In order to understand the daily tidal waves of slum lifestyle, I develop my research technique: staff stalking. I track the amount of people that flow in and out of the village, their favourite route, the snacks they pick up and how their official roles melt away to casual friendship as they step into the vicinity of the slums.

I’ve been told of slightly scarier stories, of workers that chose to sleep in the cheaper accommodations in the comfort of the slums. One of my narrators even told me about a break-in during his sleep. I was surprised that he would rather jump two-floors down out of a window wrapped only in a duvet than confront his invaders.

There is an obvious contrasting lifestyles and financial abilities between the traders and the airport staff but this seems to be a ‘good difference’. The traders insist that they acquire  higher etiquettes and hygiene standards here than elsewhere because of their client and the staff enjoy special treatments at low costs.

Umbrellas are a must for non-villagers. They’re almost an extension of the internal protection offered by the airport.

Staff who’s converted to becoming villagers usually have residences elsewhere. The airport business is rather turbulent. Luckily, the rooms here are cheap enough to be kept as get-aways kept on the side. What’s on offer is an uber-real enclosure that’s also a temporary haven from office work. If nothing else, it’s at least an escape from any global Logoscape.


Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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