the desire to move flexibly across borders in ways usually reserved for a more mobile, global elite. In other words, for Nikkei-Brazilians of all generations, return often means, What next? As well as, Where to?


The Fluidity of Return Indian Student Migrants’ Transnational Ambitions and the Meaning of Australian Permanent Residency Michiel Baas

Summary This chapter explores the fluidity and intrinsic ambivalence of ‘migration decisions’ and connected (transnational) ambitions. It does so specifically by examining the category of student migrant: international students who, after they have finished their studies, ‘stay on’ and become permanent residents in the country where they have completed their studies. In the past, international students were almost always assumed to return, their failure to do so being associated with the brain drain and related issues. More recently, however, countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand have started recruiting their skilled migrants directly from the pool of freshly graduated international students. In particular Indian students in Australia have been known to apply for permanent residency (PR) after graduation, and some would argue that the opportunity to do so has even overwhelmingly determined the growth in Indian students’ enrolments in Australian universities in the last decade. While this supposes a certain straightforwardness with regards to the trajectory from student to migrant, this chapter lays bare the ambivalences and imaginations that zigzag in and out of student migrants narratives with regards to return and the permanency of their decisions. It will argue that the ‘permanency’ a PR provides actually makes it possible to consider one’s settlement in Australia ‘temporary.’ Return takes on a double meaning here; a PR makes returning home (to India) possible yet also allows for the freedom to leave India and return to Australia, as a result facilitating transnational mobility.

Introduction The connection between international education and migration has a long history but has only recently become the object of serious investigation. Up till the 1980s international students were mostly recruited through scholarship programs – such as the Colombo plan – with specific development


Michiel Baas

goals in mind (Fraser 1984; Morris 1968; Rao 1979; Singh 1963; Tanenhaus & Roth 1962). This idea was often laced with a certain naivety: students would ‘learn’ and then ‘return home’ where they were assumed to make a valuable contribution towards developing their respective countries. They were understood to be future ambassadors for the Western world bringing the progressive message of democracy, liberal values and capitalism and as a result countering the spread of communism. Studies conducted around this time also reflect this belief. They mainly engage with questions such as how these students are experiencing their stay in the host country, what they have learned about their hosts, and with what kind of message they will return home. Return is not so much expected but very much assumed. When ‘return’ did not happen – often encapsulated as the ‘problem of non-return’ – it was treated as an unexpected and most definitely unintended outcome of a study-abroad trajectory. From the 1960s onwards international students who did not return to their home countries were increasingly linked to the issue of brain drain. As such they were subsumed in a category which not only included students but also all sorts of other skilled migrants which their country of origin could have theoretically used and benefited from. In fact, many such studies seem to argue that by not returning they were even stalling their home countries’ development, ‘draining’ it of potentially valuable skills and knowhow (Glaser & Habers 1974, 1978; Margulies 1969; Myers 1972, 1973; Portes 1976; Van der Kroef 1970). Interest in the ‘problem of non-return’ and related ‘brain drain’ gradually abated from 1980s onwards when universities in many Western countries, faced with severe budgets cuts, embarked on a project to commercialize their higher education systems (Andressen 1997; Hughes & Goldring 1988; Jansen 1988; Fraser 1984; Shu & Hawthorne 1996; Rao 1979; Williams 1989). With this development came the incentive to shape international education into a source of revenue for universities (Andressen 1997; Ziguras 2005). This new and far more ‘commercial’ approach to international students shifted the attention (of researchers and policy-makers alike) from the countries from which these students originated (and thus in effect from developmental issues) to the developed countries for which they were generating income. Questions that seemed important to raise with regards to this new development were how to accommodate international students, what a suitable curriculum was to offer, how to tackle language issues, and most importantly how to increase the positive experience of studying at a specific university and/or stay in a particular country (see Sidhu 2006). Now that an increasing number of countries are adopting ‘two-step migration’ (recruiting skilled migrants from the pool of freshly graduated

The Fluidit y of Return


international students) as part of their skilled migration programs, there’s seems to be a renewed interest in understanding international students as potential migrants. Especially in Australia this is the case since Australia is not only one of the prime destinations for international students worldwide, it has also developed considerable reliance on these students as potential skilled migrants (Birrell 2005, 2007; Birrell & Healy 2010; Hawthorne 2010; Marginson 2005; Ziguras 2005). Australia has clearly moved on from associating international students with the potential problem of non-return; rather international students are now understood in terms of their potential to stay on. Yet I would like to make an intervention here. While countries’ might increasingly see in international students a potential solution to a (perceived) skills crisis (as Australia often refers to it), we should also be open to the suggestion that international students might be evaluating and negotiating their study-abroad trajectories in terms of this as well. This calls for a rather different approach to the topic of (international) student migration, basically moving away from understanding international students simply as accidental migrants – for whom staying-on might be a positive but unintended outcome of a study-abroad decision – and thus incorporating an approach which is open to the idea that migration might very well be part of the decision to actually study abroad in the first place. We need to remain critical as to what this migration actually entails, especially with regards to the permanency that seems inherently part of it, and that statistics – that provide evidence that the propensity to apply for PR among Indian students is very high – so clearly seem to imply. I make a case to allow for a certain ‘murkiness’ when attempting to understand migration trajectories and to foreground agency not just in terms of individuals giving direction to these trajectories but also to allow for them to be ‘aimless,’ wandering and meandering, not following a clear and most of all logical path, yet learning by doing and as a result finding out the end destination along the way.

The Indian ‘Student Migrant’ In the first decade of the new millennium Indian students’ enrolments in Australian universities witnessed an unprecedented growth and then, after 2009, a rapid decline. My interest in the topic was triggered by articles and advertisements in Indian newspapers in 2003 as well as casual conversations from which it became clear that the desire to study abroad, in particular in Australia, was closely connected to a desire to migrate (obtain a ‘permanent residency’). In 2004 there were little over 20,000 Indian students enrolled


Michiel Baas

onshore in Australian universities and colleges; by 2008 their numbers had risen to nearly 100,000, and in 2009 this would reach a highpoint with a total of 120,490.6 Within that same period international education had also become one of Australia’s largest services export products, contributing A$18.6 billion in export income to the Australian economy in 2009.7 It is clear now that the growth in Indian student numbers in Australia was to a large degree the result of a relatively clear pathway from student to permanent resident as evidenced by the high percentage (66%) of Indian students who have managed to obtain permanent residency (PR) after studying in Australia, compared to, for instance, 38% from China (Hawthorne 2010). A certain straightforwardness speaks from this. It ‘assumes,’ perhaps even ‘supposes,’ a natural, manageable, conceivably ‘controllable’ flow. This flow could be envisioned as follows: from international students to migrant to permanent resident, and finally to full citizen. This is what Indian students do, at least the majority, so it seems. This chapter, however, questions the clarity and consistency with the way such decisions get made and/or which steps get taken. By doing so, this chapter problematizes the study of migration’s engagement with the agency of its supposed migrants and the way nation-states ‘assume’ migration to happen. In the previous decade Australia has developed an extraordinary reliance on skilled migrants, most of whom are now recruited from the pool of freshly graduated international students. By 2006, 57% of all IT professionals in Australia were born overseas, compared to 52% of engineers, 45% of doctors, 41% of accountants, and a quarter of all nurses (Hawthorne 2010). As argued elsewhere (Baas 2006, 2010), for many Indian international students, the decision to study in Australia has been influenced by the possibility to apply for PR after graduation. However, it is too easy to understand these students as ‘actually’ or ‘simply’ migrants from the start. For many the trajectory from international student to permanent resident and eventually citizen is characterized by ambivalences and subjectivities that are rarely 6 Data can be accessed making use of the pivot tables provided by the website of Australian Education International: InternationalStudentData2012.aspx#3 (Retrieved 14 April 2014). 7 See Unesco, 2013. More recent figures are available but this means going in the developments post 2009, which include a spate or violent racist attacks on Indian students in cities such as Melbourne and Sydney and the collapse of numerous dodgy college providers (also known as ‘PR factories’) (see Baas 2006, 2014a). As a consequence, international (in particular, Indian) student enrolments declined rapidly, something which was further exacerbated by an expensive Australian dollar. For the general argument this chapter aims to make, though, this is of little consequence.

The Fluidit y of Return


the focus of migration studies. It is for this reason, that the case of Indian students in Australia lends itself particularly well for looking into the way we understand and/or approach the idea of ‘migration’ itself. The word ‘idea’ is used on purpose here as migration is very often just that: an idea. Not only is migration an idea that potential/possible future migrants think about, play with, dream of and strategize towards, it is also something that countries anticipate, try to encourage or perhaps discourage, and part of political agendas that are informed by macro-level realities and ambitions yet also aim to reflect on-the-ground sentiments and concerns. In many ways migration exists as an idea, a possibility, but in any case as something that has not happened yet. It is this ‘yet’ that will be unpacked further in this chapter. Yet implies that it will, at some point, happen. From the point of view of the state this is no surprise: migration has and always will, to some degree happen, no matter what kind of rules and regulations are put in place to prevent it. However, rules and regulations that regulate the flow of people coming into a particular country are typically bipolar; they know two faces, two sides: one that discourages one group while encouraging another. From the point of view of the state this makes sense; migration will happen and thus is it necessary to anticipate by making sure that the right people come in and the wrong people stay out. This chapter deals with the ‘right people,’ the kind of people Australia wants. These are people who come to Australia as full-fee-paying international students for whom it is (made) possible to obtain an Australian permanent residency at the end of their studies. Australia wants them, and not just that, Australia wants them permanently. However, it is here that it gets particularly interesting. Although Australia might want these students to stay on indefinitely, Australia is not particularly keen on these students coming into Australia with this specific idea in mind from the start. For one, Australian universities are not allowed to recruit international students abroad with migration as an additional incentive. Australian universities are only permitted to recruit students by offering them education, not migration. International students are welcome to Australia as ‘students’ and although they may entertain the ‘idea’ of migration, education ‘should’ be their first priority. And again, this makes sense, because Australia ‘wants’ international students for their skills, and these skills only amount to anything if they were the product of a serious interest and dedication to education.8 A certain conflation of the two – education 8 This chapter does not deal with the 2009 controversies as a result of which a significant mostly newly set-up colleges in Australian inner cities were forced to close down due to a failure to provide quality education.


Michiel Baas

and migration ambitions – is allowed in the nation-state’s imagination, when it involves a regular college or university, a solid dedication to obtaining one’s degree in time, preferably with high marks, while entrenching oneself firmly in Australia by accepting (in a sense also ‘learning’) the country’s norms and values (hence ‘culture’). The latter is something that is assumed to run parallel to the study trajectory itself. The idea of permanently staying in Australia is thus something that needs to develop itself while ‘studying’ in Australia. From this follows a rather logical route that is infused with the notion of the ‘ideal type’ functioning of a system that was specifically developed to generate the maximum outcome for Australia: International student moves to Australia [pays full course fees for two years thus benefiting the university while also supporting the (local) economy], likes the country [and accepts and adapts to its ‘culture’] and sees an opportunity [a skills gap for which Australia needs this ‘type’ of locally trained and integrated potential migrant], skills-set match permanent residency application requirements [not just skills but also age, English language requirements, and sometimes also local experience], decision made: student remains in Australia permanently, and subsequently becomes an Australian citizen, thus with an Australian passport.

The idea of ‘permanency’ that imbues this process is one that serves the state’s interest but tells us very little about how a potential migrant perceives the process. In order to understand the complexities and ramifications of the trajectory from international student to Australian permanent resident, this chapter focuses on the case of one Indian student who has been part of my ongoing research on Indian student migration to Australia from 2004. Rohit was one of the 130 Indian students I gathered data on during fieldwork in Melbourne in 2005-2006.9 These students were enrolled in a wide variety of courses (ranging from accounting and computer engineering to hairdressing and pastry chef) and colleges/universities (from low-end/price fighters such as Central Queensland University and the Melbourne Institute of Technology to Monash University and the University of Melbourne). Rohit himself was enrolled in a master’s course in network computing at Monash 9 I also gathered data on an additional 100 people who were all, one way or the other, involved in these students’ lives. These included: education and migration agents, Indian community leaders and members, lecturers and student counsellors, social workers, university staff (involved in student recruitment, etc.) and so on.

The Fluidit y of Return


University. By engaging in his personal trajectory as an international student, initially not interested in applying or even qualifying for PR, but finally conceding to becoming an Australian citizen – meanwhile also having attempted to settle down in India and kick-start a career there – we are able to gain a much deeper understanding of the complexities and ambivalences of migration paths and decisions than statistics can produce. It will furthermore highlight that while ‘two-step migration’ (recruiting skilled migrants from the pool of freshly graduated international students) may have become an important feature of Australia’s skilled migration program, the intention to stay on after graduation and the ‘permanency’ of that decision are often part of a contextually informed and continuous process of negotiation.

The Intention to Apply for PR One of the first times I meet Rohit is at Caulfield Plaza, a rather nondescript shopping centre next to the Caulfield campus of Monash University, early in 2005.10 He and his friends often hang out here during classes, sitting at one of its wobbly tables near the checkout of Coles supermarket, facing a sandwich shop, a sushi bar and an Indian takeaway that seems closed most of the time. Many of them know each other through Yuva,11 Monash University’s own Indian student union, in which Rohit is active as one of the principle organizers and coordinators. In fact he had just convinced me to attend a cricket tournament over the coming weekend. Teams comprising of Indian students from a variety of universities and colleges will participate and afterwards ‘there will be food.’ Rohit arrived in Australia in July 2004 and is now in his second semester. Initially he intended to do an MBA in India itself but he did not get into the university he wanted to. This was a common story students would reflect on during interviews. Getting into one of India’s top universities such as the Indian Institute for Technology (IIM), the Indian Institute for Management (IIM) or even a Regional Engineering College (REC) can be extremely difficult. It involves scoring extraordinarily high marks on highly 10 Please note that I also briefly discuss Rohit’s case in a vignette in a forthcoming article titled ‘Becoming Transnationally Mobile: Issues of Temporariness and Permanence among Indian Student-Migrants in Australia’, which discusses the problematic dichotomy between international and international migration in relation to individual strategies of becoming (transnationally) mobile. 11 Yuva means ‘youth’ in Hindi.


Michiel Baas

competitive entrance tests; admittance can be as low as one in a hundred or even two hundred. Most do not let themselves be deterred by this and simply give it ‘a shot,’ see what ‘comes out of it’ and/or hope ‘to get lucky.’ The Indian students I encountered in Australia were, almost without exception, students who had done ‘reasonably well’ or even ‘better than expected’ on their respective entrance tests. However, for none had their scores been high enough, an outcome which had been disappointing though not particularly unexpected. Watching the queues at the supermarket’s checkout slowly dissipate, we talk about PR, an issue always on the table one way or the other, and why one would actually go for one. The worry of having to pay back student loans is something that seems on the mind of many. Rohit nods at somebody we had just been talking about, ‘makes very long hours,’ he mumbles. Apparently the student in question takes the early morning shift at a local market cleaning the place before the stalls are set up. Loans when studying at a well-reputed university such as Monash can be as high as 14 lakhs, more than 20,000 euro. It is generally understood that paying back such a loan will be difficult in India. Rohit does not really need to worry about this however. His father runs a large business in North India and the family was able to finish their son’s study-abroad plans without taking out a loan. Yet he is well aware of the considerable sum of money his family has invested in him. The thought of applying for PR also appeals to him although he has not exactly thought through what use it could be for him. Still staring at the checkout queues he says: ‘I like it here … I like most part of Aussie life I guess.’ However, he also adds that ‘we’ (meaning his friends) are ‘not so much affected by Aussie lifestyle here.’ He hangs around with other Indian students mostly. ‘So we don’t come across Australians that much in that sense.’ He smiles. It sounds strange, sitting in a shopping mall amidst ‘Australians.’ Yet it also makes sense though he is not exactly sure how. In his free time he often plays cricket on the lawn in front of the campus but he is quick to add that that is always with other Indians. The earlier mentioned Indian student union Yuva is actually sponsored by the Indian-owned 3S telecom shop located in the same shopping mall as we are sitting in. They ‘are’ the Indian community, meaning those belonging to the longer-established Indian community that is represented by bodies such as the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV). On paper they are ‘Australians’ but for Rohit they are overseas Indians albeit having been ‘here’ for decades. It is such discussions that we have while ‘relaxing’ in the shopping mall. Rohit has told me he did not come to Australia with the intention to

The Fluidit y of Return


migrate to Australia. He was very clear on that, purposely distinguishing himself from what he refers to as ‘others’ whose agendas are much clearer in that sense. It is something which has developed over time, mostly in interaction with (again) ‘others.’ He lives in a house with 12 rooms, owned by a Hungarian landlord, and shares a room with another Indian student who has become his best friend. In total there are ‘more than’ 20 Indian students living there (it’s a come-and-go kind of a place). PR is often discussed, especially regarding the latest rules and regulations. Rohit explains that right now he does not meet the requirements of scoring 120 points on a so-called points test that Australia uses to assess the suitability of a particular skilled migrant.12 ‘Now I have got 110 points but I will get 5 more after two years. Then I only need 5 more.’ He is not entirely sure how he will manage this though. He has heard about various options but remains rather vague what these are. When I point out that another problem might be that his course is only for 1.5 years whereas he needs to study for at least two years in Australia to meet the requirements, he quickly responds that he will simply enrol himself in another course for half a year. He has (indeed again) heard from ‘others’ that this is fairly easy. ‘Any of the IT courses. It actually doesn’t matter very much. Any course will do I guess.’13 Rohit appears to be well aware of how the system works, yet he has not come to Australia with the idea of migration in mind. However, something has changed in the six months he has spent in Australia so far. And he is not the only one whose ‘explanation’ of ‘Why apply for PR?’ was laced with a certain degree of ambivalence, a je ne sais quoi, something indicating a rather perplexing mixture of determination (‘definitely going for one’), doubt (‘we’ll see how it goes’) and criticism (‘not sure I like it here that much’). Those with large student loans simply deemed staying on necessary in order to pay back those loans and take the burden off their parents and other family members. However, whether or not they would 12 This article does not discuss the latest changes in migration rules and regulations in Australia. Around the time of my research, 2005-2006, the rules were fairly straightforward. In order for an international student to qualify for permanent residency he or she had to score a 120 points on so-called points test. The majority of these points were awarded based on skills, a smaller number for English-language skills (assessed by doing an IELTS test), and age. Other points could be claimed by making a capital investment in Australia of a 100,000 Australian dollars or, for instance, by passing a NAATI test in order to become a qualified translator in a particular Indian language. In recent years the rules and regulations have been reviewed and adapted a number of times. Particularly valued now is work experience and employer sponsorship. 13 It is important to keep in mind that Rohit is talking about the migration rules and regulations of 2005 here. These have considerably changed in recent years.


Michiel Baas

actually remain in Australia once they had obtained a PR they were often rather unsure of. Others like Rohit, who did not have to pay back loans, frequently displayed a similarly ’unclear’ ‘reasoning’ why they would want a PR. Sometimes narrating it as ‘everybody else is getting one,’ making it seem as if one would be stupid not to get one (see Baas 2006), other times thinking of it as compensation for a perceived lack of quality of education, taking into account that they were after all full-fee-paying students and, as such, ‘customers.’ Their points made sense but something intangible was left hanging in the air, something that did not lend itself to be easily concretized. Perhaps it had something to do with the question of migration itself, demanding a ‘concrete’ answer yet also demanding an approach that would allow for a more fluid understanding.

The Rationality of Migration The question of ‘why migrate’ is still central to many studies of migration and a well-trampled path to find an answer seems to require a firm engagement with (neoclassical) ‘push-pull’ models (see the introductory chapter to this book). These models assume too much functionality and rationality in migrants’ decisions. Nevertheless, it is still a popular way of understanding migration. A push-pull model, however, typically underscores that there might be reasons beyond the economic and political realm for migrating. Even more importantly the model assumes the idea of permanency; people leave to ‘permanently’ stay somewhere else. This frame of thinking does allow for the possibility of ‘returning’ home (as in: home country) but it does so on similar terms: the logical outcome of a certain number of factors that can be clearly accounted and allowed for. A bifurcation of extremes permeates the analysis here; failure on the one hand, success on the other. Failure to adapt to local situations, to secure employment, to save enough money, in short: failure to make it is what is imagined to determine ‘return’ on the one hand. On the other, however, there is ‘success,’ measured in remittances sent home, savings secured, local investments paid off, having created something to return to, opportunities having arisen, ‘something worth returning to,’ a trajectory having ‘successfully’ come to an end. In case of the latter, however, return often remains a myth of sorts (Bolognani 2007; Walton-Roberts 2004). Call it a product of Western hegemonic thinking in which the superior alternative is imagined in terms of what the ‘West’ has to offer and the ‘Rest’ clearly lacks, both analyses of failure and success lay bare an assumed ‘logic’ that has its roots in neoliberal,

The Fluidit y of Return


neoclassical push–and-pull models of analyses that leave little room for migrants’ agency. While on the one hand ‘return’ is imagined in terms of failure, in the imagination of migration studies return also often ‘fails’ in a different way. In the case of the latter the migrant fails to ‘return’ while seemingly entertaining the desire to do so; the so-called ‘myth of return.’ Ultimately, however, the study of migration revolves around the concept of permanency elsewhere; and this also is how policy generally understands and treats migrants. Migrants – other than ‘explicitly’ temporary migrants whose visa status simply does not allow them to ‘stay’ (such as Filipino maids in Dubai or Bangladeshi construction workers in Singapore) – are not truly expected to return. In fact, this is one of the core ingredients in the antimigrant rhetoric of political right-wing movements in Europe; migrants stay, do not leave, ‘overstay their welcome,’ and even worse, subsequently multiply and form communities radically changing the social makeup of a city, refusing to integrate and assimilate into the host country’s culture and as a result alienating the original inhabitants from the place where they assumed themselves to belong. Debates, both public and political (though not always this extreme) have a tendency to use this ‘conclusion’ as a starting point. Such understandings of migrants have their roots in neoclassical explanations of migration that are largely about bettering oneself in material respects (see Arango 2000: 284; Fog & Sorensen 2002). Rational choice is key here; migration is the result of individual decisions made by rational actors. Over the years, the neoclassical model has clearly faced a number of challenges that it could not convincingly answer. For one it has not been able to engage in the puzzling observation that in fact very few people migrate. Nor has it been able to explain differential migration: why some countries experience much higher rates of out-migration than others (Arango 2000: 286). Current ideas about migration are much more subtle and have become, at the same time, far more complex, as theories such as ‘dual labour market theory,’ ‘world systems theory,’ ‘migration networks,’ ‘systems approach,’ and the theoretical stand of ‘cumulative causation’ suggest (see Arango 2000). However, the obsession with explaining migration itself – Why do people migrate? –remains one of its most important questions. And this also seeps into this current engagement of why Indians migrate to Australia, and in particular why they do this by first becoming international students. It should, however, not overshadow, as is easily done, an equally relevant question of how Indian students experience this process and what this can tell us about the migration experience as such.


Michiel Baas

A Culture of ‘Going’ Abroad Rohit had no clear reason for wanting to migrate to Australia. In fact, he had also not left India with that particular idea in mind. In the first half a year of his studies in Australia he was also not really sure if he would actually apply for a PR after graduation. The thought was certainly appealing (‘You can make much more money here,’ and ‘You can even save money and send some home if you want to’), but in terms of the former, he could also do that in India, and in terms of the latter, he does not really need to. And this is something he also agrees with when I point it out to him. Over the course of a year we often talk about this and related issues. We discuss his ideas of PR, which are definitely not always consistent, yet we also talk about his friends who, clearly, often discuss their PR desires amongst themselves. Rohit frequently criticizes the ‘obsession with PR’ that he observes among some of his friends. And at times he is also not really convinced that he will actually ‘go for one’ himself. Sometimes he talks about it as something ‘he might as well get’ because he may otherwise regret it, yet other times he sees it mainly as something that will facilitate international travel. One day he sighs: ‘It’s hard to avoid the topic of PR when you are always around other Indian students.’ Constant talk about PR, paying back student loans, disappointment about the education received in Australia, and the modest value of an Australian degree in India itself, all create the feeling of PR being the smart thing to ‘go for,’ even among those who never came to Australia with the intention of permanently leaving India. It is something I observe from up close during the break of the earlier mentioned cricket tournament, which is held one week later. The conversation is, as usual, about PR, something which clearly annoys and embarrasses one of the students present (Pranav). I would often run into him on the Caulfield campus, a rather serious and ambitious student of whom I knew that he saw studying in Australia as the first step towards an international career in the banking industry. While I join their table Pranav is talking to Sujit, who is doing a master’s in accounting at Central Queensland University (CQU), and who is adamantly pointing out that basically Pranav had made the mistake by enrolling in the much more expensive Monash University (compared to CQU) and choosing a course which does not lead to PR. Instead, he argues that he should have opted for accounting with CQU, whose city campus in the centre of Melbourne had become very popular with Indian students at the time, primarily for its comparably considerably lower fees. Pranav, noticing

The Fluidit y of Return


how I am listening to their conversation with unabated interest, suddenly points out to me that: ‘We are not all like that, you know,’ making very clear that PR may be on ‘everybody’s mind’ but he had come to Australia, first and foremost, to study. When I ask him why he feels the need to say this, he explains: ‘From the moment I came here this is all everybody seems to talk about.’ He adds: ‘I also want PR, true, but not just like that. I also came here to study.’14 While both Pranav and Rohit arrived in Australia without very concrete migration plans in mind, there were important indications that for a sizable group, to which Sujit also belonged, this was quite different. In 2005-2006 the majority of Indian students were enrolled in relatively low-end universities colleges, mostly ones located in Australia’s inner cities. In Melbourne, by far the largest number of Indian students was studying at Central Queensland University, followed by the Melbourne Institute of Technology, which was tied to the University of Ballarat, and the University of Victoria. All three belong to the bottom end of Australian universities in terms of quality but also fees. Meanwhile new colleges were opening up for business across the country. Such colleges were often referred to as ‘PR factories’ by informants, who argued that such colleges were only in the business of education in order to facilitate migration (Baas 2006). When the rules were tightened and extra demands such as ‘work experience’ or even ‘employer sponsorship’ were asked for, these colleges were known to facilitate this as well. Sitting at the table in the canteen of the sports hall on the Monash Caulfield campus and waiting for the second half of the cricket tournament to start, it was clear that Pranav’s statement (‘We’re not all like that’) had unveiled an important dilemma. The others present also agreed that education was equally or perhaps even more important than PR. However, they were also very well informed of what their own situation looked like in terms of ‘PR prospect.’ Even those who had absolutely no desire to apply for PR knew exactly if they qualified or not. This situation can be understood as a ‘culture of migration,’ albeit a rather paradoxical one. Where studies on migration speak of such a culture (Ali 2007; Kandel & Massey 2002; Deléchat 2001; Tsuda 1999; Massey et al. 1994; Gardner 1993), it almost always refers to the countries migrants came from. And while it is certainly true that the choice for Australia as a study-abroad destination was heavily influenced by the prospect of obtaining Australian permanent residency after graduation, actually permanently residing was often not the objective, at least not from 14 I discuss this scene in greater detail in the second chapter of my book Imagined Mobility: Migration and Transnationalism among Indian Students in Australia (2010).


Michiel Baas

the start. Instead, many suggested that it might facilitate what could be understood as transnational mobility. PR and eventually citizenship, so it was ‘imagined,’ would make it easier to return to and leave India/return to and leave Australia; in that sense it would also make it easier to travel to and work in other countries such as the UK and the US. A constant factor in such narrations or, as I have referred to it elsewhere, ‘imaginations’ (Baas 2010), was that Australia was not understood or perceived as a permanent place of settlement per se.

And Then What after PR? Early May 2009 in Surat (Gujarat, West India), Rohit gets married to his girlfriend who is originally from Mumbai but whom he had met in Melbourne in 2005.15 In fact, she was living in the same student accommodation as he was at the time I met him for the first time. They had fallen in love and were now both Australian permanent residency holders. In fact, quite recently Rohit’s wife had even submitted her application for Australian citizenship. Observing Rohit while he patiently waits for the priest to f inish a particular ritual, I joke that he is in fact marrying an Australian girl. It amuses Rohit, though earlier that evening he had mentioned that they had no intention of settling in Australia for now. As a newly married and soon to be Indian-Australian couple, they had decided to move in with his parents in Delhi and would try to find suitable jobs there. Rohit’s struggle for Australian permanent residency has been stressful and for most of his friends, some who are attending the wedding as well, it has been no different. Standing in line for the buffet I meet one of Rohit’s friends who had recently married her Indian boyfriend from Melbourne. She was now living with his family in Mumbai while her husband was in the process of setting up his own business in Australia. She expects to join him within a couple of months there. Although they both applied for PR right after graduation they initially returned to India to find jobs there. This was partly related to the fact that they were still awaiting their parents’ permission to get married – something that took considerable time – but also because they had not quite decided where they would settle, also seeing options for business and career opportunities in ‘rapidly developing’ India. At the buffet, piling up on food, she comments that their story is really not that different from other friends. A couple of months earlier there was a wedding 15 I also briefly discuss this wedding in Baas 2010, chapter 8.

The Fluidit y of Return


for another friend from Melbourne in Delhi, and less than a month from now they all plan be heading for Tamil Nadu in the south of India for yet another wedding. Almost all have successfully applied for PR, but the question of where to settle ‘permanently’ is not an easily answerable one. Two years later I am back in Melbourne and Rohit invites me for dinner at an Italian restaurant in the suburb of Brunswick. We have not been in touch much but I sometimes see his updates on Facebook; mostly pictures of his wife and family, a holiday in Dubai, or some trip to a winery in the Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria. While we wait for our pizzas I ask him why he has actually decided to come back to Australia. Delhi seemed like a good decision at the time, he explains. They had spent a number of years in Australia and were looking forward to being closer to family. Moreover, a PR would always make it possible to come back whenever they wanted to. He explains that they did try to live in Delhi for a while but traffic, working hours, and quality of life in general made them long to go back to Australia. They are now settled in a small, one-bedroom apartment but looking for a bigger place and anticipating the time when they can start a family. He has found a job as network engineer with a local company but is seeking a better job as he is not entirely satisfied with the salary. While we have dinner his phone rings. His wife is on the way to the hospital as one of their friends has just had a baby. Rohit will be going there after dinner as well. ‘These people are now our family here,’ he offers as an explanation. This new family mostly comprises of Indian ex-students who have settled (for now) in Australia. In fact, Rohit and his wife are now Australian citizens themselves. The decision to settle in Australia seems final; after having followed a wandering road they have arrived at a destination – but none of what we talk about that evening seem truly final. Although they have had to relinquish their Indian passports they are now eligible for the status of Overseas Citizens of India, which allows them unlimited entry into India as well as property and related rights for the rest of their lives, something they intend to make full use of.

Conclusion In migration studies the issue of permanency has been challenged in a number of ways before. Yang (2000), for instance, did so by bringing the sojourner hypothesis back into play, arguing that Chinese immigrants in America were actually sojourners who intended to make and save money but who would, at some point, return to their home villages. It is not unthinkable


Michiel Baas

that some Indian students leave with similar ideas. Yet what stands out much more from my ongoing involvement in the topic of Indian student migration – and them subsequently developing transnational lifestyles and/ or subsuming in locally established Indian communities – is that most do not ‘leave’ India with very clear migration plans in mind. And even if they do decide to apply for PR, the way they discuss their thoughts/imaginations with regards to Australian permanent residency is often coated in layers of ‘temporariness’. In such narrations ‘return’ is a regularly ‘returning’ feature of their (future) transnational lives. One could even argue that it is exactly a PR which facilitates regular return. This chapter sought to highlight the often ambivalent and subjective way migration decisions take shape in individual cases. It aimed at creating the necessary distance from the linearity and permanency that seems to cling to migration decisions. It argued that if we want to understand the ‘Why migrate?’ question, especially where it concerns international students who first need to finish their education abroad, we need to remain aware of the way such trajectories develop on an individual level. By doing so we can engage in a much more informed and all-encompassing inquiry of how to understand migration in the context of increasingly mobile, and well-informed, migrants who, in a globalizing world, may not (ever) think of their migration decision in ‘permanent’ terms. This ultimately means a different approach to the study of migration itself. Rohit’s case (as a student migrant) is just one of many that I studied over the last eight years. Although many Indian students do come to Australia with the idea of migration in mind, the way their migration paths take shape, and the way they themselves give meaning to what it means to be a migrant and how they respond to ideas, requirements and expectations of them as ‘migrants,’ clearly shows that the ‘straightforwardness’ which is often assumed in models or emerges from statistics (international students → migrant → permanent resident → citizen) obfuscates the complexities and ambivalences that are integral to migration paths. Foregrounding migrants’ agency is key in this; by engaging in individual stories such as Rohit’s we become aware of the process that gives shape and meaning to perceptions of ‘permanency’ and ‘temporariness.’ The way nation-states ‘assume’ migration to take place – and how it can be controlled, contained, and steered in the ‘right’ direction – often is not on par with the way migrants reflect on and engage in migration trajectories themselves. This calls for a less outcomefocused and a more process-oriented approach to migration and one that allows for ambivalence and circuitousness.


Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians Gender, Labour and the Return to India Amy Bhatt

To be fair, the positives of life in India are many. No more visa hassles. No worrying about going out of status. No worrying about being an alien in a foreign land. The feeling that you can go anywhere and do whatever you want – it’s your country. AmreekanDesi 2009 I’m glad I went back to India, and I’m glad to be back in the US. Life has come full circle but the center has shifted. I didn’t go to India to find home, but I did find it; I now know where I belong. As Laozi might have said, sometimes the journey of a single step starts with a thousand miles in the opposite direction. Mungee 2011

No strangers to crossing the kala pani, or black sea, Indians have built communities around the world.1 Though many Indians have been in circulation between Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean for centuries, following independence from Britain in 1947 the pace of emigration intensified as Indians poured out of the country towards Western countries such as the United States (Bhatt and Iyer 2013; Jensen 1988; Leonard 1997). However, a new pattern of migration has emerged in recent years: increasing numbers of Indians are returning to India after long spells abroad. While this trend is largely attributed to the combination of burgeoning opportunities in the Indian economy and stagnating employment in the United States, the decision to return is not a strictly economic one for many Indians, particularly among highly educated ‘knowledge workers’ in the global information technology (IT) industry.2 These workers often endure years of uncertainty on temporary work permits in the United States to have the chance to amass prized educational, social and economic capital through their association 1 According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian diaspora is estimated today to number more than 20 million and spreads across nearly every country in the world. 2 This chapter focuses on middle-class IT professionals who move between the United States and India on work permits. In other cases, such as with Indian workers and merchants in the Gulf economies who cannot apply for formal citizenship or even permanent residency because of birthright restrictions, return migration is not always a choice, but a mandated necessity for long-term political and economic survival (Vohra 2008).


Amy Bhatt

with American IT companies. At the same time, these skills and networks make them particularly valuable to India-based branches of multinationals and Indian companies as potential ‘returnees.’ While several recent studies (Chacko 2007; Saxenian 2005; Wadhwa 2009a+b; Wadhwa et al. 2007) have examined the factors that prompt return migration to India and the experience of returnees or repatriates (‘repats’), in this chapter I consider how return migration is a gendered phenomenon that impacts not only workers, but the family members who also travel abroad and back to India as part of transnational labour flows. I focus on the effects of return migration on the women that accompany IT workers as they travel between Indian metropolises and the West to consider: How does the return to India impact gender roles and social relationships? Is this truly return migration or are new patterns of transnational movement and community formation emerging? These questions arise from my fieldwork in Seattle and Bangalore from 2008-2010 examining how IT workers and their families are impacted by temporary migration to the United States and return migration to India.3 In order to understand how personal decision-making intersects with global political-economic factors guiding return migration, I examine interviews with women returnees who have left the United States to settle in Bangalore and online blog sites and forums dedicated to the ‘R2I,’ as the return to India is known, to suggest that even as the numbers of returnees increase, the pathway to reintegration in India is far from smooth and has a differential impact on women when compared to men. While return migration boosts Indian economic development, the process of return for women is complicated by the experience of negotiating patriarchal gender roles, learning how to run complex households dependent on various forms of domestic labour, and dealing with reverse culture shock. Second, I consider whether ‘return’ is truly possible, particularly as geographically disperse modes of work, family life, and the pursuit of opportunity overtake the material and symbolic importance of geographic or national ties.

Temporary Visas, Partial Citizens: Attracting Prodigal Sons and Daughters Home The United States is considered the premier destination for Indians involved in the IT industry as it is the birthplace of some the world’s most influential 3

A form of global ethnography (see Marcus 1998; Upadhya 2008).

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


transnational technology companies. With the advent of the dot-com boom in the 1990s, the IT service market exploded globally and pockets like California’s ‘Silicon Valley’ and Seattle’s suburbs were transformed from sleepy West Coast outposts to centres of global technological commerce and innovation. Between 1999 and 2000, anxieties over potential technology-related disasters linked to the advent of the Millennium prompted US companies to desperately seek out IT workers to meet the growing demand for services. 4 One solution was to use temporary worker visas such as the H-1B visa5 to increasingly ‘import’ foreign technology workers to prepare various banking, data processing, and other computing systems (Chakravartty 2006). Well after ‘Y2K,’ many firms continue to value the skill and potential economic savings offered by hiring foreign workers from countries like India and China who have proven crucial to the technology industry’s health and innovation (Aneesh 2003; Biradavolu 2008; Saxenian 2002; Saxenian and Edulbehram 1998). Currently, the largest portion of H-1B visas issued annually goes to Indian nationals and the program has created substantial communities of temporary workers that live in the United States for several years. According to the American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, the Asian Indian population in the United States almost doubled from 1,679,000 in 2000 to 2,570,000 in 2007, thanks in large part to temporary worker and family reunification programs (US Bureau of the Census 2007). Though the H-1B program was designed to attract workers on short-term contracts, it allows recipients to apply for permanent residency, or the green card,6 which offers pathways to citizenship and visas for family members. Even as temporary visa programs provide significant avenues for Indian migration and settlement in the United States, the uneasiness engendered 4 This period, extending to 2003, is also considered the height of the dot-com ‘bubble’ where US-based technology companies argued for and won increases in the numbers of worker visas issues annually in order to meet the demand for skilled technical labour. 5 With George H. Bush’s signing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1990, the contemporary H-1B specialty occupation visa came into existence and increased the cap for employment-based immigrants to 140,000 from 58,000. H-1B workers must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent and is predominately used to staff positions in IT, medicine, science, and education (see US Citizenship and Immigration Services 2014. 6 According to the US Department of State, the green card refers to the card used to determine permanent residency in the United States. As of February 2011, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service was still processing eligible green card applications from H-1B workers with who have been waiting since March 2002. Some H-1B workers who filed their applications for the green card in 2002 have been waiting to become permanent residents for over ten years. Wadhwa notes that as of 2006, 500,040 workers along with 1,055,084 family members are still waiting for their legal permanent residency status to be approved (2009a: 48).


Amy Bhatt

through the temporary migration process coupled with economic stagnation in the US and India’s global rise as an emerging economy have made returning to India a reality for migrants in recent years (Chacko 2007; Upadhya 2009; Vaidyanathan 2011). As India becomes attractive as a location for work to this population of skilled workers and entrepreneurs, the Indian government has redoubled its efforts to attract its ‘non-resident Indians,’ or NRIs, back home by making regulatory changes in property ownership and voting rights, and by creating partial citizenship categories through the Person of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India programs (Amrute 2010; Sastry 1991). NRIs are seen as vital to bolstering education, technology, business, and social service sectors because of their global networks and social capital gained by working in the West (Kapur and McHale 2005). Changes in banking and financial systems have also simplified foreign direct investment in India and encouraged NRIs to maintain reserves of foreign currency in Indian banks.7 These changes have resulted in the opening of key business and finance sectors and contributed to India’s emergence as player in the global market for software development and business processing outsourcing (BPO) services. India’s largest informational technology trade organization, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), estimated that this sector is expected to grow by 17% in FY 2012 and constitutes approximately 7.5 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product. Many of these jobs come with higher salaries than middle-class jobs in other arenas, such as government service. This economic liberalization and industry expansion have been largely supported by NRIs living in the West who are now more likely to invest greater sums in India and take advantage of job opportunities in Indian outposts of transnational companies. These deregulations seem to have paid off: Wadhwa et al. (2009) estimate that more than 50,000 immigrants have left the United States and returned to India and China in recent years. Wadhwa et al. foresee that in the next five years, 100,000 more will also make the trip back for good. For Wadhwa et al., losing talented immigrants to their home countries hurts American industries; yet on the Indian side, this return migration 7 Starting in 1991, India underwent a series of structural adjustments tied to the acceptance of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which are broadly referred to as ‘economic reforms.’ For a closer examination of the history and effects of economic reforms in India, see Ahmed, Kundu & Peet 2011; Cornia and World Institute for Development Economics Research 2004; Panagariya 2008.

