The Newsletter 67 Spring 2014

Imaginary frontiers and deferred masculinity: working class men in Batam

Terence Chong

DAN LIGHTS HIS CIGARETTE as he climbs to the upper deck of the 45 minute ferry heading to the Indonesian island of Batam. Soon he will be massaged, pampered and desired. He will feel like a ‘real man’ once again. Singapore has played the role of metropolis to the hinterland of Batam since the early 1990s as part of the sub-regional ‘growth triangle’, which includes the Malaysian state of Johor. The metropolis, however, spills over more than just capital, skills or tourists – sexual desires and masculine identities are shared as well.