The Production of Possession: Spirits and the Multinational Corporation in Malaysia

  title={The Production of Possession: Spirits and the Multinational Corporation in Malaysia},
  author={Aihwa Ong},
  journal={Industrial Work and Life},
  • Aihwa Ong
  • Published 1 February 1988
  • Art
  • Industrial Work and Life
The sanitized environments maintained by multinational corporations in Malaysian “free trade zones”1 are not immune to sudden spirit attacks on young female workers. Ordinarily quiescent, Malay factory women who are seized by vengeful spirits explode into demonic screaming and rage on the shop floor. Management responses to such unnerving episodes include isolating the possessed workers, pumping them with Valium, and sending them home. Yet a Singapore2 doctor notes that “a local medicine man… 

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