Swee (Swee-Lin) joined NUS in 2012 after spending four years in South Korea as a Korea Foundation Research Fellow and Assistant Professor in the School of International Studies at the Catholic University of Korea.
She worked for many years after completing her undergraduate studies in Philosophy at NUS, as auditor, financial journalist and Vice President (of Business Development, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Corporate Communications) in China, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK, before obtaining an MA in Comparative Culture (Sociology) from Sophia University (Tokyo), followed by MSc and PhD in Social Anthropology at University of Oxford.
Swee’s teaching and research focus on the transformations of urban economic life that are being shaped by changing work patterns in the neoliberal era of flexible labour. She is particularly interested in examining how new work opportunities and challenges are shaping self-perceptions and self-identities; gender dynamics; attitudes towards and management of money; career choices and trajectories; marriage practices and family formations; friendship ties; leisure and consumption patterns; conceptualisations of time; and transfigurations of urban space.
To date, her publications comprise ethnographic studies on love hotels in Japan; the extramarital experiences of Japanese women; after-hour drinking practices of women with professional careers in Tokyo; the work-related friendship networks of women managers in Japan; the re-invention of the gendered self among Japanese women as fans of Korean popular idols; and the conflicted desires of parents in South Korea in grooming their children to become global K-pop idols.
Swee’s current research extends and expands on her research interests in mapping out how the past few decades of deregulation and privatisation under the neoliberalising global economy have reshaped the geography of livelihoods for people across major cities in Asia. Focusing on the global classical music industry and the global economy of food, her research examines the implications of individuals’ career pursuits in these creative industries – which strongly co-opt ‘creativity,’ ‘talent,’ ‘individual freedom’ and ‘passion’ as key drivers for growth, but increasingly offer flexible patterns of employment – on the stability, security and precariousness of their economic life. She has conducted fieldwork on the lives of violin-makers in Cremona, Venice and Milan of Italy, and also those of Asian musicians based in and performing across Europe.
Currently Teaching: SC2209 Money, Business and Social Networks (aka Economic Anthropology and Globalization) SC2215 Sociology of Food (NUS FASSTrack Summer 2020) SC3216 Self and Society SC4219 The Social Origins and Consequences of Financial Crises (aka Neoliberal Transformations of Work) Modules Taught in NUS: SC4206 Urban Anthropology SC6227 Economy and Society GEK1005 Culture in the Contemporary World GEH1056 Understanding Contemporary Culture Modules Taught Prior to NUS: East Asian Popular Culture and Cultural Globalization Gender and International Migration Globalization of Korean Popular Culture Japanese Society and Culture Media and The State Money and Culture Politics and Economy in Japan Politics and Society in Southeast Asia Social Theory and Practice
Supervisor of the following graduate and undergraduate Honours theses: 2013: "From Shipyard to Exclusive Luxurious Waterfront Living of Marina at Keppel Bay: Place-making and Representation of the Singaporean Identity in a Commodified City " 2014: "'What's Next?': Success and Ambivalence in the Lives of Korean Undergraduates in Singapore" 2014: "‘Serious Play’: The Experiences of Young Adults Engaging in Cosplay in Singapore" 2014: "'I’d be a Fool to Not Try': Narrating the Self through 'Indie' Cafe Ownership in Singapore" 2015: "In and Out of Harmony: The Shifting Fate of Singapore's Independent Rock Musicians " 2015: "What's in a Taxi Fare?: Taxi Drivers' Narratives on Freedom, Hard Work, and Flexible Labour" 2015: "Ambivalent Mobility: What It Means for the Marginalised to Work in a Social Enterprise Café" 2015: "Disciplinary Classroom Management: Jeopardizing Elective Modules Initiatives for Normal-Stream Students" 2016: "Once in a Lifetime, Many Times Over: Negotiating Emotions as Wedding Planners in Singapore" 2016: "Complexities of Wartime Despair and Hope: An Analysis of Schindler’s List and Grave of the Fireflies" 2016: "Fashion, Faith, and Femininity: Islamic Fashion's Subtle Revolution" 2017: "Contentious 'Selves': An Ethnographic Study of Freshmen Orientations in the National University of Singapore" 2017: "Fans, Friends, and Family: An Ethnographic Study of Youths in Singapore's Cosplay Community"
* Changing Political Economy of Classical Music in the Age of Cultural Globalization * Transformations to Work and the Financialization of Daily Life in Asia * Urban Space and Social Transformations * Ethnographic Field Research Methods in Urban Contexts * Gender, Managerial Work and Friendship in Japan * Globalization of East Asian Popular Culture
* The Changing Political Economy of Classical Music in the Age of Cultural Globalization * Culture of Money, Risk and Credit in the Financialization of Daily Life in Asia * Urban Space and Social Transformations * Emergent Corporate Cultures and Changing Labor Formations * Ethnographic Field Research Methods for "Studying Up" * Global Flows of Asian Popular Culture and the Commercialization of Intimacy
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2020. Women Managers in Neoliberal Japan: Gender, Precarious Labour and Everyday Lives. London and New York: ROUTLEDGE (The Japan Anthropology Workshop Series). https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429197246
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2018. Friendship and Work Culture of Women Managers in Japan: Tokyo After Ten. London and New York: ROUTLEDGE (The Nissan Institute / Routledge Japanese Studies Series). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315104218
CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
Ho, Swee-Lin, 2019. Women with Professional Careers in Japan's Male-Dominated, Corporate World. In Understanding Japanese Society, by Joy Hendry, pages 208-9. London and New York: ROUTLEDGE.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2012. Emotions, Desires and Fantasy: What Idolizing Means for Yon-sama Fans in Japan. In Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture, edited by Patrick W. Galbraith and Jason G. Karlin, pages 166-184. London and New York: PALGRAVE.
