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Book: Turntable Stories

Chapter: Sounds Where I Live: Residential Expatriate DJs and Stories Sounding of Saigon

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46296


Using textual, visual, and audio data from interviews and in-depth conversations, this chapter hopes to sketch out holistic biographies of residential expatriate DJs living in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), Vietnam. A vibrant city full of global opportunity, a hot spot for intercultural exchange, and an economic pivot of Vietnam’s speedy growth, Saigon brings opportunities for local residents reaching out to global interactions but also challenges regarding uncertainty of gentrification.

Residential expatriates refer to the group of foreign-identified migrants who mainly came to a different location other than their homeland and sought out vocational opportunities. While not working, they either choose to mingle with other peers who hold the same kind of visa as theirs or work their best to integrate with the locals, whatever emotions may result. These experiences vary from one to another based on what they do in the daytime and which “outfits” they choose to dress up at night.

Using a multitude of ethnographic methods, I hope to draft out the diverse, complex biographies of some residential expatriate DJs, who either took music as their career or just as a hobby, currently based in Saigon to further understand the network of transnational music that these DJs have created in both connecting the local with foreign DJs and amongst foreign and residential expatriates themselves. The outcomes this chpater hopes to achieve are the culmination of an audio-visual essay and an in-depth interview with at least three residential expatriate DJs currently based in Saigon.

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