2020 Q1 publications

The first quarter of 2020 has been quite productive in terms of publications. So far, two publications are published:

Two reflection pieces are either published or in-press.

I have enjoyed writing the two reflection pieces. They gave me the opportunity to step back and to reflect on the broader framework where specific research and teaching projects are situated. They allowed me to think of important questions such as:

What is the larger purpose of our collective work?

What message do we want to communicate to our future generations?

In writing these reflection pieces, I am reminded that we are in a privileged position to be able to engage in research, education, and writing. It is our responsibility to produce scholarship that is relevant, ethical, and, hopefully, can contribute towards social change.

Manuscript accepted!

A co-authored manuscript that has been long rolling in the peer review machine has finally been accepted for publication.

This manuscript took about 30 months from the start of writing to final acceptance by the third journal. It was in various stages of peer review for about 18 months.

  • June 2017: Started writing
  • Feb 2018: Presented paper at conference
  • Apr 2018: Presented paper at workshop
  • Jul 2018: Submitted to Journal 1 – desk reject
  • Jul 2018: Revised and submitted to Journal 2
  • Sept 2018: Rejected by Journal 2 after peer review
  • Oct 2018: Revised and submitted to Journal 3
  • Mar 2019: Received Journal 3 decision – major revision
  • Mar 2019: Revised and resubmitted to Journal 3
  • Jul 2019: Received Journal 3 decision – minor revision
  • Jul 2019: Revised and resubmitted to Journal 3
  • Dec 2019: Accepted by Journal 3

We took about 12 months to polish the paper before we submitted it to the first journal. During this time, we presented the draft paper at a conference and a workshop.

Journal 1 rejected the manuscript because the editors felt that it did not suit the journal.

Journal 2 rejected the manuscript after peer review. The decision was based on 3 peer review reports. Reviewer 1 thought that the empirical database was not representative – which was not what we claimed. Reviewers 2 and 3 wanted more conceptual rigour and clarity to draw out the manuscript’s contribution. This is a valid and fair point which we could have addressed if we were given an opportunity to revise and resubmit. However, this was not to be as Journal 2 decided to reject the manuscript.

Journal 3 accepted the manuscript after 3 rounds of peer review. The first took 5 months, the second took 4 months, and the third took 5 months.

Overall, it has been a long drawn process of (re)writing plus patient waiting. I am really glad that the paper has been accepted as I believe we have something useful to contribute.

Research Assistant

I am looking for a Research Assistant for a project entitled The Urban Spectre of Global China: Mechanisms, Consequences, and Alternatives for Urban Futures. This international comparative urbanism project examines mainland Chinese capital-led large-scale property development projects in four field sites – London, Iskandar Malaysia, Beijing and Foshan. Please refer to this webpage for further details: http://www.lse.ac.uk/seac/research/The-Urban-Spectre-of-Global-China

This Research Assistant position is for the Iskandar Malaysia field site.

Position Details

This position is available for 3-6 months (indicative start date: July/August 2019, indicative end date: 31 December 2019 at the latest). The working hours (full-time or part-time) and contract duration can be discussed. Salary will depend on qualifications and experience, with EPF and SOCSO included. Travel expenses for fieldwork will be covered.

Position Responsibilities

The Research Assistant will assist me and the international research team with the following tasks:

  • Conduct desk research;
  • Identify and recruit interview respondents;
  • Make fieldwork arrangements;
  • Conduct fieldwork independently and with the research team; and
  • Other general research support.

This is an opportunity to gain experience working with an international team of researchers. The researchers from China and the UK will be visiting Iskandar Malaysia for fieldwork in September 2019, and the Research Assistant will be directly involved in the fieldwork and in team discussions.

Position Requirements

The successful applicant must be:

  • A current masters student, a masters holder, a current PhD student, or a PhD holder; and
  • Able to work independently and under the guidance of the research team.

The ideal candidate would address some of following selection criteria, although these are not absolute must-haves.

Desirable Highly Desirable
· Interest/experience in urban studies

· Mandarin proficiency (at least able to read)

· Awareness or familiarity with Forest City and/or the broader issue of mainland Chinese involvement in urban development

· Knowledge of urban/land planning and development in Malaysia (and in Johor and Iskandar Malaysia in particular)

· Contacts with local land planning agencies

· Contacts with stakeholders for Forest City and/or Iskandar Malaysia

Application Details

To apply, please send the following documents to me (email: koh.sinyee@monash.edu). Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, until the position is filled.

  • 1-2 page covering letter explaining your interest and relevant experiences
  • CV

Informal enquiries can also be directed to me at the same email address.

Download Advert

Download this advert here.

Seeking interview participants: Academic expatriates in Malaysia

Researchers: Dr. Koh Sin Yee (Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia) & Dr. Sin I Lin (independent researcher)

This academic research investigates the working and living experiences of academic expatriates in Malaysia. The research procedures have been approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC). This project is funded by the School of Arts and Social Sciences Internal Research Grant.

We are currently seeking interview respondents for Phase 2 of this project.

Am I eligible to participate?

