This talk will review the intersection of ethnic space and Chinese Philippines Online Gambling Operators (POGO) workers in the Philippines and how Chinese POGOs workers reproduce the consumption space of temporary ethnic workers. Most scholars emphasize how migrants build ethnic enclaves in a foreign country for the long term and segregate them from mainstream society. However, transient POGOs workers have different strategies for creating their ethnic landscape. While scholars focus on immigrants or overseas workers from poor backgrounds, POGOs workers earn a high salary from online gambling companies. Unlike Chinese immigrants who establish long-term living in the Philippines, POGO workers often stay for short-term periods, living much like tourists taking part in various leisurely activities in the Philippines. When Chinese POGOs workers have high economic capital and the mindset of transient migrant workers, they facilitate activities for consumption to ethnicization, such as tour spaces, bars, and restaurants. While POGOs workers integrate the local consumption landscape, these workers segregate from the local society and live in a gated community. As a result of this paradox, both the consumption spaces and living spaces of POGOs workers have changed the urban landscape in Metro Manila. With information derived from fieldwork conducted from 2019 to 2022 in Metro Manila, which included interviewing Taiwanese POGOs workers and analyzing social media and official reports, this talk points to the possibilities opened up by conceiving the enclave as a temporary cultural landscape and as a space for the multinational online gambling industry to the reproduction of urban space in Metro Manila.
Zihlun Huang is a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning at National Taiwan University. His research focuses span post-colonial urbanism, geopolitical, transnational migration, urban development, and social justice in East Asia and Southeast Asia. In particular, by analyzing multinational corporations in the Philippines, he examines how young migrants change local environments and build their ethnic enclaves and how this company impacts the local ecosystem. He was awarded a research grant from the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies at Academia Sinica in 2020-21, and he currently has published ten journal articles in the field of urban planning, geography, and cultural studies. Apart from his academic work, his interdisciplinary interests engage with teaching and social activists. He was a geography teacher and a tour guide in Taiwan and Metro Manila. Simultaneously, he, as a social activist, founded an advocacy group that assisted disadvantaged people in claiming rights and built a better land system from 2014 to 2016 in Taichung City, Taiwan. Zihlun is in residence at UC Berkeley this academic year as a Fulbright visiting student researcher. Institute of East Asian Studies (Golden Bear Center, 1995 University Ave., 5th floor)