Taiwanese Cross-Border Marriages in a Globalizing Asia
Chapter 5. The End of Brokered Marriage?
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THE END OF BROKERED MARRIAGE?
The summer of 2013, after spending a week in Jakarta, and accompanied by my research assistant, Ulung Wijaya, we boarded a plane bound for Pontianak, the capital city of West Kalimantan, Indonesia. After collecting our luggage, Ulung called the driver of the car we reserved, and with one other passenger, began the three-hour journey north to the city of Singkawang. As we drove through Pontnianak, a city of half a million, and then onto the highway leading north, I was expecting that the two-lane highway would become a major expressway, or that I would see evidence of road building—the norm across Taiwan and China. Instead, while the road was well maintained, it never broadened beyond the two lanes that we entered. It was the only way to travel north, shared equally by children and the elderly, walking or riding bicycles, overloaded private buses, motor scooters, and speeding late model SUVs and sedans. I was glad to be sitting in the rear where I would not have to witness repeated near misses as we would abruptly swerve, speed up, or slow down, depending upon the traffic conditions. Yet while the journey was frightful, it was fruitful. Traveling to a “marriage sending” place, seeing the community and homes where these women came from, talking to them and their family members, and traveling the same path previously taken by hundreds of Taiwanese wife-seeking men gave me a much deeper...
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