appendix a: research methods
From August 1998 to July 1999 I conducted participant observation in a field site I
call Holy Spirit. It is a church-based non-governmental organization that has pro-
vided services for migrant workers in Taipei since the early 1990s. Every Sunday,
about sixty to a hundred Filipino/as attend the English mass in the morning.
Because the church is located in a middle-class residential neighborhood, the
majority of migrant churchgoers are female domestic workers. After the mass,
about half of them stay at the o≈ces of Holy Spirit, a two-floor building right
behind the church. They chat, practice for choir, cook Filipino food, and share
lunch together. In the afternoon some stay for bible study, Chinese classes, com-
puter classes, and other activities held by the center. The others go out to remit
money, mail packages, shop, and attend other social gatherings.
I joined this community through the referral of the nuns working at Holy
Spirit. Later I o√ered to teach a Chinese class on Sundays and assisted with case
counseling on labor disputes and other issues. Volunteer work unburdened me of
much of my worries about my fieldwork as only an ‘‘exploitation’’ of information
from migrants; it also greatly helped me establish personal relations in the field.
All the members of this community were aware of my research, and I frequently
attended a variety of their Sunday outings. During the research period, I be-
friended and maintained frequent contacts with most of the Filipina informants.
After I finished the fieldwork, several continued correspondences with me via
letters, phone calls, and e-mails.
I conducted interviews with fifty-eight Filipina migrant domestic workers. I
reached them through multiple venues to maximize sample variation. The majority
(thirty-four) were located at Holy Spirit and four were referred to me by their
employers. These women then introduced me to their neighbors, relatives, and
friends in other social circles. This allowed me to access workers who have no
regular days o√ or attend other churches. These informants covered various work
arrangements and geographic settings. Forty-nine of them were documented live-
in workers, three were documented but lived out and worked part-time, and six
were undocumented (three live-ins and three part-timers). The majority of them
worked in Taipei and other parts of Northern Taiwan, except for five Filipina care-
takers who took care of elders in a small town in mid-Taiwan.
I was not always comfortable about requesting individual interviews from mi-
grant workers outside the terrains of their regular activities—which seemed to
deprive them of their precious social time on Sundays. I preferred to collect ‘‘natu-
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