A Tale of Two Communities
Sometimes it is a sense of bewilderment like the character in Jhumpa Lahiri’s (2000) short story or a sense of restlessness vividly captured by Salman Rushdie’s novels that characterize the minds of an immigrant. However, is this reflexive self-assessment an attribute of all the migrants? Should we revive the moribund — if not fully defunct — concept of class and assert that most often it is a sense of ambivalence with which the middle class migrant self copes with his realities. He is, sometimes, a fugitive away fiom home, he is a permanent stranger in his new setting as he becomes one in his own country. He feels nostalgic about the country of his origin, but he misses the convenience of his ‘new home’ while he is returned to his home on a yearly sojourn, a ‘secular pilgrimage,’ to borrow Aguilar’s phrase. Contra Aguilar, I think the notion of pilgrimage better captures the yearnings of the middle class professional migrants who not only like to return to their homeland and sacrifice their temporary conveniences of the comfortable overseas living, they also teach their children the value of culture, a religious indoctrination1. His life becomes contingent, a perfect icon of modernity.
KeywordsSocial Exclusion Migrant Worker Mother Tongue Sociological Theory Singapore Government
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