BLOG - Backing themselves: East Timorese labour migrants in Oxford

    Research output: Other contribution

    Abstract

    Most afternoons in East Oxford, one can find small groups of young Timorese men gathered in the ubiquitous gambling shops of Ladbrokes, Betfred and similar along the busy streets of Cowley Road and Templar Square. Favouring their chances on the digital roulette machines or football betting, gambling represents a congenial break from the monotony of 12 hour work shifts, a place to catch up with mates and always the possibility of a windfall gain when the numbers go their way. These young men represent a small proportion of the growing East Timorese migrant community, who have arrived in numbers on Portuguese passports following the historic achievement of independence from Indonesia in 2002. The majority seek employment in the low and semi-skilled services sector and factories of the city. Here they count themselves lucky to earn minimum wages (£220/ week), but through shared living arrangements and careful spending many are able to save upwards of £300 a month, far more than the USD4 a day on offer in their homeland where poverty and unemployment persist. Much of these savings are remitted home to support families and loved ones for a variety of needs including everyday consumption, rebuilding houses, supporting the education of siblings, and as contributions to life cycle rituals of exchange (especially marriages and funerals) which remain regular expressions of a revitalised sociality still recovering from the dislocations of 24 years of militarised occupation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationOxford, Great Britain
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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