We are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition Lifestyle Migration in Asia – An Interpretive Photography Exhibition(see below). The exhibition will be held in Hong Kong in April/May next year, 2015. We are advertising this you now so that you can fix the date in your diaries if you would like to attend and also to ask if you would consider contributing. It would be really fantastic if you felt able to send us a photograph, or a short video with a small amount of accompanying text telling us how this photo or video illustrates aspects of your life as a migrant in Asia. The final selection of photographs will be made by us, based on quality and available space, but we will do our best to exhibit all that we receive. Please do let us know if you want to know more, and feel free to use the blurb below to advertise the event.
All best wishes: Kate Botterill, Maggy Lee, Karen O’Reilly and Rob Stones
Lifestyle Migration in Asia – An Interpretive Photography Exhibition
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
24th April to 7th May 2015
Lifestyle Migration is the, often flexible and fluid, movement of relatively affluent people to places that they believe will offer them a better quality of life. There is usually an economic incentive to their mobility, but the search for the good life is paramount in their motivations. Lifestyle migration is an increasingly widespread phenomenon, with effects for migrants, locals, cultural life, and economic life. So, what can we learn about human life from lifestyle migrants? How and why do lifestyle migrants move? What are their needs and aspirations, the joys and challenges, continuities and discontinuities of their mobile lives? What is it about particular destinations that makes them attractive for them?
This photography exhibition offers us a glimpse of the diverse motivations and everyday experiences of Western migrants in Thailand and Malaysia and Hong Kong migrants in mainland China. Through the eyes of participants in our ongoing research project ‘Lifestyle Migration in East Asia’ (www.lifestylemigration.wordpress.com) these photographs reveal fascinating aspects of life ‘on the move’ for men and women, young families and those in retirement. The accompanying excerpts illustrate the interior worlds of migrants in which experiences, loyalties and memories from two places co-exist and combine. Research funded by the ESRC/Hong Kong Research Grants Council: RES-000-22-4357
Posted in China, Hong Kong, Lifestyle Migrant Profile, Malaysia, Thailand, Visuals
Tagged China, Expat women, Hong Kong migrants, lifestyle migration, Malaysia, Thailand
Kate Botterill and I gave a paper at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference. Here is the abstract:
As an introduction to the session on Lifestyle Migration and the state this paper considers how lifestyle migration, as Caroline Oliver (2012) suggests ‘occupies a place at the least regulated end of the continuum’ in relation to the governance of migration’. Using analysis of empirical fieldwork with Western lifestyle migrants living in Thailand and Malaysia, the paper discusses the patchwork governance of lifestyle migration in these states. We argue that national policies and programmes to promote lifestyle migration in East Asia are delegitimized by variable regulatory practice across different scales (local, national and transnational) and in particular places. As such, there are differentiated outcomes of lifestyle migration for Westerners in these states with varied perceptions and experiences of intra-state and trans-state practices. Moreover, the impacts of global financial crises has led to further unpredictable outcomes for lifestyle migrants, with exchange rate differentials causing a material decline in income, particularly among those of pensionable age with frozen (home-) state pensions. The paper concludes by supporting Oliver’s (2012) position and re-asserting a call for further discussion on the desirability and practice of lifestyle migration governance at different scales.
It was great to see almost an entire day in the programme given over to the study of elite/expatriate/lifestyle migrant flows. I started thinking about the longer-term impacts of lifestyle migration and the lessons we can learn from such migrants about wider issues such as how to age well, how to protect quality of life, and how to ameliorate the effects of migration. We have never talked enough about the global power structures that enable lifestyle migration flows. But then again there remains an assumption that these are all affluent people. Matthew Hayes caused us to rethink those assumptions, with his work with poorer Americans moving to Ecuador.
During the last Skype meeting of the UK team and Hong Kong team of the project, we discussed about the property development in Malaysia, Thailand and Mainland China. After the meeting, Leona, from the Hong Kong team visited Hua Hin for a few days during the Christmas Holiday and paid special attention to the property development in Hua Hin.
A picture taken in night market, promotion of Hua Hin by Sansiri, one of the largest real estate developers in Thailand.
Promotion booth of a new condominium in a “lifestyle shopping centre” in town.
Loads of condominiums under construction or ready for sale.
Popped in a café where a lot of western migrants gather and enjoy free internet services.
The survey is now complete and we received 112 responses.
We will start analysing the data soon. However, here are some prelimary results:
The survey was aimed at British people living in Malaysia or Thailand at least partly for quality of life reasons.
85% of respondents live in Malaysia or Thailand all year round.
Most are more likely to be visited by friends than by family.
Skype and email are the most common means of communicating with friends and family living elsewhere.
Luxury goods are very low down on the list of priorities for quality of life.
58% have at some time encouraged other people to move to Malaysia or Thailand.
During my stay in Bangkok I met with the publisher of a recent arrival to the expat magazine rack in Thailand. Expat Ladies in Bangkok has just published its fifth issue (online and in print) and the magazine is becoming increasingly popular with expat women in Thailand. It was suggested to me during my research that a typical expat woman nowadays is ‘younger, university educated, professional and very much into social media’. As such the content of the magazine ranges from educational and health features about international schooling or local hospitals to fitness, beauty and travel columns. Despite the Bangkok focus it is distributed to all the main expat outposts in Thailand: Hua Hin, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. The magazine is written in English but its contributors originate from far and wide, brought together by their residency in Thailand and an ‘internationalist’ perspective.
Have a look at the latest issue here which includes a special feature on on Thailand’s Buddhist nuns fighting for gender equality as well as other features on weekending in Hua Hin, motorbiking in Phuket and motherhood in Bangkok.