Item description for Dreamseekers: Indonesian Women as Domestic Workers in Asia by Dewi Anggraeni...
When the women come to recruitment agencies to work as domestic helpers overseas, they begin building the foundation of their dreams of a better future. During their training following the recruitment, their dreams assume colours and shapes. They leave their homeland with high hopes and aspirations. Arriving at their destinations, the workers quickly realize that no amount of training can prepare them for the shock of the cold, foreign world which confronts them. Those who are placed with considerate employers have generally happy working lives. Those who are placed with employers who expect ready-to-use service from their domestic helpers have a long and rocky road to navigate. With very little bargaining power and negotiating skills, as well as social prejudice from many parts of the community, these women's dreams can easily turn into nightmares. In Dreamseekers: Indonesian Women as Domestic Workers in Asia, veteran journalist Dewi Anggraeni uncovers the hidden world of domestic helpers from all points of view: the employers, the agents, the governments, the NGOs, and most importantly the workers themselves. This first-hand account of the struggles and successes of these women is described in vivid detail, and Dreamseekers is a must-read by anyone interested in the plight of these remarkable women. About the Author Dewi Anggraeni, a native of Jakarta, is a journalist and novelist now residing in Melbourne. She is the Australia correspondent for Tempo and regular contributor to the Jakarta Post. Her works have been published in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the USA, the UK, and Malaysia. Dewi has also published seven books, the latest being Who Did This to our Bali and a novel, Snake, (2003, Indra Publishing). She has also contributed to various anthologies and collections of essays including "Journey to my Cultural Home", in Weaving a Double Cloth (2002, Pandanus Books).
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Reviews - What do customers think about Dreamseekers: Indonesian Women as Domestic Workers in Asia?
objective research with a personal touch Oct 4, 2006
Anggraeni takes an objective reporting style approach to her book, focusing not just on the negative situations but also on some of the positive experiences by Indonesian workers and their employers abroad. Research is limited to worker situations, agencies, gvt & labour laws in Hong Kong, Singapore & Malaysia, but this micro-study is successful in exposing the complexity of the situation as well as to raise awareness about the risks involved for domestic workers who are recruited and shipped off. It's a great critique of the problem that is not unique to these countries, asking why labour laws do not include domestic workers in so many countries (including Indonesia). Personal testimonies are given by workers who demonstrate the sometimes heartbreaking situations faced by Indonesian women risking everything to find work abroad. Testimonies include stories of verbal, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; forced confinement at the workplace; violation of contracts; withheld payments & passports, and more. It's a solid book with good details & research: I give it 4 stars out of 5.