At a Moment's Notice: Indonesian Maids Write on Their Lives Abroad

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edited and translated by Jafar Suryomenggolo

Life abroad for Indonesian women hired as domestic workers is more than the job. In their spare time, some will plan a better life back home when their work contract ends. Others will venture out to experience the cities (like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei) where they now work, even posing as locals and living life to the fullest. And some of these women write. Recently, a new genre of Indonesian women’s literature has developed, one in which – often in short stories – authors reimagine their experiences as domestic workers in foreign lands. Now, for the first time, a selection of these stories has been collected and translated into English. Collectively, these stories provide an honest description of the complex and multifaceted reasons for working abroad, the maids’ living and working conditions, and their hopes and dreams for a better life. The stories are also a delightful read.

Until recently, Jafar Suryomenggolo was Assistant Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. A graduate of the University of Indonesia and Kyoto University, his research interests are on working-class politics and political change in contemporary Southeast Asia.

Publication year: 2019
230 pp / 229mm x 152mm
6 figures
ISBN: 978-87-7694-271-7, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-270-0, Hardback

NIAS Press