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


offers an infusion of badly needed talent and f inancial resources. For H-1B visa holders, the allure of returning to India is heightened by the sense of opportunity available without having to deal with an alphabet soup of visas. Even for those who are able to convert their temporary status into permanent residency or American citizenship, the extension of partial citizenship categories means that NRIs can enjoy key benefits open to Indian citizens without relinquishing their foreign citizenship. Moreover, the return to India also allows NRIs to join the growing ranks of the new Indian middle classes who have benefited tremendously in the post-economic liberalization period (Deshpande 2003; Fernandes 2006; Fernandes 2011; Mazzarella 2005).

Homing Desires: The NRI Returns In a survey of over 1,000 male and female workers who returned to India or China, Wadhwa found that ‘career opportunities and quality-of-life concerns were the main reasons for returning home’ (2009b: 50). Wadhwa found that among Indian respondents, only 10 per cent of returnees held senior management positions in the United States, but after returning to India, 44 per cent were hired into such positions (50). Upward career mobility and the possibilities of living in India after earning a US salary also means that NRIs are able to afford a significantly more luxurious lifestyle in India than they could abroad. Though the primary reasons for returning to India appear economic at first glance, family obligations, concerns over cultural continuity, and the desire for children to experience one’s ‘home country’ all emerge as key motivations for moving back. However, for women who move, whether as spouses or workers, the decision to return to India can be difficult to make and often comes at the cost of personal opportunities and increased household responsibilities.

Making the ‘R2I’ When making the move back, returnees often turn to the countless NRI message boards, blogs, and online chat rooms to learn about how to best handle the transition. The author of the blog ‘R2I-The Story so Far,’ known here as ‘R2I-ed Blogger’ gives an exhaustive list of reasons for why she did not want to return to India, despite her husband’s deep desire to do so. Her list includes: better educational opportunities for children in the United States


Amy Bhatt

and fierce competition for gaining admission into top Indian universities; the quality of life in the United States with reliable access to basic amenities such as electricity, clean water, housing, and safety; a less accommodating work culture in India, which demands more time from employees than in the United States; problems with accountable law enforcement; hygiene and cleanliness; and the ‘lack of morals or humanity in general’ in India (R2I-ed Blogger 2009a). For R2I-ed Blogger, these challenges made returning a difficult choice, though ultimately she did concede to her husband’s wishes and moved in 2009. One of the ways in which returnees have mitigated the challenges of moving back to India is by choosing to live in housing enclaves and colonies populated almost entirely by other returnees or expatriates. This has led to the disparate development of cities such as Bangalore and has contributed to rampant real estate speculation and expansion (Brosius 2009; Chacko and Varghese 2009; King 2002). There is no doubt that the influx of NRI returnees has changed the physical and social terrain of cities such as Bangalore. A longtime hub of several public sector research and development ventures related to defence, aviation, aerospace, and electronics, Bangalore has exploded as a major hub of global software development and business process outsourcing (BPO) (Tejaswini 2007). It has one of the fastest-growing populations in the nation and is home to new gated housing communities that are part of the sprawling suburbs cropping up close to global offices located in areas such as the Software Technology Parks of India, the International Tech Park, Bangalore and Electronics City. Remarkable in many ways, nonetheless, overall growth has been uneven and inequalities between segments of Indian society have actually increased with the advent of economic liberalization and expansion of the BPO industries (Thomas 2010). While the new Indian middle classes have swelled in number, as Fernandes notes, this growth is ‘tempered by the reworking of historically produced forms of inequality, such as those based on caste, gender, language and religion’ (2011: 58). These inequalities manifest in the increasing stratification of the city and within the households of returnees. I had the opportunity to visit one such community in Bangalore, referred to here as ‘Lake View,’8 in 2009 and interview several returnees. Though the amenities available in these compounds are extensive and often outshine what workers might be able to afford while in the United States, the return to 8 The names of all individuals and housing communities have been changed to protect anonymity.

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


India also proves challenging for many women who are expected to run the household in India and ensure that the family’s transition is smooth. I found that the burdens that accompany returning often fall disproportionately on women in their roles as wives and mothers who must navigate often unfamiliar bureaucracies and exigencies of daily life in India after living abroad for many years. Women must contend with a greater distribution of family duties and the responsibility for managing a household reliant on domestic labour, all while dealing with the effects of reverse culture shock and acclimating to the daily forms of inequality that characterize life in urban India. Using the stories of Lake View residents Mina, Anita, Sita and Vimi, as well as posts from bloggers who have made the ‘R2I,’ I explore each of these issues in the next sections.

Negotiating Gender Roles The return to India is often accompanied by an increased burden of domestic responsibility on women and the consolidation of traditional gender roles. In my sample, men worked full time whether in the United States or India, whereas restrictions for women who migrated on H-4 family reunification visas, lack of jobs in the same geographical area as their husbands, or the burden of childcare and household management meant that married women were likely to move in and out of the labour force. Though the majority of women that I interviewed had degrees in professional fields such as engineering or business and had been employed using those skills at some point in their careers, by the time they returned to India, most had left the field entirely. Working or not, all of the women that I met were principally responsible for maintaining and running family life in India. Feminist scholars have long documented the imbalance of household responsibilities born by women, regardless of whether they work outside of the home. Considering the double-bind of home and career obligations that working women face, many middle-class Indian women actually decide to go into IT because it is considered a ‘family-friendly’ career that allows them to balance work and household demands (Varma 2009; Radhakrishnan 2008, 2011). Among returnees, however, women are almost always expected to adjust their workload to f it into traditional gender norms. Vimi had worked while living in the United States where she enjoyed a successful career alongside her husband in IT and shared household chores with him. But, like many other returnee women in Lake View, she left the


Amy Bhatt

workforce after returning to India and became the primary caregiver and housekeeper. She notes: I don’t think it’s about career as much as it’s about understanding what family life is [about]. One person has to be there for the family. When we were just the two of us, both of us could have worked and it would have been fine. Since the kids came in the picture, it was important that they had the strong foundation of what a family is all about. They should be able to come any time to us – it shouldn’t feel like mom or dad is busy. Maybe that is the Indian roots, but both of us felt that way. So he always told me, ‘If you want to work, that’s fine. But then we have to juggle our career life and the family.’ If I had started working at the point when he was working, I wouldn’t have made as much money as him. So it automatically boils down to that: I needed to sacrifice in that area.

In her narrative, Vimi simultaneously paints her decision as economic while reiterating the gendered expectations that professional Indian women must ascribe to such as prioritizing their families over their careers. Radhakrishnan argues that even for women who are active participants in IT as workers, ‘the “option” to stay at home and take care of husband, children, and in-laws is always the invisible norm that women relate themselves to – it is the form of gendered cultural capital that will most readily be valued’ (2009: 204). Of course, the ability to leave the workforce is a privilege open to middle-class and elite women, and the ability to have a wife not working at home is often a sign of high status itself. In the case of NRIs, social pressures for women to be homemakers also influences the decision to return to India, where it is often easier for a couple to rely on one spouse’s salary. The return, in many ways, offers certain economic advantages to the family unit, but also inscribes gender roles in patriarchal cultural terms. While some women do continue working after returning, they often move into lower prestige or part-time positions. R2I-ed Blogger asserts that the decision to return to India meant leaving her job and is clear that balancing a full-time career and home life in India is neither an easy task nor one that she would recommend to other women. In a posting entitled ‘Ladies Special,’ R2I-ed Blogger notes that ‘to maintain sanity and peace, I decided to take it easy and stay at home.’(2009d) Even after moving back to India, her in-laws and parents lived in different cities and were not able to provide regular childcare. Her husband’s job with an American multinational corporation meant that he had to work long hours in the evenings and was often away from home. She was reluctant to leave her child in the care of a nanny or

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


day-care centre because of her lack of trust in local Indian domestic workers. Thus, she found herself in the position of full-time housewife and caregiver. Other informants in Lake View note that returning to India also results in the decreased participation of men in childcare responsibilities. Mina, who moved to Bangalore after living in Seattle for 11 years, remembers that her husband used to equitably contribute to the care of their young daughters when they lived in the United States: ‘He was totally hands on. And that’s the thing about Indian men. When they go to the US, they become so hands on. Otherwise in India, they don’t lift a finger. That is a huge change actually.’ After returning and taking a job in Bangalore, Mina’s husband retreated from the reproductive labour of the household: Basically, he seems to be working a lot more than he used to. I don’t know what it is about India, but I have seen that in a lot of cases. For some reason, the men seem to be having longer hours. Things don’t happen quickly, right? So it takes longer to do anything. So he’s not as available for his children as he used to be.

Mina laments the change in her status with her husband from equal partner to primary caregiver, but attributes this to the larger cultural milieu in India. Another resident, Anita, points instead to the culture of work in India that reinforces stereotypes about men’s and women’s roles in the family. Commenting on her husband’s level of involvement in family life after the R2I, she notes: It’s definitely been worse. Less attention to family time, less importance on work and family balance. Like there’s just not even the concept that a dad might have responsibilities at home. I just don’t see that here at all. It’s just assumed, you’re the working partner so you’re available to the company 24/7. It’s a very different work culture here.

Both the demands of the global workplace, which requires employees to be available during US business hours for meetings and calls despite the time difference, and the persistence of gendered norms couched in terms of ‘Indian’ family values, lead returnee women to disproportionately shoulder the burden of childcare. Beyond childrearing, returnees must contend with other forms of gender discrimination in everyday matters. Mina recalls: ‘When we were talking to real estate agents. If I ask them a question, they’ll look at my husband and answer. I don’t like that. So you are not treated equally for sure. Nobody


Amy Bhatt

takes you seriously as a woman.’ The issue of gender parity has become a hot-button issue for urban women across India, particularly in 2009 when a group of young, unmarried, women were attacked in a Mangalore pub by a right-wing Hindu group for behaving immodestly by drinking, smoking and spending time with mixed company in public. Though outrage resounded from grassroots activists to leaders of national women’s organizations in India, the threat of violence against women who subscribe to ‘western’ norms looms large (Niranjana 2010). For women like Anita, Mina, Vimi, and R2I-ed Blogger who were accustomed to a degree of social and economic independence in the United States, the return to India carries with it substantial changes in their relative status and power vis-à-vis gender norms and the ability to assert themselves in public spaces.

Managing Domestic Workers In addition to adjusting to more restrictive gender norms, many other returnees find living in India means relying on a variety of domestic labour services as part of their roles as household managers. Gated communities such as Lake View have cropped up amid the crumbling architecture of government-built housing colonies, badly paved public roads and decaying state-run utilities. In stark contrast to the neighbourhood surrounding it, Lake View cultivates a sense of isolation, rather integrating into the larger cityscape and offers facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, entertainment rooms and day-care centres, as well as privately maintained water treatment plants, generator stations, grounds and road crews, and security guards. Nearby, several new schools include international curriculum that model American, rather than Indian (or British), programs of teaching and testing. These, along with other benefits discussed below, make Lake View attractive to its well-heeled residents precisely because of its ability to provide essential services otherwise provided by the state. Though the Western-style villas and apartments in Lake View are equipped with dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and other modern appliances and returnees have access to convenience foods and goods in area supermarkets, dependence on domestic workers9 such as house9 The terms maid and servant are used interchangeably by my interview subjects and bloggers. Maid is used to refer to a young woman who performs ‘inside’ household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and childcare. Servant refers to a member of the overall household staff, including maids, but also drivers and nannies. I prefer to use domestic worker, when possible, to maintain

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


cleaners, nannies, cooks, and drivers is de rigueur (Ray and Qayum 2009). Middle-class households in India often employ various workers to help with minding children and driving them to and from school, tuitions, and extracurricular activities, coordinating shopping and food preparation, and cleaning the house. For many, access to relatively cheap forms of household labour is a compelling reason to return to India, yet most returnees had not actually run a household in India before. Many had left India as students or young adults and therefore their household management experience was almost entirely based on living in the United States without domestic help. In each interview I conducted at Lake View, the conversation circled back to the elements required to maintain and run a household in India that is reminiscent of their former American lifestyle, all while dealing with the realities of relying on a labour force of Indian domestic workers who do not have the same exposure to products, machines, or food items as returnees. Sita moved to Bangalore in 2008 after her husband accepted an internal company transfer. Like many of the residents of Lake View, Sita is not from Bangalore and she found the task of running the household to be more difficult than expected: It is hard trying to get used to maids, servants and drivers because you are so independent in the US. You go to the kitchen and you do everything on your own. But here you have someone else all the time that you have to keep telling them what to do and what not to do. And managing them all with the salaries, trying to keep them happy, feed them while they are here and all that!

For Sita, the potential benefits of domestic workers must be weighed against the time and energy spent learning how to effectively manage her staff. Moreover, the relationship between ‘workers’ and ‘managers’ (in this case, the returnee housewife) is complicated by the intimate nature of domestic work. Cooks, maids, and nannies do the most onerous and intimate reproductive labour, for which women are often responsible in the household. Adding a transactional element to this care work is often uncomfortable for returnee women who would rather have a clearer separation between themselves and their employees, unlike other middle-class Indians who often rely on a ‘rhetoric of love’ (ibid.) to reconcile the mistress-servant relationship. emphasis on the explicit relationship of exchange that binds together employers and workers. At times, I use maid and servant for consistency with the language of my interview subjects and bloggers.


Amy Bhatt

In a post entitled ‘The Positives,’ R2I-ed Blogger writes that domestic workers offer relief from the drudgery of housework, but also create new problems: ‘I was sick of loading and unloading the dishwasher and the buzzing sound it used to make. I had a permanent back pain caused by bending into the kitchen sink to wash dishes, chop vegetables, etc.’ But she goes on to note: ‘I would like to add dishwasher chutti nahi karta (dishwasher doesn’t take vacations). And it does what it is supposed to. Cleaning!’ (2009b) While household workers are a blessing for R2I-ed Blogger because it alleviates her own labour, she also implies that domestic workers are inherently untrustworthy and her day is spent vigilantly watching over her employees to ensure that they actually perform up to her standards. She argues in the ‘Domestic Help-Part 1,’ post that managing domestic workers requires so much oversight that she believes women ought to stay home rather than try to balance career and home: ‘I am not saying that women don’t work here, but if children are your utmost priority and career taking backseat is an option for you, then be prepared. Going back to work is not easy unless you are too determined or unless you have family to fall back on.’ (2009c) Both Sita and R2I-ed Blogger allude to the perceived difficulty in finding and keeping high-quality domestic workers who communicate well (preferably in English), maintain certain levels of hygiene and dress, learn how to use modern products and appliances, show up on time and work hard, and remain in the background of daily family life. In India, procuring household labour has historically been a process mediated by informal social networks (Adams and Dickey 2000; Ray and Qayum 2009). In gated NRI-majority communities such as Lake View, informal and semi-structured networks of referrals dominate the flow of labour, though new channels for securing workers are also opening up through screening and placement agencies. Some returnees preferred domestic worker agencies or placement services to find workers who were trained to suit the needs of NRIs, and also because they added a level of distance between the employers and the workers. However, even with these intermediaries, domestic workers’ labour produces new tensions for returnee women whose domestic burden is alleviated, but moral sensibilities are vexed by having to manage these intimate care workers.

Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock Though often filled with excitement, the return to India is also plagued with unanticipated emotional challenges and cultural adjustments. For many returnees, deep ambivalences and hesitations continue to haunt

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


their decision even after the move in part because the culture may no longer resemble their fond memories. Mina notes: ‘We are so surprised at how much India has changed. We hardly recognize it. When you go to a department store, you get all the American brands! Initially, when my husband would go back to the U.S, I would give him a huge shopping list. He used to go to Costco and get diapers and all that. Then it became less; now he hardly gets anything except some few food items that are special.’ But, as she notes, the presence of NRIs have also increased prices of goods and services and altered local modes of commerce. She remarks: When NRIs come to India, the local people are not very happy because we drive the prices up. We feel sorry for the maids and all that. We are not so desensitized about poverty, so we don’t mind shelling out 200-300 rupees more … So the local people feel that we’ve driven up the prices of everything. I have a certain supermarket and I only shop there. They do well because of people like me.

The demand created by returnees has led to a greater available of Americanstyle stores, goods and services, which eases the transition for returnees. However, the higher prices and new urban environments create resentment between returnees and older populations who find it difficult to purchase the same conditions of comfort. Anita moved back to India with her husband in 2006 after living in the Pacific Northwest. He husband took a company transfer in order to live in Bangalore. She was born in the United States but had spent many years of her childhood travelling to and from India. Her husband was born and raised in South India and they visited Bangalore and Hyderabad several times before deciding to return for good. Despite speaking her husband’s native tongue, Telugu, she found the experience to be overwhelming: The funny thing is, I figured if there was anybody who was ever ready to move to India, it was me and it was still difficult. The first few days, you still find yourself in tears of frustration. Trying to set up a household was not like coming on a three month visit and staying with friends or family. It was difficult. My husband had never lived in India as an adult. He left for grad school and had never been back to live. He wasn’t any help. And trying to adjust to life with a maid and driver, it was very difficult and frustrating. Just trying to adjust to the pace of things, trying to adjust to people making promised and not keeping them about when they will show up and what they will do. It was a big adjustment.


Amy Bhatt

Similarly, Vimi moved to Bangalore after her husband landed a job with a major search engine provider and was new to the city after growing up in North India and then living in Seattle for 16 years. She never thought she would actually have the opportunity to move back: ‘I would never say that I would want to move back to India. Because you look at the life over here [in India], and feel like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ I could never live in a place like this.’ However, over subsequent visits back to visit her family, she noticed rapid changes that ranged from the mundane (grocery shopping in Westernstyle supermarkets rather than street-side vendors) to the profound (the explosion of malls, entertainment outlets, and overall spaces catering to the middle classes). She began to push her husband to apply for jobs in Bangalore: Financially, it absolutely doesn’t make sense to move to India. Why would you take a pay cut? Why would you want to live the life here where things are not the way that you are used to? And we worked out all the numbers. Even for our kid’s sake – one was going to do middle school and the other one was already in [an advanced placement program] and doing well and was going to be in fourth grade. We didn’t see any reason why we should do this … And suddenly, [it] just worked out.

Even though the decision to return was not entirely financially sound, Vimi and her husband decided to sell their house in 2007 and move to Bangalore. While both of them had grown up in India, neither of them is from the southern state of Karnataka, where Bangalore is located. As a result, they faced substantial cultural and language barriers upon arrival, particularly as they tried to hire domestic workers and drivers to staff their home. Though Vimi’s husband’s position allowed them to move to Bangalore on his US salary and paid for their palatial villa in Lake View, she found life in India to be a far cry from what she had imagined: The thing about Bangalore is that nothing seems to be settled. Everyone is going in different directions. To do anything as a family, forget about it. We don’t have the energy by then. And really in Bangalore, you feel that’s nothing much you can do outdoors. All you can do is go to the mall, or watch movies, go shopping. If somebody comes, you really have to go an hour or two away, to take them anywhere.

Tired of commuting long distances in heavy traffic and relying on a driver to take her almost everywhere, Vimi longed for the sense of freedom she

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


had experienced in the United States where she could set her own schedule and control her mobility. For Mina, Anita and Vimi, the reality of life in India did not match their fond memories or excited anticipation, both in positive and negative ways.

Re-returning: Is Return Possible? Though in many ways it is too soon to predict the full impact of return migration, the visible changes in urban Indian urban wrought by the growing amenities and industries aimed at returnees is undeniable. Mina, arguably one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the R2I in Lake View that I met, notes: I’m living the best of both worlds. There I had the experience of the combination of the whole American professionalism, honesty, integrity, organization, everything. Here, there is my Indian culture. I think I am in the best position, I would say. Not everyone has that privilege.

Remarking that it is not only she who has benefited from the return, but also the individuals that she employs, Mina sees NRIs returning as a positive sign for India’s social and economic development. She relates: Our attitude – another thing was our maid, for instance. When we moved here three years back, she was very different. Like the way she recycles, the way she throws things out, how she keeps the house clean, how honest … and everything. Today, she’s completely changed. She’s learned English, which she never knew. She’s very organized now. I made her go for an art class because she was interested. So we are helping people in our own way. That also was important. We were lucky to go [to the US] and make a life for ourselves, but I think it’s time to come back. That brain drain that we were a part of, you know? We need to come back and contribute.

For Mina, the return to India allows her to assuage her sense of guilt for being part of the ‘brain drain,’ but also considers her exposure to the West as vital to her cosmopolitan and progressive approach to life in India. Linking her treatment of her maid with her time abroad, Mina believes that she is a better employer, and perhaps even citizen, because she brings ‘Western’ values to bear on ‘Indian’ household life.


Amy Bhatt

While Mina also attributes her time abroad to deepening her appreciation for life in India, she also stresses that one cannot keep a foot in each world if they are to settle as a returnee: ‘I know so many Indians here who have come back and absolutely have not settled down. You can’t forget who you are, first of all. You can’t go there and say, okay I’ve become American, so I’ll hate everything about India.’ This sense of dislocation and dissatisfaction is giving rise to another trend: the return back to the United States. For workers who had grown accustomed to American corporate styles of work, the adjustment to the Indian pace of life and work can be too overwhelming. As the economy slows in India, opportunities abroad begin to look more appealing again. Additionally, for families with children, the return to India is complicated if younger generations do not adapt to school and social life in what is essentially a foreign country for them. Vimi describes her kids’ experiences with the return as riddled with difficulty: ‘They absolutely do not think that this was worth it. They don’t know why we did this – Why are we here? And the whole culture shock was amazing for them.’ The sense of heightened competition for quality educational resources, seats in elite higher learning institutions and jobs all contribute to parents’ scepticism about long-term prospects for their children. After achieving her dream of returning to India, Vimi must contend with the prospect of leaving again for American shores. Like Mina, she places the responsibility for adjustment on the individual, but also laments that sometimes expectations do not align with contemporary day-to-day realities: ‘I feel that we have a very warped outlook on what India’s all about when we’re living in the US. We’re all living with images of what we experienced when we were growing up. But we are not really looking at the reality of what is happening right now. So we’re always ten years behind.’ Soon after I met Vimi, she and her family shipped back to the United States where her children settled back into life as they knew it. Looking back on the experience in India, Vimi is wistful for a different outcome. She remarks: The thing is, I know that I would like to stay on here, but it’s just not good for my family. I really enjoy the life, the family and friends here. But in the end, your family is the most important thing and you have to be willing to adjust and make sacrifices to ensure they are happy and secure. So we will be going back.

Vimi ultimately sacrificed her personal desires for the perceived good of her family. Thus, the return to India is far from a natural or inevitable outcome of migration abroad and returnees experience serious cultural disloca-

Resident ‘Non-resident’ Indians


tion, despite having the resources to lead a luxurious life among friends and family. For some, return is a dream come true. For others, the cycle of migration is incomplete and the return to India is not the homecoming they envisioned. Writing for the New York Times, Timmons reports that ‘34 percent of repats found it difficult to return to India – compared to just 13 percent of Indian immigrants who found it difficult to settle in the United States’ (Timmons 2009). Complaining of congestion, the lack of infrastructure, continuing bureaucracies and family problems, and overall inability to adjust to life in India, many returnees choose to once again return – this time to the United States.

Conclusion While labour migration is often conceived in terms of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, return migration challenges the dichotomy between immigration and emigration. In the case of Indian IT professionals moving between the United States and India, traditional models of migration do not fully capture their experience. As valued knowledge workers, Indian IT professionals are able to move to the United States on temporary worker visas, which afford them pathways to family reunification and permanent residency. At the same time, for NRIs who spend years embroiled in the US immigration system and living away from friends and family in a foreign culture, the journey back to India can be an appealing prospect. Many choose to return to India after gaining valuable work and education skills, and in many cases, after starting families, buying homes, or even obtaining citizenship in the United States. Even though NRI returnees often have access to goods, services, and amenities that out-shine their standard of living abroad, the move back creates new challenges and obstacles in their adjustment to life in India. Whereas men tend to stay in the workforce, whether in India or abroad, their roles in the household change significantly based on location. In India, returnee men experience intensification in their work life and career expectations, but are also often alleviated from household responsibilities. For women who move transnationally as part of family units, return migration is coloured by the negotiation of reproductive roles within the household, stagnation in their careers, compromise in their personal desires, and the effect of migration on children. In cases where resettlement is difficult for women and children, returnees find themselves faced with the possibility of moving yet again, and turn to opportunities in the United States rather than stay on in the country of their birth.


Amy Bhatt

Considering the varied impact of return even within the same household, studies of transnational migration must consider gender roles and reproductive labour as mediating issues when tracking trends in immigration, return migration, and future circulations. The stories of Indian returnees challenge us to conceptualize transnational migration as a process that is continually impacted by both economic and social factors. Moreover, while diaspora studies have captured the experiences of displaced communities who maintain real and imagined ties to their homelands through their creative, consumption and communication practices, this case study deepens those characterizations by showing how returnees both reinforce and reimagine such ties through their continual movement between ‘home’ and ‘abroad.’ Thus, the increasing return of NRIs to India must be critically analyzed not simply because it is the inevitable outcome of globalization, but rather because it raises new questions about how transnational migration impacts social formations and national identity.


‘It’s Still Home Home’ Notions of the Homeland for Filipina Dependent Students in Ireland Diane Sabenacio Nititham

Summary This chapter examines the experiences of two young Filipinas who entered Ireland as ‘dependents’ of their migrant parents. Once they turn 18 they do not have the right to remain in Ireland unless they are accepted as international students or obtain permission to work. By addressing the liminal positions of these two Filipinas, a deeper analysis can be made of notions of return, and the intersections of everyday experiences engendered by social policy and the dynamics of migration. While there has been a growing body of work on the formation of diasporic communities, activities and socialization patterns, this increasing interest, however, deserves more specific attention when it comes to the practices of making ‘home’ in the host society. Many studies still seem to maintain a sedentarist bias, rooted in one physical location or another. In order to move scholarship forward, migration research needs to look at connections not only within the destination country, but also among other members of the diaspora and those (still) in the homeland, and specifically how these affect practices and orientations towards feeling ‘at home.’ Since migrants do not always (wish to) return home, the chapter problematizes how Irish immigration policies conceptualize migrants as temporary and that they will eventually return to their country of origin. Furthermore, the chapter complicates this by discussing the ways in which the two Filipinas construct a sense of home in the relation to the contradictions caused by their immigration status, affecting their ability to plan long-term and become rooted in Ireland. The lack of a transparent policy for ‘dependents’ and family rights dismisses any possibility of long-term planning, leaving the migrant family in a vulnerable position.

Introduction Previously known as a country of mass emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Ireland in the last 15 years has been perceived as a

74 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

‘new’ immigration country. The economic growth during the years of the ‘Celtic Tiger’1 saw the unprecedented and substantial return of Irish emigrants and a rise in numbers of international students, EU citizens and residents, asylum seekers, as well as an increase of migrant labourers, many of whom were recruited from outside the EU. The significant change in the Irish landscape, a combination of a movement from a net migration rate of -7.3 from 1976-1991, to +7.3 in 1996-2002 and +11.8 in 2002-2006, high economic growth rates, and the rising cost of living, has resulted in rapid social changes (Fanning 2002; Kirby 2004; Fanning and Mutwarasibo 2007; Fanning 2009).2 During these changes, immigration policy in Ireland has primarily constructed immigrants as short-term agents filling gaps in the labour market (Garner 2007). And while most immigration has been from EU member states, with non-EU populations accounting for a small fraction of immigration, the rhetoric around immigration has been more focused on non-white, non-EU populations, with these migrants projected as an ‘invasion’ of foreign bodies (McVeigh and Lentin 2002; Lentin and McVeigh 2006; Garner 2007). While meanings of Irishness are debatable, ‘foreign nationals’ and ‘non-Irish nationals’ (to use current terminology) are considered those not of white Irish descent, regardless if foreign nationals are habitual, permanent residents or have acquired citizenship. These binaries become increasingly problematic as minority ethnic communities settle and grow in Ireland, particularly when ’Irish’ as an ethno-national identity is linked to birth, descent and/or citizenship. The dichotomous us/them language reflects much of the earlier literature on migration and integration, which pays attention to experiences of incorporation into dominant mainstream society, with belonging gauged by levels of assimilation and acculturation. In these cases, especially where white hegemony is dominant, access to whiteness, privilege, opportunity, identif ication and attitudes towards belonging are often responses to marginalization and discrimination (Anzaldúa 1987; Hooks 1990; Mohanty 2003; Kurien 2005). Assimilationist approaches, particularly in regards to 1 The phrase ‘Celtic Tiger’ is a play on the Asian Tiger economies and their tremendous growth during the 1980s and early 1990s (Fagan 2002). 2 Census 2006, Preliminary, Table 7: Average annual rate of estimated net migration (inward less outward) per 1,000 of average population in each intercensal period, 1951-2006. With the exception of the intercensal period of 1971-1979, Ireland experienced a negative net migration annual rate, from 1951-1991. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Ireland’s economy was weak while emigration remained strong. At its lowest, the population reached 2.8 million in 1961 (CSO).

‘It’s Still Home Home’


twentieth-century immigration in immigrant-receiving countries such as the US, UK and Australia, does not pay sufficient attention to hybridity or strategies to reconcile the either/or dilemma (Kurien 2005: 439). In addition, there exists a ‘sedentarist bias’ implied in these discourses (Chu 2006), whereby belonging is linked to rootedness in one place, leaving binaries insufficiently challenged and their remaining detrimental effects unchanged. What is also missing from these conversations is that migrants do not always (wish to) return home, and that one’s home place or origin country is conflated with race. My research addressed these issues for Filipinos in Ireland. The study examined the experiences of Filipino women (or Filipinas) in Ireland because their stories complicate traditional notions of migration, challenge fictional dichotomies of us/them, native/Other, and bring visibility to marginalized diasporic populations. These reasons are important because the complexities and multiple subjectivities of Filipinas remain invisible for two main reasons. First, migrant women have been historically underrepresented in migration research, as there is a tendency to focus on male migrants and industries and their relationships to globalization, free trade, economics and policy (Bhattacharjee 1997; Pyle and Ward 2003; Piper 2004; De Jesús 2005; Lie and Lund 2005). Second, research on Filipinas tends to focus on prevalent images of Filipinas as domestic workers, sex workers and mail-order brides (De Jesús 2005). While attention to these areas is incredibly important, it overshadows the emerging scholarship on Filipinos and the politics of identity and transnational relationships (see e.g. Bonus 2000; Parreñas 2001b; Espiritu 2003; Ignacio 2005). Furthermore, the underrepresentation of Filipinas in diaspora research obscures the diversity of experiences of Filipinas, leaving them to remain as faceless overseas workers (De Jesús 2005). I focus on women to disrupt these tendencies as their experiences in the diaspora yield stories from multiple subject positions and circumstances. My research focus on women is not to discount the thousands of Filipino men living and working abroad, nor the importance of their migration circumstances. Rather, I hope to highlight those who remain especially invisible in various aspects of their lives. This chapter speaks to this invisibility through looking at the experiences of two young Filipinas, Mahal and Cara, who entered Ireland as ‘dependents’ of their migrant parents. Children of non-EU migrants in Ireland are classified, or stamped, under student/dependent status. Because student/ dependents are not seen as ‘habitually resident,’ their years in Ireland do not count towards the application of permanent residency. Once they turn 18, they do not have the right to remain in Ireland unless they are accepted as international students or obtain permission to work. By addressing the

76 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

liminal positions of these two Filipinas, a deeper analysis can be made of notions of return and the intersections of everyday experiences engendered by social policy and the dynamics of migration. The stories of Mahal and Cara are just small vignettes of the more than 20,000 Filipinos in Ireland.3 Their stories problematize how Irish immigration policies conceptualize migrants as temporary and that they will eventually return to their country of origin. The chapter explores the ways in which these women construct a sense of home in relation to the contradictions caused by their immigrant status, affecting their ability to plan long-term and become rooted in Ireland. The lack of a transparent policy for ‘dependents’ and family rights dismisses any possibility of longterm planning, leaving migrant families in vulnerable positions. This analysis in this chapter draws from semi-structured interviews conducted for doctoral research. 4 The chapter begins with a brief history of Irish immigrant policy and the entitlements for non-EU migrants. Second, it discusses the stories of Mahal and Cara and how their understandings of home and return are linked to education, social relations, obligations to family and perceived differing values. While their circumstances differ, as do their relationships and social circles, both discuss how the intersections of the everyday lived experiences and institutional policies shape their transnational lives.

Diaspora and the Homeland In the last few decades, there has been a growing body of work on the formation of diasporic communities, activities, and socialization patterns, revealing the changing dynamics of social networks and ideologies present 3 While most of the Filipinos in Ireland are in the healthcare sector and came through direct recruitment of overseas labour during the Celtic Tiger years, not all of them are in healthcare. Others entered as dependents, either as spouses or children. Estimates of 18,000-20,000 come from interviews with members of the Philippine Embassy, Dublin, and key informants in the Filipino community in Ireland. However, there is a large discrepancy with Census 2006 data, which indicates there were 9,548 Filipinos in Ireland. This discrepancy is in large part to conceptions of ‘citizenship,’ whereby some participants felt citizenship is where one lives and participates, and thus checked ‘Irish’ citizenship on the Census. Others said they did not fill out the census due to time constraints. 4 Fieldwork was conducted between 2006-2009 with 55 individuals in the form of participant observations, participant-led semi-structured interviews, a focus group and workshop in Ireland and the Philippines. Special thanks to Alice Feldman, PhD and the Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative for funding and research support.

‘It’s Still Home Home’


in social practices (Kitano 1996; Van Hear 1998; Nayak 2003; King et al. 2006; Jazeel 2008). This increasing interest, however, deserves more specific attention when it comes to the practices of making ‘home’ in the host society. Many studies still seem to maintain a sedentarist bias, meaning that ‘home’ becomes rooted in one physical location or another. This sedentarist bias needs to move beyond ‘spatially bounded contexts’ (Skrbis 2008: 233). Not all diasporans wish to return home (Brah 1996: 193), and others find that home is a complicated political and cultural terrain where they cannot physically return. Some become dislocated in their own homelands, whether their homes have been destroyed, taken over or have become impossible to travel to. There are others who maintain connections to the homeland, but still do not go back or are not able to return regularly. In many of these situations, there is an idealization of home where it remains a romantic refuge. Even if home is unreachable, diasporans may retain a collective memory of the original home after being scattered to the peripheries as well as an aspiration to return (Safran 1991). This collective memory remains a strong factor affecting how one participates and engages in the host society and understands a sense of belonging. Whether the diasporan seeks to return home or not, the homeland is a location in which migrants orient their motivations, practices and cultural products. Migrants do not arrive in the host country with nothing, nor do they leave their lives behind in their home country. They bring and make use of a toolkit of cultural capital: their language, values, beliefs and culture; food, products and materials; their gestures, activities and their ideologies. They come with their migration stories, a background which ‘explains the conditions of emergence or an arrival of something as the thing that it appears to be in the present’ (Ahmed 2006: 38). What further affects diasporan’s orientation towards home is one’s citizenship. Citizenship continues to be a major factor in mediating one’s experience, thus the ability to feel rooted and ‘at home.’ Citizenship is a status that means full recognition, rights and entitlements and thus the ability to engage in civil society (Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative 2008). For non-EU migrants in Ireland, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) has designated immigration stamps that confer different rights and entitlements. The GNIB gives stamps on a one- or two-year basis for non-EU migrants without long-term residency.5 These rights and entitlements include: access 5 Stamp 2 and 2A: Stamp 2 is for a student that can work up to 20 hours during term time and 40 hours during holidays. Stamp 2 is primarily given to third-level students. Stamp 2A does not allow the student to enter employment and primarily is given to dependents under 18. Stamp 4:

78 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

to social welfare, education and services; fair treatment in the workplace; the right to vote and for family reunification. One’s immigration status, and thus levels of engagement, are linked to one’s profession, in turn affecting and intertwining with other factors that can lead to instability and vulnerability. In Ireland, spouses and dependents do not have the automatic right to work, contrasting with other European countries. Spouses and dependents also can only work part-time, excluding them from full access to the Irish labour market. Because family members have separate rights and entitlements, immigration status fragments family units even when the family is in Ireland together. This leads to confusion among many participants about whose rights are whose and who is entitled to what. Children of non-EU migrant labourers are stamped as student/dependent status, which means they are not seen as ‘habitually resident.’ What this means is once they turn 18, if they are not accepted into college as an international student or obtain work authorization, they do not have right to remain in Ireland. Even if the student has been living in Ireland for most of his/her youth, or his/her family remains in Ireland, he/she is not permitted to stay. Because stamps are designated upon one’s relationship to employment or employed family member, each member of one family could have different statuses, with each member having differing rights and entitlements. This fragmentation, imposed by immigration policies, shapes how non-EU immigrants understand their relationship to Ireland and the Philippines. Underscoring this fragmentation is that immigration to Ireland is temporary, and that immigrants will eventually return to their country of origin. The fragmentation is at odds with Ireland’s constitution, which recognizes the family as a cornerstone of Irish life by stating that it is ‘the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.’6 The possibility of family separation for migrant families sends a message that Ireland’s protection of the family unit is accorded to Irish citizens only. Additionally, underscoring the debate of student/dependent status is that immigration to Ireland is temporary and immigration policy is disconnected from education. The lack of recognition Person can work without a permit. Stamp 4 is issued to people with work visas/authorization, spouses of Irish/EU citizens, refugees, those who were granted permission to remain by having an Irish citizen child and long-term residency. Information about other immigration stamps can be accessed at: 6 Constitution of Ireland, Article 41. The constitution can be accessed here: http://www. Bunreacht_na_hÉireann.html (accessed 28-05-2014).

‘It’s Still Home Home’


of a person’s years in the role of dependent child renders their existence in Ireland invisible. Their years as student/dependent do not count for anything. This undoubtedly affects migrants’ notions of settlement, attachment and orientations to the homeland, creating a sense of social, cultural and political borders between Irish/EU citizens and non-EU migrants. I use Brah’s framework of diaspora space as it provides a conceptual vehicle to unpack the meaning-making process of home and dislocation, as well as what home represents for Filipinos in Ireland as they negotiate social, cultural and political borders. Diaspora space ‘is the intersectionality of diaspora, border, and dis/location as a point of confluence of economic, political, cultural and psychic processes’ (Brah 1996: 182). As diaspora space looks at the intersections of diaspora and the dynamics of border engagements, this framework is useful to explore contradictions of location. And, because diaspora space looks at the intersectionality of diaspora, border and dis/location,7 it offers a comprehensive framework for analytical spaces and locations for multiple voices and realities, contested identities, communities and senses of belonging. Space and location are both conceptual and lived; the border mediates the experiences of space and location for diasporic subjects. As migration does not happen uniformly and involves innumerable political, economic, social and cultural variables, the border remains a contested space and location. Migrants are not economic units within a neutral system of movement; they occupy multiple subject positions within structures of power and are increasingly transnational. While research participants might not have thought about immigration stamp renewals in their day-to-day life, their immigration status shaped their strategies of home-making in Ireland. Their circumstances ultimately created a sense of liminality, requiring constant adaptation.

Liminality and Belonging Research participants made sense of their positionalities through articulating their notions of ‘home.’ Participants sought out fellow Filipinos to share language, rituals and celebrations; to practice religion and pray together; and to consume familiar food and products from the Philippines. In other words, their activities and social interactions, which stress across time and spatial boundaries, reveal their links to community, identity, their sense of 7 The use of ‘dis/location’ instead of ‘dislocation’ calls attention to the problematic between the location and dislocation.

80 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

place in Ireland, and ongoing relations to the Philippines. Mahal’s and Cara’s statuses, ages and migration circumstances have been significant factors in shaping their interactions with their parents, fellow Filipinos and Irish friends. Through the analysis of their stories, I examine the construction of their sense of home in diaspora space. While these aspects are not specific to immigrant subjectivity, they were more intimately felt because of their status as Others in Ireland.

Mahal When people hear Mahal’s strong Dublin accent, most assume that she was born and raised in Ireland. If someone’s back is turned to her and she begins speaking, she finds that the person is shocked to see the voice come from a young Filipina instead of a white Irish woman. She asks them if it is a bad thing because people are continually surprised. She laughs, saying, ‘If they were to turn their back to me, they wouldn’t know I’m Asian just by listening to the conversation. And, even on the phone … There’s this Asian girl with an Irish accent.’ While people are initially shocked by hearing her Irish accent, she says that most of them begin to regard her as Irish after a suitable exchange of ‘Where are you from? How long have you been here?’ The interactions regarding her accent mostly make her laugh, but occasionally, the undercurrents of race and its conflation with place cause her conflict. She tells me that she is not Filipina-Irish or Irish-Filipina, but a Filipina living in Ireland: When [my friends and I] go out and get drunk, I say, ‘Oh, I don’t have any friends here’ [laughs]. They’re like, ‘You have us. Don’t feel like you’re an alien. You belong here now. This is where you are living, so don’t feel so hard on yourself.’ … It is rare, but sometimes, you get thinking, oh yeah. Like, I feel like this, I feel like that, I couldn’t blame myself. You should deal with it, because you’re here. Deal with it. Deal with the situation. Or else you will be depressed.