ARTICLES IN JOURNALS
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2015. ‘License to Drink’: White-Collar Female Workers and Japan’s Urban Night Space. ETHNOGRAPHY Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 25-50.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2012. Fuel for South Korea's ‘Global Dreams Factory’: The Desires of Parents Whose Children Dream of Becoming K-pop Stars. KOREA OBSERVER Volume 43, Issue 3, pages 471-502.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2012. ‘Playing Like Men’: The Extramarital Experiences of Women in Contemporary Japan. ETHNOS Volume 77, Issue 3, pages 321-343.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2012. Tokyo at 10: Establishing Difference through the Friendship Networks of Women Executives in Japan. THE JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE (JRAI) Volume 18, Issue 1, pages 83-102.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2011. Old Texts, New Desires: How the Korean Television Drama Daejanggeum Evokes Reflexivity, Renewal and Resistance among Japanese Women. THE REVIEW OF KOREAN STUDIES Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 91-113.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2008. Private Love in Public Space: Love Hotels and the Transformation of Intimacy in Contemporary Japan. ASIAN STUDIES REVIEW Volume 32, pages 31-56.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2020. Book Review of “Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities” (2017) edited by Andrew N. Weintraub and Bart Barendregt. THE JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE (JRAI) Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 474-5.
Ho, Swee-Lin. 2018. Book Review of "Coal-Mining Women in Japan: Heavy Burdens" (2014) by W. Donald Burton. Routledge. LABOR: STUDIES IN WORKING CLASS HISTORY Volume 15, Number 4, pages 132-4.
Oct 2018 "Beautiful Sights Make Beautiful Sounds: Good Looks as ‘Star’ Power for Performing Classical Musicians and Singers in Asia" -- International Conference on "In Search of Asian Beauty: Reclaiming Aesthetics in East Asia in the 21st Century", organized by Yonsei University and Amore Asia-Pacific Foundation, Seoul.
Sep 2018 KEYNOTE SPEAKER on “Asian Universities’ Pursuit of World-Class Status and the Social Cost of Ignoring Difference and Diversity Among Academics” -- The 6th International Academic Identities Conference on "The Peaceful University: Aspirations for Academic Future – Compassion, Generosity, Imagination, and Creation", organised by and held at the Research Institute for Higher Education (RIHE) of Hiroshima University, Japan.
Feb 2018 “Gendered Precarity: The Mixed Blessings of Being Women Managers in Japan” -- International Symposium on "Singlehood, Living Alone and Work-Life Conflict in Japan", organised and held at The Institute of Gender Studies, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo.
Aug 2017 “Gendered Precarity: The Ambivalent and Conflicted Lives of Women Managers in Japan” -- In the panel "Body, Affect and Selves In-between: From the Institutional Margins of Work and Education in Contemporary Japan" at the 15th European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS) International Conference Studies in Lisbon, Portugal.
