Remembering the Samsui Women: Migration and Social Memory in Singapore and China

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By Kelvin E.Y. Low

Immediately recognisable by their hong tou jin or red headscarves, Singapore's Samsui women immigrants from the Samsui region of Guangdong, China have become icons of Singapore's twentieth century economic transformation. Working in construction, in factories and as domestics, the Samsui women have become celebrated in Singapore for their hard work and their resilience, and in China for the sacrifices they made for their families.

Kelvin Low explores the lives and legacy of the Samsui women, both through media and state representations and through the oral histories of the women themselves. His work sheds light on issues of their identity, both publicly constructed and self-defined, and explores why they undertook their difficult migration.

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

"...the vast amount of theoretical and primary materials presented already gives plenty for scholars and students of memory, heritage and migration to chew on."
Hui Yew-Foong, Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Kelvin E.Y. Low is assistant professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore.

Publication Year: 2015
268 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-858-4

NUS Press