Mahal, 22, came to Ireland at age 16 as a dependent of her mother. Shortly after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, she was offered employment on staff in a hospital. At the time of the interview, she had been having difficulties changing her Stamp 2A to Stamp 4, with two visits to the GNIB office. Even though she had the documents required, each time she was told she does not have the correct paperwork and needs to bring

‘It’s Still Home Home’


different documentation. This experience was familiar to many research participants, feeling that the inconsistent information provided suggested that they were not welcome in Ireland. Faced with the possibility that she might have to return to the Philippines if her papers were not processed, Mahal realizes that her choices are constrained by larger social structures. Because her years as a student were not considered towards residency, she feels this exclusionary policy does not reflect the kind nature she perceives Irish people to have. Her immigration status heightened her sense of balancing the role of insider/outsider, compounded the difficulties of her physical uprooting and her social relationships. Mahal’s migration circumstances differ from those research participants who left the Philippines in order to work abroad. While many participants initially immigrated to Ireland and left their families in the Philippines, Mahal and her younger brother reunited with their mother, who had been working in Ireland since 2001 and previously worked in Saudi Arabia. Their father, who had raised the two of them in the Philippines, had travelled to Ireland a few months before they arrived. Mahal tells me that her mother had been living and working abroad since she was a young child, so she really only met her mother in Ireland. She recognizes that her mother moved abroad in order to provide for her and her brothers to have access to education, pursuing opportunities and upward social mobility. She does not believe that her mother abandoned her family, but she wishes that she could have lived her younger years as a nuclear family. This echoes research conducted on children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), who understand the culture of emigration (Parreñas 2001a). However, when asked if they themselves would become migrant workers, almost all would say they would choose to stay with their families (Parreñas 2001a). Like other children of OFWs, Mahal understands her mother’s efforts were sacrifices and they were not without meaning. Her moments of resentment are made known through arguments with her mother, some which she admits to starting herself. The growth of transnational mothering is part of what Choy calls the ‘empire of care’ (2003). In the Philippines, the vilification of transnational mothers by the Philippine media and national discourse paints a negative picture of migrant women, supporting the idea that women are abandoning families instead of providing for families (Parreñas 2001a; see also Hochschild 2002; Asis et al. 2004; Parreñas 2008). This is damaging in two ways. First, it reinforces the idea of the nuclear family, and that the solution to the problem is to bring women home. Second, it ignores the reality of the need of remittances, and the effect of global economics on poor countries (Parreñas

82 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

2001a). As mothers go abroad to work, the care of children usually transfers to another woman in the household, relatives or close family friends. In the case of Mahal and her brother, their father became their primary carer before he joined their mother in Ireland (a few months prior to their arrival). The moral disciplining of migrant mothers ignores the struggles that OFWs have undertaken in order to contribute to their family’s wellbeing. It downplays the sacrifices that these women have made by going abroad and the responsibilities of migrant women in the global labour market. Looking back on her separation from her mother, Mahal believes that she has internalized these sentiments. She wishes she and her mother could have had typical mother-daughter bonding activities, such as shopping for a dress for prom. Since she knows that moments like that may not come up if she holds a grudge, she works hard to have a good relationship with her mother to make up for lost time. Even though she does not necessarily agree with her parents and their value system, she does not want to hurt her parents’ feelings because they have sacrificed a lot for her and her younger brother. In response to these, her own and her family’s migration circumstances, Mahal puts in a lot of effort to stay in touch with her friends from the Philippines to look for support. She uses social networking sites such as Friendster and Facebook to keep in touch regularly with her friends outside of Ireland. When she first arrived, she would call her friends in the Philippines and the US (where her two childhood friends now live) at least once a month. Through advancements in social networking sites, it is easier and cheaper to stay in touch. Mahal stressed that the reason for building a transnational web of support with her childhood friends is that they are in similar circumstances: at least one OFW parent, separation from Filipino friends, shared experiences of being an outsider personally and institutionally, and a sharper recognition of global economic tensions than their destination country counterparts. One of the key aspects that situate her notion of ‘home’ is through the institution of education. Education is a key way for dependent students to participate in Irish society. It is where they learn to negotiate values, ideologies and behaviours, and it is where they learn normative cultural capital. Reflecting on her education, Mahal was surprised that her Irish friends were more concerned with simply passing exams. For her and her Filipino peers, she felt that education is about learning and acquiring tools to move ahead in the world. Because her experience of moving to Ireland is underscored by economic migration, Mahal sees that education is linked to social mobility. She feels that in the Philippines, there is a much stronger emphasis on the value of education. For her, education and economic and social mobility

‘It’s Still Home Home’


are inextricably linked to success. For Mahal, the differences in attitude towards education made it difficult to connect to her Irish friends because they were more concerned with extracurricular clubs and societies than with studying. She had difficulty adjusting towards the social aspect in college, feeling that it distracted her from doing well. Aside from wanting to just do well, she was also aware that if she did not receive high marks, it may affect her chances in getting a full-time permanent professional job that would allow her to switch her immigration status. The constant balance of insider-outsider reminded her that although at times she felt at home, the decision to make Ireland her home was beyond her personal decision. In addition to the differences in approaches to education, Mahal did not always feel as though she was on the same page as her Irish friends, making it difficult to have deep social relations. Like in school, I didn’t feel like I could personally feel like I could get that close to an Irish person than to a Filipino. Like, I don’t know. It’s different. I don’t know now. They’re really, really nice, but there are some things that I could really only say and confide with to a Filipino, rather than an Irish.

Mahal used to be upset that she had a bigger social circle in the Philippines, where as in Ireland she could ‘count my friends on my fingers.’ She told me that she had to eventually let this go in order for her to form deeper friendships. After three years, it hit her hard, and she said she misses the support her Filipino friends gave her, and missed being able to contact her friends and do various activities, such as taking a pottery class or trying ice skating, whereas avenues for activities like this in Dublin are rare. In the Philippines, she felt she was always busy, on the go, but she doesn’t feel that in Ireland. After realizing that worrying about the size of her social circle was counterproductive, Mahal worked hard to have her Irish friends open up to her in order to form deeper relationships, sometimes telling them more details about herself to establish trust. She compares the types of friendships she has with her friends, saying that ‘I feel like it’s a different kind of bonding, even though I have really, really close Irish friends, I feel it’s still different. I think it’s just culturally it’s different.’ In order to overcome the difficulties in forming deep friendships, Mahal chose to actively cultivate her life through participating in Filipino activities and inviting her Irish friends to take part. One example that illustrates this is her 21st birthday party, a key birthday for young adults in Irish culture. She modelled her 21st after a Filipino

84 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

cotillion, most often held for debutantes between the ages of 16 and 18. She says this does not happen neatly, and recounts a story that illustrates finding a balance between Irish friends and her parents, and that she had to convince her parents that she wasn’t necessarily adopting a fully Irish lifestyle, but that she had to adapt so she could adjust and feel comfortable: It came to a point where Mom asked me, ‘You walk out there, you have to choose between your friends and me.’ And I said no, because it’s not about that. I stood up to her and said, ‘I have to be friends with them. I have to or else I won’t have anybody with me. They were so nice to have me, to invite me, to bring me in their social circle. So I can have my own social circle, I have to give in return what they are showing me. They are so nice, I have to do my part as well and it’s not that I’m leaving the Filipino culture aside. No, it’s not.’

Mahal’s interaction with Filipinos helped to maintain community and fill the gap of what she felt she was missing. Weaving not only her Filipino and Irish networks together, but also aspects of herself through different performances of behaviour, such as courting, her 21st birthday party and sharing food allows her to navigate through different cultural capital. Mahal intentionally blends her Filipino and Irish social circles, acknowledging that this does not happen neatly. I had to tell [my parents], ‘I’m living here now and this is their culture. I’m not saying I have to follow their culture and traditions, but I have to adapt, I have to adjust in some way to survive here.’ If I keep that Filipino tradition and I’m on my own, how would I grow? How would I survive, basically?

Her understanding of her life in Ireland, particularly in regards to race and racism, is largely informed by her friendships and alliances in school. Understandings of race and racism are a product of ‘group life and culture’ (Rustin 2000: 185) and identification with a racial group, whether with, against, oppressing or in resistance ‘by groups who define themselves in racial terms for this purpose, are among the most important forms of social cleavage, domination and resistance’ (184). While differences may occur among different generations, Mahal and her parents, as well as other adult participants may draw on existing reservoirs of knowledge and cultural capital from the Philippines, but the ways in which Mahal also draws on local knowledge in Ireland is from her interactions with Irish friends her age.

‘It’s Still Home Home’


Mahal makes conscious, strategic decisions to negotiate values and beliefs from the Philippines and Ireland, which are constantly present. She remains grounded by remembering the sacrifices her parents have made for her brother and her. Home, of course, is the Philippines. It’s still home home. Yeah, I miss home. And then, just, childhood memories, high school memories come rushing back. And, yeah. It’s like, it’s different to living at home and living here. I kind of consider this as my home because it’s where we have lived for the past six years, but still, you know. The Philippines is still home. I don’t think there is any, I don’t think any other country can take that away, because that’s where you’ve been raised, it’s where you grew up, and it’s just where you feel more comfortable. You feel settled and safe, even though there are tons of crimes happening here and there, and kidnapping here and there, but you still feel safe, and just ‘Ah, I’m glad to be home.’

She tells me that she knows a few others her age that had reunited with one or both of their parents in Ireland, but were so unhappy that they decided to return to the Philippines. While she has given return a thought, she says that she will never get to know her mother if she leaves Ireland. What remains at the back of her mind is that there was the possibility that she could have been legally separated from her family. By performing the cultural and social capital of both the Philippines and Ireland, she works to plant her feet in two spaces, giving her a sense of stability and to either stay or return.

Cara Cara, 19, came from the Philippines in 2003 at age 14. Her father first arrived in 2001, followed by her mother in 2003, then she and her siblings followed a few months later. Her family was looking for ‘greener pastures’ abroad, and her father’s sister, who had emigrated to Ireland previously, had sent positive messages of the country’s opportunities. After the family had been together for two years in Ireland, her father and her mother agreed their marriage was not working and her father agreed to move out within a few months. Towards the end of that time, he was involved in a serious accident and was in hospital for three months. Her mother left her job to be with him during his hospital stay, leaving Cara’s family without her or his income. After he recovered, he returned to their family home. When he

86 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

received a lump-sum payment for a medical claim, he unexpectedly sent it to a woman in the Philippines with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Cara’s mother asked him to leave immediately, and he left the family with almost no money. At the time, Cara’s sister started working part-time to provide extra income to the family, but because of her Stamp 2A, GNIB notified her to stop working. Cara’s family’s migration story sits within a false dichotomy of ‘successful/ failed migration’ stories. While pastures may have been greener, migration brings new dimensions and challenges while previous ones, if unresolved, still linger. While transnational family reunions are of ‘momentous importance in the life of transmigrants’ especially when family members are in different locations prior to reunion (Skrbis 2008), family reunions are not conflict-free. Despite the often romanticized notions of family togetherness, Cara and her family strongly felt that being together was key to feeling ‘at home’ away from the Philippines. This dichotomy of success/failure is important to address because Cara and her family, as well as many other research participants, stressed that many stories of migration are negative. While it is important to know about the difficulties of migration procedures, settling in the destination country, immigration procedures and the ins-and-outs of everyday life, Cara said that a balance is important so that future OFWs were not disillusioned. Success stories that are silent about hardship often lead potential OFWs to think that moving abroad is quite easy. The common notion of the OFW ‘is one who is awash with dollars, euros or pounds, after having “made it” overseas’ (Gutierrez 2007: 387). As Cara had emphasized, what is missing from conversations is that OFWs often keep challenges and difficulties to themselves, leaving fellow Filipinos not being ready to handle the social costs involved in migration and being ill-prepared for the challenges one may face. Additionally, family reunion is so important that the romanticization of home leads one to forget that home can be a place of conflict and that the contradictions of class mobility, as seen with Cara’s sister’s inability to supplement income, are overshadowed by ‘togetherness.’ Having the family together becomes the ideal, despite the hardships. Even though Cara and her family may have opportunities that may be otherwise unavailable to them if they had stayed in the Philippines, she still experiences restrictions from full access to Irish society as a result of institutional barriers. She is accepted at some levels, excluded at others. Towards the end of secondary school, and learning that she may not able to afford to attend college and that she may not be able to get a job that would allow her to switch her immigration status, Cara prepared to return

‘It’s Still Home Home’


to the Philippines. A month before her Stamp 2A was due to expire, Cara received an international student scholarship and was able to switch to Stamp 2. Because of Stamp 2’s restrictions, Cara is unable to work full-time, but has been able to work part-time to supplement family income. College has been an important aspect of Cara’s life. She feels privileged to attend college since she knows her family could not afford to send her, and that her current presence in Ireland is due to fortuitous circumstances. She tells me that family fragmentation is not just hearsay or something that appears on blogs: I have a friend who didn’t get into college and couldn’t find work, so he had to go home to the Philippines to study over there, which is kind of very difficult, because his family is over here and he lived here for so long and he’s over there. I can’t imagine that happen to us. Separation. That’s very common here, though, for Filipino families, because they can’t afford to pay for their kids to go to college and sometimes they can’t find employment because the difficulty in finding in getting a working permit.

The possibility of separation, compounded by her family’s difficulties, have led Cara to make a strong effort to build a social network in Ireland. Because she had a hard time making friends in secondary school, she made a particular effort to participate in social activities during college. Last year, I ran for class rep, you know … and I made a lot of friends, especially in my class, it’s a really big class in science. Because I had to represent all first years, I got to know them. And I found people that I wouldn’t have much in common with are really funny and fun to be with. So, I kinda live with them, I always go to their place. Another family. It’s really cool. Yeah, I made a lot of friends.

Unlike Mahal, Cara did feel particularly connected to her Filipino connections. Because most of the Filipinos she knew through her father’s social circle, and most of them were adults, Cara did not feel a need to be in touch with her Filipino side. For her, being Filipino was an obvious reality because her mother and siblings eat Filipino food and speak in Tagalog. Being with Irish people and having what she calls an ‘Irish lifestyle’ is more of an exploration of her college years. For Cara, it is more important for her to employ her notion of integration, which for her means to actively meet and be with Irish counterparts. For her, there is a lot at stake because of her student status. At the time of the

88 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

interview, her mother was applying for long-term residency, and her two youngest siblings, who are under 18, were eligible to be included in her mother’s application. However, Cara and her next younger sibling are over 18, and are not eligible to apply for long-term residency. This compels Cara to work hard at belonging, because she knows that after graduation, she will still be an outsider. Cara sees integration on an individual level, where her notion of home and belonging is how she and her family fit within the existing Irish landscape: Like, my lifestyle now would be totally Irish, like. ‘Cos, my mom works in a nursing home, she works with a lot of Irish people, my sibling are in school, I work as well. We have Filipino friends, but not many. We are more exposed to the Irish community now than Filipino, because we agreed on integrating, like, there is no point holding on to the Philippines as home because we’re here. We have to move on. And consider this our new home. And we’re doing good so far.

At the same time, Cara still identifies as Filipino. At first people are like, ‘You’re not from here?’ because they automatically assume that you were born here. I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m really flattered.’ But yeah, my friends, they do ask me a lot of Filipino questions. It’s funny, but yeah. But they consider me as Irish now. I’m practically Irish. Em, but you know, I’m still Filipino all the way.

For Cara, this is not a matter of being in between Irish or Filipino, but rather she feels that she is a Filipino with an Irish lifestyle. She feels that is a good thing, but she doesn’t want her friends to see her as only Irish. She adds, ‘You should also remember that I have different values. I grew up differently. So I wouldn’t be totally like normal. I want you to treat me normally, but I don’t want you to forget that I’m Filipino.’ For Cara, this recognition is incredibly important to highlight the fragmentation her family experiences and her understandings of being a racialized outsider. Her position is situated with a politics of exclusion, and despite established ties in Ireland, Filipinos, along with other migrant families who may have been in Ireland for generations, are seen as foreigners in Ireland (Mac Laughlin 1997). Feeling like a foreigner in one’s own country makes feeling at home a challenge, even if settlement is temporary. Exclusion is not the only aspect that shapes how Cara feels like a stakeholder, but also affects her attitudes

‘It’s Still Home Home’


towards family values. While Cara felt that Irish people are family oriented as are Filipino people, it is also a point of difference, especially when making decisions as a family. She says that her Irish friends make more decisions without parents’ or other family members’ input. Cara and her mother were surprised to find how many decisions were made without the consultation of the family. For her, and for many families from Southeast Asia, parenting does not end when the child turns 18 (see Lee and Zhou 2004). As well, children are expected to obey their parents and not speak back; to disobey this code of practice would be seen as disrespectful and defiant (Galang 2005). This point of difference tells her that she lives in an in-between space, and that the balance of her Irish and Filipino lives is something that is up to her. Cara calls Ireland her home and does not intend to return to the Philippines, but knows the ultimate decision lies with GNIB. Still, she invests her time and energy in her chosen destination. It’s weird. Because you know like my name is Cara and it’s Irish. It’s originally Irish. It’s like coming home. And my mom’s name is Eileen as well. And we were just talking about this last night. And my friend’s like, ‘Cara, I heard, like a couple people telling me that you’re name isn’t actually Cara, you just changed it.’ Because you know the way some people’s names are just really hard to say that they change it to an English version, an easier version. They thought I did that, but no, my name has always been Cara. And my mom’s name is Eileen. And they’re like, ‘That’s Irish.’ And I’m like, ‘I know, it’s like coming home, isn’t it?’ [laughs]

Even though she knows that she may have to return to the Philippines after graduation, she does not feel that she needs to prepare herself for the Philippines. This is largely in part because she feels she is just living an Irish lifestyle and that she is still full Filipino. Regardless of her decision to call Ireland home, she still says that she doesn’t feel fully ‘at home’ or that she fully belongs. Both Ireland and the Philippines are home.

Finding Home Mahal and Cara’s understanding of their relationship to Ireland and the Philippines is largely informed by their friendships and alliances. While Mahal and Cara’s circumstances are different, both of them negotiate their notions of being Irish and Filipino by drawing on cultural capital acquired in the Philippines. In the years since they arrived, they developed strategies in

90 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

order to deal with inconsistent and confusing immigration policies and their application, a sense of belonging in various social spaces, and symbolic notions of home and return. Constrained by their immigration stamps, Mahal and Cara struggle with their liminal positions. In their different ways, they negotiate their family migration circumstances and their understandings of identity and belonging in Ireland, alongside the social and institutional challenges that shape their experiences. Their agency is limited, for their options for employment and college based on their immigration stamp limit a ‘spectrum of possibilities’ (Knowles 2003: 38). The role and importance of education was cited as an important site of socialization and opportunity for both. Education, more so, was connected to social mobility; its importance to moving up the social ladder, the class status it confers and its reproducible benefits are unmatched by any other motivations mentioned by research participants. Because choosing specific professions and career paths for emigration is widely practiced, social mobility underscores the importance of education. The negotiation of their views and their Irish friends’ views are more than a personal debate, for they draw on existing cultural capital of the Philippines and their own opportunities for mobility. Because social mobility is a key aspect of diaspora, education, therefore, is linked to social positioning and moving ahead. The narratives of Mahal and Cara bring a greater depth to their sites of contestation. Their narratives show how they, in their social and cultural enactments, both imagined and created, understand the complexities of their identity and belonging in the circumstances of their migration to Ireland. Physically dislocated from the homeland, Mahal and Cara find ways to enact links to the homeland while they are in Ireland. By weaving Filipino and Irish social circles together, these women simultaneously create and maintain relationships in Ireland, the Philippines and elsewhere. These activities and the sites in which they occur are the means through which they understand their relationship to Ireland. In addition, the advances in communication technologies have helped to alleviate the pain of separation, and in some ways, have helped to make the distance between countries feel a little bit smaller. For Knowles, ‘space is about the calibration of forms of attachment and sense of belonging or ownerships that individuals and groups exercise over the areas in which they operate or live’ (2003: 96). They live and symbolize their ideological links to the homeland as they live between worlds and work towards a sense of belonging. The liminal positionality produced by exclusions in Ireland leads Mahal and Cara to regard the Philippines as the homeland despite their desire to remain in Ireland. The Philippines remains a ‘mythic place of desire in the

‘It’s Still Home Home’


diasporic imagination’ (Brah 1996: 192). Other research participants, when abroad, acknowledged that return was not imminent and that a corrupt government and extreme poverty, which allow few chances for upward social mobility, are the major deterrents for seeing the Philippines as a stable home. Yet, the homeland, in its idealized vision, still serves as a place of return, whether they choose to return or not. Social and institutional dynamics affect the ways people make home and how they communicate and identify. Home, therefore, should not be addressed simply as a physical space, but rather the focus should be on how people occupy and are oriented within spaces, as Ahmed argues (2006). What is important is how cultural capital is mediated and given meaning, how activities are repeated and oriented. Brah writes: ‘The question of home, therefore, is intrinsically linked with the way in which processes of inclusion or exclusion operate and are subjectively experienced under given circumstances. It is centrally about our political and personal struggles over the social regulation of ‘belonging’ (1996: 192). Even if there is no physical return, the act of not returning is still oriented towards the homeland. What is important, then, is the politics of destination (Chu 2006) and how people use their orientations in order to make home in their communities. Although home can have many locations, this does not mean that Mahal and Cara are without roots. One can plant roots in many locations, for home is located ‘not only spatially, but also temporally and ideologically because the notion of “return” is itself complicated’ (Jazeel 2006: 23). One learns more about home when one leaves it (Ahmed 2006: 9), opening up the possibility to interpret things in new ways (Anzaldúa 1987). The consciousness that comes out of these new interpretations and dislocations is a diasporic consciousness, which becomes stronger through local articulations of othering, no matter if it takes the form of exclusion, inclusion or something in between. In inhabiting more than one space or no space at all, Mahal and Cara demonstrate that being at home in the diasporic context is more than about staying or returning, but that the decision to stay or return is connected to dislocation.

Conclusion In their different ways, Mahal and Cara respond to their family migration circumstances and their understandings of identity and belonging in Ireland, alongside the social and institutional challenges that shape their experiences of ‘home’ and ‘return.’ While they may not have thought about their immigration status on a day-to-day-basis, these factors shaped Mahal

92 Diane Sabenacio Nititham

and Cara’s experiences in and relationship to Ireland and the Philippines. Home is not rational or consistent, nor must it exist in one specific space. Home is a complicated landscape that exists in many spaces. As a place of comfort and conflict, constant negotiation and mutual exchange, home does not produce a singular experience. Rather, home is linked to the politics of destination and to a struggle for continuity, and to the multiple fragments and social relations entangled within. This chapter has shown that dependent students strive for a sense of ‘home’ in Ireland amidst their circumstances, while at the same time the Philippines is seen as the homeland, a possible place of return. Mahal and Cara simultaneously occupy and move between the destination and Philippines and Ireland in their minds. I stress that striving for this sense of home should not be seen as a binary of being ‘fully at home’ on one end and feeling ‘complete dislocation/alienation’ at the other, but rather as a continuum, where multiple circumstances affect how one experiences life. They could only partially attain a sense of ’home’ because they are neither fully in Ireland nor in the Philippines. In the end, notions of the homeland and of the destination country are contingent upon mobility and opportunity. Whether ‘home’ is envisaged as being rooted in the homeland, as living in the destination country, as having one’s family nearby, or as experience constant comfort, ‘home’ is fleeting, always remaining out of reach.


Looking Back while Moving Forward Japanese Elites and the Prominence of ‘Home’ in Discourses of Settlement and Cultural Assimilation in the United States, 1890-1924 Helen Kaibara

Summary In the early twentieth century, Japanese elites in the US believed that loyalty to their native land could best be demonstrated by adhering to American normative cultural practices. This counterintuitive stance was born of frustration at their inability to use cultural capital amassed in their homeland in the face of American ‘yellow peril’ sentiment, the hostility towards welcoming Japanese immigrants of an elite class or otherwise. The solution to this conundrum, according to the Japanese Association of America (JAA), was to increase the standing of Japanese emigrants collectively. To achieve this, they implemented a series of reform campaigns aimed at subduing vice and presenting a more acceptable community appearance for American consumption. These measures were overwhelmingly aimed at unskilled workers and were inseparable from Japanese feelings towards the native land. The JAA constructed a public discourse about ‘home’ which maintained that emigrants could be most valuable to Japan, and therefore most loyal, by remaining in the US and living as model residents rather than returning to the homeland with earnings accumulated from working abroad. In this way, engaging with the concept of Japan as ‘home’ while living in the US became a proxy for return migration, as well as an expression of love for Japan.

Introduction1 As with other ‘poor, tired, huddled masses’ drawn to American shores in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many unskilled Japanese labour1 I would like to thank the following individuals for generously assisting me in the process of creating this chapter: Miyuki Jimura for facilitating my understanding of Zaibei Nihonjin Shi; Sayuri Shimizu for helping me to position my work within the established historiography of the topic; Jessica McLeod for editing drafts.

94 Helen K aibar a

ers arriving between the years 1890-1924 came as economically motivated sojourners. Yet, many of these immigrants ultimately decided to settle permanently in the US, and in doing so laid down roots for the tenacious Japanese-American population that would develop in subsequent generations. This chapter seeks to identify influences within the Japanese minority communities, which contributed to the rejection of return migration as well as the ways in which Japanese in the US engaged with the concept of ‘home.’ Central to this study is a group of elites known as the Japanese Association of America (JAA), who were greatly frustrated with the ill treatment of Japanese patriots in the US. This group fervently believed that the problem could be mitigated by altering the behaviour of the Japanese immigrant population; to this end, they mobilized their influence within communities to curb what they considered immoral activities, promote permanent settlement over return migration, and to push for cultural assimilation along American cultural normative lines. Rather than stemming from a genuine desire to become ‘good Americans,’ or simply as a way to combat the ‘yellow peril’2 sentiment on the American West Coast, these campaigns were born of reverence for the motherland. The JAA constructed a discourse about ‘home’ which maintained that the Japanese in the US could be the most valuable to Japan, and therefore most loyal, by remaining in the US and living as model residents rather than returning to Japan with earnings accumulated during their time abroad. In this way, engaging with the concept of Japan as ‘home’ while living in America became a proxy for return migration, as well as an expression of love for Japan. For this study I have made use of a variety of primary and secondary source materials in English and Japanese. To ascertain the mindset of proponents of the JAA’s various reform campaigns, I relied heavily on an under-studied Japanese-language book Zaibei Nihonjin Shi (The History of Japanese People in the United States). Written by the JAA and printed in Japan in 1940 but never available for purchase, this book tells a history of Nikkeijin, people of Japanese ancestry, living in the US. To gage the level of hostility Japanese faced in their new country, I turned to American newspaper articles and diplomatic records contemporaneous to my period of study. I have integrated this information with an overview of the historical situation provided by monographs such as Yuji Ichioka’s The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924, Eiichiro Azuma’s 2 I use ‘yellow peril’ in this chapter to denote an interplay of popular attitudes towards Asians, in this case Japanese, characterized by fear and hostility which manifested in isolated confrontations as well as public policy.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America, and Andrea Geiger’s Subverting Exclusion: Transpacific Encounters With Race, Class, and Borders, 1885-1928. Finally, for a theoretical framework, I have borrowed from Ferenc Fehér and Agnes Heller’s ‘Naturalization or “Culturalization”?’ in Baubock (ed.), Aliens to Citizens: Redefining the Status of Immigrants in Europe. Within the historiography of Japanese immigrants to the US, a great deal of ink has been devoted to the struggles of labourers and the agency born of their everyday lived experiences. Japanese-American history, like the history of many other minority groups in America, emerged in the 1970s as an academic response to tumultuous political and social movements and the traditional focus on powerful elites in historical scholarship. Hence, Japanese-American history has, from its very origin, been a branch of social history – history from the bottom up, focused on examining the plight of ordinary people. In the subfield of social history, the social elites were relegated to the analytical margins; as such, ordinary people have tended to dominate the historiography of Japanese-Americans. Studies which take workers as primary historical subjects have been crucial in providing an understanding of the early Nikkeijin experience in the US and are correct to recognize the ways in which these intrepid souls carved out a space within an often hostile social territory. Taking as sources memoirs, oral histories, and other individual accounts, these studies departed from traditional politico-centric historical practices that had previously rendered non-elites as little more than a background of monolithic, one-dimensional groups defined by familiar tropes (e.g. agriculturalists, railroad labourers, miners, ‘picture brides’) against and upon which powerful elites historically acted. It is with the benefit of insights gained from progressive histories that I wish to once again direct scholarly gaze upon a classic locus of power: social elites. A study of these pillars of the immigrant community will inform the corpus of literature on Japanese in the US in the fin de siècle and the early decades of the twentieth century by offering an analysis of elite beliefs channelled through the JAA. Despite copious scholarly attention given to labourers and non-elite immigrants, the world and life of ‘the people’ is, in reality, inextricable from a complex interplay with the superstructure of power. Any discussion of the routine lives of labourers cannot be complete unless this web of relationships and reciprocal influences is also investigated. Herein lies the need for resuscitating the place of social elites in narratives of social history. The elites were in a position to conduct a dialogue with the American public at large, as well as with

96 Helen K aibar a

counterparts in Japan, and were thus representatives of the community. The JAA organized lifestyle campaigns with the purpose of moulding Japanese immigrants into a group more acceptable to the dominant culture; clearly, this group painstakingly constructed the terms on which they entered into conversation with outsiders. It is difficult to quantify the success of the JAA’s efforts, but I believe there is value in a prosopographical study which analyses the concepts of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ both within the Japanese immigrant community and beyond. It is my hope that this work will contribute to a turn in JapaneseAmerican historiography towards taking into account the intertwined nature of Japan’s national history and international affairs, including the quest of Japan to achieve social respectability vis-à-vis Western powers, and also for Japanese nationals to be accorded dignified treatment within the US. This kind of scholarship mandates a conflation of international history, Japanese history, and American ethnic history. In this way, my work responds to the call raised by Eiichiro Azuma to consider the positionality of Nikkeijin, and is also in accordance with a recent trend within the social sciences that seeks to dissolve the artificial boundaries of national history, and redefine the narrative of nation-states in more transnational contexts. In this chapter I will preface my analysis with an overview of immigrant acculturation theory; this will be followed by an introduction to the elite and working-class elements of Japanese immigrant society. I will then discuss the American ‘yellow peril’ rhetoric and the resulting US-Japan diplomatic crisis, as well as the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between America and Japan regarding Japanese immigration. Finally, I will present an in-depth look at the transformation of the JAA from a detached advocacy group to an organization with a tangible presence in the lives of everyday Japanese immigrants in the post-‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ era. At the heart of this chapter is an examination of the JAA’s efforts to harness the indomitable patriotism of the Japanese in America to advance assimilation and moral reform campaigns. In particular, the bodies of women were the focus of many reformist activities, and this chapter will demonstrate how Japanese elites partnered with Japanese organizations in Japan and the US to better align immigrant women’s domestic practices with a Western ideal in the face of calls to prohibit Japanese ‘picture brides,’ and with American organizations to eliminate prostitution. The chapter concludes with an examination of the unravelling of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ through the Immigration Act of 1924, and hypotheses regarding the impact that this had on Japanese communities in the US.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


A Brief Theoretical Framework of Assimilation As Ference Fehér and Agnes Heller posit in ‘Naturalization or “Culturalization”?,’ culture can be conceptualized as the foundation of individual and collective psyche built in the formative years of childhood. They assert that immigrants occupy a liminal positionality between the two heterogeneous cultures, and are by nature, a threat to the cohesiveness of the receiving group. This inherent tension necessitates reconciliation. Fehér and Heller identify the concept of assimilation as the ameliorating force. Assimilation, they argue, is a dichotomous concept consisting of traditional ‘naturalization’ juxtaposed with ‘culturalization,’ or in other words, ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ naturalization processes. Fehér and Heller argue that this duality has been the primary means of incorporating newcomers into a civic body and that it exacts a heavy price by denying immigrants the prerogative of cultural expression. In their view, traditional or ‘strong’ naturalization, reminiscent of European dynasties, constructed a phenotypical litmus test to justify exclusion of racialized others while culturalization, or ‘weak’ naturalization, demands the submission of natal rearing though brandishing an egalitarian facade (Fehér and Heller 1994: 136). Within res publica, culture is the adhesive property necessary, for pragmatic purposes, to hold the society together. Fehér and Heller liken culture to a language made up of history, mores, and social establishments developed over generations. With culture as such a cornerstone of society, it is not hard to imagine a cultural imperative for newcomers to assimilate. National culture, Fehér and Heller maintain, is a core and indispensable element of a body politic, and the absence of its cohesive properties would mark a form of ‘political nihilism’ in which a functioning society would become impossible, but more important to the topic at hand, one in which the immigrant would face ‘an unbearable atmosphere of permanent exile’ (ibid.: 144). This is to say that cultural assimilation is the process by which newcomers may acquire real membership into a society. Political expediency in settler nations such as the US has necessitated an altered approach, and ‘weak’ naturalization eventually came to be the practice. However, Japanese immigrants to the US during the period under study were prevented from acquiring American citizenship on the basis of race and their customs routinely came under attack. In this sense, Japanese immigrants in the US were forced to contend with the limitations of ‘strong’ naturalization even in a time and a place where ‘weak’ naturalization was being lauded up as a mark of progressive advancement. It was because of their racial difference, and the attendant legal obstacles they faced,

98 Helen K aibar a

that Japanese elites in the US had to rely on a perfect execution of ‘weak’ naturalization to gain admission into American society. The JAA explicitly knew the importance of assimilation. This path to attaining social equality was fraught with obstacles, and it is important to recognize the degree to which this process was motivated by thoughts of the homeland. The drive to adapt to American society, and more importantly to be accepted in the US, was as much about elevating the status of Japan in the minds of Americans as it was about gaining individual advancement.

Initial Forays into the US The JAA credits the Japanese immigrants of the mid and late nineteenth century, mostly students who came to study in American universities, with establishing a meaningful connection to their new home in the US. These early migrants were able to find boarding in American households where they were exposed to ‘righteous living’ by the ideological descendants of Puritan settlers (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 17). Notwithstanding that these households were mere boarders’ lodgings, the JAA drew an ideological connection to these American paragons of the ‘protestant ethic’ by arguing that having simply been in this milieu boded well for the developing young adults, most of whom were hosted by ‘faithful and pious Christian’ families who could impart sincere moral teachings to the Japanese students (ibid.: 17). Additionally, because these students had demonstrated academic ability and endured many obstacles to enter American schools, the character of the students was outstanding. They thrived in their new environment and excelled in academic performance and moral conduct (ibid.: 17). Having been exposed to American culture, and in many ways embracing it, their resolve to remain in the country became even stronger. Still, the resistance that these individuals encountered was a continual reminder of their status as an ‘other.’ It cannot be assumed, however, that these elites were ready to abandon their Japanese identity completely. After all, the JAA considered itself the ‘brain and bone [framework] of Japanese society in the US actively involved in the front lines of [Japan’s] overseas development’ (ibid.: 32). The JAA’s desire for immigrants to ‘fit in’ to US society was a conflation of respect for American culture as well as a desire to reflect well on their country of birth. The early comers to the US were promising youths who often shared a sense of mission to expand the reaches of Japan and to build a new national image, triggered by the formidable legacy of the Meiji Restoration. Each of

Looking Back while Moving Forward


these individuals ‘bathed’ in the lively culture of the new land and contributed to building an international image of a ‘modern’ Japan while becoming leaders within the Japanese enclaves in America (ibid.: 30). According to the JAA, the earliest Japanese residents in the US had made a favourable impression; it was the subsequent deluge of economically motivated workers that blighted this early image of the empire and its emigrants (ibid.: 32).

The Unskilled Workers Enter the Equation Labour contractors often brought Japanese agricultural workers to the US, and most Japanese labourers went to Hawaiian sugar plantations or to farms in California. These agricultural labourers were mostly peasants from the Japanese countryside who relied on contractors to pay their passage and to loan them start-up funds for their new life abroad. These immigrants were often mistreated due to their vulnerability, and in an unequal power dynamic with contractors who often exerted great control and influence in their respective recruiting areas within Japan. It was not uncommon for peasants to arrive in Hawaii and California with no feasible way of returning home. Starting in roughly 1890, a significant increase in Japanese immigration caught the attention of American officials, and prompted regulation. One event in particular was heavily reported by newspapers and helped to brand Japanese immigration as a flood of undesirables into the country. Two steamships, the Remus and the Pemptos, docked in Pacific harbours in 1891 carrying a large number of Japanese passengers. American newspapers were quick to characterize the immigrants as ‘low-class and densely ignorant’ (Sawada 1996: 41). The elites in the Japanese immigrant community in the US were keenly aware of the impression their ‘remarkably provincial’ fellows were making in the host country, which served as a catalyst for the formation of organizations such as the JAA to combat this view (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 47). The most common characterizations of these Japanese immigrants were that they were ‘inassimilable,’ and that they were a detriment to the American labour force. The rising numbers of Japanese in the US, both through immigration and birth rate, were also a concern for many, leading to fears that they would eventually gain control of territory through population increase. Compounding the alarm of so many exclusionists was the persistent argument that Japanese could not be ‘true’ Americans because traditional Japanese values, such as loyalty to the motherland and the emperor, would

100 Helen K aibar a

be taught in immigrants’ homes and in the ethnic schools which many Japanese children attended to supplement their American education. These were some of the beliefs regarding Japan and the Japanese people that the JAA would assiduously try to counter by advocating a discourse of adaptability and conformity rooted in concern for protecting the image of their ‘home’ in the eyes of the host society.

The Diplomatic Crisis The considerable, and growing, anti-Japanese agitation in California and other Western states put the Japanese government on the defensive. Japan had recently gained increased political status in Asia through decisive victories over the Chinese (in the First Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895) and the Russians (in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905), and international headlines recounting poor treatment of Japanese immigrants in the US were an embarrassment to the government in Tokyo. It was considered paramount to Japan’s international aspirations to be treated with respect and to be able to maintain a strong image vis-à-vis the industrial superpowers of the world. In 1906, when a powerful earthquake in California made school buildings scarce, the San Francisco School Board ordered the segregation of Japanese school children. The intention of this decision was to leave the best of the remaining facilities for white children. With this move, the diplomatic tensions between the US and Japan became palpable. On the American side, President Theodore Roosevelt had been watching the crisis unfold and was extremely interested in reaching an amicable compromise with Japan that would quiet the exclusionists on the West Coast and avert a larger diplomatic problem with an up-and-coming naval power. Japan had been observing the rancour over Japanese labourers in the US with mounting concern. An outright ban on Japanese immigration, as had been enacted against the Chinese in 1882, would be a hindrance to the Japanese government’s efforts to secure a more equal footing with industrialized Western powers, and therefore would not be acceptable. The Japanese government was resolved to take measures that would prevent actions such as this and protect the image of its nationals in the world arena. The JAA were determined to do their part to support these efforts, both to improve their status and treatment in their country of residence and to safeguard the perception of their homeland, thereby demonstrating their worthiness to join American society.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


The ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ and the Ascendancy of the JAA It was evident that mass entry of unskilled Japanese workers was the main point of contention in California, and both the Japanese and American governments had a vested interest in satisfactorily resolving this conflict. The diplomatic agreement reached between the US and Japan in 1907, dubbed the ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ was an informal accord in which Japan agreed to monitor and restrict the emigration of its own nationals to the US. In return, the American government agreed not to place an official restriction on Japanese immigration. The main alteration in the emigration policy of Japan was the creation of two categories of visas; one for skilled labourers and another for unskilled labourers, with the quota for unskilled visas set very low. The terms of the ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ necessitated a Japanese governmental presence on American soil to monitor the influx of its nationals as well as to track and verify the legitimacy of these people to be in the US. With a sophisticated organization already in place on the West Coast, the JAA was in a position to provide the necessary oversight. By 1907, the JAA was operating at two levels and was partially under the aegis of the local Japanese consulates. The central bodies of the JAA were regional offices organized around a consulate, and below these were the local JAA branches. Beginning in 1909, the Japanese consulate delegated administrative authority to the JAA’s central bodies, which in turn authorized the local municipal branches to act as proxies. The JAA was permitted to oversee consulate transactions, including processing marriage and divorce applications, requests to travel back to Japan, and paperwork to summon the spouses and other family members of legal residents. Most importantly, the JAA was also charged with the task of checking the legitimacy of visas and issuing residency certificates to individuals determined to have lawfully entered the US. The JAA went one step further, however, by taking photographs and gathering demographic information concerning occupation, financial status and family connections of residents (Ichioka 1988: 163). This data was used in tracking individuals and was shared among local associations in a self-policing effort to curb vice, and by extension, combat Americans’ ‘yellow peril’ fears. As the drive towards assimilation took on an increasingly desperate tone in the face of mounting anti-Japanese hostility in the US, the JAA began to consider the moral fibre of certificate applicants. No longer was it sufficient just to have orderly immigration paperwork issued from Japan; now the

102 Helen K aibar a

petitioner must also live a life of probity. It was at this juncture that the JAA began to implore rank and file labourers to demonstrate to their American hosts that Japanese immigrants were worthy of equal legal treatment by adopting mainstream cultural practices. Or, in the framework of Fehér and Heller, the JAA sought to use a strategy of engaging in culturalization, or submitting to ‘weak’ naturalization, to bypass the limits placed on them by ‘strong’ naturalization.