Feb 2013 “Global Gains; Local Pains: The Unbearable Costs of Intimate Labor for Aspiring K-pop Stars in South Korea” -- Workshop on "The Global Reception of K-pop" held in Seoul, organised by The Center for Korean Studies and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Feb 2012 “Fuel for South Korea's ‘Global Dreams Factory’: The Desires of Parents Whose Children Dream of Becoming K-pop Stars” - Workshop on "The Korean Wave" organised by and held at The Center for Korean Studies and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Nov 2011 Chaired the panel "Portraits of Working Women in Recessionary Japan: Continuity and Change" and presented on “Tokyo at Ten: The After-Work Drinking Friendship Networks of Women Managers in Contemporary Japan” - The 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Montreal, Canada.
Oct 2011 “A Nation's Unwanted Descendants: The Dekasegi Diaspora in Contemporary Japan” -- At the "International Workshop on Multiculturalism and Mixed-ness in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis," jointly organised by Yonsei University (South Korea), Waseda University (Japan) and Shih Hsin University (Taiwan), held in Taipei.
Aug 2009 Organised and chaired the panel "Changing Intimacies in Contemporary Japan" and presented a paper on “The Making and Re-Making of Korean Masculinities and Japanese Femininities through Television Dramas” - The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science and The Japanese Society for Science and Technology Studies (JSSTS), held at the University of Tokyo, Japan.
Jul 2009 Organised the panel "The Changing Social Worlds in Post-industrial Asia," and presented on “Work, Money and Drinking: The Friendship Networks of Women Managers in Contemporary Japan” -- Inter-Asia Cultural Typhoon, held at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan.
Jan 2008 “Drinking Networks, Korean TV Dramas and Internet Communities: The Changing Intimate Lives of Married Women in Contemporary Japan” -- The Asia-Pacific Week 2008, Australian National University, Canberra.
Jul 2007 Presented a paper “Marriage, Sex and the Market: Women’s Changing Desires and Dilemmas in Japan” - Graduate Workshop, School of Liberal Arts, Sophia University, Japan.
Aug 2005 Invited to present a paper on “Private Love and Public Space: Intimacy in Japan’s Love Hotels” - Centennial Conference "Asian Horizons: Cities, States and Societies," National University of Singapore.
Mar 2005 Presented a paper on “Managing Dilemmas: A Study of Female Infidelity in Contemporary Japan” - The 16th Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS), held The University of Hong Kong.
Nov 2004 Presented a paper on “The Dating Behaviors of Youths in Contemporary Japan” - The Annual Conference of The Society for Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ), jointly hosted by Sophia University and Waseda University, Japan.
Sep 2004 Presented a paper on “Desires and Dilemmas: An Ethnographic Study of Female Infidelity in Japan” - The Graduate Conference "Gender, Power and Politics," jointly organised by The National University of Singapore and Asia Research Institute (Singapore).
Sep 2018 As Keynote Speaker on “Asian Universities’ Pursuit of World-Class Status and the Social Cost of Ignoring Difference and Diversity Among Academics” - The 6th International Academic Identities Conference on "The Peaceful University: Aspirations for Academic Future – Compassion, Generosity, Imagination, and Creation", organised by and held at the Research Institute for Higher Education (RIHE) of Hiroshima University, Japan.
PAPERS FOR SEMINAR, PUBLIC TALK, LECTURE
May 2019 "Friendship and Work Culture of Women Managers in Japan: Tokyo After Ten" -- Sophia University's Institute of Comparative Culture Public Lecture Series, Tokyo.
Sep 2016 Delivered a lecture on "Ethnographic Knowledge in Action: Applying Anthropology and Sociology to Daily Work in the Global Media" - SC4101 Practising Anthropology and Sociology, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore
Nov 2010 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Contradictions and Controversies: The Making of Multiculturalism in South Korea” - BST Performing Arts Theatre Company, Ansan Arts and Cultural Center, South Korea.
May 2010 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Work, Money and Drinking: The Friendship Networks of Women Managers in Contemporary Japan” - The Institute of Comparative Culture, Seoul National University, South Korea.
Nov 2009 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Wearing Multiculturalism Like Luis Vuitton: Global Re-Branding of South Korea's Cultural Identity” - BST Performing Arts Theatre Company, Ansan Arts and Cultural Center, South Korea.
Jan 2009 Invited to present a paper on “Work, Money and Drinking: The Friendship Networks of Women Managers in Japan” - Department Seminar, Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore.
Oct 2007 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Modern Desires, Traditional Intimacies: “Consuming” Korean Masculinities through TV Dramas Among Women in Japan” - Gender and Media Lectures Series, University of Oxford.
Oct 2007 Invited to present a paper on “Marriage, Sex and the Market: Women’s Changing Desires and Dilemmas in Contemporary Japan” - Gender Colloquium, University of Tokyo, Japan.
