Searching for Oriental simplicity: foreign brides and the Asian family in Singapore

Juan Zhang, Brenda S.A. Yeoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines the oriental project of imagining migrant women through commercially arranged cross-border marriages. Taking the ‘foreign bride’ in Singapore as a subject of ‘oriental simplicity’, it shows how contemporary orientalism continues to shape practices and beliefs in something as familiar as searching for a wife and having a family. The article questions the gendered, classed and sexualised politics that render the migrant woman from less developed nations an ambivalent figure of desire, further complicating the already problematic articulation of womanhood and selfhood in the post-colonial state. By reinforcing a cultural marketability of ‘oriental simplicity’, commercially arranged cross-border marriages serve to naturalise patriarchal family structures and strengthen the hegemonic ideology of the Asian family.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Early online date24 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Dec 2019


  • foreign brides
  • orientalism
  • family
  • cross-border marriage
  • gender
  • Singapore


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