Embracing the Space ‘In-between’ Japan and the US When masses of unskilled Japanese workers came to American shores, already-established elite Japanese residents retained a position of leadership within the Japanese immigrant communities in areas such as ‘industrial management, organization, and proper guidance of thought’ (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 4). The JAA claimed that it was this quality of leadership which ‘set the Japanese population apart’ from other immigrant groups with large numbers of migrant workers but in which more skilled or educated members were largely absent, thus imbuing the Japanese immigrants with ‘an entirely different appearance’ (ibid.: 32). Despite the presence of diverse social elements, the settlers were surrounded by adversity and received little aid from their country of origin. Ineligible for American citizenship, disadvantaged in some states by land ownership bans and a myriad of other legal prohibitions, and reliant on distant Japan to intervene in instances of unjust treatment, their situation was untenable. Thus, the Japanese immigrant community painstakingly negotiated a space for themselves in between two nation-states.3 From the outset, the JAA believed that the nascent Japanese communities were at a disadvantage within ‘an existing society [where mainstream whites] boast their power and superiority’ (ibid.: 3). The JAA believed that in relation to this dominant group, Japanese immigrants ‘thoughtlessly’ mingled, scattered, rarely congregated, and allowed themselves to become engulfed within the mainstream society, seldom making forays into the larger entity that surrounded them (ibid.: 3). Alarmed by this, the JAA sought to create a cohesive society of Japanese in America. On a political level, average Japanese labourers ‘created a society that had extremely 3 In his excellent monograph Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America, Eiichiro Azuma masterfully describes the positionality of Japanese in the US as ‘in-between’ peoples.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


few political and legal links [to Japanese society]’ (ibid.: 3). As such, these sojourners ‘fought against mental anxiety’ in not having direct support from either country, and were forced to ‘[overcome] thousands of new experiences, and [to proceed] as if they were human bullets’ (ibid.: 3). What ties existed to the homeland were the occasional travels and correspondence of a small number of Japanese on either side of the Pacific Ocean. The JAA believed that suffering of individual immigrants could be lessened, and that banning together could strengthen the relative position of the entire group. With political connections to the homeland, the educated and economically advantaged JAA felt they were in a position to lead their fellow expatriates to creating a respectable minority in the US. The JAA viewed the Japanese of the US to be important cultural brokers between the two nation-states. They felt that the Japanese residents of the US had much to offer both nations. From their vantage point, the Japanese in America were well suited to provide needed labour and were ‘peerless pioneers of industry’ (ibid.: 4) who could facilitate transpacific trade in terms of American dealings with Asia. The immigrants, they believed, also represented a source of assistance to the mother country’s international relations as ‘a pioneer group full of combative spirit to advance Japan’s overseas development, a group of forerunners to introduce Japan abroad, and also people of great sincerity’ (ibid.: 4). These objectives were part of a JAA platform to introduce Japan to the broader world, act promptly to smooth bilateral relations when necessary, and encouraged greater understanding between the two nations. In terms of cultural sharing and transpacific friendship, tens of thousands of second-generation Japanese had been born in the US, comprising a domestic cadre of Nikkeijin to ‘serve an important role by representing a unique contribution to the future of both countries’ (ibid.: 4). Clearly, the JAA felt that Japanese immigrants could be most useful to Japan by remaining in the US and making inroads into the society of this world power. However, the capacity of this group to live up to this potential was limited by the position of Japanese in the new country. The immigrants could only aid their homeland in gaining the friendship of the US if they consciously formed immigrant communities and worked towards these purposes. Organization and a shared vision could achieve what individuals could not; it would allow these patriots to be useful to Japan. Moreover, the JAA knew that assimilation was key to gaining the trust of Americans, and the US would only enter into a close friendship with a nation it could relate to. In this sense, the Japanese immigrants were an element in forming a relationship between the US and Japan.

104 Helen K aibar a

Building a Unique, Settled, Community A formidable challenge for the JAA throughout its most active decades was to communicate the idea of ‘ethnic community’ to workers in remote locations. Labourers routinely ventured out individually or in small groups to various farms to harvest crops or work in mines or on large-scale infrastructure projects, and seldom had contact with other Japanese immigrants beyond those in their immediate working vicinity. Rather than engage in seasonal migrations, the JAA desired to see these Japanese labourers settle, acquire land, have families, and build communities. The JAA encouraged wives to immigrate hoping that this would promote the creation of Japanese families, and by extension, Japanese communities. Japanese emigration law stipulated that farmers and businessmen were permitted to send for wives while unskilled labourers were not. In this way, itinerant men were encouraged to become settled agriculturists in order to take advantage of the opportunity to bring Japanese wives to the US and make families in their adopted homes. Once reclassified as agriculturalists, these men could send for their relatives in Japan, or make arrangements to sponsor a ‘picture bride.’ Incidentally, farming also promoted more stability in terms of remaining in the US, than most unskilled work, making it doubly attractive in the eyes of the JAA. It was believed that the development of kinship networks in the US would further incentivize permanent settlement and bring investment of money into the local economy, thus countering the claim that the presence of Japanese was a detriment to general economic health as well as to the livelihood of the native workforce. Establishing families also promoted vested interests in and contribution to local communities, which presented a more acceptable image of Japanese immigrants, and Japan generally, than single, male, itinerant labourers. From the earliest days of Japanese immigration, Christian organizations had assisted these newcomers to the US; yet it was the more established segments of Japanese society – the skilled and educated elites – who had the most exposure to, and enjoyed the most aid from, American Christian organizations. The participation of elite Japanese in Christian organizations demonstrates the appreciation this group had for mainstream American culture. The activities they chose to pursue in partnership with these groups, however, speak to their commitment to improving the image of the Japanese community in the US, and their continuing desire to protect the homeland through activities in their new country of residence. In time, Japanese elites rose to lofty ranks within some Christian organizations, and were also active in the formation of new religious associations.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


Among the most important of these early groups was the Gospel Society, which gradually developed as a central meeting place for Japanese students in San Francisco. The Gospel Society operated a boarding house for newly arrived immigrants and performed various services for newcomers such as providing assistance with job placement. This religious organization was of paramount importance in training the first cohort of JAA leaders as well as in constructing the ideals of the kinds of communities these leaders envisioned; notably, one which showed deference to the dominant Christian culture (ibid.: 23). It was for building this kind of exemplary diasporic community that the JAA hoped to enlist rank and file labourers. While certain members of the Japanese elite did genuinely admire American culture, there can be no doubt that adoption of American cultural norms was also seen as a means to gain acceptance for immigrants. Likewise, it is clear that in addition to the desire to improve the situation of the Japanese-American immigrant community, these efforts were intended to project the desired image of the homeland to members of the host society. And while these efforts were directly motivated by the circumstances of immigrants’ daily lives in the US, their love of their homeland and concern over its international image was clearly also a motivation for many of their choices and actions.

The Question of Japanese Women in the US The behaviour and perception of Japanese women in the US were of particular concern to Japanese leaders and the educated classes on both sides of the Pacific. Women arriving from Japan were uniformly viewed with suspicion by American officials. American policy-makers and immigration officials especially disapproved of the practice of marriage by proxy such as in the case of ‘picture brides.’ The underlying suspicion was that these women were entering the country ostensibly to become brides but were in fact destined for brothels. One illustration of this distaste for proxy marriages can be found in a newspaper article reporting that immigration officials were denying landing permission even to Japanese women who made the journey lawfully, which crowed ‘Henceforth, when a little brown man would marry a maid from Japan he will not take chances with Japanese romances – He’ll adopt the American plan’ (San Francisco Chronicle 1905b). At issue in this debate were the transpacific marriages between male Japanese immigrants in the US and so-called Japanese ‘picture brides,’ which were a twist on the Japanese custom of employing a marriage broker

106 Helen K aibar a

to arrange a suitable match. The procedure for arranging these marriages was fairly straightforward. The husband would send a his demographic information to a marriage broker in Japan, and the agent would match his information with that of a Japanese woman whose parents had also registered her with the broker. In most cases geographic background, lineage and socio-economic status were carefully matched. In lieu of meeting face to face as in a formal visitation, as was customary before the wedding ceremony, the two parties exchanged photographs and letters via post. The crux of the American suspicion of ‘picture brides’ stemmed from ignorance of Japanese wedding practices. After both sides agreed to the marriage, the woman would go to the local magistrate in Japan with paperwork from the broker to register the marriage and be officially entered into the husband’s family registry. This registration was the only legal requirement for marriage in Japan – after this, the couple was legally united in the eyes of the Japanese government, even if they had never met. Immigration officials began to require that a husband and his ‘picture bride’ wife remarry according to American law upon her arrival before she would be allowed to enter the US (San Francisco Chronicle 1905b). The Japanese consul lodged a protest, but the US Commissioner-General of Immigration supported a ruling, which held that ‘picture marriages’ were invalid in the US (San Francisco Chronicle 1905a). Thus, the JAA’s efforts in cooperation with various religious organizations did not win the important contest in the arena of public opinion surrounding Japanese women in the US. Hence, working to reform the popular opinion of Japanese women was a crucial element in the quest to craft a favourable image of Japanese abroad.

Learning Western Domesticity The perception of Japan and Japanese emigrants abroad – the focus of great concern for elites in Japan as well as their counterparts within the JAA – extended into the modest homes of working-class Japanese in tangible and highly visible ways. Eiichi Shibusawa, Japan’s leading entrepreneur, founder of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and partner of the JAA, was instrumental in facilitating some of the farthest-reaching reforms for individual families. On a visit to the American West Coast, Shibusawa was particularly discouraged when he toured an immigrant community and found ‘the old undesirable customs of the Japanese peasantry’ (Azuma 2005: 53) still the norm in the new country. Knowing that these behaviours, seen as the crude customs of an alien people, were not impressing their American neighbours,

Looking Back while Moving Forward


Shibusawa returned to Japan and founded the Japan Emigration Society (JES). This organization offered programs aimed at educating emigrants about the customs of American life before they boarded a steamship to the US (ibid.: 53). The Japanese government lent support to these programs in the form of an annual subsidy processed through the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and the society also received contributions from wealthy Japanese benefactors concerned with their country’s image abroad. The Japanese reformers knew that the women who would have the most bearing on outside perceptions of Japanese were wives and mothers. Because of the large number of ‘picture brides’ leaving for the US, the JES partnered with the JAA to provide, free of charge, classes which emphasized women’s duties within the home (ibid.: 53). The importance of these future wives and mothers to the perception of the Japanese community was foremost in the minds of both the JAA and the JES, as evidenced by language in a 1916 guide for issei, or first-generation, women compiled by the JAA (ibid.: 53). In this guide, women were reminded that they were ‘obliged to demonstrate the virtue of Japanese women and compel Americans to admit them as first-rate women in the world’ (ibid.: 54). The responsibilities these women were charged with in the host country went beyond the typical wifely duties expected by Japanese culture of creating a home of ‘comfort’ and ‘a place of relaxation’ for her husband. In the US, the issei wife would also have to run a moral household, discourage ‘unsavory conduct, foul speech, gambling, drinking, and smoking’ (ibid.: 54). The importance of this vigilance was to uphold the good image and national honour of Japan and prevent future generations of Nikkeijin from inheriting the vices of their fathers (ibid.: 54). Christian organizations in the US operated both by Americans and Japanese took up the cause of eliminating prostitution. This problem had long been a rallying call for action among Japanese elites in the US. As early as 1882 Japanese elites had been trying to prevent prostitution by getting to the heart of the Japanese prostitution problem – human trafficking. The Japanese prostitutes in the US were transported by rings of pimps, sailors, and merchants who lured these women, often under false pretence, and delivered them into the hands of brothel owners upon reaching the US (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 32). In the era of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ of 1907, efforts in conjunction with local law-enforcement officers proved successful from the outset. In Fresno, California, the local JAA chapter formed a close alliance with the Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church to eliminate prostitution from the city. They especially focused on the seedy red light district with the demeaning sobriquet ‘China Alley.’ Through this effort, some less prominent figures

108 Helen K aibar a

in the Japanese prostitution matrix such as prostitutes and pimps were periodically arrested. Ultimately, Fresno’s most notorious brothel operator was placed under arrest and eventually deported as an undesirable alien in 1914 (Ichioka 1988: 179). Thus, Japanese men who soiled the reputation of their countrywomen were a target of JAA reform activities.

Adopting Cultural Trappings of American Life The shibboleth of gaimenteki doka, or adopting the outward appearance and customs of a native, became a major campaign of the JAA. This campaign was manifested in many ways, including recommending Westernized sartorial choices and maintaining neighbourhood appearance to encouraging proper behaviour within personal interactions. The proponents of this method of fitting in believed that all Japanese living in the US, regardless of sex or age, should wear Western clothing. This was partially to distinguish them from the Chinese, who infamously preferred their traditional garb and were ridiculed by Americans for this (ibid.: 185). Additionally, the JAA entreated Japanese residents to return some of their earnings to the local community by purchasing American-made items. The purpose of this was to counter fears that the Japanese immigrant population was damaging the economy while at the same time demonstrating the Japanese capacity to adapt to the dominant culture. More importantly, contributing to the local economy conveyed a sense of affinity to the US, which was seen by the JAA as a prerequisite to immigrants’ permanent settlement and assimilation into American society. The JAA also promoted the idea that living spaces and furnishings should f it American standards, and in public spaces within Japanese neighbourhoods, markers of foreignness such as large signs in Japanese were removed when possible. Social interaction was also directed along the lines of American cultural norms. Wives were directed to walk alongside their husbands rather than behind them, as was typical in Japan at that time, to negate the image of gross marital inequality in Japanese society. A JAA campaign also encouraged Japanese immigrants to celebrate American holidays in lieu of Japanese ones, and to pay respect to the larger Christian culture by not working on Sunday (ibid.: 185). The JAA were adhering to an assimilation process that in the words of Fehér and Heller (1994: 135), ‘demand[s] that newcomers adopt a positive attitude to what constitutes the ‘substance’ of the recipient group.’

Looking Back while Moving Forward


Settling Down and Handling Money Wisely Many leaders who comprised the core of the JAA had read about American culture and politics before emigrating and thus might have felt that they could appeal to an intrinsic sense of American justice and equality to evoke better treatment. To this end, the JAA believed that if Japanese immigrants demonstrated their earnestness to assimilate into American culture, Americans would respond positively. Assimilation was both an ideological and practical goal for the JAA, given that the Japanese (like other immigrant groups) were judged en masse by the American public. The JAA condemned the self-interested ways in which individual workers accrued money in preparation for the journey home, as well as their reluctance to forge a Japanese community. The JAA felt that this characterization of Japanese immigrants’ ‘sole aim’ as working to accumulate resources for the return to Japan exacerbated nativist sentiment that the Japanese had a deleterious effect on local economies where large numbers of Japanese had settled (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 5). In 1911, the JAA embarked on a major campaign to combat return migration by attempting to popularize the idea of permanent settlement among Japanese residents. They invited prominent speakers from Japan with a pro-settlement agenda to address large groups of migrant workers in an attempt to persuade them to sink permanent roots in the US (Ichioka 1988: 186). The JAA enlisted the help of two prominent Japanese nationals; Inazo Nitobe and Saburo Shimada, both of whom went on extensive lecture tours to spread the message of permanent settlement. Nitobe was an eminent intellectual and educator who boasted an American education, while Shimada was a member of the Japanese Diet and a well-known Christian (ibid.: 186). The JAA hoped that these carefully selected modern men would impress Americans and inspire Japanese immigrants. In extending invitations to Nitobe and Shimada to address Japanese living in America, the JAA was fostering broadened meaning of ‘home’ in the Japanese immigrant community – one that discouraged return migration. Moreover, there was an explicit intention to support the growth of authentic ‘Japanese-American’ communities. The blueprint for these settlements was one they hoped would be palatable to Americans, Japanese immigrants, and Japanese still in the homeland. The JAA advocated permanent settlement over financially motivated temporary immigration for the Japanese residing in their jurisdictions because in such a numerically small immigrant group fortunes of all Japanese, regardless of socio-economic status, were linked. Disseminating

110 Helen K aibar a

information about methods of assimilation and attempting to ignite a desire to be accepted into American society among the labourers absorbed much of the energy of the JAA. Fiscal responsibility was a pivotal component of the paragon of virtuous living the JAA envisioned for Japanese immigrants in the US. One implication of this exhortation to spend wisely was that labourers were expected to view the stint of working in the host country as a window to building a permanent life in America, rather than as a brief hiatus from responsibility or a stepping stone to an aggrandized life in Japan. To this end, the JAA set clear expectations on ways in which money was not to be handled. One example of how financial prudence and morality were encouraged was the anti-gambling campaign devised by local JAA chapters in cooperation with both Buddhist and Japanese Christian organizations in 1908. This campaign was comprised of multiple stages, consisting at first of general discouragement and then later the shaming of individual repeat offenders. In the first phase, posters were displayed in places frequented by Japanese immigrants, and anti-gambling representatives even stood at the entrance of gaming halls to discourage Japanese from entering. The second phase sought to shame habitual gamblers to reform, and entailed releasing the personal information of repeat gamblers to the immigrant newspapers and forwarding the disgraceful publications to relatives back home in Japan. Gaming addicts who might hope to escape from their sordid past by moving to another state were often horrified to learn that the local JAA chapters had a tight communication network with each other and contacts in Japan and that blacklists were quickly shared. Beyond these social ramifications, the incorrigible gambler could have his claim for a residency certificate rejected by the local JAA office (ibid.: 177). Once the campaign was established, the JAA formed special local committees to manage existing efforts to curb the social ill of gambling and charged them with pursuing three additional objectives. First, the committees were to encourage members of the Japanese community to observe their neighbours and inform the local JAA organization of gambling activities. Second, the committees were to order all hotels, boarding houses, labour camps, stores, and other places patronized by Japanese immigrants to expel known gamblers. The committees also shared information about culprits with local American authorities when it was felt that an individual was beyond the reprimand of the community. The general practice was for gamblers to be picked up by police and questioned for information, which could be potentially damaging to the gambling house operators. If the individual was cooperative, he was released to begin anew in society.

Looking Back while Moving Forward


Last, the committees were charged with finding alternative, wholesome ways for Japanese labourers to entertain themselves and creating facilities to host these alternative activities (ibid.: 178). Building a wholesome community and at the same time effecting total social isolation of miscreants were the goals. The lack of wholesome community centres was seen as one of the contributing factors of Japanese turning to vice. An established, moral community would facilitate permanent settlement and correct living. Americans’ ‘yellow peril’ fears were cited as the primary reason the lifestyle campaigns were needed. Thus, members of the JAA, as resolute Japanese subjects expressing a duty to the motherland, turned their efforts to supporting the government’s aims in the era of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement.’ However, their long-standing beliefs about the important positionality of Japanese in the US compelled them to direct their newly acquired authority towards aiding these various reform campaigns. They framed these reform campaigns along patriotic lines, a fundamental unifying element in a group with the ‘utmost devotion to think about their home country … [whose] sincerity burn[ed] uninterruptedly’ (Zaibei Nihonjin Kai 1940: 666).

The End of Japanese Immigration The JAA’s influence ultimately waned when the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ was undermined by US Congressional action. From the end of the 1910s, some diplomats and others with extensive knowledge of American public opinion considered the tacit diplomatic agreement to have been a failed policy. In 1924, displeased with the Japanese government’s handling of the pact, the American legislature barred Japanese immigration as part of an omnibus immigration reform bill. The consequences for the JAA were severe. The 1924 Immigration Act included a provision that no person ‘ineligible for citizenship’ would be allowed to immigrate to the US. Many acquainted with the Japanese situation considered the measure to be specifically aimed at Japanese, especially in light of the 1922 decision by the US Supreme Court. In Takao Ozawa v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that Japanese were not eligible to become citizens. The disappointment the Japanese immigrant community felt over the 1924 legislation was both moral and structural. The crestfallen Japanese social elites felt that their efforts had been in vain in the face of this latest institutionalized humiliation. The implications of this legislation for the

112 Helen K aibar a

JAA were direct. Divested of official duties, the JAA could not carry out its campaigns as effectively as before. Yet, by this date, permanent settlement and varying degrees of assimilation had eclipsed return migration as the standard experience of Japanese in the US. My study has attempted to illustrate that the JAA, in cooperation with partners in Japan, sought to shape public dialogue among Japanese immigrants to promote the image of a home in the US while not forsaking, and indeed advocating for, the ‘homeland’ of Japan.

Conclusion By the 1980s, Japanese-Americans enjoyed the status of a ‘model’ minority in the popular imagination of the US. Pursuant to this stereotype, traits like diligence, scholastic achievement, fiscal responsibility, trustworthiness and loyalty were projected onto Nikkeijin. The JAA’s introspective practices for combating racist and discriminatory treatment in the era of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ hinged on the transformation of scorned individuals into a collective that was acceptable to mainstream society. This tendency to turn inward and seek to alter their essence in the face of hostility became a template for subsequent community leaders beleaguered by hostility. Decisions of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to cooperate with the US government during World War II to facilitate the orderly internment of 110,000 people, petition for a military draft of internees, and denounce Nikkeijin draft resisters echo the JAA’s earlier practice of resorting to self-censorship in untenable situations. The many, and varied, efforts of individuals and organizations such as the JAA, as well as decades of striving to conform to the American cultural aesthetic, fostered the perception of Japanese-Americans as ideal minority citizens. Demonstrating a commitment to making a ‘home’ in the US was a constant feature of the discourse that elites packaged for consumption for both their own community and members of the larger mainstream American society. Moreover, the antecedents of this are perceptible even in the earliest rhetoric of the JAA. Though few in number, elites were key in directing the intercourse of the Japanese immigrant community, yet the change they affected has gone largely unnoticed by historians. Members of the JAA were vexed at American indifference to social stratif ication within the Japanese immigrant community and insistence on treating the Japanese population in the US as monolithic. Elites would only be able to enjoy their position

Looking Back while Moving Forward


if they succeeded in elevating all Japanese immigrants, as well as their country of origin, in the imagination of the American public. Emboldened by the authority delegated to them by the Japanese consulate in the era of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement,’ the JAA facilitated a discourse about ‘home’ which championed a narrowly defined ideal of the consummate patriot as one who reflected well on Japan by demonstrating willingness to adapt to an American way of life. These factors influenced decisions to forego return to Japan in order to make a life in the US, and create a community for subsequent generations. Modes of constructing the image of the Japanese immigrant exemplar included campaigns to discourage immoral activities such as gambling and prostitution as well as drives to encourage permanent settlement and prudent fiscal management, a Western-style household and sartorial choices in accordance with practices of the dominant American culture, the new ‘home’ for these Nikkeijin.


Return of the Lost Generation? Search for Belonging, Identity and Home among SecondGeneration Viet Kieu Priscilla Koh

Summary In this chapter, I discuss the myriad motivations influencing the decision of second-generation Viet Kieu1 or overseas Vietnamese to relocate to Vietnam. Members of this generation generally left Vietnam as children at the end of the Second Indochina War (or what is popularly referred to in the West as the ‘Vietnam War’), following the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. What makes this generation interesting is that they are going back to a country still governed by the political regime they once fled, against the backdrop of the politics of remembrance (i.e. anti-communist politics) in the exile community. Over the last decade, increasing numbers of Viet Kieu have been returning to Vietnam to live and work. The first section provides a brief introduction to the ‘lost generation’ who are moving to Vietnam. The second part examines the diverse motivations influencing the second generation’s decision to relocate to Vietnam. The discussion aims to demonstrate that this generation’s decision to ‘return’ to their ancestral homeland was for the most part not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but motivated by cumulative life experiences growing up in their home countries.

The ‘Lost Generation’2 We are all looking for something. Something that we missed when we were growing up. Something we lost when our families left the country decades ago. I don’t think we ever got over the loss of ‘that’ thing. You can see it 1 ‘Viet Kieu’ is a Sino-Vietnamese term. ‘Viet’ refers to ethnic Vietnamese, whilst ‘kieu’ is a transliteration of the Chinese word ‘qiao,’ which means to ‘sojourn’ or ‘reside temporarily away from home.’ Viet Kieu is a popular term of reference by the state and locals in Vietnam for overseas Vietnamese. 2 Interestingly, the term ‘lost generation’ was f irst used in reference to the generation of American expatriates who lived in Europe in the period following the First World War. The term was coined by the famous American poet and writer Gertrude Stein to describe the disillusioned


Priscill a Koh

in the eyes of many [Viet Kieu] coming back to Vietnam, they are all still searching for something. We are all lost. We are part of the ‘lost generation’. – Long, Ho Chi Minh City

I first met Long3 (39 years old) in early April 2008, at a social event in Ho Chi Minh City. Long had relocated from Oregon in the summer of 2007, after his request to be posted to Vietnam was approved by his employers, a multinational software company. Prior to this move, Long had visited Vietnam a few times: first, with his family when he was in his late teens, and later by himself and with friends. During these trips, Long said that he felt a certain connection to the country, as a place where his ancestors came from, and as an indelible part of his cultural identity. It was during those trips that he made a mental note that he would one day return to Vietnam to live and perhaps engage in work that might help the country and its people. Ethnographic fieldwork for my research was carried out in Ho Chi Minh City, which remains the most popular destination for Viet Kieu returnees. Between early 2008 and 2010, I conducted in-depth life-story interviews with 38 Viet Kieu. My respondents shared the following traits: they are children of first-generation immigrant parents from Vietnam who fled the country following the Vietnam War; and moved to Vietnam with the intention to live and work there for an extended length of time. Although the majority of them come from the United States, there are also others from Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the West Indies. They tend to be in their early to mid-30s, possess college degrees, and work in white-collar professions (e.g. banking, finance, information technology, nongovernmental organizations, and healthcare). Regardless of their disparate national origins, cultural outlooks and relationships with Vietnam, what binds the members of this second generation are their historical and life trajectories, which have been inextricably shaped by the Vietnam War. Although this generation did not directly experience the trauma of war and forced flight, they were nonetheless born into the psychosocial, political and economic context of being refugees (Cornish et al. 1999: 267). In the US, which is home to the most populous community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam, second-generation Vietnamese-Americans constitute the largest population of refugee children in American history. Theirs is the first generation to be born or predominantly raised in American culture most of and ‘lost’ generation of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly the young artists and writers whom she met in Paris. 3 Pseudonyms have been used in order to protect the anonymity of my respondents.

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


their childhood lives (Zhou 1998: 17). They have few memories of Vietnam and although they have grown up with the sadness and nostalgia that ran through their parents’ lives, they generally have a fresh, more impartial view of Vietnam. It has been pointed out that the younger generation are also bringing a new perspective to Vietnamese-American identity; they see themselves primarily as Americans, not exiles in America. Packard had predicted that the most interesting and innovative engagement trajectories will likely be forged by the younger generation, the children of the exiles (1999: 102).

Motivations for ‘Returning’ Rather than understanding migration from a conventional ‘push-and-pull factors’ approach, their decision to migrate to Vietnam should be understood as result of a confluence of factors, ranging from the intrinsic and extrinsic; personal and societal; professional and existential. Intrinsic factors pertain to my respondents’ profound sense of not belonging in their home countries; the search for identity and need to understand their historical past(s); and the quest for adventure and meaning. Extrinsic factors relate to specific features in Vietnam’s socio-economic and cultural landscape that make it appealing for this generation of Viet Kieu to migrate there. The life-course (Kley 2009) or biographical (Halfacree and Boyle 1993) approach to studying migration can be particularly relevant and insightful with regards to understanding the motivations of second-generation Viet Kieu to migrate to their parents’ homeland. The underlying assumption of these approaches was that the ‘seeds of migration’ lay in the individual’s life course rather than just in an external trigger event (Findlay and Li 1997: 35). The second generation’s motivations to relocate to Vietnam must be understood in light of their cumulative life experiences: from the time they left Vietnam, their resettlement overseas, their experience of assimilation (or the lack of it), and growing up in the West. The narratives highlighted in this section reveal a wide diversity of influences on the identity of migrants and the meaning attached to the migration act.

‘Not Knowing Who We Are; Not Belonging Anywhere’ Many respondents pointed out that for most of their adolescence and early adulthood, they were never sure about their cultural identities and felt that they did not belong ‘anywhere.’ This sentiment was typically fostered during


Priscill a Koh

their school years. Often, this ambivalence was further exacerbated by the dual identities most young Vietnamese had to maintain in the home (‘Vietnamese’) and to the outside world (‘Western’) when they were growing up. Growing up, Hoan, a 35-year-old entrepreneur from Sydney, Australia, remembered feeling very offended when his schoolmates in grade school called him ‘gook’ or ‘chink.’ Even though he did not know what those terms meant then, he felt that they were mocking and laughing at him because he ‘looked and talked different.’ He recalled: You just knew you were different. As a kid, you never really knew what being Australian really meant. You just knew where you came from. At the same time, knowing where you came from, and trying to match that with the environment you were growing up in was a different story.

Hoan said that he and his siblings felt like outcasts in school, where the majority of students were ‘white’ Australians from middle-class and Christian backgrounds. They hardly had any ‘white Aussie’ friends and socialized mostly with children of immigrant families, such as Greeks and Italians. Hoan felt the latter were less prejudiced and did not type-cast or categorize people as did ‘white Aussies.’ He formed friendships with these groups of people, and ‘hung around them’ a lot because he felt more accepted by them. It was also at an early stage in his life that Hoan realized that he was never going to be ‘one of them,’ and that he would never fully fit in or be accepted by mainstream Australian society ‘no matter what.’ From a young age, Hoan realized that Australia was not – and would never be – his ‘home.’ His early life experiences also fostered in him a pervasive sense of ‘not belonging anywhere.’ He said: Going through the schooling system in Australia, you never truly feel comfortable as an Asian in Australia. You try to accept and embrace the way of life, but … you always find that something is missing. It only becomes more and more apparent when you go to social scenes with all the different folks around … and not feeling fully comfortable. You are always trying to put on a mask to fit into that ‘scene.‘ One kept having to do this, put on different masks; whether one was at a high school party, or during lunch breaks. This continues even when you go to university. You just never fully fit in, and you feel very self-conscious about it … without fully understanding why.

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


For other respondents, this sense of not belonging or never being able to belong surfaced when they were young adults. As is the case with Nicole (29 years old), a Dutch national from Rotterdam, who discovered her ‘outsider’ status when she moved to a different city to attend university there. She described how by moving out of her hometown to a different city in Holland, it finally dawned upon her how Dutch people might actually perceive her. In Holland, she would always be seen as a ‘foreigner’ and ‘not Dutch enough,’ despite her own self-image and perceived ‘sense of belonging’ to Dutch society: I always considered myself Dutch. During my childhood and teenage years, I hung around Dutch people. All my friends were Dutch. I ate, spoke and felt Dutch enough. Then, when I moved to Utrecht to attend university there, I learnt that even though I felt Dutch, Dutch people did not necessarily see and treat me as such. During tutorial sessions, there were quite a few occasions when I ended up being assigned to the ‘Asian-only’ group for discussions and projects. I was indignant. Maybe even a little insulted. I thought to myself: I’m Dutch, why do they insist on putting me with these foreign Chinese and Japanese students?? It was at that point in my life that I realized how Dutch people might actually see me. I was the Oriental. To them, I was an allochtoon. 4

Nicole’s experiences at university were an eye-opening experience for her: they made her aware about the disparities in how she perceived herself and how others in Dutch society saw her. Nicole may have been accepted or believed herself to be a Dutch person in her hometown, yet moving to a different city made her aware of how differently ‘Dutchness’ was construed in various settings. More importantly, people (including non-Dutch) saw her as a foreigner even though she was born in Holland, spoke and felt Dutch. Nicole’s experiences also made her realize how it was possible to feel different levels of ‘belonging’ and ‘home’ in different parts of the Netherlands. It clearly elucidates how identity and belonging are not only dependent on how one perceives oneself; but also how others perceive you. In turn, the level of belonging and the kind of identity others ascribe to an individual 4 ‘Allochtoon’ was a term formalized by Dutch policy-makers as part of its wider legislative efforts to increase the labour participation of non-Western immigrants. It refers to non-native Dutch residents. In official census surveys, they make the distinction between ‘autochtoons’ (locals) and ‘allochtoons’ (people originally born in a different country). For a comprehensive explanation and analysis of these terms, see Geschiere (2009) and Essed and Trienekens (2008).


Priscill a Koh

also shape the latters’ self-image and identification. Fundamentally, her narrative demonstrates the complex dynamics between identity and belonging; it also highlights how these are not within her control. In Nicole’s case, she will always be regarded as allochtoon despite her own self-image and best efforts to fit in Dutch society. To a significant extent, my respondents attributed their negative social experiences in their home countries to their visible minority status. Conversely, these social experiences fostered a profound sense of not belonging and compounded the ambivalent sense of identities in their premigration lives. ‘Belonging’ in their premigration lives was construed as both an ethnic category and as a social/class position. Not only were my respondents the ‘visible’ ethnic/racial minorities in their respective home countries, they also had parents who were not only ‘not from here’; but, more damningly, came from ‘Vietnam,’ a country that many resettlement countries in the West came to associate primarily with war, boat people, helplessness and neediness. Therefore, being ‘Vietnamese’ had all these loaded connotations in their home countries, and had set immigrant parents and their children on a path of never being able to (fully) belong in their home countries, despite their best efforts to integrate, and in spite of their socio-economic achievements. There, they would always be seen and treated as ‘foreigners.’ The consequences of not being seen as belonging are manifold and profound. Hoan and Nicole’s narratives highlight how their ‘outsider’ status was an alienating aspect of their social lives. Their ambivalent social experiences in their home countries have not only contributed their conflicted sense of identities, but also fostered a profound feeling of not belonging ‘anywhere.’

The ‘Forever Foreigners’ Within What role does racial discrimination play in the second generation’s maintenance of ties to their parents’ sending countries? Various scholars have argued that contemporary migrants are more likely to maintain an active involvement with their sending countries because of the racial discrimination they face in their home countries. Levitt and Waters (2002: 18) posited that minorities are motivated to stay involved with a sending country in which they are members of the majority or in which their class status negates their racial status. Furthermore, sociologist Ruben Rumbaut’s research on the relationship between the experiences of discrimination and ethnic identification of minority youth in the US has also demonstrated a positive co-relation between the two. Minority youth who experienced

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


racial discrimination were less likely to identify as ‘American,’ and more inclined to identify with a foreign national origin (Rumbaut 2005: 26). In her research on the ‘roots searching’ trips of Chinese-Americans to their ancestral villages in rural China, anthropologist Andrea Louie has also suggested that ‘the perceived need to search for roots appears to arise out of particular social positions, those of refugee, minority, and immigrant.’ This indicates that an important factor underlying the younger generations’ desire to seek out and rediscover their parents’ pasts can be attributed to their sense of ‘not truly feeling at home’ in the place where they resided (Louie 2001: 350). Barnes’s study on the ‘attachment’ of resettled Vietnamese refugees to the ‘homeland,’ similarly observed how resettled refugees were likely to continue to hold onto their ‘differences’ based on the extent to which they are marginalized, as a matter of necessity rather than of choice (Barnes 2001: 395). In the United States for instance, it has been pointed out that the AsianAmerican experience with race and racism was diverse, complex and covert (Vo and Bonus 2002). There, Asian-Americans – whether native-born or immigrant – remained ‘foreigners’ within. In fact, becoming racialized as ‘Asian-American’ was one of the very fundamental changes in identity that Vietnamese refugees and immigrants had to deal with (Aguilar-San Juan 2009: 26). Sociologist Mia Tuan’s research on the social experiences of second- and third-generation Asian-Americans highlighted their conditional status in society, and demonstrated that financial success alone did not guarantee social acceptability. The public, she wrote, ‘continues to resist embracing Asian-Americans en masse as one of “us”; while individuals may gain acceptance within their immediate social circles, the larger group boundary remains first’ (Tuan 2005: 155). Unlike their white or black counterparts who also have migrant pasts, Asian-Americans are often still treated as ‘perpetual foreigners’ despite a well-documented history of contribution and connection to the United States. Espiritu and Tran’s research on transnationalism among second-generation Vietnamese-Americans in San Diego revealed that about two-thirds of their respondents experienced racial discrimination (2002: 378-379). To date though, there remains little empirical research done on the scale and extent of racial discrimination and prejudice experienced by overseas Vietnamese in their home countries. Data from my research indicates that the majority of my respondents experienced it in various forms when they were growing up and/or as adults, regardless of their nationality. Secondgeneration Vietnamese-Americans, like many of their Asian-American and overseas Vietnamese counterparts, can find themselves in a position of


Priscill a Koh

having to confront and maintain racial boundaries not only as a means of cultural preservation and racial empowerment, but also as a defence against racism. In her study about the formation of Vietnamese communities in California and Boston, Karina Aguilar-San Juan pointed out that just being ‘inside the country’ was not enough to make Vietnamese into Americans. On the ground level of American society, many Vietnamese-Americans were still subject to prejudice and racial ‘lumping.’ Hence, the impulse to ‘stay Vietnamese’ was motivated in part by the perception that America was a racist society and that Vietnamese immigrants and refugees, no matter how urbanized or successful, would never fully exercise the privilege of ‘whiteness.’ Their convergence in specific sites like Little Saigon in California and Fields Corner in Boston signalled a concerted effort to ‘resist both racism and the pressures to abandon their identities by articulating and preserving a social and spatial attachment to Vietnamese-ness.’ Such spaces, suggests Aguilar-San Juan, also provide Vietnamese-Americans a racial safety zone where they stave off white racism (2009: 44-52). I would like to go a step further and suggest that in their migration to Vietnam, the second-generation Viet Kieu are also creating a racial safety zone across the Pacific: a ‘zone’ in which they are among their ‘own’ ethnic or ‘racial’ types. Basch et al. (1994: 234) have suggested that experiences of racial prejudice and exclusion can lead people to feel ‘constrained to produce and maintain multiple layers of transnational social connections. The more they come to know America, the more they take up as their own agenda the building of de-territorialized national identities.’ In this sense, the transnational life and engagements of the second-generation overseas Vietnamese can be seen as a result of their experiences with racial, gender, and class hierarchies and social status in their home countries. They need to negotiate their ambiguous social location and create a secure and productive space for themselves. Depending on their age of arrival in their resettlement countries, their geographic location, level of assimilation and integration into mainstream society, and their socio-economic background and credentials, my respondents likely experienced marginalization and exclusion in different forms and to varying extents in their home countries. Some have also indicated that they never felt they were being discriminated against or encountered overt racism when they were growing up. Despite the absence of negative racial experiences, these respondents also said that ‘deep down inside’ they knew ‘somehow’ that they did not belong, and that their home countries were not their ‘real’ homes. This suggests that apart from their racial/ethnic and class backgrounds, there exist other inherent factors that contribute to

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


returnees’ sense of not belonging ‘anywhere’ and to feel that they are part of a ‘lost generation.’ These inherent factors are related to unresolved questions about their cultural identities and family history, their desire for adventure and discovery and their quest for existential meaning and purpose. The former can be construed as being a result of their unique personal histories and life trajectories as children of refugees, whilst the latter is a reflection of priorities and outlooks specific to this stage of their life course.

Search for Roots and Identity … Making Sense of the Past Many of my respondents pointed out that their decision to return to Vietnam was motivated in part, by their desire to learn more about the ‘past,‘ so that they could fill up the gaps in their personal and family histories. In so doing, they hoped to have a better understanding of who they were and where they came from. They reflected on how the struggle of having to adapt to their new environments and to survive during the early years of their family’s resettlement came at the expense of family unity on the one hand, and knowledge about their cultural heritage and history on the other. Their life-story narratives point to the conspicuous and awkward silence about Vietnam when they were growing up. This was likely because their families were focused on surviving – and eventually succeeding – in the new environment. Furthermore, they felt that bringing up the past might be too painful or difficult for their parents. For Hoan, this silence fostered a lingering curiosity about his family’s past and the country they left behind: Growing up, my parents never talked much about Vietnam. I never actually asked my parents about the war or about Vietnam … I suppose it was a part of their lives they wanted to put behind. They just wanted to move on. Somehow, my siblings and I never asked them about Vietnam, probably because we felt it was inappropriate. We sensed that it was something they just didn’t want to talk about. But I always had this fascination, this curiosity about Vietnam, about what their lives were like during the war, especially during the later stages, and how they escaped … That was the part they never talked about, and there was this lingering curiosity within myself about that.

