At Home in Public: Intimacy and Belonging among Filipina and Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong in Ani Ema Susanti’s Effort for Love (2008) and Moira Zoitl’s Exchange Square (2007)

Abstract

This article discusses how Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong claim and transform transnational sites as portrayed in Ani Ema Susanti’s 2008 short documentary film Mengusahakan Cinta [Effort for Love] and Moira Zoitl’s documentary video series Exchange Square (2007). The films depict how Indonesian and Filipina domestic workers negotiate precarious working and living conditions by deploying forms of intimacy, through their social practices and alternative sexualities, that enable them to gain agency in finding their own community and sense of belonging. This article argues that while their relationship to both private and public spaces in Hong Kong is transformed, these migrant women also actively transgress the borders of private and public spheres and personal and political realms.

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