Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

Dr. Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Professor at the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore will be delivering her keynote address, Diaspora and Diversity: Temporary Migration and the Spaces of Difference, on 2 March 2018, 9 am to 10 am, at the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, UP Asian Center, Quezon City. Her keynote is free and open to the public, but seating is first-come, first-served. Walk-ins welcome. 


While traditional migration research has privileged more permanent forms of migration and issues of settlement, adaptation and assimilation in host societies, the time-space compression brought about by rapid advancements in transport and communication technologies, as well as the flexibilisation of contemporary life and work cultures under neoliberal capitalist conditions, are beginning to move the focus to more temporary modes of migration, particularly in the Asian context. Migration as a household livelihood strategy or a pathway expressing personal aspiration is now within reach of an increasingly broad spectrum of socio-economic classes—professional and managerial elites, contract workers, undocumented migrants, student migrants, marriage migrants, retirement or lifestyle migrants, frequent flyers.

In this context, by drawing people with different histories and geographies together in a space of flux, contemporary migration is a compelling force in increasing diversity in globalising cities. This presentation gives attention to the question of how encounters occurring amidst kaleidoscopic diversity may be differently shaped in a context where the political economy underpinning the migration regime is not necessarily dominated by notions of integration and assimilation as pathways to citizenship, as often pervades the broader imagination in the case in Europe.

In Southeast Asian states such as Singapore, migrant subjects are differentially incorporated into the nation’s geobody often along bifurcated lines: while talent migrants (i.e. highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurs) are incentivized to take up permanent residency or citizenship and lay down roots (however, many choose to remain highly mobile and “flexible” in their citizenship options), labour migrants, particularly those considered unskilled or performing 3D jobs, are locked into a “revolving-door” regime that enforces transience. It examines the processes of enclavement and encounter in the city, using the conceptual lenses of civility (and civil inattention), conviviality and cosmopolitan hope. 


Professor Yeoh’s keynote serves as the culmination of ASEANnale 2018, which brings to together  the 1st Film and Multimedia Competition and Exhibition and the 2nd International Symposium on ASEAN Studies (2nd ISAS) from 28 February 2018 to 2 March 2018. Registration fees for her keynote address have been waived.


"Dr Brenda S.A. Yeoh read geography at Cambridge and went on to complete her doctorate at Oxford University. She also holds a Diploma-in-Education from the Institute of Education, Singapore. She leads the research cluster on Asian Migration at the Asia Research Institute, NUS. Her research interests include the politics of space in colonial and postcolonial cities, and she also has considerable experience working on a wide range of migration research in Asia, including key themes such as cosmopolitanism and highly skilled talent migration; gender, social reproduction and care migration; migration, national identity and citizenship issues;  globalising universities and international student mobilities; and cultural politics, family dynamics and international marriage migrants" (Source: NUS).


For inquiries, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Get an overview of these programs. The Asian Center also houses a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia. It has published several books and monographs, and hosts or organizes various lectures and conferences.