We are looking for participants who fit EITHER of the following descriptions:

  1. Non-Malaysian academic expatriate who is currently working in a tertiary institution (including international branch campus of a foreign university) in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor; OR
  2. Non-Malaysian academic expatriate who is currently working in an international school in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor.

Academic expatriate = academic staff (including faculty member, teaching staff, international school teacher), staff in managerial and professional roles

If you are not an academic expatriate but your spouse/partner is, we would be interested in speaking to you too.

What does participation entail?

You will be asked to participate in a private interview, conducted by either one or both of the researchers, and at a time and a location convenient to you. The interview should normally take 45 minutes to an hour although this can be shorter to suit your availability.

Where possible, the interview will be conducted face-to-face in a quiet setting. If this is not possible or if you prefer otherwise, we could conduct the interview via tele- or video-conference (e.g. Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.).

During the interview, you will be asked to talk about your experiences and opinions around these broad themes:

  1. Motivations for relocating to Malaysia and working in Malaysian education sector
  2. Experiences working as an academic expatriate in Malaysia
  3. Experiences living in Malaysia as a foreigner or foreign spouse
  4. Comparisons to experiences as academic expatriates elsewhere

There are no right or wrong answers, as we would like to hear your views, opinions, insights, and experiences. You are encouraged to elaborate as much as possible, and to give examples.

Why should I participate?

You will have the opportunity to share and reflect upon your migration/expatriation experiences. Your input is valuable and will contribute towards a better understanding of the academic expatriate community (and communities) in Malaysia. Importantly, the findings will help identify issues and ways forward to enhance the integration and well-being of academic expatriates. As a whole, the findings have important implications for educational reforms and foreign talent recruitment in Malaysia.

How will the data be used?

Findings from this project may be shared or disseminated through research seminars and conference presentations (public or closed) and/or academic publications (e.g. journal articles, books, book chapters, working papers, conference papers). We will share any publications and summarised data with you upon request.

What about confidentiality?

We will ensure confidentiality by anonymising your name and institution (e.g. by using pseudonyms and/or codes). We will make sure that identifying information is removed from our fieldwork notes, transcripts, publications and other relevant files and outputs. 

Sounds great. I am interested!

Please fill up this contact form to arrange for an interview, or if you have any questions.

I can’t participate. How can I help?

Please forward this invitation to anyone who might be interested in participating in this research. Thank you!

CfP RC21: S6 – The Urban Spectre of ‘Global China’ and Critical Reflections on its Spatiality

**Deadline extended to 31st January 2019**

CfP RC21: S6 – The Urban Spectre of ‘Global China’ and Critical Reflections on its Spatiality

18-21 September 2019, Delhi, India (https://rc21delhi2019.com)

Convenors

Professor Hyun Bang Shin, London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)
Dr Yimin Zhao, Renmin University of China (China)
Dr Sin Yee Koh, Monash University Malaysia (Malaysia)

Discussants

Professor Ching Kwan Lee, UCLA (USA)
Professor Loraine Kennedy, EHESS (France)

Stream synopsis

The overseas expansion of China’s economic influence has recently been foregrounded in media reports and policy debates. The term ‘Global China’ has been widely adopted to depict the geopolitical dimension of this immense flow of capital. However, there is still a lack of attention to the urban dimension of ‘Global China’, especially regarding its impacts on the (re)imaginings and manifestations of urban futures – both within and beyond China.

In extant literature on Global China, two main features stand out. The first is the tendency to bound discussions of China’s role in global capital flows within Africa, and to theorise this role in terms of neo-colonialism. The second feature is the overt focus on the role of Chinese capital in industrial sectors – for example through investigations of labour conflicts (Giese 2013), labour regimes (Lee 2009, 2018), and workplace regimes (Fei et al. 2018). While there are increasing discussions on the spatiality of ‘Global China’, especially in relation to the ’Belt and Road’ (BRI) discourse, they are still closely linked to industrial sectors.

In this stream, we seek to address the existing gaps identified above through a focus on the urban spectre of ‘Global China’. We welcome theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions that address the interconnections and intersections between the rise of ‘Global China’ and ‘the urban’ (broadly defined). We aim to bring together papers that (1) critically examine the differentiated modes of speculative and spectacular urban production; (2) discuss the ways in which ‘the urban’ has been reconfigured by ‘Global China’; and (3) identify the theoretical and empirical implications for urban futures.

Submit your abstract

Please send your abstract of not more than 300 words to Hyun (h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk), Yimin (zhao.y@ruc.edu.cn) and Sin Yee (koh.sinyee@monash.edu) and CC’d to rc21delhi@gmail.com before January 31st, 2019. Please indicate the stream number (S6), the session title, and your last name in the subject line.

For more details, please see the official instruction at: https://rc21delhi2019.com/index.php/call-for-abstracts/

Inquiries

If you have any questions regarding this stream, please email Hyun (h.b.shin@lse.ac.uk), Yimin (zhao.y@ruc.edu.cn) and Sin Yee (koh.sinyee@monash.edu)

Seeking interview participants: Academic expatriates in Malaysia

Researchers: Dr. Koh Sin Yee (Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia) & Dr. Sin I Lin (independent researcher; Visitor, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh)

This academic research investigates the working and living experiences of academic expatriates in Malaysia. The research procedures have been approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC). This project is funded by the School of Arts and Social Sciences Internal Research Grant.