Hoan’s curiosity about his past and about Vietnam grew when he became a teenager, and later as a young adult in college. Then, the primary images he had of the country were from the myriad war movies about the Vietnam War


Priscill a Koh

coming from Hollywood and from the few books related to Vietnam (that were predominantly written from a military and ‘Western’ perspective) he was able to find at the local library. He found these sources of information about his birth country to be limited, unsatisfactory and depressing. The dearth of information on Vietnam not only made him more curious about the country and his past, but also made the ‘silence’ at home more glaring. In her study on memory among Vietnamese women in Australia, Natalie Nguyen (2009: 5) has suggested that the memories of Vietnamese refugees have been moulded by their experience of diaspora: ‘Many guarded these memories with silence, a silence that related not only to the departure from Vietnam and the exodus itself, but the impact of loss and grief on individual members.’ Like the histories of the post-Holocaust generations, she pointed out that Vietnamese diasporic histories too were often fragmented and incomplete. ‘The reverberation of this experience,’ posited Nguyen, was such that the firsthand experiences of refugees has been ‘transferred to the second and third generations as secondary trauma and remains to be fully articulated.’ This means that the past inherited by the second generation from their parents was also fragmented, incomplete and contradictory. In turn, I suggest that this has also fostered a fragmented, incomplete and ambivalent sense of identity and belonging among my respondents. The process of generational transmission of war memory is often complex and diff icult, as the second generation struggles between honouring their parents’ memory and constructing their own relation to this legacy (cf. Burchardt 1993). In her study of Vietnamese place-making attempts in the US, Aguilar-San Juan (2009: 81) has pointed out how the memory projects of the second generation were rife with their own unique contradictions. Rather than being free from memories of Vietnam, the American-born children of refugees and immigrants were in a sense doubly burdened by them. Even though their parents and family elders tried to preserve the homeland cultural traditions alive in the new countries – either by vigilant use of Vietnamese language at home (i.e. by enforcing the ‘no speaking English’ rule at home), celebrating traditional holidays, consuming Vietnamese food or by regaling them with stories about ‘the past’ (usually about prewar Vietnam) – my respondents said that they still felt that ‘something’ was missing from ‘the story.’ They sensed that their parents’ ‘rendition of Vietnam’ was not only incomplete but also one-sided and stereotypical. Hence, the expression ‘my parents are so stuck in the past’ or ‘stuck in pre-75’ is a common one among the younger generation of Viet Kieu, particularly those from the US.

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


This sense of being stuck in the past was further compounded by the trenchant and vociferous anti-regime politics of the exile community that the younger generation sometimes found themselves in. Together with the conspicuous silence and the fragmented history, these aspects of their upbringing and socialization have created gaping holes in the second generation’s sense of cultural history, and their sense of identity and belonging. In her ethnographic study of the San Diego Vietnamese community, Thuy Vo Dang (2005) suggested that f irst-generation Vietnamese deployed the narratives of anti-communism so as to keep alive their history and memories of the war, lest it be further forgotten by the American public and/or the next generation of Vietnamese-Americans. In turn, the preoccupation of community elders with political pasts and military defeat – or what Aguilar-San Juan has termed ‘strategic memory projects’ – has served as a formidable barrier to open dialogue and mutual understanding between the first- and the second-generation Vietnamese. The latter also have great diff iculty exploring for themselves what it means to stay Vietnamese (Aguilar-San Juan 2009: 89). As Aguliar-San Juan succinctly pointed out, It is one thing that young people are not able to approach their parents or elder relatives to engage in complex discussions: it is another thing that because the Vietnamese-American experience is a marginalized one, there are few other venues in which young Vietnamese Americans would be able to explore and learn about the many possible interpretations of history and memory in their community. (Ibid.: 83)

My respondents reflected how this ‘silence’ and lack of a complete understanding about their past had created a ‘certain inexplicable’ void in their personal lives and identities. In turn, this void served as a compelling factor for them to return to Vietnam to understand where their parents came from and what they had left behind; to understand Vietnamese culture and history better; and to experience the country firsthand. Most of my respondents pointed out that it was only when they were young adults, when they were at college taking courses on ethnicity and history for instance, that they first became aware of and curious about their ethnic heritage and family history. According to a recent study, many second-generation Asian-Americans spent their childhood and adolescent years rejecting Asian culture in their attempt to be more ‘American.’ The study indicated that it was often in the college setting that second-generation Asian-Americans began ‘to revise and refine their identities, to articulate


Priscill a Koh

and negotiate issues of race, gender, and generation both within and outside of the classroom’ (Leong 2007: 5). Likewise, in her study on the identity formation of second-generation Chinese-Vietnamese-Americans, Monica Trieu suggested that racial identities emerged from the post-secondary education setting not so much because the setting in itself created the racial identities, but because it presented individuals with an alternative narrative. There, individuals were made aware of other possibilities of defining themselves (Trieu 2009: 178). Kay, a 35-year-old management consultant, became curious about the Vietnamese part of her heritage and identity when she went to college. However, she found the classes on Vietnamese history and the general literature about Vietnam biased, one-sided and too America-centric. Likewise, she felt that her parent’s rendition of Vietnam and that of the Vietnamese community in southern California, where she grew up, parochial and unsatisfactory. These factors made her determined to learn more about Vietnam on her own, to find out the ‘truth’ about her mother’s homeland and culture. She also took it as a personal challenge to learn Vietnamese. Growing up in America, the Viet Kieu community used to mock her for not being able to speak Vietnamese: ‘You are Vietnamese, how come you can’t even speak your own mother tongue?? You are not Vietnamese!’ The taunting spurred her to learn Vietnamese, so as to prove to others in her mother’s community that she was ‘no less’ Vietnamese than they were, that she was not a ‘half-baked’ individual who was ‘neither here nor there.‘ For this generation of returnees, the decision to return to Vietnam to live and work was also a personal challenge to themselves. They wanted to prove to themselves that they could learn and adapt to the ‘old country.’ In doing so, they wanted to improve their Vietnamese and prove to detractors back home – i.e. family, friends and the ethnic community – that they could survive in Vietnam, and that things were ‘really not that bad’ there. For some, the decision to return to Vietnam was intensely personal, motivated by the desire to understand their parents better and to improve the parent-child relationship. ‘I wanted to reconnect with my dad,’ said Yen, a 28-year-old graphic designer from Germany. She described her relationship with her father as one that was difficult and complicated. She pointed out that things were not always that way between them. She remembered having a close relationship with him as a child, and still had fond memories of him as a doting father. As she got older however, she said her relationship with her father became strained and tense, mostly because of their different outlooks on life. Yen felt that her father was still

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


living in (and holding on to) the past and that he was more Vietnamese than he cared to admit. She said: I wanted to know how to communicate with him better. There were so many feelings and intentions that got lost along the way because we couldn’t communicate with each other. It just became more difficult over the years when I was growing up, speaking German at school, having German friends … I was becoming completely German.

Her mother’s death from cancer a few years ago led her into a brief period of depression, during which time she was able to re-evaluate her priorities in life. For Yen, coming back to live and work in Vietnam was a good opportunity for her to become reacquainted with the Vietnamese language, and to learn and understand more about Vietnamese culture and society. Ultimately, she wanted to be able to understand her father better, to learn about ‘where he came from, what he had been through, and why he was the way he is now.’ Thus, in seeking to reconnect with their roots in their ancestral homeland, many of the second-generation Viet Kieu returnees were actually attempting to improve and enrich familial ties and relations in the diaspora.

Existential Factors: The Quest for Adventure and the Search for ‘Meaning’ Lebanese-Australian anthropologist Ghassan Hage, who has conducted extensive ethnographic work on Lebanese migrants, has suggested that migratory physical mobility is contemplated when people experienced a ‘crisis in their sense of existential mobility.’ That is, when people felt that they were existentially ‘going too slowly’ or ‘going nowhere,’ and that they were somehow ‘stuck’ on the ‘highway of life,’ they began to contemplate the necessity of physically ‘going somewhere’ (2005: 471). Hage argued that the relationship between existential mobility and physical mobility was critical to understanding migration. The issue was not about having or not having a job. It was about having the sense of going somewhere in life: ‘Better the uncertainty, which also means the possibility of mobility, than the perceived certainty of immobility’ (ibid.: 474). Existential migration is a concept coined and popularized by British psychotherapist, Greg Madison, based on his phenomenological research on the underlying factors motivating voluntary migrants in London.


Priscill a Koh

The concept emphasized the psychological, philosophical and spiritual motivations for such migrations. Madison defined existential migrants as voluntary migrants who chose to leave their homeland, ‘pushed out by deep questions that can’t be answered at home, pulled into the wide world in order to discover what life is’ (2009: 7). Therefore, their migration can be construed as a self-protective act, in so much as leaving constituted a search for space where the self could unfold and respond freely (ibid.: 34). For my respondents, the decision to move to Vietnam was also motivated in no small part by the desire to get away from what they perceived as mundane and predictable lives in their home countries. As highlighted earlier, my respondents expressed a profound sense of not belonging and ambivalent identities in their premigration lives. This predicament, I suggest, is compounded by their desire for adventure, new discoveries and meaning at this stage of their lives. Prior to moving to Vietnam, many of my respondents reported that they had reached a point in their lives where they felt they had come to the ‘end of the road,’ and this was manifested in their increasing frustration and lack of satisfaction in their work and social lives. Therefore, they were both looking forward to and actively seeking new avenues and fresh beginnings elsewhere. For Minh, a 34-year-old engineer from Delft, it seems this boredom was present for most of his childhood, adolescence and adult life in the Netherlands. Growing up in a small town, he recalled how he distinctly remembered feeling bored and thinking how unexciting life in suburban Holland was even as a young boy. He found certain aspects of Dutch culture and society stifling and unbearable. Such as the desire to conform and not to stand out in a social or work setting, which he identified as the Dutch ‘maaiveld mentality’ (literally mowing a field) that he felt was pervasive throughout his school and working life. That mindset and way of life was something that he could never get used to and made him feel like there was ‘something missing’ in his life. Surely, he felt, there had to be more to life than the one he grew up with in Holland. That sense of boredom and restlessness carried on into adulthood when he went to work: In Holland, everyone goes home after work. On weekends, they tend to stay at home as well. The Dutch are highly organized people at work and even in their social lives – to the point of being rigid and stifling, I think. When you want to meet up with someone, you usually have to make an appointment weeks or sometimes even months ahead, because they have everything planned ahead already, right down to visiting grandma on the weekend!

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


Therefore, when he learnt about a job opening at a multinational company in Ho Chi Minh City, he said that ‘jumped’ at the opportunity ‘without much hesitation.’ Minh had been looking forward to a change of scene for some time and felt excited about moving to Vietnam. Not only was it the homeland of his ancestors, but also represented a different way of living and held more diverse opportunities for him professionally and socially. For Ly, a 31-year-old financial consultant from California, her relocation to Vietnam was the outcome of some ‘intense’ soul searching on her part. Prior to her move, she had reached what she considered ‘a serious crossroad’ in her life. She had just ended a serious long-term relationship, and her job at a banking firm saw her working ‘crazy hours’ round the clock, and leaving her little time to socialize. Ly felt she no longer had a ‘life’ in the US, and came to a point when she was forced to ask herself what the meaning of life was and what she wanted out of it. She also did not like what she felt was an overly consumer-oriented, image-conscious and pretentious society in Los Angeles, particularly with regards to the Vietnamese community: You know what they say about us Vietnamese in California; that we are so image-conscious, always trying to keep up with the Joneses. They are so concerned about the latest trends and love to show off. They want to be seen as successful and show others that they’ve made it, even when they don’t quite have the means. There’s a popular joke about how Vietnamese will go out and buy the latest BMW or Mercedes even though they have no money to pay for the gas!

Ly decided that there had to be more to life than working slavishly away at a job she did not love or being in a society that was obsessed with the latest trends and outward appearances. She wanted ‘out’ and was looking for an opportunity to do so. Therefore, when a job offer came up in Vietnam, she decided to take a big leap, to get away from life in the relentless ‘pressure cooker’ society and to find greater meaning and purpose in her life. I would like to suggest that apart from being part of the ‘lost generation,’ second-generation Viet Kieu also constitute part what has been termed ‘Generation X.’ Generation X refers to the post-baby boomer cohort born between the 1960s and 1980s. It started as a term among advertising executives to serve as a code word for the young generation of Americans they considered difficult to pin down as a target market. The term gained mainstream popularity in 1991 with the publication of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, a novel about a group of cynical twentysomethings who had dropped out of the rat race because baby boomers had taken up all the good


Priscill a Koh

jobs, leaving Xers with a ‘future of “McJobs” and “Lessness”’ (Tulgan 1997: 6). This generation also witnessed the rise of yuppie culture and the burst of the dot-com bubble. For Coupland, the letter ‘X’ was meant to signify the generation’s random, ambiguous, contradictory ways. Generation Xers were searching for adventure, meaning, success and security. As Bruce Tulgan, a journalist who has published extensively on the subject of Generation X observed: The problem is that nobody knows what success and security are going to look like for our generation. So Xers are busy remapping the way to security and picking up the bits and pieces of success along the way. Xers are moving from one new experience to the next, aggressively seeking new marketable skills and knowledge, relationships with people who can help them, and creative challenges that allow them to collect tangible proof of their ability to add value in any workplace. This is the behaviour I refer to as ‘Self Building.’ (Tulgan 1997: xiii)

I find Tulgan’s observation about Generation X an apt description for secondgeneration Viet Kieu who have ‘returned’ to Vietnam. Their premigration lives were marked by ambivalence and marginalization in different aspects of their social and work lives. This, combined with the soul-searching needs of a Generation Xer has prompted members of this generation to move to their parents’ homeland in search of meaning, adventure and opportunities. Furthermore, this conceptualization is consistent with the life-course explanation for migration, which suggests that individuals will take action, and if need be, migrate to enhance their socio-economic position, pursue ‘existential meaning’ and attain different forms of security in various settings (cf. Warnes 1992; Findlay and Li 1997; Whisler et al. 2008; Kley 2009). Such behaviours are consistent with what Tulgan referred to as ‘self-building’ in the above quote. Apart from factors intrinsic to their premigration lives and life-stage, there are also extrinsic factors that motivate members of this generation to move to Vietnam. These pertain to certain features in Vietnam’s cultural and socio-economic landscape. Compared to other national settings, Vietnam holds more economic potential and job opportunities. Moreover, as the birth country of their parents (and ancestors), Vietnam has particular historical and cultural significance for this generation of Viet Kieu. Together, the above constitute compelling factors motivating the second-generation Viet Kieu’s migration decision, which are distinct but mutually related and reinforcing motivations.

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


Economic Opportunities – Vietnam, the New El Dorado? Vietnam’s socio-economic landscape has undergone tremendous changes and developments over the past two decades. Since the 1990s, Vietnam has been described as economic frontier of sorts (cf. Nguyen and Grub 1992). The mid-1990s witnessed the normalization of trade and diplomatic relations between the US and Vietnam. Recent years have seen the country’s further integration into the world economic structure, particularly since its accession to World Trade Organization (WTO) membership in 2007. Foreign direct investment (FDI) and the establishment of multinational corporations in Vietnam, which include the likes of manufacturing giants like IBM, General Electric and Intel, have been the key driving forces leading to the creation of millions of jobs in Vietnam. Even with the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, economies in the Asia-Pacific region have been recovering faster and have higher growth potential compared to those in the West, with its reported persistent recession and soaring unemployment rates. Vietnam remains an attractive investment destination for foreign investors and multinational corporations alike. The global economic recession of 2008-2009 has also spurred a rising number of second-generation Viet Kieu to relocate to Vietnam, in search of employment opportunities and work challenges in a different cultural and socio-economic landscape. For these returnees, Vietnam not only offered them more job opportunities, but also gave them the chance to embark on their own business or creative projects. Relatively low business start-up costs, emerging consumer tastes, and a developing market economy provided many more business opportunities and work possibilities for overseas Vietnamese than their home countries. In Vietnam, my respondents felt that they also have the opportunity to embark on their individual business or creative projects. There, being able to carry out one’s creative and business ideas was not only a dream but could become a living reality. For Mark, a movie producer from Los Angeles, California, the lure to come back and stay on ‘indefinitely’ also had to do with the desire to do something that would benefit the country and its people. He felt that in Vietnam, he had more freedom to develop and execute his own ideas, because the domestic media market there was still under-developed and had plenty of potential. In his view, Vietnam was a young, dynamic and vibrant society that craved modernity and progress: there was both the desire to be in touch with the latest trends, and to be on par with the rest of the world. There, he also obtained greater satisfaction from his work. Through his media projects, Mark felt that he was also changing local mindset, the


Priscill a Koh

way Vietnamese see themselves and the world outside. He saw his work as an attempt improve industry standards in the country. Rather than work elsewhere, Mark pointed out that he would much rather help develop Vietnam’s media industry, and in so doing help his ‘own people.’ The view ‘This is the right [or best] time to be in Vietnam’ (or ‘This is the best place to be in right now’) is a common one expressed by my respondents. The majority said that they were reluctant to think about moving ‘back home’ because they had ‘absolutely no clue’ what they would do there. They also did not relish the prospect of having to ‘start from scratch’ or to return to what they were doing before they came to Vietnam. In fact, many were worried that the work positions they held and the experiences gained in Vietnam would count for ‘nothing’ when they moved back to their home countries. They feared that in moving ‘back’ (to their home countries) they would be taking several steps backwards in terms of their careers. They were also not keen to return to what they perceived as mundane and unfulfilling work lives. Therefore, an important aspect of their decision to stay in Vietnam can be attributed to greater economic opportunities and career mobility returnees have there.

Conclusion The discussion has highlighted how second-generation Viet Kieu’s motivations for migrating to Vietnam are not only multifaceted but also mutually related and reinforcing. Frequently, experiences of alienation and marginalization in their home countries can foster a need for the younger generation of overseas Vietnamese to create webs of belonging in different ways (cf. Thomas 1999). This fragile sense of belonging can be counteracted as the young returnees return to their parental homeland and come to terms with their past and conflicted identities. Their return to Vietnam to ‘find their roots’ and to live and work can also be construed as their attempt to create webs of belonging in different spaces and places. The quest of second-generation Viet Kieus for roots, greater meaning and purpose in life is intertwined with economic considerations and rationalizations. In other words, their aesthetic goals would be hard to achieve and sustain, if their relocation was not economically viable to begin with. Undoubtedly, economic factors remain fundamental determinants of migrations and settlement patterns (Tsuda 2009: 343). Yet, the discussion has also indicated that while economic opportunities was an important factor facilitating their migration to Vietnam, it was not a sufficient condi-

Re turn of the Lost Gener ation?


tion, since the young generation of overseas Vietnamese also ‘returned’ to their parents’ homelands to explore their identity, culture, and heritage. Research on returning second-generation migrants in Italy, Greece, China, India and Japan (Wessendorf 2007; King and Christou 2008; Tsuda 2009) also unveils the same tendencies: they are in search of both ‘roots and routes,’ made possible by economic conditions in both the sending and receiving countries. The ‘return’ to one’s country of origin does not necessarily constitute the end of a migration cycle. In the view of individuals who have multistranded ties and networks in different national settings and cultural communities, the migration story likely continues. The migration choices of second-generation Viet Kieu will no doubt continue to evolve as their life situations change over time and as many of them make the transition from single-hood to marriage to raising their own children. More than 35 years after that war, and years of struggling with identity and belonging in their home countries, the ‘lost generation’ may have finally found the answers they were seeking in Vietnam. Who knows what the next chapter in the history of return migration and engagement with the ‘homeland’ will hold for Viet Kieu? This is not the end of the journey, as the search for identity, belonging and home is a constant process throughout a person’s life course.


‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’ A Discourse Analysis of Vietnamese Student Migration to France in the Late Colonial Period Cindy A. Nguyen

Summary This chapter examines the physical and emotional experience and representation of Vietnamese student migrants between metrópole and home within the first decades of the twentieth century. Amongst the circulation of ideas on civilization, individualism, and nationalism, newspaper debates questioned the meaning and role of ‘the student’ within the discourse on Vietnamese nationhood and modernity. However, rather than assume colonial study as simply a producer of radical intelligentsia, this chapter considers how the discourse of ‘the student’ was shaped both by the obligation to return to Vietnam and the students’ rejection of that cultural world. For some individuals, civilizational discourse and the opportunity for education abroad was the emancipation from both family and outmoded social expectations. For others, this sense of individuality inherent within student migration reified the feeling of apartness brought by physical distance and cultural estrangement. Through studying the rhetoric of sending Vietnamese abroad, this chapter demonstrates the symbolic power and responsibility that an educated youth carried in relation to shifting definitions of the home – both familial and national.

Introduction In the period after the First World War and the repatriation of Vietnamese soldiers and workers in the 1920s, a substantial number of Vietnamese continued to move relatively freely between France and Vietnam, remaining in France for varying periods of weeks, months, or even permanent resettlement for some.1 The French and colonial government loosely classified 1 One of the most well-known Vietnamese immigrants to France during the colonial period was Lê Hữu Thọ, author of the semi-autobiographical Itinéraire d’un petite mandarin (The Journey of a Little Mandarin). Thọ had studied in Tonkin at a French lycée, and arrived in France in 1939

136 Cindy A. Nguyen

many of these individuals as students – as many of the Vietnamese youth attended French schools, seeking to earn a French degree. Aside from an administrative classification, the ‘student’ also emerged as a particular social category throughout Vietnamese intellectual and political debates on modernity, nationhood, and education. The Vietnamese ‘student’ became a social type, infused with overlapping expectations for socio-economic prestige or political activism on their return to the colony. The student’s journey and obligation to return functioned as indications of family success, and opportunities for individual freedom and social achievement. Furthermore, often throughout these discussions the student became an illusive subject in need of financial or ideological guidance; ultimately ‘the student’ served as vehicles for depicting broader discontent in Vietnamese politics and colonial society. In other words, inherent within the definition of French study abroad was the expectation that they would return to the colony and engage within the currents of political and social change. This chapter explores the multifaceted construct of the Vietnamese ‘student’ in the first decades of the twentieth century, and considers the various social and political discourses that contributed to its constant reinvention. Rather than attempt a comprehensive history of ‘the student’ – a categorical referent of assumed age, political leaning, upbringing, and formal education – this chapter undertakes Joan Scott’s challenge of making visible subject-positions and identities through understanding the discursive processes of identity formation that ‘achieve their effect because they are unnoticed’ (Scott 1991: 792). In other words, Vietnamese youth who studied in France did not always identify as the construct ‘student,’ but were entrenched in the historical formation and reformation of a particular social identity. The lived reality of students’ ‘experience’ and rhetoric used to characterize them operated in different but not isolated planes. Rather, the discursive characteristics of the ‘student’ existed as an ephemeral and contested undercurrent throughout the historic present of Vietnamese political and social debates. By examining Vietnamese language newspapers, memoirs, community fundraisers, and popular literature, this chapter will demonstrate the multidirectional forces (such as pressures to return) and historic moments that come to produce the new identity of Vietnamese students. As Scott eloquently explains: ‘Treating the emergence of a new identity as a discursive event is not to introduce a new form of linguistic at age 19 intending to be a translator. However, Lê Hữu Thọ found himself caught within the tides of the Second World War, living through the Vichy regime, and later married a French woman and resettled to France.

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


determinism, nor to deprive subjects of agency. It is to refuse a separation between ‘experience’ and language and to insist instead on the productive quality of discourse’ (ibid.). This chapter ultimately demonstrates how the categorical identity of student functioned both as static tropes instrumentalized for social reform and also as fluid discursive processes present within the lives of the students themselves. Aside from the important work on revolutionaries and nationalists byDaniel Hémery (1975a+b) and Pierre Brocheux (2009), the current body of scholarship on Vietnamese students is fairly limited in number and different in scope. More focused on the French response to migration, Scott McConnell’s (1989) Leftward Journey provides a synthesis of student migration and explores the radicalizing potential of French policy and associations on Vietnamese political ideology. McConnell supports his argument through his extensive examination of French-language documents; yet he admits his limitations in using Vietnamese sources that could have diversified his understanding of the experiences and social roles of Vietnamese students. Similarly, Kimloan Hill-Vu’s (2011) recent book on Vietnamese soldier-workers in France places the experience of Vietnamese abroad within the story of Vietnamese nationalism. Furthermore, Le Huu Khoa’s (1985) sociological study on immigration from its earliest colonial beginnings to contemporary relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam poses important theoretical questions on immigrant identity and sense of belonging. These previous works lay the groundwork to understand processes of radicalization and acculturation, but offer limited insight into the cultural, ideological, and social burdens rearticulated through migration and pressures to return. Thus, this study seeks to fill that gap by shedding light on the influence and discursive representations of migrant obligations in the Vietnamese-language press. How does the obligation to not only return, but also return as an educated and productive contributor to society, shape the migration experience of Vietnamese students? What social, cultural, or political measures determine a ‘successful’ student migrant? Furthermore, what roles do student migrants hold within the diverse socio-political movements such as civilization, nationalism, modernization, or radicalism during the late colonial period in Vietnam? As a theoretical parallel and for functional purposes, this chapter refers to the broad phenomenon of Vietnamese study abroad as student migration. As an intellectual framework, cultural history and migration studies offer useful insight into the dialectic between sending communities and migrants. For example, the descriptors migrant and student – defined by an experienced phase – fix temporal identities to eternal categories.

138 Cindy A. Nguyen

As revealed through this discursive study of Vietnamese students, study abroad and eventual return to Vietnam became inextricably woven within the identity of the Vietnamese student in the late colonial period. Thus, while most Vietnamese students only lived in France for a short period before returning to Vietnam, the student migrant experience continued to permeate throughout Vietnamese intellectual life and transnational networks as cultural and ideological tropes. This examination of Vietnamese students in France does not attempt to represent the diverse experiences of Vietnamese students abroad, but seeks to provide insight into the dialectic and influential realm of student identity that existed between metrópole and colony, ideal and reality.

At the Intersection of Colonial Education Rhetoric and Reality: The Purposes of a French Degree Characterized by shifting colonial education policies, lack of funding, and a disorganized scope of curricula and training, the French colonial school system offered haphazard and limited educational opportunities for Vietnamese youth. The Franco-Indigenous colonial schools served the dual purpose of training loyal Vietnamese administrative and technical agents and replacing potentially rebellious Vietnamese teachers.2 Beginning in 1906, the focus and direction of new colonial policy attempted to streamline the technical and socio-political purposes of education in Vietnam.3 Many of these reforms were driven by the strategy to rupture Vietnamese cultural traditions, remove the threat of scholar-inspired revolts and schools as breeding grounds for anti-colonial dissent, and distinguish French supremacy within a hierarchy of education (Anderson 2006). However, colonial policy, curriculum, and classroom structure diverged in practice. Even though over the years the primary education system showed improvement in organization and access, between 1920 and 1938 the highest number of Vietnamese youth enrolled in school did not surpass 10 per cent and remained predominantly male (Kelly 1979, 1987). Nevertheless, 2 Gail P. Kelly (1987) also explains how education policy became the setting for political and cultural ‘conflicts’ in 1918-1938 Vietnam between teachers, Vietnamese landlords, French colons, elite collaborators, and the colonial administration. 3 From the recommendations made by the Council for the Improvement of Native Education between 1906 and 1913, three primary guidelines were applied in structuring colonial education: defined by current Vietnamese socio-economic conditions; must avoid Vietnamese traditions and Chinese language; and must also be distinct from French systems in substance and structure.

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


the limited range of academic training offered in Vietnam – village public schools, French lycées, the University of Hanoi, the School for Interpreters, or the Tonkin Free School – profoundly influenced the ways in which Vietnamese systematically ‘experienced colonialism’ in their early youth through invasive attempts at academic centralization. Colonial educated students experienced a measure of mandated French language, history, and culture instruction and were required to recite daily their loyalty to France with the phrase Nos ancêtres, les Gaulois (Our forefathers, the Gauls). An even smaller population of students advanced to post-primary elite schools: an estimated 10,000 students in the 1920s and 1930s (Marr 1981: 37). 4 Intense racial discord permeated throughout these schools, and colon (settler) teachers often unfairly disciplined, failed, or prevented Vietnamese students from graduating, in an attempt to protect the colonial socio-economic status quo. With the limited opportunities for intellectual and economic ascension in the colony, many Vietnamese sought intellectual enrichment and economic leverage through overseas studies in France. Aside from the few cases of early Vietnamese diplomats from the Hue court to France, large-scale Vietnamese study abroad did not occur until after 1910 – when a series of initiatives for modern education in Vietnam were suppressed, leaving little ‘alternative for modern education except for a Tây Du or Voyage a l’Ouest to France’ (Brocheux 2009).5 Between 1915 and 1920, France recruited about 90,000 Indochinese (the majority of whom were illiterate Vietnamese) to serve as soldier-workers and agents (McConnell 1989). During the Second World War, France also recruited manual labour and soldiers from its colonies such as Vietnam. Brocheux explains that while the majority of these temporary migrant workers and soldiers were repatriated after the wars, some remained in France to attend school while the unlettered majority entered the French working class.6

4 In 1920, an estimated 2,430 Vietnamese enrolled in upper education in the colony; by 1938 the number had increased to 4,552. The estimated figure of 10,000 originates from the conclusion of David Marr (1981) that out of 20,000 upper-level educated men and women during this period, only about 10,000 actively contributed to the intellectual class. 5 The year 1908 marked the end to Phan Bội Châu’s ‘Go East’ (‘Đông Du’) movement for Vietnamese to study abroad in Japan, and around the same time the closure of the University of Hanoi, Tonkin Free School (Đông Kinh Nghĩa Thục or L’école libre du Tonkin), and attempts for modernization or ‘enlightened’ approaches to education. 6 It has been argued that the majority of Vietnamese working class in France were not involved in Marxist and Communist activity; however, Brocheux (2009) demonstrates that those who did, played auxiliary roles in the independence movement by providing meeting spaces such as restaurants, offering transportation, and relaying messages.

140 Cindy A. Nguyen

Aside from those who initially journeyed to France via military conscription, a substantial number of Vietnamese from diverse social classes travelled to France to study abroad. Children of well-connected and landlord merchant classes, or the petit bourgeois urban population, formed the majority of the student population, yet students of the relatively poor working class also participated in overseas education through community or patron sponsorship (Le 1985: 33). The majority of officially registered students stayed in France for six to seven years depending on their ability to secure funding. Official records estimated Vietnamese high school and university students in France in 1929 to be at least 1,800 (1,100 in Paris, 200 in Aix-en-Provence, 110 in Toulouse, and the remaining in Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Lyon).7 Although around 3,675 individual files of Indochinese living in France were accounted for in the Ministry of Colonies, official population data on Vietnamese migrants was severely limited, unsystematic, and often broadly classified. The variable statistical data also calls to question how the French government quantified ‘student life’ and its many determining factors. For example, these numbers do not illustrate the frequent movement of students between institutions, the varied duration of registered studies, their simultaneous employment at various jobs (such as sailors) and their participation in youth and student groups. By 1926 and 1927 colonial educational reforms in Franco-Vietnamese education also pushed Vietnamese students to obtain a French diploma in order to hold a position in the civil service (Blanc 2005: 1159). With this restriction, a degree earned in the metrópole, regardless of prestige of institution, carried considerable weight in comparison to one earned from a Franco-Vietnamese school.8 Furthermore, the emergence of a nouveau riche Vietnamese middle class built on landownership and trade ushered in new social standards to showcase affluence and success. Many of these practices reflected the perceived lifestyle of French colons such as the following material and experiential qualifiers: Western clothes, practicing sports, leisure travel, or access to a modern French education for their children (Kelly 1979: 213).9 Similarly, Vietnamese such as merchants and urban clerks 7 These population statistics originated from a police note from January 23, 1929 (CAOM, Slotfom III/6, as cited by Brocheux 2009). Furthermore, Marie-Eve Blanc provides a useful, although limited chart of the changing Vietnamese population in France during the colonial period in ‘Vietnamese in France’ (Blanc 2005: 1161). 8 For example, Vietnamese students who held a French baccalaureat garnered more socioeconomic clout than those who earned a colonial baccalaureat. 9 The majority of the earliest students travelling to France came from the nouveau riche, large landowner families from Cochinchina (southern Vietnam), many of whom financially

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


sought entrance into the cushioned fantasy of colonial success, defined by a French degree or a position in the civil service (Kelly 1979).10 Throughout the decades of student migration, colonial officials did not maintain a consistent policy on migration and instead issued confusing and contradictory policies in regards to Vietnamese study abroad. For example, in the earlier years of overseas study, colonial policies were deeply informed by the mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission) and associationist policies; accordingly, in the 1910s and 1920s study abroad was described by colonial administrators as the opportunity for cultural and intellectual enrichment of the ‘gentle, well mannered, and hard-working’ Vietnamese (McConnell 1989). The semantics of building loyal and educated Vietnamese elites carried through many of the reforms in Franco-Indigenous schools as well as the rare colonial scholarships to study abroad, such as the highly publicized sponsorship of Phan Văn Trường in 1930. On the other hand, some officials such as Governor-General Pierre Pasquier were worried about the politicizing influence of a liberal education system and left-wing associations in France. Regulative measures were enforced more strictly in the late 1930s, due to attempts to quell the rise in anti-colonial activity.11 Nevertheless, compared to students from other French colonies, Vietnamese managed to travel and live in France in larger numbers through their own initiatives, which included being funded by their family, by joining the military or signing on as a ship hand, or by receiving aid from informal student networks to find housing and job opportunities. Thus, the historical context of shifting cultural values, education policies, and economic and political possibilities of migration were among the many factors that shaped, motivated, and complicated the Vietnamese experience of studying abroad in France.12 Throughout the interwar years, the topic of students abroad arose in a variety of print media in response to the rising significance of student migration. As demonstrated in the following analysis of journals, literature, and newsprint, education abroad became and politically benefited from French colonial redistribution into a plantation economy. Some of these students would later become active members of the Constitutionalist Party in Saigon. 10 Kelly illustrates how this lifestyle was mocked through the popular Vietnamese proverb ‘The civil servant gives orders; in the evening he drinks champagne, and in the morning, cow’s milk’ (1979: 214). 11 David Marr also explains this regulation of Vietnamese study abroad as a shift in colonial cultural programs from a ‘Western’ education to an ‘Indochinese’ structure. This is also seen in decision to raise the colonial budget to expand the University of Indochina (also known as the University of Hanoi) in 1937 (Marr 1981: 39-40). 12 The economic strains of the Depression hindered many Vietnamese landlord families from financing expensive education abroad for their children (Marr 1981).

142 Cindy A. Nguyen

crucial facets to other socio-political campaigns for education and social reform and throughout ideological discussions on civilization, modernity, and nationhood. The discussion on Vietnamese youth was swept within the larger wave of the effervescent, evolving, and engaged reading, writing, public sphere – aided by the continual development of the popular script quốc ngữ, capital investment within printing, and a larger density of a semiliterate population by the turn of the twentieth century in Vietnam.13 While printing houses emerged primarily in cities (and often only existed for short periods), the circulation of newspapers and printed material promulgated across geographic divides, constructing an ‘imagined community’ of ideas, discussion, and new forms of cultural and intellectual expression. Many of these newspapers provided the intellectual space to discuss new cultural and political ideas, such as the purpose, responsibilities, and social obligations to return of students abroad. These print forms were spaces to figure out new meanings and to contest them, and serve as a way historically examine the ‘contradictions within any one of them, multiple meanings possible for the concepts they deploy’ (Scott 1991: 792). In other words, the ‘Vietnamese student’ became a construct infused with overlapping and at times conflicting emotional, ideological, and/or political meaning, at times detaching the ideal from the actual experience of student migration itself.

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’: Newspaper Campaigns and Social Change Phủ Nữ Tân Văn (Women’s News, or Modern Women) was a key example of vibrant intellectual debate and reflections on social and cultural changes during the 1920s and 1930s. Managed by the husband and wife Nguyễn Đức Nhuận and Cao Thị Khanh, Phủ Nữ Tân Văn (henceforth referred to as P.N.T.V.) was one of the most relatively progressive and well-circulated print sources in colonial Vietnam.14 The first issue, published on May 2, 1929, declared itself as an independent journal based on contributions from male 13 Prior to introduction of the Romanized quốc ngữ system of the Vietnamese language, Vietnamese was written in demotic script of Sinicized Vietnamese or classical Chinese (chữ nôm and chữ hán việt). Portuguese Christian missionaries initiated Romanized quốc ngữ script in the early sixteenth century, and the French supported the spread of quốc ngữ within its colonial administration and education system as a means of communication and political separation from Vietnam’s Chinese cultural connections. 14 Some of the issues of P.N.T.V. have also been reprinted in Thiện Mộc Lan (2010). Shawn McHale (1995) examines the development of women’s liberation ideology (giải phóng phủ nữ)

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


and female readers on current issues open for debate.15 Nevertheless, one of the most remarkable efforts of this newspaper were the various methods and national rhetoric employed to engage the Vietnamese community, notably in garnering civic engagement to support Vietnamese students in France. Even from the start, P.N.T.V. elicited the support and monetary contribution of its readers towards the ‘social cause’ of Vietnamese students. In its second issue on May 5, 1929, the series ‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’ urged its readers to donate weekly to aid Vietnamese students in France. While the request did not explain how the money would be sent or for what explicit purpose, the act of giving and sacrificing for ‘Vietnamese society’ merited the most detailed justification. Following the request for donations for scholarship funds, the article explained the social significance of supporting the education of Vietnamese youth with the following declaration: ‘When we brothers and sisters realize and feel compelled to worry about our home [quê hương] – our country and future – then on that day we will stand up and open our eyes with others; if not that day will be very far away from us.’ This statement revealed the complex relationship between individual and ‘home’ – a bond depicted as civic duty towards the country of Vietnam. In this way, forms of civic engagement and social improvement were the ideological justifications for P.N.T.V. student and other community campaigns, in this case, to send students abroad to learn, return, and contribute new skills and ideas to ‘our country and future.’ The vague claim of ‘civilizational improvement’ was a moral and cultural imperative that dominated almost every newspaper discussion concerning the condition of Vietnamese society. This rhetoric of self-strengthening particularly proliferated throughout education campaigns; the discourse of a ‘modern Vietnamese society’ intersected on the movement to educate Vietnamese youth, women, and the poor as a social justice rallying point in the pages of P.N.T.V. and in other progressive newspapers in the 1920s and 1930s. David Marr explains how ‘“women and society” had become something of a focal point around which other issues often revolved. Women became conscious of themselves as a social group with particular interests, within the first ‘women-centred’ newspaper Nữ Giới Chung (Women’s Bell) and Phủ Nữ Tân Văn of the 1930s. 15 The readership of these newspapers were primarily men and women of the intellectual bourgeoisie, who according to a colonial study by André Dumarest (1935), tended to mimic a certain ‘Western’ lifestyle and cultural values (Dumarest, Formation de classes sociales en pays annamite [The Formation of Social Classes in Annam] [Lyon: Ferreol, 1935], 234 as cited in McHale 1995: 177).

144 Cindy A. Nguyen

grievances, and demands’ (Marr 1981: 191). In a similar manner, in a long article titled ‘Waving the Flag of Humanity’ (‘Phất Cờ Bác Aí’), a metaphoric flag is raised to call attention to educate and train the ‘wretched poor of Vietnam.’16 Without much detail as to who the ‘poor’ of Vietnam actually consisted of, the answer to this social malaise was found in the sending of these ‘poor’ to school (specifically, through the aid and support of the P.N.T.V. scholarship funds). Here and in many other subsequent articles, specific attention is dedicated to the philanthropic nature of the newspaper – 15 per cent of print sales contribute to a scholarship fund titled ‘Vietnamese Women Scholarships’ (‘Việt nam Phủ nữ Học bổng’).17 Furthermore, monthlong sequences reported the handful of P.N.T.V. scholarship competitions based on exams and literary technique; these competitions were extensively reported, detailing the merits of education and periodically biographies of winning students.18 In both the call for donations and literary competition, particular transparent administrative information is given in an effort to both build legitimacy as a community service and also towards the formation of greater Vietnamese civil society. Almost every issue of P.N.T.V. contained at least one article focused on Vietnamese students in France. The topics concerned requests for monetary contributions, the status of community-funded scholarships, or discussions on the importance of education. On the other hand, a smaller section of each magazine would feature news from student correspondents in France. In virtually all of this coverage or in these campaigns, those in need of scholarships (or simply young Vietnamese in France) were referred to as the ‘poor students.’ The coverage did not provide specific details about the specific identity of the ‘poor student,’ what subject they studied, or if they were actually registered students abroad. Thus students were often represented as a social category in need of community assistance. This conflation of identity presumes individual characteristics as well as a sense of individual agency. In the scholarship campaigns of P.N.T.V., the construct 16 Phụ Nữ Tân Văn no. 3 (May 16, 1929), author anonymous.  17 In P.N.T.V. no. 3 (May 16, 1929), the article claimed proudly that within three months they were able to already produce two scholarships. (The calculation was explicitly given as 4,000 copies x $6 = $24,000 x.15 = $3,600). Although limited in number, Vietnamese women who did journey abroad were extensively reported on, often as part of a larger discussion on women’s liberation issues. 18 The article ‘Xong Cái Học Bổng Thứ Nhứt’ (‘The Completion of the First Scholarship Competition’) claimed the first two pages of this issue; also detailed reports on the competition, students’ scores, and even some examination questions continued throughout subsequent issues (Phủ Nữ Tân Văn no. 22 [September 26, 1929]).

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


of ‘poor student’ functioned as a rallying force, a social cause to invoke community activism. Furthermore, the act of furthering educational opportunity was often portrayed as a contribution towards the greater good or fellow ‘đồng bào’ (compatriot, or literally ‘children of the same womb’) (Werner 2009: 19). This moment of vibrant socio-political debates, cultural reform, and rearticulations of identity represented the development of an imagined community of ‘our country,’ in which individuals both belonged to and could shape. Yet, at the foundation of social change and the expression of the collective – be it understood as a national consciousness, global modernity, or class awareness – lies the interrelated relationship between self and society.