Jun 2007 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Gender, Sexuality and Identity in Japan” - Gender Lecture Series, Sophia University, Japan.
May 2005 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Desires and Dilemmas: The Extramarital Experiences of Women in Japan” - Graduate Seminar, Sophia University, Japan.
Mar 2005 Invited to deliver a lecture on “Desires and Dilemmas: A Study of Female Infidelity in Japan” - Department Seminar, Department of Japanese Studies, The University of Hong Kong.
"Work, Money and Drinking: The Friendship Networks of Women Managers in Japan" Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
"Challenges and Constraints: The Lives of Divorced Single Mothers in Japan" M.Sc. in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
"Desires and Dilemmas: An Ethnographic Study of Female Infidelity in Modern Japan" M.A. in Comparative Culture (Sociology), Sophia University
"The Case of Bad Faith in Jean Paul Sartre’s Existentialism" B.A. (Honours) in Philosophy, National University of Singapore
"A Two Thousand-Year Journey in Three Days" - Korea Foundation Newsletter (Jul 2009)
"A Day in Arashiyama: Encounters with ‘Strangers’" - Japan Railway & Transport Review (Sep 2008)
"Western Wiles to Woo the Market" (on PetroChina's IPO) - The Financial Times, Feature Article and Analysis (Mar 2000) For citings of several news-breaking reports on PetroChina, see URLs: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2000/04/04/f-t-says-petrochina-hits-wall-of-political-objections-triggers-postponement-in-big-i-p-o-s-by-sinopec-baoshan-2/ http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/26.htm http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/27/China-National-Petroleum-Corporation.html
"The Big Test" -- on PetroChina's controversial plan for Initial Public Offerings on global stock exchanges - The Economist Intelligence Unit (Jan 2000)
"A Talent for Shock Tactics" - Interview with Jimmy Lai, founder and former owner of Giordano and Apple Daily - The Financial Times (Feb 2000)
"Mickey Mouse to Fill Role Left Empty by Empire" - Feature on Hong Kong's Disneyland - The Financial Times (Nov 1999)
"Chinese Debt Insurance" - Bloomberg Magazine (Apr 1998)
AWARDS & GRANTS: • NUS-FASS Writing Fellowship (National University of Singapore) 2016/2017 • NUS-FASS Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (National University of Singapore) 2015/2016 • ASAN Foundation Research Grant (South Korea) 2011/2012 • Korea Foundation Research Fellowship (South Korea) 2009 • E.O. James Bequest Fund (All Souls College, University of Oxford) 2008 • Carr and Stahl Scholarship (Saint Antony's College, University of Oxford) 2007 • Japan Foundation Endowment Fund (The Japan Foundation, University of Oxford) 2007 • Sasakawa Scholarship (Sasakawa Foundation, UK) 2005, 2007 • Philip Bagby Scholarship (ISCA, University of Oxford) 2006-2008 • Post-Graduate Scholarship (ISCA, University of Oxford) 2006 • Watanuki Scholarship (Watanuki Foundation, Sophia University, Japan) 2004 • Adachi Scholarship (Watanuki Foundation, Sophia University, Japan) 2003-2005 • Sophia University Scholarship (Sophia University, Japan) 2003-2005 • Tan Lark Sye Bursary (National University of Singapore) 1986-1989 PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS: • ACA -- CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT (ICAEW, UK) • CFA -- CHARTERED FINANCIAL ANALYST (CFA Institute, US) CAREER HISTORY: • Assistant Professor THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF KOREA, School of International Studies South Korea • Postdoctoral Research Fellow KOREA FOUNDATION South Korea • Teaching Assistant & Research Assistant SOPHIA UNIVERSITY, Faculty of Liberal Arts Japan • Vice President PCCW, Business Development, Mergers & Acquisitions, Restructuring HK, China & Japan • Senior Correspondent (Commodities, Asia-Pacific) BLOOMBERG LP Based in HK, China & Singapore • Correspondent EIU (THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT) Hong Kong & China • Correspondent THE FINANCIAL TIMES Hong Kong, China & Taiwan • Correspondent SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST Hong Kong & China • Correspondent KNIGHT-RIDDER FINANCIAL NEWS Hong Kong & China • Audit Supervisor PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS & LYBRAND Hong Kong & China • Auditor ERNST & YOUNG UK • Broadcast Trainee BBC (THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION) UK • Sales Consultant PRUDENTIAL ASSURANCE Singapore • Photo Editor TIMES PUBLISHING Singapore