We are currently seeking interview respondents for this project.

Am I eligible to participate?

We are looking for participants who fit EITHER of the following descriptions:

  1. Non-Malaysian or ex-Malaysian academic expatriate who is currently working in a tertiary institution (including international branch campus of a foreign university) in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor or Johor; OR
  2. Non-Malaysian or ex-Malaysian academic expatriate who is currently working in an international school in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor or Johor.

Note: Ex-Malaysian = Former Malaysian citizen who has taken up citizenship in another country

If you are not an academic expatriate but your spouse/partner is, we would be interested in speaking to you too.

What does participation entail?

You will be asked to participate in a private interview, conducted by either one or both of the researchers, and at a time and location convenient to you. The interview will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour in a quiet setting. Where possible, the interview will be conducted face-to-face. If this is not possible or if you prefer otherwise, we could conduct the interview via tele- or video-conference (e.g. Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.).

During the interview, you will be asked to talk about your experiences and opinions around these broad themes:

  1. Motivations for relocating to Malaysia and working in Malaysian education sector
  2. Experiences working as an academic expatriate in Malaysia
  3. Experiences living in Malaysia as a foreigner or foreign spouse
  4. Comparisons to experiences as academic expatriates elsewhere

There are no right or wrong answers, as we would like to hear your views, opinions, insights, and experiences. You are encouraged to elaborate as much as possible, and to give examples.

Why should I participate?

You will have the opportunity to share and reflect upon your migration/expatriation experiences. Your input is valuable and will contribute towards a better understanding of the academic expatriate community (and communities) in Malaysia. Importantly, the findings will help identify issues and ways forward to enhance the integration and well-being of academic expatriates. As a whole, the findings have important implications for educational reforms and foreign talent recruitment in Malaysia.

How will the data be used?

Findings from this project may be shared or disseminated through research seminars and conference presentations (public or closed) and/or academic publications (e.g. journal articles, books, book chapters, working papers, conference papers). We will share any publications and summarised data with you upon request.

What about confidentiality?

We will ensure confidentiality by anonymising your name and institution (e.g. by using pseudonyms and/or codes). We will make sure that identifying information is removed from our fieldwork notes, transcripts, publications and other relevant files and outputs. 

Sounds great. I am interested!

Please fill up this contact form to arrange for an interview, or if you have any questions.

I can’t participate. How can I help?

Please forward this invitation to anyone who might be interested in participating in this research. Thank you!

New journal article: Property tourism

This arrived in the post today: a special issue on Trans-Asian Human Mobilities and Encounters for the Asian Review, a journal published by the Institute of Asian Studies at Chulalongkorn University. My article “Property Tourism and the Facilitation of Investment-Migration Mobility in Asia” is part of this special issue.

Now, a bit of background on how my article ended up in this special issue.

Some time in 2016, I came across a call for papers for a conference on Trans-Asian Human Mobilities and Encounters: Exchange, Commodification and Sustainability organised by Monash Asia Institute and Chulalongkorn University. The conference seemed like a perfect platform for me to work through some things I have been thinking about. I have been doing research on transnational and cross-border investments into residential real estate in Singapore-Iskandar Malaysia and Brunei-Miri. One of the findings that intrigued me was the innovative ways agents and brokers used to market residential real estate properties as investments to overseas buyers. This interest is also informed by my work on intermediaries of the super-rich.

While the conference might not have seemed to be exactly in my area of migration studies – it was, after all, focused on tourism – I ended up learning a lot from my fellow presenters. I heard about new strands of elderly and retirement migration, medical and health tourism, volunteer tourism, “migrant tourists”, how “tourists” are being othered, and issues arising from student mobilities and the globalisation of higher education.

On hindsight, the conference’s focus on tourism had been instrumental in helping me conceptualise the idea of “property tourism”, which I describe as “exploratory trips combining tourist activities and property acquisition focused activities” (p.35) in the published article. These trips and property tours are “utilised as a kind of subtle marketing strategy to educate, inform, cajole, influence and, ultimately, convince potential clients to commit to a purchase” (p.35).

More importantly, as I argue in the article, we need to look beyond “the empowering possibilities of increased transnational mobility for some” segments of the society that has been enabled by agents, brokers, and intermediaries (p.41). An equal focus, I think, should given to how existing inequalities are entrenched and exacerbated by these agents, brokers, and intermediaries and their work.

You can read the full article here.

A final note on my considerations in deciding to be part of this special issue.

As academics, we have been socialised into automatically going for “good” and “recognised” publication outlets (usually Scopus-indexed or ranked). However, this perpetuates the unevenness and Eurocentric-ness of the academic publication landscape. Choosing to publish with the Asian Review is my own way of supporting and contributing to journals from the Southeast Asian region. You may call this naivety or idealism. But I believe that every choice makes a difference.