Finding the ‘Self’ in Society: Student Responsibilities, Politics, and Networks In contrast to the well-publicized community event of scholarship competitions (that even merited positions in the first pages), the series titled ‘Letters Sent from France’ depict a much more conflicted representation of student life in France. Often these articles were published by student correspondents currently living in France; some letters were authored by well-known contributors such as Cao Chánh (who also went by Thạch Lan), but the majority of the articles, like the other columns, were anonymous or signed by the collective ‘P.N.T.V.’ One of the most critical examinations of Vietnamese study abroad was Thạch Lan’s reflection titled ‘What Do Vietnamese Students Learn Abroad?’ in the January 16, 1930 issue. Modelled as an interview between the author and a student, Thạch Lan asked the student to explain the significance of Vietnamese youth studying in France. Characterizing Vietnamese study abroad as a ‘popular current trend,’ Lan repeatedly pushed the student to explain the purpose of study abroad, rather than just provide the technical details of the experience. The student responded by explaining the various disciplines (law, literature, medicine, and machinery) and degrees (tú tài, cữ nhơn, tấn sĩ, kỷ sư) that Vietnamese earn; simply put, a student returns to Vietnam and is henceforth a ‘nhân tài [talented person], of course.’ Yet, as evident in Thạch Lan’s repetitive questioning of ‘So then what …,’ Lan sought to expose the flawed justifications for studying abroad. The rest of the two-page article critiqued the supposed ‘knowledge’ that came with a diploma. In Lan’s caricature of a Vietnamese student, French degrees were devoid of meaning because they were not awarded on merit, but instead were given because teachers were frustrated with their lazy and ignorant

146 Cindy A. Nguyen

students. In describing an incident in which an English teacher took pity on his poor but lazy Vietnamese student, Lan sarcastically commented, ‘Yet again, today our Vietnam receives another degreed scholar.’ Lan’s interrogative fictional piece projected a caricature of Vietnamese students as lazy and undeserving. However, a student correspondent himself, Lan did not believe in the deterministic fate of Vietnamese youth and proudly asserted, ‘Our Vietnam truly has the potential to learn.’ With this qualifier, Lan adamantly called for the re-examination of the role and responsibility of Vietnamese youth. ‘Our generation of youth today has a penchant for excuses – at age 20, they claim that they are still too young to contribute to society and must focus on their studies!’ In this way, Thạch Lan measured the success of Vietnamese study abroad according to students’ return to Vietnam and their ability to ‘contribute to society.’ Lan continued to elaborate on social responsibilities of educated youth by describing and dividing the existing social stratum of intellectuals into two categories – politics and letters (the former listed as law, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and the latter as journalism, literature, and speech competitions). He specifically used the new word thượng lưu xã hội, translated from the French word for intellectual elite, élite, to categorize the broad spectrum of educated individuals (without much regard to background, class, or political leaning). In re-examining these intellectuals, Lan recognized their intellectual accomplishments, but critiqued this ‘elite intellectual generation’ as ‘outdated for modern society.’19 Thus, he once again addressed the youth of today to step up and assume the necessary social and political duty that accompanies the ‘new educated social stratum.’20 While Lan did not clearly specify what the ‘inherent duty’ of youth actually entailed, his focus was clearly to invoke both shame and responsibility within the young readers of the newspaper. He further critiqued students who not only hid behind their studies, but also did not return as wise, empowered intellectuals. Lan concluded with the request for those apathetic, ‘ignorant’ students to come home and either better prepare themselves for dedicated study, or find some 19 Lan described the existing heritage of social intellectual elites in the following manner: ‘from the South: Buì Quang Chiều, Nguyễn Phan Long, Dương Văn Giá, the Central: (?) and the North: Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh, Phạm Quỳnh, etc.’ Lan recalled his disappointing interview with intellectual Bùi Quang Chiều where Chiều hesitated to directly address Lan’s question on ‘the issue of women.’ Instead, according to Lan, Chiều replies, ‘I’m already very old, and my duties are almost over’ (Thạch Lan 1930). 20 Lan called on the generation of students to be ashamed of their accomplishments in comparison to those of the Chinese heroine Trịnh Duc Tú, with the phrase ‘even this little Chinese girl took on the responsibility of society.’

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


other meaningful contribution to society rather than be a mere degreed student, described as ‘no worse than a retired person.’ In this article, Thạch Lan, a ‘student’ at one point in his life himself, demonstrated his frustration that he most likely experienced firsthand as a news correspondent in France. Nevertheless, he positioned himself outside of this class of ‘elite intellectuals’ to re-examine the troubling state of Vietnamese youth, who he believed to be ‘mesmerized by modern trends and leisurely life in Paris.’ Instead, Thạch Lan commanded students to take up the social responsibility that accompanies their education and contribute to the larger meaning of xã hội (society) (another newly defined word influenced by the idea of French societé). While the caricature of the ‘Vietnamese student’ in Thạch Lan’s article differed greatly from the ‘poor student’ of P.N.T.V.’s scholarship campaigns, both representations continued to define and reattribute new social meaning to the role and responsibility of educated youth in their return to Vietnam. The conversations in P.N.T.V. demonstrate the multiple actors involved in forming a group or generational identity, of which students themselves attempted to carve out a social path without clear historic precedence. Engaged within the circulation of debates on ‘modern civilization,’ Vietnamese intellectuals were particularly attracted to the Social Darwinistic potential for the evolution of not just the Vietnamese nation, but also individual cultivation. This complex reflexivity of ideal and application is contextualized within a larger historical moment of transnational, cross-cultural exchange – a process in which historian Mark Bradley characterizes as the turn of the twentieth-century ‘global circulation of civilizational discourse … appropriated and transformed by local actors’ (Bradley 2004: 66). Bradley also argues that the appropriation of more radical civilizational discourse to Vietnamese society projected the ‘transformative re-articulations of individual agency and the proper relations between self and society’ (ibid.). As demonstrated in the campaigns for and reflections on students, the idea of the autonomous and responsible individual was deeply embedded within a mutual relationship with society, thus often resulting in an assumed expected return of students. Furthermore, the meaning of society in itself was undergoing re-examination. Tensions and visions of past and present, tradition and modern, and material and abstract varied amongst an individual’s imagined community, resulting in varying motivations and experiences for students who travelled abroad. At the same time, this generational and radicalizing shift was specific to the group of Vietnamese youth who came of age in a political climate (a time characterized by ‘iconoclasm and the marriage of the personal and

148 Cindy A. Nguyen

the political’), who were frustrated with the failures of accommodationist reform to produce change, and who were not attached to the past scholarled resistance of colonialism (Ho Tai 1992: 2). Hue-Tam Ho Tai explains the various manifestations of Vietnamese radicalism inspired by diverse nascent ideological paths ranging from Marxism-Leninism and anarchism, to Social Darwinism and Constitutionalism. For example, Marxism attracted many Vietnamese anti-colonial youth through its ‘promise of a certain victory instead of annihilation, and national redemption instead of endless struggle for survival’ characteristic of Social Darwinism (Ho Tai 1992: 243).21 Amongst the Vietnamese population in France existed a smaller number of student activists who also engaged within the loose network of Vietnamese and French students, workers, writers, socialists and liberals, and intellectual leaders – the most famous of whom were the ‘Five Dragons’: Nguyễn An Ninh, Nguyễn Tất Thành (Hồ Chí Minh), Phan Văn Trường, Phân Châu Trinh, and Nguyễn Thế Truyền.22 World events such as the Russian Revolution in 1917, the exile and death of Vietnamese leaders, the founding of Communist parties in France, China, and Russia shaped the political and intellectual leanings of Vietnamese intellectuals living in France, where the interactions between individuals and ideas functioned as a ‘laboratory of political and cultural modernization of Vietnam’ (Brocheux 2009). Trotskyist Hồ Hữu Tường (1910-1980) described the transformative experience of studying abroad in Marseilles and Lyon in the 1920s, and defined much of his experience around his interaction with other students such as the politically active Nguyễn Thế Truyền, Phan Văn Trường, Nguyễn Văn Tạo, and Phan Văn Chánh (Hồ 1972).23 Many of Tường’s remarks on the generational identity of students revolved around a student’s revolutionary potential and an ironically subversive academic accomplishment abroad. In these pages, Tường portrayed Nguyễn An Ninh (1900-1943) as ‘another 21 Hue-Tam Ho Tai argues that ideas of Social Darwinism arrived into Vietnamese intellectual thought through Chinese literati such as Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and K’ang Yu-wei at the turn of the twentieth century. Ho Tai explains that Vietnamese literati were concerned with the Darwinistic spirit of competition and survival of their nation against the colonizer France. 22 Les cinq dragons, for a brief period in 1919-1923 were centred in a small apartment in the 13th arrondisement of Paris. Inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s ‘Fourteen Points,’ this group of colleagues wrote the famous petition for Vietnamese self-determination. 23 Hồ Hữu Tường’s Bốn Mươi Mốt Năm Làm Báo (Forty-one Years of Working in the Newspaper Industry) was an autobiography of his journalism experience. While this text had a propensity to blur the lines between recollection and creative embellishments, Tường’s description of student life in France reveals the significant political undercurrents of student life in France

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


radicalized student’ prodigy.24 According to this retelling, Ninh skilfully navigated the French degree structure, and earned the highest degree within only one year. Tường describes: ‘Through this symbolic act and accomplishment, wherever Ninh went, the colonizer French in Paris held Ninh in extremely high regards’ (Hồ 1972: 12).In this way, Tường broadly defined his studies as a potential for social and individual empowerment in the context of a colonizer-colonized relationship. Yet, in reality, study abroad in France did not necessarily manifest itself in individualistic emancipation, political radicalism or nationalist ideology. The opportunity for socio-economic ascension, civic duty, as well as individual autonomy empowered some of these students, yet cultural and social expectations weighed heavily on them as well. Feelings of cultural anomie and non-belonging, financial burdens, and expectations from family and community were among the many pressures of study abroad. Furthermore, the increasing political fervour of nationalist discourse in France and Vietnam generated idealistic demands from Vietnamese youth to fulfil not only their individual familial obligations but also a responsibility to the vague greater good. The following sections convey the diverse experiences and complex ways in which individuals, such as Tùng Hương and Nhất Linh, negotiated different expectations, challenges, and new ideas through physical movement. Furthermore, these first-person published diary or fictional accounts provide another facet to understand the construct of the ‘student’ – an amalgamation of socio-political discourses on personal and national responsibility.

Tùng Hương’s ‘On the Way to Southern France’: Letters from a ‘Failed’ Student In contrast to Hồ Hữu Tường’s exuberant autobiography, many letters exchanged between students abroad and family, friends, and lovers back home depict the routine challenges of life abroad. These letters bring to the surface the challenge and necessity of maintaining migrant transnational kinship networks beyond emotional nostalgia – both social and economic expectations surrounded those family members to maintain emotional 24 Nguyễn An Ninh (1900-1943) was a well-known and talented scholar, journalist, and anticolonialist. What struck Tường mostly about Ninh’s academic accomplishments was his ability to skilfully write in French, notably in his anti-colonial newspaper La cloche fêlée (The Cracked Bell), based in Saigon.

150 Cindy A. Nguyen

composure and financial stability. Thus, these personal sources shed light upon the significant influence of temporary or permanent migration upon family relationships, as well as the consequential adaptations, transformations, and methods of assistance within those networks of transnational relationships. Some of these personal letters were selected and published on the pages of journals such as P.N.T.V. and Nam Phong (Southern Wind), and described new experiences abroad. Furthermore, many of the letters that were published functioned also as an important news source and emotional vehicles to enlist financial support. Although letters chosen for publication often carried a journalistic purpose, published correspondence also offered the reading public an almost sensational experience of life abroad. In a similar manner, the letters of Tùng Hương regarding his journey to France from July 16, 1924 to December 3, 1931 were published in Nam Phong Tạp Chí, on September 1932.25 Although the biographic information of ‘Tùng Hương’ is relatively limited, the emotional candour embedded within each letter home to Saigon provides valuable insight into how some Vietnamese students comprehended and depicted to others their study-abroad experience. Hương introduces this series with a tone of humility and hesitancy: ‘I wrote these letters during my experience on a journey where I could not complete my university degree, thus I could not achieve the feat of making a name for myself for my country; therefore I did not want anyone to pay attention to me.’ Beyond administrative requirements, the significance attached to a French degree percolated throughout many realms of Vietnamese society. For some, a degree received in the colonial metrópole became the essential signifier of success in colonial Vietnam. For others, the pursuit of a French degree and the experience of study abroad encompassed a transformative intellectual experience as well as a stage in an individual’s career training. This aspiration for a degree and the fascination with the French school system also stemmed from the prestige awarded to lettered individuals or degreed candidates – cultural values inherent within centuries of Confucian-inspired Vietnamese education and examination systems. In his disheartened introduction, Hương explains that in recovering these letters he realized that these honest emotions, struggles, and journeys were nonexistent in other books. Thus, he felt compelled to share these emotional reflections – regardless of his ‘socio-cultural failure’ to return 25 Nam Phong Tạp Chí, no. 176 September 1932, republished in Tùng, Hương. “Trên Đường Nam Pháp.” In Nguyễn Hữu Sơn, Du Ký Việt Nam: Nam Phong Tạp Chí, 1917-1934, 2:303-331. Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh: Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, 2007.

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


with le bac degree – and to remember the significance of such ‘deeply affectionate phrases’ such as ‘Through you, I am able to love and cherish the sound of my country.’26 On November 30, 1924, Hương recounted his first experiences eating salade (xà lách) and melon, his difficulties adjusting to the cold weather, and the fascinating lectures and discussions in his classes. Following the pleasant recollections of student life, Hương listed in detail the increasing living costs and student fees, forcing him to decrease his budget on meals and clothing. Here and in other accounts, Hương represented his student life in France as well-adjusted: he confided to his addressee the excitement, novelties, and daily events of his new life, but also tempered this romantic migrant experience with difficulties in finances, acculturation, and homesickness. Furthermore, the detailed daily expenses reflected both the downtrodden life of many Vietnamese students and also the immense dependency of students on their families and sending communities for financial support. Hương’s letters and reflections also reveal significant ways in which certain social expectations and political predilections influenced individual experiences and identity formation. For example, the widely assumed superiority of ‘French education’ and the ‘dedicated Vietnamese student’ played a substantial part in forming Hương’s first impressions of student life. In Hương’s first encounter with local Vietnamese students and his first classes in Marseilles on October 18, 1924, he described his days as extremely regimented, with designated times for eating, speaking, and studying. In contrast, in his studies in Lyon at du Parc, Hương ruminated on the style and quality of teaching in France, concluding that it was entirely similar to that in Saigon.27 He exclaimed, ‘I’ve already spent time and efforts to travel all the way here, only to find that this is exactly like home!’ Furthermore, in stark contrast to Hồ Hữu Tường’s fascination and full involvement with student associations and political activism, the archetype of the ‘radicalized Vietnamese student’ emerged very subtly in Hương’s letters. In a long letter on September 2, 1925, while describing in detail the various French national holidays and developed transportation system, Hương mentioned only in passing, the existence of French-led student strikes. He asks, ‘Do you know what a protest is?’ and continued by explaining that anyone who held a measure of power, discontent with any issue, ‘could assemble with others, drag oneself outside, and shout throughout the streets.’ Describing 26 “Nhờ anh mà em mới biết yêu quý tiếng nước nhà.” Hương, ‘Trên Đường Nam Pháp,’ in (Nguyễn Hữu Sơn 2007: 303). 27 December 16, 1924.

152 Cindy A. Nguyen

only one example, Hương explained a recent protest regarding Christianity and the involvement of a group of students at the University of Lyon. In a tone of surprise, Hương described how the French students gathered in front of a government building, sang songs in protest, and could not be dispersed by government soldiers on the basis that ‘Arrest would be illegal, since they were granted freedom [of assembly].’ Here Hương used the word for freedom, tự do, in a manner influenced by the French concept of liberté that implied both individual and social freedom.28 As swiftly as he introduced this topic, Hương nonchalantly proceeded to explain other aspects of French life, such as strange holidays commemorating Catherine, Noel, and a description of a local Chinese restaurant. This short reference to student activism shows how political life was just another aspect of French life, and in Hương’s case, not particularly interesting besides an act of strange defiance. As evident by the immense detail of his routine life and expressions of nostalgia for his loved ones, these private letters functioned as a medium to cope with the complex and isolating process of student migration. Hương’s published journal entries were filled with a preponderance of self-doubt, curiosity, dislocation, and anomie, inherent throughout print representations of student migration during this period, such as the following work by Nhất Linh.

The Pursuit of the ‘Self’ in ‘Going West’ Son of a failed Confucian mandarin, Nguyễn Tường Tâm (1905-1963), more widely known as Nhất Linh, had a prolific and complex literary career, including writing several novellas and short stories, serving as editor of the first satirical journal in Vietnam, Phong Hóa (Customs), launched in 1932, and producing his own journals.29 In 1935-1936 he poked fun at the colonial propaganda of the civilizing mission in his serialized short story ‘Going West’ (‘Đi Tây’) about the physical and ideological journey towards ‘civilization.’30 One of the few literary works focused on the experience of study abroad, ‘Going West’ is also argued to have been a semi-fictional 28 Đào Duy Anh defines tự do as following only one’s opinion, resistant to others’ constraints (liberté). 29 Nhất Linh was also known as the founder and active contributor of the Self Reliance Literary Group in 1933. A cohort of intellectuals, the Group fought a socio-cultural war with words; their works encouraged socio-economic responsibility, rebuked Confucian traditions, and advocated a measure of modernization. 30 For more biography information on Nhất Linh, see Lockhart 1996 and the introduction to Lockhart 1994.

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


account of Nhất Linh’s own three-year journey to France in 1927 to study journalism and receive a science degree (Lockhart 1994). Although largely a humorous caricature of Vietnamese students abroad, ‘Going West’ sheds light upon the multifaceted emotional, cultural, and financial difficulties as well as the intricate Vietnamese communities of life abroad in France. Embedded within Nhất Linh’s humorous satires, such as ‘Going West,’ often lie biting critique of intellectuals, who were characterized by their sense of social regality and their blind confidence in the role of ‘civilization’ to reform Vietnamese society. Portrayed as a transformative moment of self-validation, to ‘become civilized’ was to ‘sáng mắt ra’ (open one’s eyes) and functioned as the primary motivation for the life and journey of the protagonist of ‘Going West,’ Lãng Du. Through the wanderings and process of self-discovery of the protagonist Lãng Du, Nhất Linh voiced a sense of non-belonging as an intellectual caught between the romance of modernity and the social reality of urban life in Vietnam. In ‘Going West’ and in many of his other works, Nhất Linh addressed how the clash of old and new, traditional and modern, emancipated many young individuals, like himself, from the chains of archaic social mores. The main protagonists of his stories such as Lãng Du, whose name meant wanderer, often drifted around as excluded vagabonds in search of social, intellectual, and artistic fulfilment.31 Lãng Du’s overt naiveté possibly reflected Nhất Linh’s perceptions of Vietnam and his own imprisonment within what he described as the weight of backward cultural mores and expectations. As he travelled farther from Vietnam, Lãng Du finally realized the economic and social deficiencies of Vietnam. While his time in France offered a sense of intellectual and social fulfilment, Lãng Du felt that his cultural upbringing inhibited his attempts to assimilate within French society during his short stay in France. The France that Nhất Linh depicted carried a certain imagined dystopic quality – to fully escape and become ‘French’ required the impossible rejection of the physical and cultural baggage of being ‘Vietnamese.’ Furthermore, at the end of ‘Going West,’ the social and emotional rejection that some students experienced was characterized by the forced return of Lãng Du back to Vietnam, on suspicion of anti-colonial activity. Concluding this travel narrative with the depressing awareness of his place in Vietnamese society, Nhất Linh described Lãng Du – a student migrant caught between 31 In another of Nhất Linh’s reflexive short stories, titled ‘A Dream of Tu Lam,’ the two main characters abandon their unsatisfying administrative careers in search of a lost utopia, wandering the world as vagabonds.

154 Cindy A. Nguyen

reality, enlightened modernity, and social acceptance – as someone ‘not dead, but …’ something else. Assuming a language of modern romantic desperation, but under the guise of tragicomedy, Nhất Linh’s depiction voiced the cultural and emotional struggles of student migrants placed between two worlds and ultimately trapped in a non-place, as déclassé. ‘Going West’ was embedded with the deep sense of estrangement, depicting the liminal existence of students such as Nhất Linh who straddled the reality of anachronistic Vietnamese social expectations, an unsupportive and exploitative colonial structure, and a contradictory and politically excluded intellectual class. Further complicated by the ideological movement between colonial landscapes, these experiences and pursuits of social purpose left many students disheartened or detached – suspended between the civilizational rhetoric and isolative reality of temporary student migration.

Conclusion In recognizing the socio-political vestiges of their parents’ moral and educational upbringing, the Vietnamese youth who came of age between the 1910s and 1930s experienced a dramatic generation shift in education and worldviews. Within discussions on colonial education policy, socio-economic success, civilizational discourse, and political activism, sending communities and students discussed and reinvented ‘the student’ as vehicles for change. This constructed reciprocity between community and student sheds light upon the symbolic power of ‘the modern’ (as understood within politics, culture, and/or class) derived from a French educational degree. Inherent to this understanding of student purpose were two factors: the potential of a cultivated individual and the necessary ‘return’ home of the student migrant. These ideas were shaped by certain Spencerian perspectives of Social Darwinism that offered new modes of identity focused on individualism, self-cultivation, and ideals of civilizational achievement. David Marr emphasizes this yearning for self-expression as the intelligentsia’s search for ‘a set of beliefs that both explained reality and provided the means to alter it’ (Marr 1981: 329). As students ascended in the various forms of education offered in the colony and metrópole, they searched, harkened back, or imagined their path in the increasingly polarized intellectual community. With the limited options for modern academic study in the colony, the opportunity to study abroad symbolized a measure of empowerment for both the individual and community. For the individual, travel to the colonial metrópole was the realization of self-cultivation, social acceptance,

‘A Xu/Sou for the Students’


and cultural zenith. For the community, investment in the education of Vietnamese youth increased cultural capital for the imagined Vietnamese society, and for some, it was a crucial step in the development of a modern, developed and even independent nation. Both realms of socio-cultural significance reflect the grafting or localization of civilizational discourse, a reinscription of definitions of modernity, individualism, and nation. These internally and socially constructed debates supersede one just between ‘self’ and ‘society,’ but also traverse constructs of history, memory, social responsibility, and generational differences. Thus, through examining the experience of and discourse on Vietnamese student migration to France, this chapter brings to light the intricate ideological and emotional interrelationships of students and their sending communities, relationships that are constructed, rejected, and reinscribed against the socio-cultural changes of early-twentieth-century colonial Vietnam.


‘The Bengali Can Return to His Desh but the Burmi Can’t Because He Has No Desh’ Dilemmas of Desire and Belonging amongst the BurmeseRohingya and Bangladeshi Migrants in Pakistan Nausheen H. Anwar

Summary Since the late 1960s when Burma’s military junta began expelling them from Arakan, many Burmese-Rohingya have been quietly 1 seeking refuge in Pakistan,2 the imagined Islamic homeland. Bangladeshi immigrants, on the other hand, began arriving in Pakistan in the late 1970s or well after the creation of Bangladesh, and came primarily in search of employment. Both ethnic groups share common cultural characteristics and reside mainly in Karachi where taken together they figure approximately 2.5 million migrants. Recent shifts in Pakistani citizenship norms have had important implications for these undocumented populations. This chapter investigates how the coalescing of national security concerns with broader issues of immigration has brought migrants such as the Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshis into the state’s documented embrace. I explore the implications of such change on these Muslim migrants resident in Pakistan for several decades, and through their narratives illustrate the migrants’ ambivalence about belonging and aspirations to return.

1 I suggest in contrast to the Afghans who were facilitated as ‘refugee-migrants’ by the Pakistani state and non-state institutions, the Burmese-Rohingya were not acknowledged as such. Within Pakistani borders, the Burmese-Rohingya are invisible migrant-refugees designated as ethnic Bengalis. 2 Burmese-Rohingya migrations precede and follow the 1971 war that led to the breakup of East-West Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh. I refer to migrants who settled in the territory previously known as West Pakistan.

158 Nausheen H. Anwar

Introduction This chapter explores ideas and meanings of temporariness, belonging, and more specifically of return as imagined and articulated through the narratives of Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants in Karachi, Pakistan. By focusing on pioneer and second-generation migrants, I investigate their decisions to return or not to return to places of origin and the attendant meanings attached to the notion of home (Cassarino 2008; Braakman & Schlenkhoff 2007; Turton 2005; Gosh 2000; Castles & Miller 1998; Rapport & Dawson 1998). The relevance of the myth of return to refugees and migrants assumes that attachment to their homeland and desire to return are axiomatic. I propose that for the migrant populations considered in this chapter, the longing for home is deeply problematized not only because citizenship has played out differently for these populations, but also due to the current political-economic conjuncture that classifies them as ‘illegals’ and problematizes the idea of belonging in the coveted Islamic homeland. Here I am specifically interested in asking what kinds of technologies of citizenship have been assembled in recent years to make ‘citizens’ and to exclude ‘outsiders.’ As state functionaries exclude these migrant populations from hegemonic notions of nationality because of their alleged connections with or potential for terrorism, they simultaneously expect the migrants to demonstrate their trustworthiness by providing written evidence that authenticates citizenship. This new form of technology – identity documentation – endeavours to create a type of identity that is manageable. Yet, instead of the potentially empowering aspects of this technology whereby recognition can confer claims or engender an articulation of demands against state agencies (Caplan & Torpey 2001), in Pakistan this process has stigmatized the Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi populations. This is particularly distressing for the Burmese-Rohingya who are not acknowledged as political refugees. While the aspirations for return to the desh3 remain alive amongst the Bangladeshis, for the Burmese-Rohingya the idea is deemed fruitless given their experiences of violence in and expulsion from Burma. They believe as a nation of mogh4 (Buddhists) Burma has no space left to accommodate Muslims. With the recent ‘opening up’ of Burma and the brutal communal violence that erupted in June 2012 between Buddhists and Rohingya in the coastal Rakhine state, the expectation of exclusion was further amplified amongst the Rohingya in Pakistan. English 3 4

In Bangladeshi and Hindi the word means motherland. Mogh also means unbelievers.



and Urdu print media and television discussed the events in Burma by highlighting the ‘crimes against Muslim Rohingya’ (Express Tribune 2012). Residents in the neighbourhood in Karachi where I conducted fieldwork downloaded and shared on mobile phones media reports and images of charred bodies and burnt homes in Burma. These images circulated widely and were talked about as evidence of intolerance shown towards Rohingya Muslims in Burma. To explore processes of return, belonging and exclusion, I draw on theoretical and empirical research on transnational communities and citizenship (Yuval-Davis 2006; Isin 2002; Cheah 1998; Rouse 1995), and on research of the post-colonial nation-state in South Asia (Datta 2011; Saeed 2007; Zamindar 2007; Bhabha 1994; Jalal 1990, 1995; Gilmartin 1988). I take certain theoretical insights from these different strands of literature to (1) highlight the interplay between identity, belonging and return, and to (2) show different political economic conjunctures produce specific discourses on migration, and it is within the shifting genealogy of Pakistani nationalism that the Burmese-Rohingya and the Bangladeshis’ mobilities and identities take on meaning. The discussion is based on research I conducted between 2009 and 2010 in two ethnic enclaves Ali Akbar Shah Goth and Burmi Para in Korangi Town, Karachi. These sites were selected due to the high concentrations of the ethnic populations under consideration here. The Burmese-Rohingya interviewed in this study trace their origins to Burma’s state of Arakan.5 The Rohingyas claim to be the descendants of the first Muslim Arab merchants who came in contact with south-eastern Bengal and neighbouring Arakan in the ninth century. The research methodology was qualitative and included 85 in-depth, open-ended interviews. The interviews focused on personal histories and on the interactions between migrants, their children and native Urdu-speaking Muhajirs. For the present analysis I have drawn on 15 life stories that link up the narratives of belonging and return.

5 Arakan is situated in the western part of Myanmar. An independent kingdom until 1784, Arakan encompassed at times the southern parts of present-day Bangladesh. Under colonial rule a strong economic link was forged between British Bengal and Arakan; the colonial period witnessed extensive movement of migrant labour from Chittagong District to Arakan. Certain scholars maintain by the early twentieth century the Chittagonian immigrants were the numerically dominant ethnic minority in the Mayu frontier of Arakan (Chan 2005). In the years leading up to Burma’s independence there was increased bloodshed between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists. Eventually, the partition of India and the drawing of new borders had sliced through a society – western Bengal and Burma – that had always been highly mobile.

160 Nausheen H. Anwar

The migrants’ narrations of leaving behind their respective homelands and of making lives into steady projects against the backdrop of deteriorating political and economic conditions are theoretically significant. Their narrations present a complex assemblage of subjectivities that are both assimilated and marginalized, fluid subject positions that represent a ‘state of between-ness.’ The majority of Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants in Karachi remain economically and culturally marginalized. The migrants I spoke with are placed as low-wage, informal labour on the outer limits of an urban economy that is witnessing the rollback of labour unions and the erasure of labour protection. They are also situated in a society that has been peripheralized by the ‘war on terror.’ The migrants’ expressions of ambivalence about their lives in Pakistan and their unresolved questions of belonging and return disrupt dominant narratives of progress and of a coherent national collective based on an Islamic identity.

Aliens, Illegals, Others: The Changing Pakistani Context Isin (2002: 31) asserts that the ‘logic of exclusion constitutes others as aliens, often as transitive enemies with othering strategies.’ The strategy of constituting the ‘other’ as alien or illegal is symptomatic of deep fractures endemic in Pakistan’s national collective. The projection of the ‘”us” as the positive self in creative imaginings entails slating “them” as the negative other. In contexts of competing and multiple identities … the narrative of “us” in its myriad imaginings requires a parallel construct of an equally imagined “them”’ (Jalal 1995: 73). The historian Ayesha Jalal’s observations refer to the continuous contestations that have figured prominently since 1947 over the project of Pakistani nationalism. The construction of a narrative of an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ has meant not only that discourses of statehood and nationalism have provided a fertile ground for the reinvention of history, but also that the state acquire ‘an improbable array of conjuring tricks, and some somersaults, on the tightrope of historical memory’ (Jalal 1995: 73). Questions of citizenship and national belonging remain unsettled in post-Partition South Asia. The task of negotiating the categories of caste, religion and ethnicities constructed under colonial rule has been taken up by post-colonial states, and in this process new social imaginaries of the nation, notions of belonging and citizenship have had to be constantly renegotiated. These renegotiations have shaped state practices and the idea of state sovereignty. Scholars aptly suggest (Datta 2011; Zamindar 2007) that these unsettled questions demonstrate the frailty of the narrative of the post-colonial nation-state.



The status of the Burmese-Rohingya exemplifies the frail narrative. The Rohingya’s status posed a problem soon after Partition, specifically in reference to fixing the East Pakistani and Burmese borders, which throughout the region’s history had been fluid boundaries accommodating the needs of highly mobile populations. With the drawing of new borders between East Pakistan and Burma a discourse of ‘illegal immigration’ surfaced in the late 1950s, and was directed mainly towards those Muslims who were beginning to filter into East Pakistan from Arakan, now considered a part of the independent nation-state of Burma (Dawn 1959a). Even as early as 1959 there had been talk within Burma of making Buddhism the state’s religion and of the informal ‘pushing’ out of Muslim Rohingya into East Pakistan (Dawn 1959b). While discussions between Burma’s Ne Win and Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan focused on the ‘promotion of regional harmony through negotiated settlements of disputes between neighbors’ (Dawn 1965), and about the nations’ shared histories of colonial domination and struggles for freedom, the subject of the Rohingya was a blind spot. That the ‘fluctuating boundary’ between Burma and East Pakistan would have to be permanently fixed suggested somehow the problem of the Rohingya too would axiomatically be put right. However, ‘put right’ encompassed the logic of exclusion that constituted the Rohingya as the negative ‘other.’ The military Junta that ruled Burma for nearly half a century relied heavily on notions of Burmese nationalism and Theravada Buddhism to bolster its rule. Discrimination against the Rohingya and other minority groups such as the Kokang and the Pathay was pervasive. As the Rohingya’s discontent over the state’s repressive practices of forced labour, land confiscations, denial of identity cards and persistent religious persecutions intensified, military forces launched in 1977 an ethnic-cleansing operation in Arakan, sparking a mass exodus into neighbouring Bangladesh. The gradual denial of the Rohingya’s civil, political and social rights spurred on a process of exclusion that eventually culminated in the Citizenship Act of 1982. Defining full citizens as only those who were members of the 135 national races, the Citizenship Act has excluded Rohingya Muslims. Yet another brutal military campaign in 1992 forced the migration of approximately 250,000 refugees. Although Bangladesh has borne the thrust of several mass migrations, even Pakistan both preceding and following the 1971 war has been receiving steady inflows of Rohingya. In Pakistan the task of differentiating who belongs inside its borders has depended on state policies towards outsiders, on its relationship with minority communities (Datta 2011; Zamindar 2007; Saeed 2007) and upon the state’s unstable relationship with its religious identity and moral claims

162 Nausheen H. Anwar

to legitimacy (Gilmartin 1988). The multiple ethnic, religious and political antipathies that frequently rupture the image of a coherent Pakistani collective are now being attributed to the figure of the ‘illegal Bengali’ as the ‘alien,’ an internal enemy whose problem can be solved not so much by way of elimination (as Safri [2011] has argued in the case of the Afghan refugees) but, as Isin (2002) cogently underscores, by way of the government of the other or via games of conduct.6 While citizenship comes into existence through political conflicts, technologies of citizenship constitute beings into citizens, aliens and outsiders (Isin 2002: 33).

Pakistani Nationalism’s Shifting Bases Technologies of citizenship have arisen in the context of a Pakistani nationalism whose bases have shifted since 1947, and in turn influenced state formation and the reconstruction of political identities whereby many groups have been classified and labelled or constituted as objects of hatred or sympathy. Several such moments can be delineated. For instance in 1947 the Pakistani state’s self-identification was articulated through the prism of a secular-liberal arrangement that privileged a strong state capable of maintaining law and order (Jalal 1990). This was a moment when national unity had surmounted, albeit briefly, ethnic and religious nationalisms. A new conjuncture materialized after 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh7 and the escalation of ethnic tensions and sectarian violence (Zaman 1998). During this period questions resurfaced concerning the identity of the Pakistani nation-state. Pakistan was identified as an ‘Islamic state’ while simultaneously maintaining a flimsy equilibrium with a democratic-constitutional order (Burki 1988). A consequence in this conjuncture was new state legislation that classified the Ahmadiyya community as ‘non-Muslims’ (Saeed 2007). Notably, this period also witnessed protracted negotiations concerning the status of ’trapped minorities’ such as Biharis and Bengalis, a process that highlights the unresolved problematic of belonging and citizenship in Pakistan. The emergence of yet another conjuncture in the 1980s saw Islamist organizations such as the Jamaat-e-Islami gain unprecedented access to 6 Isin posits freedom for the citizen is predicated on one’s ability and willingness to conduct the ‘self’ in accordance with prescribed norms of (bourgeois) civility. 7 Within present-day Pakistan, the 1971 war symbolized an act of betrayal by the Bengalis (Saika 2011).



the state through General Zia’s coup and the ability to influence policy decisions (Iqtidar 2011). This period signalled the onset of new strategies concerning the treatment of outsiders. During General Zia’s military regime (1977-1988) an Islamic discourse welcomed Muslim outsiders. By enacting a laissez-faire policy towards migrants and refugees, migration for Muslims from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan became easier. In his narrations Yusuf, a Burmese-Rohingya from Maungdaw Township in Arakan, recalled how the idea of a Muslim homeland was accentuated by General Zia during a visit to Myanmar. In a speech the general portrayed Pakistan as a Muslim nation that welcomed with open arms all Muslims. Yet, it was also during Zia’s regime that the entry of new Muslim migrants into Pakistan’s largest metropolis sparked controversy. The unprecedented inflow of Bengali-speaking migrants into Karachi was viewed as a deliberate strategy invoked by the martial state to alter the demographic balance of Sindh.8 Even though after 1971 the Bengali-speaking population had declined significantly to between 10,000 and 25,000, by the late 1990s it had risen to 1.6 million.9 Bangladeshi migrants started arriving in Pakistan in the late 1970s in search of employment. They found work in Karachi’s rapidly expanding informal sector, in its export-oriented fishing industry and in its emergent garment factories. As Taj Bhai who arrived from Dhaka in the mid-1990s explained to me, in those days there was extensive talk of ‘going to Pakistan’ which was perceived as a prosperous nation with a strong currency. Taj Bhai who worked as a cook in a local restaurant and is now jobless summed up: ‘But now things have changed. The Pakistani currency has weakened; I can barely send money back home to my parents. Jobs have become hard to find in Karachi and from what I have heard, in Bangladesh there are more opportunities today. And we are struggling with shanakhtee (identification) card problem. Life in Pakistan has become complicated’ (Interview, November 2010).10 In contrast, the Burmese-Rohingya exiled from their homeland consciously sought to put down roots in Pakistan, which was perceived as a coveted homeland for Muslims. The ‘pioneer generation’ now in their 70s 8 Sindhi nationalists claimed federal agencies settled illegal Bangladeshis and Burmese in Karachi to turn Sindhis into a minority group in Sindh. 9 These figures reflect the repatriation of Bengalis from Pakistan to Bangladesh in 1971 (Himal Southasian 2003). 10 NGOs report Bangladeshi migrants are seeking assistance to return to Bangladesh. This does not suggest Bangladeshi migrant inflows have ceased but that the overall attraction of going to Pakistan appears to have diminished.

164 Nausheen H. Anwar

and 80s, began arriving in Pakistan in the late 1960s. The narrations by Muhammed Zakaria, a mufti and a resident of Korangi Town situated in south-eastern Karachi, highlight the myth of the coveted Pakistani Muslim homeland and the Rohingya’s desire for belonging. The narratives of belonging underscore certain concepts in Islamic discourse; of Hijra, which marked the exodus of the Prophet Muhammed from Mecca to Medina, and muhajir, meaning migrant or referring to the migration of Muslims from Mecca to Medina. The use of these concepts highlights how an older generation interprets migration to Pakistan as a pilgrimage that holds the promise of a new beginning. However, I also show the term muhajir constitutes an entirely different meaning for a younger generation of Burmese-Rohingya. According to recent estimates approximately 250,000 Burmese-Rohingya reside in Pakistan with the vast majority concentrated in Karachi.

Managing ‘Illegals’ In Pakistan an agenda to manage ‘illegals’ crystallized after the restoration of elected governments in 1988, with different state agencies sanctioning surveys on undocumented migrants. These actions led to the production of influential reports such as the Shigri Report (Shigri 1996) and the need for a comprehensive immigration policy. Certain authors posit Elected governments were partly articulating the concerns of ‘native’ communities whose political voices had been silenced under military rule, and who felt that migration had left them at a disadvantage. The rise in ethnic politics was also responsible for a less liberal approach to international migration. (Gazdar 2005: 165)

Nowhere was this attitude more visible than during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure (1993-1996), when she authorized the arrest and deportation of 300 Bangladeshi migrants. Ironically, Bhutto’s decision quickly incurred the wrath of religious parties who deemed such actions un-Islamic, forcing her to abandon future deportations.11 As immigration and security concerns gradually began to intertwine in the 1990s, in the post-9/11 context the knot was further tightened. Demands for new surveys and security measures and new laws to control migrants reflected the heightened anxiety over potential terrorists circulating in the 11 See for instance



guise of illegals. The current perception that ‘illegals’ pose a grave risk is substantiated in government officials’ demands for tougher treatment of outsiders. New castigatory measures such as detention schemes for illegal immigrants and restrictions on benefits by binding dispersal to the issuance of biometric identification cards have been instituted. Draconian measures such as the Foreigners (Amendment) Ordinance 2000 have enabled the establishment of a special branch of police empowered to arrest illegal migrants. The Bangla Cell is the outcome of this process which spurred on the intimidation and arrest of Bangladeshi and Burmese-Rohingya male migrants. Imprisonment does not follow a court order of arrest and instead people have been detained at the discretion of law enforcement agencies. Typically the reports concerning arrests are then forwarded to the Ministry of Interior.

