A domestic worker from the Philippines runs away from her husband who’s set out to kill her. A mine-blaster looks at his X-ray scan to realize that all he has earned from his sixteen years of work is a catalogue of chronic diseases. An undocumented factory worker in Malaysia takes refuge in the wild to escape from the police.
A construction worker in India is abducted and sold as a bride to a stranger. Migrant sex workers in Thailand scrimp to stretch their vanishing savings, having lost all their customers due to COVID-19. A cleaner from China struggles to cope with the cultural oddities while working in an Indian restaurant. Domestic workers in Singapore lament the hopelessness of finding love in a foreign land. A landscaper tries to rebuild his life with a reconstructed ‘alien’ face after he suffers a massive explosion. A project engineer who once hated his native village, now plants trees to preserve its nature.
Told in their own voices, the stories presented in this collection paint an intimate portrait of the lives of low-wage migrant workers in Asia. By exploring themes of employer-employee power imbalance, love, death, religion, racism, friendship, alienation, family dynamics, digital inequality, social liberties, and migration’s transformative capacity, the collected stories provide a nuanced understanding of domestic and international migration, one of the defining trends in our world today.