The Role of Ethnicity Ethnicity has played a significant role in the management of the Bangladeshi and the Burmese-Rohingya migrants. While Muslim migrants from India and ‘Bihari’ migrants from Bangladesh have been more readily naturalized, the Bengali and Burmese ‘as a group have been disenfranchised … on the basis of race and ethnicity by official fiat’ (Gazdar 2005: 181). Not only is illegality conflated with terrorism but it is also understood as a social condition that defines the identity of Bengali-speaking populations. State agencies such as the National Alien Registration Authority (NARA) focus exclusively on Bengali speakers as ‘illegals.’ Thus even those migrants who have lived in Karachi for several decades or came as refugees in the 1960s and 1970s are forced into a rigid taxonomy that censures and delimits their claims as citizens. Since 2002, all Bengali speakers have been treated as prima facie noncitizens. Not only has the government ordered they register with NARA and apply for new biometric identification, but also stipulated that citizenship eligibility be based on verification of residency in Pakistan before 1971. Those who settled subsequently would be given work permits only. This decision has put considerable pressure on migrants whose only proof of identification document is a ticket used to travel by ship from Dhaka or Chittagong to Karachi. Thus the state’s agenda of managing the Bengalispeaking population has resulted in these migrants feeling targeted. They often view the registration process as a plot to launch deportations or to enable greater police harassment. Given the state’s increased scrutiny the

166 Nausheen H. Anwar

migrants generally prefer not to position themselves as post-1971 immigrants because the perception is this would weaken their claims to Pakistani citizenship.

Exploring Myths Maungdaw is beautiful. I long for my homeland. I cry when I think of it. The water of my land is sweet. It is light. Here the water is heavy. It is bitter. (Saida Begum, Korangi, Interview, July 2013) In this present the leaders say ghair mulki [alien] people must leave Pakistan. This is the politics of our time. (Zakaria, Korangi, Interview, January 2010)

Nietzsche, a great chronicler of memory, once suggested the stories we know about ourselves, about our ‘origins’ are an important factor in the way we understand ourselves and script our lives. The past passed down as narratives whether to a younger generation or iterated to a larger collective, not only is an act of self-disclosure but also defines our sense of belonging. These stories through gradual accretions take on different layers, superimposed on themes that are older. Yuval-Davis (2006) asserts the construction of belonging is not just cognitive stories but reflects the investment that individuals make in a longing for attachment. She also asserts that belonging is about how both collective and individual attachments are judged. Hence, the shaping of identities and drawing of boundaries are defined by precise attitudes and ideologies. However, Yuval-Davis makes a distinction between belonging as emotional attachment (security and home) and the ‘politics of belonging.’ The latter is articulated when belonging is under threat and comprises specific political projects that aim to construct particular collectivities. The stories narrated by the Burmese-Rohingya’s pioneer generation are fixed enough in the psyche to be swiftly recalled and that too with an emotional intensity. The stories are assembled around ‘hegemonic constructions of boundaries’ (Yuval-Davis 2006), which have arisen between a collective ‘us’ and a ‘them’ (Jalal 1995) that is the negative other. Territorial attachment or the environments that we inhabit or long to inhabit also influence our notion of belonging. For the Burmese-Rohingya the attachment to Pakistan as an Islamic homeland is articulated in emotive terms. Such notions of belonging convey aspirations to belong in a collective ‘us’ in which religion



and language are determinants of identity. I present here narrations by Muhammed Zakaria, ‘AH’ and Hajji Muhammed, three elders who represent a pioneer generation of displaced Burmese-Rohingya. The men arrived in Karachi during General Ayub Khan’s military regime (1958-1969), and journeyed from diverse regions in Arakan – Akyab District, Buthidaung and Maungdaw. More than three decades of displacement have reshaped the economic and social world of these political refugees. Zakaria and AH are highly educated and well-respected muftis in their community in Ali Akbar Shah Goth. In their narrations territorial attachment is prevalent and firmly tied to a nationalist motivation. The connection is geographical/territorial and ideological/political. Presently in his 60s, Zakaria has married thrice and fathered 11 children, all of whom were born in Karachi. His sons-in-law and a daughter teach the Quran and Hadith in local primary schools and madrassahs. AH is 84 years old and lives with his family. All three men have witnessed many transitions within their community of Burmese-Rohingya migrants. Seeking clarification on the reasons for Rohingya migrations to Pakistan and the ensuing experiences of a pioneer generation in the use of nationalist and religious discourses, I asked Zakaria about his decision to leave and the subsequent experiences within Karachi’s local political economy. Zakaria started by emphasizing erroneous territorial divisions and the significance of language: Arakan was a part of Bengal. It was divided incorrectly when Pakistan was made. Arakan should have been a part of Pakistan. The majority there and here are the same. In 1948 Burma was made independent from the British but that is also the beginning of Arakan’s subjugation. We were always proud of Urdu. Urdu is our birth tongue. People used to go to India to become educated in madrassahs in Deoband and Lucknow. The books there were written in Urdu. These books were then brought back to Arakan where they were used in madrassahs.

In another conversation I asked Zakaria about his father’s profession in Arakan and he explained: In Subah Arakan we were scholars, fishermen and we tilled the land. After the army came everything changed. I ran away to come from there to here. There were two reasons for coming to Pakistan. First this country was made for Muslims. Second in Karachi I could enrol in the Darul Uloom for a premium scholarly Islamic education. We too have performed

168 Nausheen H. Anwar

hijrah and are muhajirs but remain unacknowledged as such. You don’t become a muhajir just by speaking Urdu.12

Similarly, Hajji Muhammed who with his 12 siblings migrated to Karachi in the late 1960s, accentuated in a conversation: ‘We came because for us the quaid [leader] made this country. We looked towards deen [religion]. Our Pakistan! And what have I not done for Pakistan? For deen!’ (Interview, February 2010). AH, who grew up in Burma in the days when Bartanya (Britannia) ruled, attended a government college and learnt English and Burmese. However, he emphasized: ‘My real love was always for Urdu which we could learn only until our fourth year. I sought madrassahs where Urdu was taught’ (Interview, January 2010). All three narratives represent the Pakistani nation-state as a Muslim ideal and as an aspiration for educated Burmese-Rohingya men.13 In using the terms hijrah and muhajir Zakaria suggests as Muslims the Burmese-Rohingya like the prophet Muhammed’s followers interpret their migration to Pakistan as a pilgrimage to a Muslim homeland which held the promise for a new beginning. The term muhajir is invoked to suggest religious solidarity and not ethnic affiliation. The recurring theme of an ‘Islamic homeland’ where a desirable future could be secured resonates with the pre-Partition educated minority Muslim community’s desire to align itself with the expectant nation-state. In the pre-1947 era delegations representing the Jamat-ul-Ulema Islam in Arakan had journeyed to Karachi to discuss with the leaders of the Muslim League the possibility of incorporating certain townships in Western Burma into Pakistan. While these discursive encounters never catalyzed the incorporation of the frontier area of Western Burma into Pakistan, they nevertheless underscore the Arakanese Muslim minority’s desire to attach itself in territorial and ideological terms to a nation-state created ostensibly on the basis of Islamic ideals. ‘MH’ arrived in Karachi in the late 1970s from Maungdaw Township. Now 75 years old, MH lives in Ali Akbar Shah Goth with his wife, children and grandchildren. For a long time MH worked as a labourer in a steel mill but left due to health problems and later started a small business in selling 12 Here Zakaria is deliberately referencing the exclusivist claims of the Muhajirs or Urduspeaking migrants from the western and northern states of India who refashioned themselves into a distinct ethnic community and are represented by the influential political party the Muttahida (formerly Muhajir) Qaumi Movement (MQM). 13 I write ‘men’ because it is generally men from the pioneer generation who are educated to at least matric level and are also Quran hafiz. Their wives are not formally educated and do not speak Urdu or English.



fish. Just as for Zakaria, AH and Hajji, MH articulated strong sentiments of coming to a Muslim homeland, and the desire to extricate himself and his young family from an oppressive life in Burma. Before arriving in Pakistan, MH spent a year in a Rohingya camp in Bangladesh where he experienced extensive hardship. MH added the incentive to leave Bangladesh was to seek a better life in Pakistan. When I asked MH if his life had turned out as hoped, the response was a resounding ‘no.’ MH explained: There has been no great benefit in coming to Pakistan. At least in Burma we had a little bit of land for growing rice for consumption. And there was a ration shop nearby. I had wanted to educate my children in Pakistan which I did. But everywhere I look there is mazdoori [life of labour]. I left Burma thinking there had to be a better life in Bangladesh but there wasn’t. I left Bangladesh thinking there would be a better life in Pakistan, but there isn’t. (Interview, December 2009)

When I had first asked MH if he would return to Arakan, he had said yes. But when I repeated the question several times in different conversations, MH had awkwardly admitted that he would not. For MH the longing for return was not so much about return per se, but about a certain kind of material home that has been left behind and cannot be restored. An idea of a home left behind is reconstructed in the imagination and idealized to generate a sense of security in conditions of uncertainty. This resonates with Braakman and Schlenkhoff’s (2007) research on Afghan refugees living in European countries, and Turton’s (2005) astute observation that in the context of displacement, even though the ‘homeland’ can be hostile and unchanging the idea of ‘home,’ nevertheless, can still be remade. In both Zakaria’s and MH’s responses a sense of regret was clear but there was also a strong intimation that Urdu and Islam had defined the Rohingya’s relationship with the Pakistani state. Besides, the madrassahs where Zakaria’s sons-in-law and a daughter, and AH’s and MH’s sons work are spaces which appear to have accommodated the Burmese-Rohingya as equal citizens by giving them access to employment. A dominant narrative amongst the pioneer generation concerned the hardships of life in Burma, and these were related to a sense of stigmatization generated by the Burmese military in the treatment of Muslim women. Mohammed Yusuf, who is 56, recalled his multiple border crossings that began in a village in Arakan in the early 1970s and culminated in 1985 after a long journey that stretched from Chittagong to Karachi. In contrast to Zakaria and AH, Mohammed Yusuf migrated to Pakistan during General Zia’s era. He fled

170 Nausheen H. Anwar

with his parents from Burma in 1974 and settled for 15 years in a small village near Chittagong. Yusuf witnessed the conditions in the local refugee camps in Bangladesh and imagined a better life awaited him in Karachi. When Yusuf crossed the Pak-India border into Umarkot in north-eastern Sindh, his wife and two small children who were born in Chittagong accompanied him. Today Muhammad Yusuf is the father of nine children, seven of whom were born in Karachi. I asked him the reasons for leaving Burma and the desire to eventually settle in Karachi. Muhammed Yusuf explained thus: Respect is a major thing. I left Burma to save respect. I mean the respect of a Muslim. Burma is now a nation of mogh. It was crucial that the Muslims save their respect. Muslim girls were treated unjustly. Beautiful young girls were kidnapped by soldiers and returned to their families after six days. So what is left of respect? I could have stayed in Bangladesh to save respect. But in Pakistan there was a place for Muslims and there were factories in Karachi. There were many opportunities for jobs here. In Chittagong there was work only on farmland. There were other things in Karachi like electricity, water, housing. In Karachi I was able to find a job right away. There near the Dar-ul-Uloom I found a job in a match factory.

Muhammad Yusuf eventually left the match factory where he had worked without a written contract. Despite the long hours, the factory wage could not support his family’s needs. He now drives a rickshaw to supplement the joint-family income. Yusuf’s story is interesting on several scales. It represents the intersections between the desire to earn a wage and practice religion as a ‘respected Musalmann.’ His story also reveals the slippages and disjuncture between discourses of nationalism and modernization and the long-awaited and delayed promise of modernity.

The Question of Identity The subject of the Burmese-Rohingya’s khalis (pure) identity was brought up several times without my prompting. For Bangladeshi migrants like Fazal Bhai, a fisherman married to 19-year-old Ayesha, who is a second-generation Burmese-Rohingya, identity is a straightforward matter: ‘Burmi and Bengali are the same. No difference.’ Similarly, Noor Alam who works in a paint factory asserted the Rohingya Muslims born in Arakan are not khalis Burmese.



The distinction he made was based on language14: ‘Khalis Burmi speak a language closer to Chinese. Burmese-Rohingya are not khalis. They are Bengali.’ However, for the pioneer generation there is a clear-cut distinction, as I later learnt from AH: ‘Those who have always lived in Arakan have Arab genealogy [nasal]. Our language [zaban] is different from Bengali. We are not Bengali although we socialize with them [uthna-baythna].’ Homi Bhabha has emphasized the diverse and contested meanings of identity, boundaries and collectives that are perpetually ‘becoming’ or are fluid. The identity narrative is constantly shifting and changing and there can be multiple forms. These narratives are not only about territorial rights but are also acts of claim making that situate people in relation to the rest of the world, in other words, a process of differentiating ‘us’ from ‘them.’ Several authors have noted how differentiating or ‘othering’ strategies bear upon the ‘slippery politics’ of autochthony by either countering the de-rooting of identity in a neoliberal globalizing order (Geschiere and Jackson 2006), or by further territorializing ethnic identity and reinforcing a precarious politics about who belongs and who should be excluded (Vandekerckhove 2009). In an ethnically and linguistically diverse nation such as Pakistan, autochthonous claims have often given rise to new territorialized politics, for instance the ethno-linguistic claims of the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs. Thus, for the pioneer generation identity relates to the past, to a myth of origins about Arab settlers. For a second generation of Burmese-Rohingya, many of whom are marrying Bangladeshis and Urdu-speaking Muhajirs, the identity narrative is reproduced through cultural attributes such as language, a formal education and the relational context. At times the pioneer generation has articulated a sense of regret their youth did not get an opportunity to see Arakan and to experience a sub-culture set in a rural setting that contrasts sharply with the current urban lifestyle. Travel memoirs (See Figure 1) authored by well-respected muftis associated with the close by seminary, the Dar-ul-Uloom Taqi Usmani, depict an idyllic pastoral landscape in Burma and Bangladesh. Such accounts carefully document the geography of these regions and chronicle an itinerary of visits to madrassahs in Rangoon and to the mazaar of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. These travel memoirs circulate amongst the pioneer and younger generations and emphasize a distinct meaning of safar (journey): an effort to strengthen love for the deeni rishta (religious relationship) between Pakistan 14 Burmese-Rohingya speak a Bengali dialect similar to Chittagonian Bengali and use words from Hindi, Arabic and Urdu.

172 Nausheen H. Anwar

‘Journey to Bangladesh and Burma’ by Maulana Hussain Ahmed Sahib Hyderabadi

and these territories. In the memoirs there is no reference to Arakan or to the Burmese-Rohingya and instead Burma is conjured as a lush, clean and pastoral landscape of parks, memorials and madrassahs. The younger generation appear less concerned about ‘origins’ and more anxious about ‘fitting in’ with Muhajirs, securing identification cards and finding employment. In reference to the dispersion of Burmese-Rohingya across multiple territories and especially an emergent generation, Saif Allah Khalid (2003: 12) writes: ‘Arakanese Muslims are disappearing from this world. Where ever they are they are fading. Slowly, slowly they are being subsumed by different cultures; they are forgetting their mother tongue Rohingya, and which ever country they reside in there they are amalgamat-



ing with other cultures through marriage.’ In other words, the collective memory of the Rohingya is slowly being erased in the context of their forced migrations and absorption into new territories and cultural frames. For the Bangladeshi migrants the thread between Bangladesh and Pakistan is kept alive through cheap airline fares on Biman Airlines, telephone cards, and brokers or dalaals who enable constant contact with extended families and social networks ‘back home.’ The Bangladeshi immigrants are positioned in a different context than the Burmese-Rohingya whose relationship with country of origin has been severed. A young female Bangladeshi’s comment exemplifies this essential difference: ‘The Bengali can return to his desh but the Burmi can’t because he has no desh.’ As economic immigrants who came to Pakistan primarily to improve their material conditions, for the Bangladeshis the idea of return is revived in their frustrations in achieving social and economic objectives and feelings of insecurity about illegality. Hence, for some Bangladeshi immigrants like Taj Bhai return is desirable because today in Bangladesh their personal wellbeing can improve. For them Pakistan no longer is the land of opportunity. Return trips to Bangladesh are not uncommon for those who can afford the standard Rs 16,000 airfare or can pay an agent a fee of Rs 50,000 to secure identification documents. During fieldwork I came across several Bangladeshi migrants who had been able to journey to Dhaka or Chittagong to visit families. Generally speaking, such migrants have been able to secure identification documents because they or their parents were classified as Bengali speakers who had remained in Pakistan in the pre-1971 context. However, there were several others who had secured passage to Bangladesh on the basis of an ‘illegal’ identity or counterfeit documents (Sadiq 2008). While some Bangladeshis had left Pakistan permanently, others such as Jaffar Bhai who was the Unit-in-Charge15 for Ali Akbar Shah Goth have visited frequently and returned. This suggests that depending on social and economic contexts, within the so-called illegal Bangladeshi migrant community there is a trend towards return migration. Nevertheless, in most cases I observed there was no question of permanently leaving Pakistan. Fazal Bhai (who has been waiting for two years for an identification card) explained by supporting the MQM all Bengalis would eventually succeed in attaining citizenship. He asserted: ‘The MQM is the strongest party in Karachi. We should definitely be with them. After all, Pakistan was made by the Muhajirs and the Bengalis. Not the Sindhis and the Punjabis.’ 15 A unit-in-charge is part of the MQM’s extensive political machinery at the neighbourhood level.

174 Nausheen H. Anwar

Negotiated Belongings ‘The Bengalis are not connecting [ jorna] with the Muhajirs,’ explained a representative of an NGO that has worked extensively on labour rights and immigration in Korangi Town. He continued: ‘But the Muhajir often uses the Bengali youth to create terror. And the Muhajir knows the shnakhtee card problem is curbing the Bengalis’ freedom. They are able to exploit the Bengalis’ status’ (Interview, December 2009). In another conversation with an Urdu-speaking Muhajir male informant who had facilitated my efforts to access Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities in Korangi Town, he described the ethnic enclaves as maulvi muhallas, or religiously oriented enclaves. He mused thus: When Karachi burns Korangi is engulfed in flames. This area has a lot of bad people. It is not a good community. Poverty, drugs, guns and lack of education amongst the residents especially the Bengalis and Burmi who are uneducated and breed too many children is ruining this community.

In these narrations the problem of the illegal Bengali and Burmi is conveyed in a way that either fixes their identities through a strategy of negative ‘othering’ or presents them as powerless subjects who are externally controlled and shaped by political processes.16 While it is evident that Bangladeshi and Burmese-Rohingya migrants are being drawn into new power relations marked by the ascendance at the neighbourhood scale of the political authority of MQM (a leading local party), it is also misleading to assume that such a process subjugates these migrants into submissiveness. What needs to be recognized is that even though these migrants have limits on their agency due to the unequal distribution of both material and cultural resources, there are nevertheless sites that enable members of these populations to advance claims. For instance, when Fazal Bhai claimed that Bengalis and Muhajirs made Pakistan, he consciously invoked a discourse through which identity became a political act. For a younger generation of migrants the issue of identity and belonging although problematic is best summed up through Noor Begum and Sumaira’s narrations. In her early 40s, Noor Begum and her parents came to Karachi after fleeing military incursions in Arakan in the early 1990s. Widowed thrice, Noor Begum has three sons and two daughters from different marriages. A 24-year-old son works for the MQM’s local unit office 16 Such narrations often refer not only to ‘illegal’ but to all Bengali speakers.



in Ali Akbar Shah Goth and his activities often draw intense speculation and suspicion amongst neighbours. At some point in a conversation in her home Noor Begum made an interesting comment: ‘I am Burmese but my children are Muhajir. They are Hindustani.’ By using the terms ‘Muhajir’ and ‘Hindustani,’ Noor Begum underscored a desire to see her children assimilate within Karachi’s cultural and political landscapes. Assimilation is measured in terms of her children having taken on identity signifiers that bestow certain entitlements and a sense of belonging. Noor Begum explained to me that a Burmese migrant belongs when he/ she becomes like a ‘Hindustani Muhajir,’ and above all one that is educated. The desire to be like a Hindustani Muhajir was highlighted several times not only during conversations with Noor Begum, but with other Burmese men and women within the community. Moreover, being Muhajir implied both a political and a cultural identity in which certain types of values were deemed important. Sumaira, 19 years old, is Muhammad Zakaria’s youngest daughter and is Quran Hafiz and educated to matric level. She has been able to withstand her parents’ pressure on her to marry young: I have seen what happened with my three elder sisters after their marriages. All my sisters were married at the age of 13. And had too many 17 children at a young age. I don’t want this kind of marriage. I want to study and work. I want to be like a Hindustani woman. Educated, literate. Hindustani men and women enjoy a different and better kind of relationship. Not like us Burmese. I will marry a Hindustani male. (Interview, October 2010)

The references to being like a Muhajir-Hindustani or being in good standing with Muhajirs circulated frequently amongst the younger generation. None of my Burmese-Rohingya hosts mentioned the Pathan or Punjabi with the same degree of approbation. Moreover, these iterations suggest that a different meaning is attached to the term ‘Hindustani’ when compared with the term ‘Hindu,’ for instance those who live on the other side of the border in India. Even though he/she is Hindustani, the Hindu is still 17 The reference to ‘too many’ children is both an expectation and an aspiration. During conversations with young Burmese-Rohingya women, I was often told they were expected to have several children, especially boys. One interviewee explained thus: ‘The elders expect us to have lots of children. They say boys could grow up to become maulanas, bringing respect to the family. If we stop having children then after death our bodies will explode and children will burst forth from every orifice. Such stories scare me. It is gunah [sin] to stop having children. But I also know that it is difficult to support a large family. When I wasn’t getting pregnant with my fifth child the elderly women harassed me asking if I had taken injections or pills’ (Interview, March 2010).

176 Nausheen H. Anwar

different because he/she is not ahley kitaab or ‘people of the book’18. In the context of the iterations I have highlighted here, the term may signify a hegemonic cultural frame.

Conclusion In this chapter I have examined the idea of belonging and aspirations for return through the narrations of the Burmese-Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants resident in Karachi for several decades. I have placed these narrations against the background of a shifting genealogy of Pakistani nationalism and changing regimes of citizenship. I have argued that it is within these contexts that the migrants’ mobilities and identities have taken on meaning. However, the histories and memories examined in this chapter take me full circle to the quote presented in the title. The Bangladeshi female migrant who uttered the words was eager to show me that while both groups share religious and cultural traditions, the Burmese-Rohingya nevertheless are different because they are severed from their original territory. Hence, for them the idea of return can only exist in the imagination and be idealized from a distance. This essential difference between the two migrant groups of territorial de/attachment carries considerable force as it gives meaning that is personal, symbolic and physical. For the Burmese-Rohingya the symbol of ‘refugee’ reinforces an uncertain status as insider/outsider and all the more since the Pakistani state does not acknowledge them as political refugees, classifying them instead as ‘illegal’ Bengalis. While I acknowledge there is a substantial difference between immigrants and refugees displaced by political crises, research has shown that amongst the latter group there is faith that residence in the host country is a temporary phase. In this there is supposed to be a point of convergence between refugees and immigrants in terms of orientation (Voutira 1991; Talai 1989). Yet for the Burmese-Rohingya the idea of return as a concrete movement from ‘here to there’ is no longer possible or even desirable. This was underscored in light of recent events in Burma when brutal communal violence erupted between the Buddhists and Rohingya. I believe we should see the Burmese-Rohingya migrants in Pakistan as a group who are not only embittered about their marginalization in country of origin, but also for ideological reasons have no wish to identify themselves with Burma. Moreo18 ‘People of the book’ is a term that refers to those non-Muslims who are followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions, for instance Christianity and Judaism.



ver, the Burmese-Rohingya who migrated to Pakistan have constructed a Muslim identity that reinvokes the myth of Pakistan as the eternal Muslim homeland. Hence for them the idea of permanence in Pakistan is tied to a hegemonic national narrative. However, their expressions of ambivalence and the Bangladeshis’ desire for return accentuate the emergent contradictions and closures that constitute the securitized Pakistani nation-state.

Contributors Nausheen H. Anwar was research fellow with the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University Singapore. She has research and teaching interests that lie at the intersections of urban planning/ urban studies, migration studies, geography, political anthropology and gender studies with a focus on urban South Asia. Anwar is currently working on a book-length project. Based on historical and ethnographic research, it looks at mobility, informality and territorial/political brokerage in the context of changing state-society relations in post-colonial, globalizing Karachi. Her research has appeared in Antipode, Citizenship Studies and in journals such as South Asian History and Culture and The Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. Anwar has a PhD in Urban Studies/Urban Planning from Columbia University and a MIA from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University. Michiel Baas is research fellow with the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. Previously he was a fellow with Nalanda University (Delhi/Rajgir, India), coordinator with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), and lecturer with the Anthropology Department of the University of Amsterdam. His work is mostly Indian middle-class related and looks at issues such as migration, transnationalism and new diaspora formation; local-global intersections; gender/masculinity; and religion. His PhD research dealt with the topic of Indian student migration to Australia; Imagined Mobility: Migration and Transnationalism among Indian Students in Australia, the book that was the result of this research, was published by Anthem Press in 2010. He is currently involved in a project on Indian mid-level skilled migration to Singapore. Amy Bhatt is assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, affiliate assistant professor in the Language, Literacy and Culture Program and an advisory board member for the Asian Studies Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She received her PhD in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Her research focuses on the effects of transnational migration on gender and families, social reproduction, and South Asian community formation. She is the former oral historian for the South Asian Oral History Project and co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington 2013).


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Helen Kaibara is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Michigan State University. Her contribution to this volume builds on her 2010 MA thesis, ‘Gentlemen Engaged in a Perilous Agreement: The Government of Japan and Theodore Roosevelt Seek an Amicable Solution to the Anti-Japanese Sentiment in California, 1890-1924,’ in which she contended that singular conditions of Japanese-American relations allowed the Japanese Association of America to influence the development of a Japanese-American community. Kaibara’s PhD dissertation will engage the discourse on the Asian ‘model minority’ myth by tracing efforts of Japanese and JapaneseAmerican elites to construct a favourable image of Nikkeijin, people of Japanese ancestry, for Western consumption as a way to secure better treatment in the US. Priscilla Koh is an anthropologist and social historian. She obtained her BA and MA degrees in History from the National University of Singapore, and completed her PhD at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her doctoral research examined the return narratives of home, homeland and belonging among second-generation Viet Kieu in Saigon, Vietnam. Priscilla is interested in issues related to transnational migration and diasporic ties to the homeland, in particular, inter-generational relations, memories and identity politics. At present, she is working on research project that seeks to both juxtapose and connect the second-generation Viet Kieu returnees’ memories and experiences of Vietnam with those of their parents. Priscilla is currently based in Ottawa, Canada. Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer graduated from Oberlin College, in Ohio, in 2005 and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University. Her research interests lie in transnational migration, discourses of multiculturalism and globalization, as well as minority and identity politics in Japan. Her dissertation research focuses on the ethnic and class identity of Japanese-Brazilians in Japan, and their experiences of return to Brazil. She carried out ethnographic f ieldwork in Japan and Brazil between 2009-2013, supported by the Japan Foundation and Fulbright IIE, as well as Yale’s MacMillan Center and Council on East Asian Studies. By focusing on different generations of Japanese-Brazilians in a variety of social, educational, and occupational spheres, her study seeks to more fully integrate the voices of women and second-generation migrants into debates on transnational migration, as well as minorities and pluralism in Japan.



Cindy A. Nguyen is currently a PhD student in History at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests lie within the cultural history of Vietnam, particularly in the study of movement, identity, and nationhood. Her recent project examined the formation of spatial identities of Indochina, France and Hue through representations of travel and tourism by Vietnamese during the colonial period. Nguyen is interested in both the affective perceptions of space through travel and the geopolitical appropriation of space through cartography, urbanization, and development. Furthermore, she is interested in digital humanities and computational research methods and helped develop the geospatial mapping and research elements of the Michigan State University Vietnam Group Archive. She currently serves as the Digital Humanities Assistant at UC Berkeley and seeks to further the research and teaching of Vietnamese history through interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative visualizations, and intellectual engagement with Vietnamese scholars and community members. Diane Sabenacio Nititham completed her MA in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and her PhD in Sociology at University College Dublin, Ireland. She is assistant professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and co-director of the MA in Public Policy at National Louis University in Chicago. Her research and creative work are rooted in the process of exploring one’s identity, challenging unspoken assumptions and tapping into the pedagogical content of self-inquiry. Some of her work has been published in Translocations: The Irish Migration, Race and Social Transformation Review; The Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies; and in Fanning & Munck (eds), Immigration and the Irish Experience of European and Global Transformation (Ashgate, 2011); and has been exhibited at The Joinery in Dublin, Ireland. Her current work explores how notions of migrant identity and diaspora are created, sustained and enacted through the consumption of food, drink, and celebratory activities.

Bibliography Adachi, N. 2004. ‘Japonês: A Marker of Social Class or a Key Term in the Discourse of Race?’ Latin American Perspectives, 31:3, 48-76. Adams, K. M. & Dickey, S. 2000. Home and Hegemony: Domestic Service and Identity Politics in South and Southeast Asia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Aguilar-San Juan, K. 2009. Little Saigons: Staying Vietnamese in America. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. Ahmed, S. 2006. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Ahmed, W., Kundu, A. & Peet, P. 2011. India’s New Economic Policy: A Critical Analysis. London: Routledge. Alba, R. D. & Nee, V. 2003. Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ali, S. 2007. ‘‘Go West Young Man’: The Culture of Migration among Muslims in Hyderabad, India.’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33:1, 37-58. Amnesty International. 2012. ‘Myanmar: Abuses against Rohingya Erode Human Rights Progress.’ Amnesty International website. (accessed 26 August 2014). AmreekanDesi. 2009. ‘All about Returning to India.’ AmreekanDesi, October 29. (accessed May 28, 2014). Amrute, S. 2010. ‘The “New” Nonresidents of India: A Short History of the NRI.’ In: D’Costa, A. (ed.) A New India: Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century. London: Anthem, 127-150. Anderson, B. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London, New York: Verso. Anderson, B. 2005. Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imagination. London, New York: Verso. Andressen, C. 1993. Educational Refugees: Malaysian Students in Australia, Monash University Papers on South-East Asia, No. 29, Melbourne, Australia. Andressen, C. 1997. ‘The Location and Characteristics of Asia-born Overseas Students in Australia.’ In: Coughlan, J. E. & McNamara, D. (eds) Asian in Australia: Patterns of Migration and Settlement. Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia, 75-98. Andressen, C. 2001. The Educational Mobility of Korean Overseas Students. Centre of East Asian Studies: Occasional Paper 2. Clayton: Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Press. Aneesh. A. 2003. ‘Between Fantasy and Despair: Nationalist Closures in the Transnational Lives of Indian Programmers.’ In: Leach, W. & Gabaccia, D. (eds) Immigrant Life in the US: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 51-64. Anwar, M. 1979. The myth of return: Pakistanis in Britain. Portsmouth: Heinemann Educational. Anzaldúa, G. 1987. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco. CA: Aunt Lute. Arango, J. 2000. ‘Explaining Migration: A Critical View.’ International Social Science Journal, 52:165, 283-296. Asis, M. M. B. et al. 2004. ‘When the Light of the Home Is Abroad: Unskilled Female Migration and the Filipino Family.’ Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 25:2, 198-215 Azuma, E. 2005. Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America. New York: Oxford University Press.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Baas, M. 2006. ‘Students of Migration: Indian Students and the Question of Permanent Residency.’ People and Place, 11:1, 8-24. Baas, M. 2010. Imagined Mobility: Migration and Transnationalism among Indian Students in Australia. London: Anthem Press. Baas, M. 2014. ‘Victims or Profiteers? Issues of migration, racism and violence among Indian students in Melbourne.’ Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 55:2, 212-225. Barnes, D. 2001. ‘Resettled Refugees’ Attachment to their Original and Subsequent Homelands: Long-term Vietnamese Refugees in Australia.’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 14:4, 394-411. Basch, L., Glick-Schiller, N. & Szanton-Blanc, C. 1994. Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Post-colonial Predicaments and Deterritorialised Nation-States. London and New York: Routledge. Bhabha, H. 1994. ‘DissemiNation: Time, Narrative and the Margins of the Modern Nation.’ In: Bhabha, H. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 199-244. Bhatt, A. & Iyer, N. 1997. ‘The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community.’ In Alexander, M. J. & Mohanty, C. T. (eds) Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. New York: Routledge, 308-329. Bhatt, A. & Iyer, N. 2013. Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Bhattacharjee, A. 1997. ‘The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community.’ In: Alexander, M. J. & Mohanty, C. T. (eds) Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. New York: Routledge, 308-329. Biradavolu, M. R. 2008. Indian Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley: The Making of a Transnational Techno-Capitalist Class. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press. Birrell, B. 2005. Immigration Rules and the Overseas Student Market in Australia. IDP Education. Birrell, B. 2007. ‘Cooks Galore and Hairdressers Aplenty.’ People and Place, 15:1, 30-44. Birrell, B. & Healy, E. 2010. ‘Net Overseas Migration: Why Is It So High?’ People and Place, 18:2, 56-65. Blanc, M. 2005. ‘Vietnamese in France.’ In: Ember, M., Ember, C. R. & Skoggard, I. A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World. 2 vols. New York: Springer, vol. 2. Bolognani, M. 2007. ‘The Myth of Return: Dismissal, Survival or Revival? A Bradford Example of Transnationalism as a Political Instrument.’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33:1, 59-76. Bonus, R. 2000. Locating Filipino Americans: Ethnicity and the Cultural Politics of Space. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Braakman, M. & Schlenkhoff, A. 2007. ‘Between Two Worlds: Feelings of Belonging While in Exile and the Question of Return.’ Asien, 104, S, 9-22. Bradley, M. 2004. ‘Becoming ‘Van Minh’: Civilizational Discourse and Visions of the Self in Twentieth-Century Vietnam.’ Journal of World History, 15:1, 65-83. Brah, A. 1996. Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. New York: Routledge. Brettel, C. B. 1979. ‘Emigra Par Voltar: A Portuguese Ideology of Return Migration.’ Papers in Anthropology, 20, 1-20. Bretell, C. B. & Hollifield, J. F. 2000. Migration Theory: Talking across Disciplines. New York: Routledge.

Bibliogr aphy


Brocheux, P. 2009. ‘Une histoire croisée: l’immigration politique indochinoise en France, 1911-1945.’ In: Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières. php?article14195 (accessed January 12, 2013). Brocheux, P. & Hémery, D. 2009. Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. Berkeley: University of California Press. Brody, B. 2002. Opening the Door: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Globalization in Japan. New York: Routledge. Brosius, C. 2009. ‘The Gated Romance of India Shining: Visualising Urban Lifestyle in Images of Residential Housing Development.’ In: Gokulsing, M. & Dissanayake, W. Popular Culture in a Globalised India: A Reader. London: Routledge, 174-191. Burchardt, N. 1993. ‘Transgenerational Transmission in the Families of Holocaust Survivors in England.’ In: Bertaux, D. & Thompson, P. (eds) Between Generations: Family Models, Myths, and Memories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 121-137. Burki, S. J. 1988. Pakistan under Bhutto, 1971-1977. London: Macmillan. Caplan, J. & Torpey, J. 2001. ‘Introduction.’ In: Caplan, J. & Torpey, J. (eds) Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1-12. Caroli, B. B. 1973. Italian Repatriation from the United States, 1900-1914. New York: Center for Migration Studies. Cassarino, J. 2004. ‘Theorising Return Migration: the Conceptual Approach to Return Migrants Revisited.’ International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 6: 253-79. Cassarino, J. (ed.) 2008. ‘The Conditions of Modern Return Migration.’ International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 10:2, Special Issue. Castles, S. & Miller, M. J. 1998. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. 2nd ed. New York: Guildford Press. Cerase, F.P. 1974. ‘Expectations and Reality: A Case Study of Return Migration from the United States to Southern Italy.’ International Migration Review, 8: 245-62. Chacko, E. 2007. ‘From Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Reverse Migration to Bangalore and Hyderabad, India’s Globalizing High Tech Cities.‘ GeoJournal, 68, 131-140. Chacko, E. & Varghese, P. 2009. ‘Identity and Representations of Gated Communities in Bangalore, India.’ Open House International, 34:3, 57. Chakravartty, P. 2006. ‘Symbolic Analysts or Indentured Servants? Indian High-tech Migrants in America’s Information Economy.’ Knowledge, Technology, and Policy, 19:3, 27-43. Chan, Aye. 2005. ‘The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar).’ SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, 3:2, 396-420. Cheah, P. 1998. ‘Given Culture: Rethinking Cosmopolitical Freedom in Transnationalism.’ In: Cheah, P. & Robbins, B. (eds) Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 290-328. Choy, C.C. 2003. Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History. Durham: Duke University Press. Chu, J. Y. 2006. ‘To Be “Emplaced”: Fuzhounese Migration and the Politics of Destination.’ Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 13, 395-425. Constant, A. & Massey, D.S. ‘Return Migration by German Guestworkers: Neoclassical versus New Economic Theories.’ International Migration, 40:4, 5-38. Cornia, G. A. & World Institute for Development Economics Research. 2004. Inequality, Growth, and Poverty in an Era of Liberalization and Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Cornish, F., Peltzer, K. & MacLachlan, M. 1999. ‘Returning Strangers: The Children of Malawian Refugees Come “Home.”’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 12:3, 264-283. Cortés, J. R. 1969. Factors Associated with the Migration of High-level Persons from the Philippines to the USA. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Coupland, D. 1991. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Cronin, M. 2000. Across the Lines: Travel, Language, Translation. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press. Dang, T. V. 2005. ‘The Cultural Work of Anti-communism in the San Diego Vietnamese American Community.’ Amerasia Journal, 31:2, 65-86. Đào Duy, Anh. 1957. Hán-Việt Từ-Điển. Saigon: Trường-Thi Xuất Bản. Datta, A. 2011. ‘The Repatriation of 1973 and the Re-making of Modern South Asia.’ Contemporary South Asia, 19:1, 61-74. Dawn. 1959a. ‘Border Security and Unauthorized Immigration.’ Dawn, October 4, 1959, 1. Dawn. 1959b. ‘Buddhism May Become Burma’s State Religion.’ Dawn, October 5, 1959, 3. Dawn. 1965. ‘General Ne Win Arrives in Lahore Today.’ Dawn, February 12, 1965, 1-7. De Carvalho, D. 2003. Migrants and Identity in Japan and Brazil: The Nikkeijin. New York: Routledge. De Jesús, M. L. 2005. ‘Introduction: Toward a Peminist Theory, or Theorizing the Filipina/ American Experience.’ In: De Jesús, M. L. (ed.) Pinay Power: Theorizing the Filipina/American Experience. New York: Routledge, 1-15. Deléchat, C. 2001. ‘International Migration Dynamics: The Role of Experience in Social Networks.’ Labour, 15:3, 457-486. Deshpande, S. 2003. Contemporary India: A Sociological View. New Delhi: Viking. Diatta, M.A. & Mbow, N. 1999. ‘Releasing the Development Potential of Return Migration: The Case of Senegal.’ International Migration, 37:1, 243-266. Dustmann, C. 1996. ‘Return Migration: The European Experience.’ Economic Policy, 22: 215—250. Dustmann, C. 1997. ‘Return Migration, Savings and Uncertainty.’ Journal of Development Economics, 52: 295-316. Dustmann, C. 2003. ‘Return Migration and the Optimal Migration Duration.’ European Economic Review, 47: 353-367. Dustmann, C. & Weiss, Y. 2007. ‘Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence from the UK.’ British Journal of Industrial Relations, 45: 236-256. Espiritu, Y. L. 2003. Home Bound: Filipino American Lives across Cultures, Communities, and Countries. Berkeley: University of California Press. Espiritu, Y. L. & Tran, T. 2002. ‘Viet Nam, Nuoc Toi: Vietnamese Americans and Transnationalism.’ In: Levitt, P. & Waters, M. C. (eds) The Changing Face of Home: The Transnational Lives of the Second Generation. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 367-398. Essed, P. & Trienekens, S. 2008. ‘“Who Wants to Feel White?” Race, Dutch Culture and Contested Identities.’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31:1, 52-72. Express Tribune. 2012. ‘Anti-Rohingya Violence: Pakistan Decries Myanmar Killings.’ The Express Tribune, 27 July 2012. Fagan, G. H..2002. ‘Globalization and Culture: Placing Ireland.’ The Annals of the American Academy, 581 (May): 133-143.

Bibliogr aphy


Falkingham, J., Chepngeno-Langat, G. & Evandrou, M. 2012. ‘Outward Migration from Large Cities: Are Older Migrants in Nairobi “Returning”?’ Population, Space and Place, 18, 327-343. Fangmeng, T. & Zhongdong, M. 2006. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 7:4, 473-491. Fanning, B. 2002. Racism and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Fanning, B. 2009. New Guests of the Irish Nation. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. Fanning, B. & Mutwarasibo, F. 2007. ‘Nationals/Non-nationals: Immigration, Citizenship and Politics in the Republic of Ireland.’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30:3, 439-460. Fehér, F. & Heller, A. 1994. ‘Naturalization or “Culturalization”?’ In: Baubock, R. (ed.) From Aliens to Citizens: Redefining the Status of Immigrants in Europe. Brookfield, VA: Ashgate, 135-144. Fernandes, L. 2006. India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Fernandes, L. 2011. ‘Hegemony and Inequality: Theoretical Reflections on India’s “New” Middle Class.’ In: Baviskar, A. & Ray, R. (eds) Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes. Routledge: New Delhi, 58-82. Findlay, A. M. & Li, F. L. N. 1997. ‘An Auto-biographical Approach to Understanding Migration: The Case of Hong Kong Emigrants.’ Area, 29, 34-44. Fog, K.O. & Sorensen, N.N. 2002. ‘Mobile livelihoods. Making a living in the World.’ In: Work and Migration. Life and livelihoods in a globalizing World. New York: Routledge, 1-19. Fraser, S. E. 1984. ‘Overseas Students in Australia: Governmental Policies and Institutional Programs.’ Comparative Education Review, 28:2, 279-299. Galang, M. E. 2005. Her Wild American Self: Short Stories. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press. Galor, O. & Stark, O. 1990. ‘Migrants’ savings, the probability of return migration and migrants’ Performance.’ International Economic Review, 31: 463-467. Gardner, K. 1993. ‘Desh-Bidesh: Sylheti Images of Home and Away.’ Man, New Series, 28:1, 1-15. Garner, S. 2007. ‘Ireland and Immigration: Explaining the Absence of the Far Right.’ Patterns of Prejudice, 41:2, 109-130. Gazdar, H. 2005. ‘Karachi, Pakistan: Between Regulation and Regularization.’ In: Balbo, M. (ed.) International Migrants and the City. Nairobi, Kenya: UN Habitat, 151-185. Gazdar, H., Mallah, H. B. & Memon, R. 2005. ‘Irregular Migration and Non-traditional Threats to State Security: The Case of Karachi.’ Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, Dhaka. October. Geiger, A. 2011. Subverting Exclusion: Transpacific Encounters with Race, Caste, and Borders, 1885-1928. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Geschiere, P. 2009. The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Geschiere, P. & Jackson, S. 2006. ‘Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship: Democratization, Decentralization, and the Politics of Belonging.’ African Studies Review, 49:2, 1-19. Gibson, J. & McKenzie, D. 2011. ‘The microeconomic determinants of emigration and return migration of the best and brightest: Evidence from the Pacific.’ Journal of Development Economics, 95:1, 18-29. Gilmartin, D. 1988. Islam and Empire: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan. London: I. B. Tauris. Glaser, W. A. & Habers, C. 1974. ‘The Migration and Return of Professionals.’ International Migration Review, 8:2, 227-244. Glaser, W. A. & Habers, C. 1978. The Brain Drain: Emigration and Return. Oxford: Pergamon Press.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Glick Schiller, N. 1999. ‘Transmigrants and Nation-states: Something Old and Something New in the US Immigrant Experience.’ In: Hirschman, C. et al. (eds) The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 94-119. Gmelch, G. 1980. ‘Return Migration.’ Annual Review of Anthropology, 9: 135-159. Goscha, C. 2012. Going Indochinese: Contesting Concepts of Space and Place in French Indochina. Copenhagen: NIAS Books. Gosh, B. (ed.) 2000. Return Migration: Journey of Hope or Despair? Geneva: IOM/UN. Grasmuck, S. & Pessar, P. R. 1991. Between Two Islands: Dominican International Migration. Berkeley: University of California Press. Green, P. 2010. ‘Generation, Family and Migration: Young Brazilian Factory Workers in Japan.’ Ethnography, 11:4, 515-532. Guarnizo, L. E. 1997. ‘The Emergence of a Transnational Social Formation and the Mirage of Return Migration among Dominican Transmigrants.’ Identities, 4, 281-322. Gutierrez, E. 2007. ‘The Filipino Diaspora: Changing the Terms of Reference.’ In: Hogsholm, F. M. (ed.) In De Olde Worlde: Views of Filipino Migrants in Europe. Quezon City: Philippine Social Science Council, 394-401. Hage, G. 2005. ‘A Not So Multi-sited Ethnography of a Not So Imagined Community.’ Anthropological Theory, 5:4, 463-475. Halfacree, K. H. & Boyle, P. J. 1993. ‘The Challenge Facing Migration Research: The Case for a Biographical Approach.’ Progress in Human Geography, 17, 333-348. Harvey, W. S. 2009. ‘British and Indian Scientists in Boston Considering Returning to Their Home Countries.’ Population, Space and Place, 15, 493-508. Hawthorne, L. 2010. ‘How Valuable Is “Two-Step Migration”? Labour Market Outcomes for International Student Migrants to Australia.’ Asia-Pacific Migration Journal, 19:1, 5-36. Hawthorne, L. & Hamilton, J. 2010. ‘International Medical Students and Migration: The Missing Dimension in Australian Workforce Planning?’ Medical Journal of Australia, 193:5, 262-265. Hémery, D. 1975a. Révolutionnaires vietnamiens et pouvoir colonial en Indochine: communistes, trotskystes, nationalistes à Saigon de 1932 à 1937. Paris: F. Maspero. Hémery, D. 1975b.. ‘Du patriotisme au marxisme: l’immigration vietnamienne en France de 1926 à 1930.’ Le Mouvement Social, (90), 3–54. Hill-Vu, K. 2011. Coolies into Rebels: Impact of World War I on French Indochina. Paris: Les Indes Savantes. Himal Southasian. 2003. ‘Illegal Lives.’ Himal Southasian. July. illegal-lives.html (accessed January 14, 2011). Hồ, H. T. 1972. Bốn mươi mốt năm làm báo: hồi ký [Forty-one Years of Working in the Newspaper Industry]. Saigon: Trí Đăng. Hochschild, A. R. 2002. ‘Love and Gold.’ In: Ehrenreich, B. & Hochschild, A. R. (eds) Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. New York: Owl Books, 15-30. Holmes, M. & Burrows, R. 2012. ‘Ping-pong poms: emotional reflexivity in contemporary returnmigration from Australia to the United Kingdom.’ Australian Journal of Social Issues, 47:1, 105-123. hooks, b. 1990. Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End Press. Ho Tai, H.T. 1992. Radicalism and the Origins of the Vietnamese Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Hughes, H, & Goldring, J. 1988. ‘Education as an Export Industry.’ In: Withering Heights: The State of Higher Education in Australia’ G.R. Hogbin (ed.), Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Bibliogr aphy


Ichioka, Y. 1988. The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924. New York: The Free Press. Ignacio, E. N. 2005. Building Diaspora: Filipino Cultural Community Formation on the Internet. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Iqtidar, H. 2011. ‘Secularism beyond the State: The “State” and the “Market” in Islamist Imagination.’ Modern Asian Studies, 45:3, 535-564. Isin, E. F. 2002. Being Political: Genealogies of Citizenship. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Jalal, A. 1990. State of Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jalal, A. 1995. ‘Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining.’ International Journal of Middle East Studies, 27:1, 73-74. Jazeel, T. 2006. ‘Postcolonial Geographies of Privilege: Diaspora Space, the Politics of Personhood and the “Sri Lankan Women’s Association in the UK.”’ Transactions, Institute of British Geographers, 31:11, 19-33. Jensen, J. 1988. Passage from India: Asian Indian Immigrants in North America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Kandel, W. & Massey, D. S. 2002. ‘The Culture of Mexican Migration.’ Social Forces, 80:3, 981-1004. Kapur, D. & McHale, J. 2005. Give Us Your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development. Kawamura, L. 2003. Para onde vão os brasileiros? Imigrantes brasileiros no Japão [Where Are Brazilians Going? Brazilian Immigrants in Japan]. Campinas, São Paulo: Editora Unicamp. Kelly, G. P. 1987. ‘Conflict in the Classroom: A Case Study from Vietnam, 1918-38.’ British Journal of Sociology of Education, 8:2, 191-212. Kelly, G. P. 1979. ‘The Relation between Colonial and Metropolitan Schools: A Structural Analysis.’ Comparative Education, 15:2, 209-215. Khalid, S. A. 2003. Aap Kay Naam: Saif Allah Khalid kay Khatoot. I.P.I. (Personal copy given by the author.) King, A. D. 2002. ‘Speaking from the Margins: ‘Postmodernism,’ Transnationalism, and the Imagining of Contemporary Indian Urbanity.’ In: Grant, R. & Short, J. R. (eds) Globalization and the Margins. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 72-90. King, R. et al. 2006. ‘Time, Generations and Gender in Migration and Settlement.’ In: Penninx, R. et al. (eds) The Dynamics of International Migration Settlement in Europe: A State of the Art. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 233-268. King, R. & Christou, A. 2008. ‘Cultural Geographies of Counter-Diasporic Migration: The Second Generation Returns “Home.”’ Sussex Migration Working Paper No. 45. ounterdiasporicmigration. pdf (accessed June 10, 2010). King, R. & Skeldon, R. 2010. ‘Mind the Gap!: bridging the theoretical divide between internal and international migration.’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36: 10, 1619-1646. Kirby, P. 2004. ‘Globalisation.’ In: Fanning, B. et al. (eds) Theorising Irish Social Policy. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Kitano, H. 1996. ‘A Hyphenated Identity.’ In: Thompson, B. & Tyagi, S. (eds) Names We Call Home: An Autobiography on Racial Identity. New York: Routledge, 111-120.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Kley, S. 2009. ‘Explaining Migration as a Process of Cumulative Causation in the Life Course.’ Migremus Arbeitspapiere. Working Paper No. 2/2009. images/stories/workingpapers/kleywp.pdf (accessed March 3, 2010). Knowles, C. 2003. Race and Social Analysis. London: Sage. Kuptsch, C. 2005. ‘Globalization and Higher Education: The Migration of Students from Developing Countries to Western Europe.’ In: Blanpain, R. (ed.) Confronting Globalization: The Quest for a Social Agenda. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 149-156. Kurien, P. A. 2005. ‘Being Young, Brown, and Hindu: The Identity Struggles of Second-Generation Indian Americans.’ Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 34:4, 434-469. Le, H. K. 1985. Les Vietnamiens en France: insertion et identité: le processus d’immigration depuis la colonisation jusqu’á l’implantation des réfugiés. Paris: L’Harmattan. Lê, H. T. 1997. Itinéraire d’un Petit Mandarin: Juin 1940. Paris: L’Harmattan. Lee, J. & Zhou, M. (eds) 2004. Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity. New York: Routledge. Lentin, R. & McVeigh, R. 2006. After Optimism? Ireland, Racism and Globalization. Dublin: Metro Eireann Publications. Leonard, K. 1997. The South Asian Americans. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Leong, R. C. 2007. ‘Introduction.’ In: Garrod, A. & Kilkenny, R. (eds) Balancing Two Worlds: Asian American College Students Tell Their Life Stories. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1-13. Levitt, P. & Waters, M. C. (eds) 2002. The Changing Face of Home: The Transnational Lives of the Second Generation. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Lianos, T. & Pseiridis, A. 2013. ‘On-the-Job Skills and Earnings of Returned Migrants.’ International Migration, 51:1, 78-91. Lie, M. & Lund, R. 2005. ‘From NIDL to Globalization: Studying Women Workers in an Increasingly Globalized Economy.’ Gender, Technology and Development, 9:1, 7-29 Lindstrom, D. P. 1996. ‘Economic Opportunity in Mexico and Return Migration from the United States.’ Demography, 33:3, 357-374. Linger, D. 2001. No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Linger, D. 2003. ‘Do Japanese Brazilians Exist?’ In: Lesser, K. (ed.) Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 201-214. Lockhart, G. 1994. ‘Broken Journey: Nhất Linh’s “Going to France.”’ East Asian History, 8, 73-136. Lockhart, G. 1996. The Light of the Capital: Three Modern Vietnamese Classics. Kuala Lumpur/ New York: Oxford University Press. Logan, B. I. 2009. ‘The Reverse and Return Transfer of Technology (RRTT): Towards a Comprehensive Model of Migration of African Experts.’ International Migration, 47:4, 93-127. Louie, A. 2001. ‘Crafting Places through Mobility: Chinese American “Roots-Searching” in China.’ Identities, 8:3, 343-379. Ma, Z. 2002. ‘Social-capital mobilization and income returns to entrepreneurship: the case of return migration in rural China.’ Environment and Planning A, 34:10, 1763-1784. Mac Laughlin, J. 1997. ‘Ireland in the Global Economy: An End to a Distinct Nation.’ In: Crowley, E. & Mac Laughlin, J. (eds) Under the Belly of the Tiger: Class, Race, Identity and Culture in the Global Ireland. Dublin: Irish Reporter Publications, 1-19. Madison, G. A. 2009. The End of Belonging: Untold Stories of Leaving Home and the Psychology of Global Relocation. London: CreateSpace. Marcus, G. 1998. Ethnography through Thick and Thin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Bibliogr aphy


Marginson, S. 1997. Markets in Education. St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin. Marginson, S. 2005. ‘Education Examined.’ Higher Education, Autumn/Winter, 8-9. Margulies, H. 1969. Foreign Medical Graduates in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Marr, D. G. 1981. Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press. Martin, R. & Radu, D. 2012. ‘Return Migration: The Experience of Eastern Europe.’ International Migration, 50:6, 109-128. Massey, D. S. 1998. Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Massey, D. S., Goldring, D. S. & Durand, J. 1994. ‘Continuities in Transnational Migration: An Analysis of Nineteen Mexican Communities.’ The American Journal of Sociology, 99:6, 14921533. Mazzarella, W. 2005. ‘Middle Class.’ In: Dwyer, R. (ed.) Keywords in South Asian Studies. SOAS, (accessed May 29, 2014). McClatchy, V. S. 1978. ‘Japanese Immigration and Colonization.’ In: McClatchy, V. S. (ed.) Four Anti-Japanese Pamphlets. New York: Arno Press, 68-177. McConnell, S. 1989. Leftward Journey: The Education of Vietnamese Students in France, 1919-1939. Oxford, UK: Transaction Publishers. McCormick, J. & Wahba, J. 2003. ‘Return International Migration and Geographical Inequality: The Case of Egypt.’ Journal of African Economies, 12: 500-532. McHale, S. 1995. ‘Printing and Power: Vietnamese Debates over Women’s Place in Society, 1918-1934.’ In: Taylor, K. W. & Whitmore, J. K. (eds) Essays into Vietnamese Pasts. Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 173-194. McVeigh, R. & Lentin, R. 2002. ‘Situated Racisms: A Theoretical Introduction.’ In: Lentin, R. & McVeigh, R. (eds) Racism and Anti-Racism in Ireland. Belfast: Beyond the Pale, 1-48. Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative. 2008. Getting On: From Migration to Integration: Chinese, Indian, Lithuanian and Nigerian Migrants’ Experiences in Ireland. Dublin: Immigrant Council of Ireland. Ministry of External Affairs. 2002. Report of High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora. New Delhi: Government of India. Mohanty, C. T. 2003. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Morris, H. S. 1968. The Indians in Uganda. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Mungee, S. 2011. ‘Why I Left India (Again).’ New York Times, October 22. http://india.blogs. (accessed October 25, 2011). Murphy, R. 2002. How Migrant Labor is Changing Rural China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Myers, R. G. 1972. Education and Migration: Study Abroad and the Migration of Human Resources. New York: David McKay Co. Myers, R. G. 1973. ‘International Education, Emigration, and National Policy (A Longitudinal Case Study of Peruvians Trained in the United States).’ Comparative Education Review, 17:1, 71-97. National Association of Software and Services Companies. ‘Domestic IT-BPO.’ http://www. (accessed September 4, 2012). Nayak, A. 2003. Race, Place and Globalization: Youth Cultures in a Changing World. New York: Berg. Nguyễn Hữu Sơn. 2007. Du Ký Viet Nam: Nam Phong Tập Chí, 1917-1934. Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh: Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Nguyen, N. H. C. 2009. Memory Is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Nguyen, X. O. & Grub, P. D. 1992. Vietnam: The New Investment Frontier in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Nhất Linh. 1935-1936. ‘Đi Tây.’ Phong Hóa, August 1935 to August 1936. Niranjana, T. 2010. ‘Why Culture Matters: Rethinking the Language of Feminist Politics.’ InterAsia Cultural Studies, 11:2, 229-235. Oakman, D. 2004. Facing Asia: A History of the Colombo Plan. Canberra: Pandanus Books. Packard, L. A. 1999. ‘Asian American Economic Engagement: Vietnam Case Study.’ In: Hu-DeHart, E. (ed.) Across the Pacific: Asian Americans and Globalization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 79-108. Panagariya, A. 2008. India: The Emerging Giant. New York: Oxford University Press. Parreñas, R. S. 2001a. ‘Mothering from a Distance: Emotions, Gender, and Intergenerational Relations in Filipino Transnational Families.’ Feminist Studies, 27:2, 361-390. Parreñas, R. S. 2001b. Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Parreñas, R. S. 2008. The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization. New York: New York University Press. Pascual-de-Sans, À. 2004. ‘Sense of Place and Migration Histories Idiotopy and Idiotope.’ Area, 36:4, 348-357. Phụ Nữ Tân Văn. 1929. Phụ Nữ Tân Văn no. 1, 3, 22. Piper, N. 2004. ‘Gender and Migration Policies in Southeast and East Asia: Legal Protection and Sociocultural Empowerment of Unskilled Migrant Women.’ Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 25:2, 216-231. Portes, A. 1976. ‘Determinants of the Brain Drain.’ International Migration Review, 10:4, 489-508. Potts, L. 1990. The World Labour Market: A History of Migration. London: Zed Books. Prashad, V. 2000. The Karma of Brown Folk. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pyle, J. L. & Ward, K. B. 2003. ‘Recasting Our Understanding of Gender and Work during Global Restructuring.’ International Sociology, 18:3, 461-489. R2I-ed Blogger. 2009a. ‘My Reasons against R2I.’ R2I – The Story So Far, http://r2i-thestorysofar. (published September 7, 2009). R2I-ed Blogger. 2009b. ‘The Positives.’ R2I – The Story So Far, (published September 8, 2009). R2I-ed Blogger. 2009c. ‘Domestic Help – Part 1.’ R2I – The Story So Far, (published September 10, 2009). R2I-ed Blogger. 2009d. ‘Ladies Special Work and Family Post R2I.’ R2I – The Story So Far, (published September 10, 2009). Radhakrishnan, S. 2008. ‘Examining the Global Indian Middle Class: Gender and Culture in the Silicon Valley/Bangalore Circuit.’ Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29:1, 7-20. Radhakrishnan, S. 2009. ‘Professional Women, Good Families: Respectable Femininity and the Cultural Politics of a “New” India.’ Qualitative Sociology, 32:2, 195. Radhakrishnan, S. 2011. Appropriately Indian: Gender and Culture in a New Transnational Class. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Rao, L. G. 1979. Brain Drain and Foreign Students: A Study of the Attitudes and Intentions of Foreign Students in Australia, the USA, Canada and France. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Bibliogr aphy


Rapport, N. & Dawson, A. (eds) 1998. Migrations of Identity: Perceptions of Home in a World of Movements. New York: Berg Publishers. Ravenstein, E. G. 1885. ‘The Laws of Migration.’ Journal of the Statistical Society, 48, 167-227. Ray, R. & Qayum, S. 2009. Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity, and Class in India. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Rhoades, R. 1979. ‘Toward an Anthropology of Return Migration.’ Papers in Anthropology, 20:1, 99-111. Ritterband, P. 1968. Out of Zion: The Non-returning Israeli Student. PhD dissertation, Columbia University. Ritterband, P. 1970. ‘Law, Policy, and Behavior: Educational Exchange Policy and Student Migration.’ The American Journal of Sociology, 76:1, 71-82. Roth, J. H. 2002. Brokered Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Migrants in Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Roth, J. H. 2007. ‘Adapting to Inequality: Negotiating Japanese Identity in Contexts or Return.’ In: Stewart, C. (ed.) Creolization: History, Ethnography, Theory. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Rouse, R. 1995. ‘Thinking through Transnationalism: Notes on the Cultural Politics of Class Relations in the Contemporary United States.’ Public Culture, 7, 353-402. Rubenstein, H. 1979. ‘The Return Ideology in West Indian Migration. Papers in Anthropology, 20:1, 21-38. Rumbaut, R. G. 2005. ‘Sites of Belonging: Acculturation, Discrimination, and Ethnic Identity among Children of Immigrants.’ In: Weiner, T.S.(ed.), Discovering Successful Pathways in Children’s Development: Mixed Methods in the Study of Childhood and Family Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 111-164. Rushdie, S. 1991. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta Books. Rustin, M. 2000. ‘Psychoanalysis, Racism and Anti-racism.’ In: Du Gay, P. et al. (eds) Identity: A Reader. London: Sage. Sachse, W. L. 1948. ‘The Migration of New Englanders to England, 1640-1660. American Historical Review, 53, 251-248. Sadiq, K. 2008. Paper Citizens: How illegal immigrants acquire citizenship in developing countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Saeed, S. 2007. ‘Pakistani Nationalism and the State Marginalization of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan.’ Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 7:3, 132-152. Safford, F. 1972. ‘In Search of the Practical: Colombian Students in Foreign Lands, 1845 1890.’ The Hispanic American Historical Review, 52:2, 230-249. Safran, W. 1991. ‘Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return.’ Diaspora, 1:1, 83-99. Safri, M. 2011. ‘The Transformation of the Afghan Refugee, 1979-2009.’ The Middle East Journal, 65:4, 587-601. Saikia, Y. 2011. Women, war, and the making of Bangladesh: remembering 1971. Durham: Duke University Press. San Francisco Chronicle. 2005a. ‘Japanese Consul Will Lodge Protest.’ San Francisco Chronicle, February 8. San Francisco Chronicle. 1905b. ‘No Asiatic Door Here to the Altar of Marriage.’ San Francisco Chronicle, February 27. Sasaki, E. 2009. Ser ou não ser japonês? [To Be or Not to Be Japanese?]. Campinas, SP: University of Campinas.


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Sastry, C. 1991. The Non-resident Indian, from Non-being to Being. Bangalore, India: Panther Publishers. Sauer, G. (ed.) 2001. The Colombo Plan. The Malaysian-Australian Perspective. Adelaide: The Malaysia-Australia Foundation. Sawada, M. 1996. Tokyo Life, New York Dreams: Urban Japanese Visions of America, 1890-1924. Berkeley: University of California Press. Saxenian, A. 2002. Local and Global Networks of Immigrant Professionals in Silicon Valley. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Saxenian, A. 2005. ‘From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation: Transnational Communities and Regional Upgrading in India and China.’ Studies in Comparative International Development, 40:2, 35-61. Saxenian, A. & Edulbehram, J. 1998. ‘Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.’ Berkeley Planning Journal, 12, 32-49. Schierup, C. 1990. Migration, Socialism, and the International Division of Labor: The Yugoslavian Experience. Aldershot: Gower Publishing Co. Scott, J. W. 1991. The Evidence of Experience. Critical Inquiry, 17:4, 773-797. Shigri, A. A. 1996. Report on Illegal Immigrants and Afghan Refugees in Pakistan. (Personal copy obtained from Deputy Director-Intelligence, National Alien Registration Authority.) Shu, J. & Hawthorne, L. 1995. ‘Asian Female Students in Australia: Temporary Movements and Student Migration.’ Journal of the Australian Population Association, 12:2, 113-130. Shu, J. & Hawthorne, L. 1996. ‘Asian Student Migration to Australia.’ International Migration Quarterly Review of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, 34:1, 65-96. Sidhu, R. 2006. Universities and Globalization: To Market, to Market. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Sinatti, G. 2011. ‘“Mobile Transmigrants” or “Unsettled Returnees”? Myth of Return and Permanent Resettlements among Senegalese Migrants.’ Population, Space and Place, 17, 153-166. Singh, A. K. 1963. Indian Students in Britain: A Survey of Their Adjustment and Attitudes. Bombay: Asia Publishing House. Singh, S. & Chabraal, A. 2010. ‘Indian Student Migrants in Australia: Issues of Community Sustainability.’ People and Place, 18:1, 19-30. Skeldon, R. 2009. ‘Of Skilled Migration, Brain Drains and Policy Responses.’ International Migration, 47:4, 3-29. Skrbis, Z. 2008. ‘Transnational Families: Theorising Migration, Emotions and Belonging.’ Journal Of Intercultural Studies, 29:3, 231-246 Svašek, M. 2010. Emotions and Human Mobility. Ethnographies of Movement. New York: Routledge. Talai, V. 1989. Armenians in London: The Management of Social Boundaries. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Tanenhaus, J. & Roth, S. G. 1962. ‘Non-immigrant Foreign Students: A Survey of Their Needs and Interests.’ The Journal of Experimental Education, 31:2, 173-176. Taylor, K. W. 1998. ‘Surface Orientations in Vietnam: Beyond Histories of Nation and Region.’ The Journal of Asian Studies, 57:4, 949-978. Tejaswini, M. 2007. ‘After Mumbai & Delhi, Bangalore Home to Richest.’ The Economic Times, April 2. (accessed September 4, 2010). Teo, S.Y. 2011. ‘”The moon back home is brighter”? Return migration and the cultural politics of belonging’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37:5, 805-820. Thạch Lan. 1930. ‘Người Annam đi ngoại-quốc học gì? Phủ Nữ Tân Văn.’ 37, 12.

Bibliogr aphy


Thiện, M. C. 2010. Phủ-nữ Tân-văn: Phấn Son Tô Điềm Sơn Hà. Hà Nội: Nhà Xuất Bản Văn Hóa Sài Gòn và Công Ty Sách Thời Đại. Thomas, J. J. 2010. ‘An uneasy coexistence: the new and the old in Indian industry and services.’ In: D’Costa, A. (ed.) A new India? Critical Reflections in the Long Twentieth Century. New York: Anthem Press, 71-98. Thomas, M. 1999. Dreams in the Shadows: Vietnamese-Australian Lives in Transition. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin. Timmons, H. 2009. ‘Some Indians Find It Tough to Go Home Again.’ New York Times, November 28. (accessed October 10, 2011). Trieu, M. M. 2009. Identity Construction among Chinese-Vietnamese-Americans: Being, Becoming and Belonging. El Paso, TX: LFB Scholarly Publishing. Tsuda, T. 1999. ‘The Motivation to Migrate: The Ethnic and Sociocultural Constitution of the Japanese-Brazilian Return-Migration System.’ Economic Development and Cultural Chance, 48:1, 1-31. Tsuda, T. 2003a. ‘Homeland-less Abroad: Transnational Liminality, Social Alienation, and Personal Malaise.’ In: Lesser, J. (ed.) Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 121-161. Tsuda, T. 2003b. Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Return Migration in Transnational Perspective. New York: Columbia University Press. Tsuda, T. (ed.) 2009. Diasporic Homecomings: Ethnic Return Migration in Comparative Perspective. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Tuan, M. 2005. Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites?: The Asia Ethnic Experience Today. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Tulgan, B. 1997. The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Generation X. Amherst, MA: HRD Press. Tùng, Hương. 2007. ‘Trên Đường Nam Pháp (Mấy Đoạn Gia Thư).’ In: Nguyễn Hữu Sơn, Du Ký Việt Nam: Nam Phong Tập Chí, 1917-1934. Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh: Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, 2, 303-331. Turton, D. 2005. ‘The Meaning of Place in a World of Movement: Lessons from Long-Term Field Research in Southern Ethiopia.’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 18:3, 258-280. Unesco, 2013. The International Mobility of Students in Asia and the Pacific. Paris: Unesco. Upadhya, C. 2008. ‘Ethnographies of the Global Information Economy: Research Strategies and Methods.’ Economic and Political Weekly, April 26, 64-72. Upadhya, C. 2009. ‘India’s “New Middle Class” and the Globalising City: Software Professionals in Bangalore.’ In: Lange, H. & Meier, L. (eds) The New Middle Classes: Globalizing Lifestyles, Consumerism and Environmental Concern. Dordrecht: Springer, 253-268. US Bureau of Consular Affairs. Temporary Worker Visas. Washington, DC: Bureau of Consular Affairs. (accessed May 1, 2011). US Bureau of the Census. 2007. Demographic Profile Highlights: Selected Population Group: Asian Indian Alone. Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census. US Bureau of the Census. 2010. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2010. Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census. US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 2014. H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models. working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-dod-cooperativeresearch-and-development-project-workers-and-fashion-models (accessed September 10, 2014).


Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Vaidyanathan, R. 2011. ‘India Sees “Reverse Brain Drain.”’ BBC, May 30. news/world-south-asia-13595196 (accessed June 1, 2011). Vandekerckhove, N. 2009. ‘“We Are Sons of the Soil”: The Endless Battles over Indigenous Homelands in Assam, India.’ Critical Asian Studies, 41:4, 523-548. Vanderkamp, J. 1971. ‘Migration Flows, Their Determinants and the Effects of Return Migration.’ Journal of Political Economy, 79:5, 1012-1031. Van der Kroef, J. M. 1970. ‘The US and the World’s Brain Drain.’ International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 11, 220-239. Van Hear, N. 1998. New Diasporas: The Mass Exodus, Dispersal and Regrouping of Migrant Communities. London: UCL Press. Varma, R. 2009. ‘Exposure, Training, and Environment: Women’s Participation in Computing Education in the United States and India.’ Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 15:3, 205. Vo, L. & Bonus, R. 2002. Contemporary Asian American Experience: Intersections and Divergences. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Vohra, N. 2008. ‘Producing Diasporas and Globalization: Indian Middle-Class Migrants in Dubai.’ Anthropological Quarterly, 81:2, 377-406. Voutira, E. 1991. ‘Pontic Greeks Today: Immigrants or Refugees?’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 4:4, 400-420. Wadhwa, V. 2009a. ‘An Outflow of Talent: Nativism and the US Reverse Brain Drain.’ Harvard International Review, 31:1, 76-80. Wadhwa, V. 2009b. ‘A Reverse Brain Drain.’ Issues in Science and Technology, 25:3, 45-52. Wadhwa, V., Jasso, G., Rissing, B. A., Gereffi, G. & Freeman, R. B. 2007. ‘Intellectual Property, the Immigration Backlog, and a Reverse Brain-Drain: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part 3.’ August 22. (accessed May 29, 2014). Wadhwa, V., Saxenian, A., Freeman, R. B. & Gereffi, G. 2009. ‘America’s Loss Is the World’s Gain: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Part 4.’ March 2. papers.cfm?abstract_id=1348616 (accessed May 29, 2014). Walton-Roberts, M. 2004. ‘Transnational Migration Theory in Population Geography: Gendered Immigrant Networks between Canada and India.’ Population Space and Place, 10, 361-373. Wang, W. W. & Fan, C. C. 2006. ‘Success or Failure: selectivity and reasons of return migration in Sichuan and Anhui, China.’ Environment and Planning A, 38: 939-958. Warnes, A. M. 1992. ‘Migration and the Life Course.’ In Champion, A. G. & Fielding, A. J. (eds) Migration Processes and Patterns, Vol. 1: Research Progress and Prospects. London: Belhaven Press, 175-187. Weiner, M. 1997. Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity. New York: Routledge. Werner, J. 2009. Gender, Household and State in Post-revolutionary Vietnam. New York: Routledge. Werner, J., Dutton, G. & Whitmore, J. K. 2012. Sources of Vietnamese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press. Wessendorf, S. 2007. ‘“Roots Migrants”: Transnationalism and “Return” among SecondGeneration Italians in Switzerland.’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33:7, 1083-1102. Whisler, R.L., Waldorf, B. S., Mulligan, G. F. & Plane, D. A. 2008, ‘Quality of life and the migration of the college educated: A life-course approach.’ Growth and Change, 39: 59–94. Williams, B. (ed.) 1989. Overseas Students in Australia: Policy and Practices: A Collection of Invited papers. Canberra: IDP.

Bibliogr aphy


Yamanaka, K. 2003. ‘Feminization of Japanese Brazilian Labor Migration to Japan.’ In: Lesser, J. (ed.) Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 163-200. Yang, P. Q. 2000. ‘The ‘Sojourner Hypothesis’ Revisited.’ Diaspora, 9:2, 236-257. Yuval-Davis, N. 2006. ‘Belonging and the Politics of Belonging.’ Patterns of Prejudice, 40:3, 197-214. Zaibei Nihonjin Kai. 1940. Zaibei Nihonjin Shi. San Francisco, Tokyo: Zaibei Nihonjin Kai (Japanese Association of America). Zaman, M. Q. 1998. ‘Sectarianism in Pakistan: The Radicalization of Shi’i and Sunni Identities.’ Modern Asian Studies, 32:3, 689-716. Zamindar, V. 2007. The Long Partition and the Making of South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories. New York: Columbia University Press. Zhao, Y. 2002. ‘Causes and Consequences of Return Migration: Recent Evidence from China.’ Journal of Comparative Economics, 30:2, 376-394. Zhou, M. 1998. Growing Up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Ziguras, C. 2005. ‘International Trade in Education Services: Governing the Liberalization and Regulation of Private Enterprise.’ In: Apple, M. W. et al. (eds) Globalizing Education: Policies, Pedagogies, and Politics. New York: Peter Lang, 93-112. Zweig, D., Chung, S. F. & Vanhonacker, W. 2006. ‘Rewards of Technology: Explaining China’s Reverse Migration.’ Journal of International Migration and Integration, 7:4, 449-471.

Index 3k work 30 Agency 19-20, 41-42, 49, 54, 90, 95, 137, 144, 147, 174 Allochtoon 119-120 Anchorage 12 Assimilation 16, 22, 74, 93-94, 96-98, 101, 103, 108-110, 112, 117, 122, 175 Australia 39-54 Belonging 10, 22-23, 46, 74-79, 88-91, 96, 115-120, 123-125, 128, 132-133, 137, 149, 153, 157-166, 174-176 Brain drain 11-13, 39-40, 69 Brain gain 13 Brain waste 13 Brazil 25-38 Biometric identification 165 Border 14, 20, 27, 38, 79, 95, 157-159, 161, 169-170, 175 Burmese-Rohingya 157-177 Cao Chánh (Thạch Lan) 145-147 Cassarino, J.P. 12, 16-18 Celtic Tiger 74, 76 Cerase, F.P. 14-15, 17 China 13, 16, 42, 57-59, 107, 121, 133, 148 Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) 100 Chinese-Vietnamese-Americans 126 Christians (Japanese) 107, 109-110 Citizenship 23, 52, 55-59, 74-77, 97, 102, 111, 157-166, 174-176 Civilizational discourse 135, 147, 154-155 Colombo Plan 12, 39, 147 Colonialism 139, 148 Communist 22, 115, 139, 148 Cosmopolitanism 69 Cultural capital 62, 77, 84-85, 82, 89-91, 93 Culture of migration 51 Diaspora 15, 21, 72, 79-80, 90 Filipino 75-77 Indian 55 Nikkei-Brazilian 28, 31, 35, 73 Vietnamese 124, 127 Discrimination 63, 74, 120-121, 161 Dublin 76, 80, 83, 181 Employability 15 Entrepreneurialism 15 Ethnicity 31, 125, 165 Emigrants see migrants Exclusion 29, 81, 88, 90-91, 95, 97, 99-100, 122, 159-161 Exile 97, 115, 117, 125, 148, 163

Filipina/o 12, 49, 73, 75-76, 79-84, 86-90 Fluidity 20, 39 Foreign students see international students Gambling 107, 110, 113 Gender 55-56, 60-64, 72-73, 122, 126 Generation X 129-130 Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 101, 107 Green Card 57 Health workers 13 H-1B Visa 57, 59 Hijra (concept in Islamic discourse) 164, 168 Illegal(s)/illegality 30-31, 152, 158, 160-162, 164-165, 173-174, 176 Ideology 34, 137, 142, 149 Ideology of Return 15 Immigrants see migrants Inclusion 91 Income variable 15 Indochina 115, 141 India 39-54, 55-72 Indian IT workers 21, 71 Imagination 23, 39, 44, 49, 52, 54, 91, 112-113, 169, 176 Information Technology 55, 58, 116 Immigration Act (1924) 96, 111 Immigration status 78, 80, 83 Integration 21, 36, 56, 74, 87-88, 122, 131 Intellectual(s)(life) 109, 136-139, 141-143, 146-148, 150, 152-154 International students 11-12, 39, 73-75, 78, 87 Indian 39-45, 47, 49, 54 Vietnamese 118-119, 135-155 Internment 112 Ireland 73-92 Japan 25-38, 93-114 Japanese American Citizens League 112 Japanese Association of America (JAA) 22, 93-94 Labour market 15-16, 29-31, 49, 74, 78, 82 Liminality 79 Little Saigon 122 Maaiveld Mentality 128 Meiji Restoration 29, 98 Memory 14, 77, 124-125, 155, 160, 166, 173 Metropole 135, 138, 140, 150, 154 Middle Class India 55, 58-62, 65, 68 Vietnam 140

200  Migrants Bangladeshi 157-160, 163-165, 170-171, 173-174, 176 Bengali 162, 164-165, 174 Bihari 162, 165 Brazilian 36 Burmese-Rohingya 157-177 Japanese 93-96, 98-100, 102-113 Muslim 157, 163, 165 Nikkei-Brazilian 20-38 non-EU 76-79 parents 73, 75, 116, 120 temporary 9-10, 15, 18-20, 23, 25-26, 31, 49, 55-59, 70-71, 73, 76, 78, 88, 109, 139, 150, 154 undocumented 23, 30, 157, 164 Vietnamese 115-133, 135-155 voluntary 9, 19, 30, 38, 127-128 women 75, 81-82, 96 Migration differential 49 existential 127-128 highly skilled 21 internal 13 motivations 117 rural-to-urban 11 temporary 18-19, 56-57, 59 transnational 19, 28, 37-38, 72 two-step 40 Mobility career 95, 132 class 86 general 69 global 35 immobility 127 physical 127 social 81-82, 90-92 transnational 19-20, 35, 39, 52 Model minority (Japanese-Americans) 112 Mogh 158, 170 Muhajir ethnicity 164, 168, 172, 174-176 modernity 135, 142, 153 Multinational 56, 62, 116, 129, 131 Murkiness 18, 41 Myth of Return 7, 15, 28, 49, 158 Nam Phong Tạp Chí (Southern Wind) 150 Naturalization 38, 95, 97-98, 102 Neoclassical (approach) 13 Neoliberalism 48-49, 171 Nhất Linh 149, 152-154 Nikkei-Brazilian 20-38 Nikkeijin 94-96, 102-103, 106-113 Non-resident Indian (NRI) 55, 58-59, 62, 66-67, 69, 71-72 Non-return (problem of) 11-12, 40-41

Tr ansnational Migr ation and Asia

Optimal migration duration 15 Outmigration 16 Permanent Residence 20, 32, 39, 41-44, 47, 51-52, 54-55, 57, 59, 71 Phủ Nữ Tân Văn 142-145, 147 Place-making 124 Picture brides (Japanese) 95-96, 105-107 Policy 25, 29-32, 38, 40, 49, 73-76, 78, 81, 94, 101, 105, 111, 119, 137-138, 141, 154, 163-164 Politics 10, 109, 125, 136, 145-146, 154 of autochthony 171 of belonging 166 of destination 91-92 ethnic 164 exclusion 88 identity 75, 180 nationalism 135, 137, 148 newspapers 136, 142-143 petit bourgeois 140 of remembrance 115 Post-colonial (nation-state) 159-160 Profit maximization 17 Prostitution (of Japanese women) 107-108, 113 Push and Pull Factor 13-14, 17, 19, 48-49, 71, 117, 140, 161 Racism 84, 121-122 R21 56, 61-62, 69 Refugees 158, 161-163, 165, 167, 169-170, 176 Reintegration 21, 36, 56 Repatriates 56 Reproductive labour 63, 65, 71-72 Returnees 15-17, 37, 56, 59-61, 63-67, 69-72, 116, 123, 126-127, 131-132, 180 Russo-Japanese War 100 San Francisco earthquake (1906) 100 Scholarship campaigns 144, 147 Second World War 12, 136, 139 Shibusawa, Eiichi 106-107 Sino-Japanese War (first) 100 Social Darwinism 148, 154 Sojourner 35, 53, 94, 103 Sojourner hypothesis 53 Strategic memory projects 125 Student migration Indian 20, 39, 41, 54 Vietnamese 23, 135, 137-138, 149, 153-154 Talent migration 13, 58 Technologies of citizenship 158, 162-163 Transfer (company) 65, 67 Transmigrant 25-27, 32-36, 38, 86 Transnational(ism) 76, 79, 82, 86



Transnational ambitions 39 colonial relationships 22 communities 159 companies 58, 65 context 27, 32, 96 exchange 147 field 20, 26 labour flows 56 lifestyle 9, 18, 54 lives 76, 122 migrants 25, 38 migration 19, 28, 38, 72 mobility 20, 39, 52 movement 21, 56, 71 networks 82, 122, 138, 149 power 79

process 18 relationships 75, 150 turn 7, 19 Travel memoir 171-172 Urdu 159, 167-169, 171, 174 U.S.A. 93-114 Viet Kieu 22, 115-116, 130-132 Vietnam 115-134, 135-156 Vietnamese Anti-communist politics 115, 125 Boat people 120 Vietnamese-Americans 116-117, 122 Yellow peril 93-94, 111


Global Asia Frédéric Bourdier, Maxime Boutry, Jacques Ivanoff and Olivier Ferrari: From Padi States to Commercial States. Reflections on Identity and the Social Construction of Space in the Borderlands of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar Global Asia 3, 2015, ISBN 978 90 8964 659 0 Volker Gottowik (ed.): Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia. Magic and Modernity Global Asia 2, 2014, ISBN 978 90 8964 424 4 Matthias Maass (ed.): Foreign Policies and Diplomacies in Asia. Changes in Practice, Concepts, and Thinking in a Rising Region Global Asia 1, 2014, ISBN 978 90 8964 540 1