This article is a shortened, revised version of: Robbie Peters (2012) CITY OF GHOSTS: Migration, Work, and Value in the Life of a Ho Chi Minh City Saleswoman, Critical Asian Studies, 44:4, 543-570, 

DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2012.738541

Members only

Log in or

Join New Naratif as a member to continue reading

We are independent, ad-free and pro-democracy. Our operations are member-funded. Membership starts from just US$5/month! Alternatively, write to to request a free sponsored membership. As a member, you are supporting fair payment of freelancers, and a movement for democracy and transnational community building in Southeast Asia.

Anh Thư is an illustrator / graphic designer based in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam. She takes inspiration from every aspect of things she loves like a song she can’t stop listening to, a silly comic she can’t stop thinking about or a sentence from a novel that sticks in her head. Thư also loves to combine illustration with graphic elements to make her works more compelling. You can find her works at or and contact her at

Robbie Peters is a senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Sydney and director of its Development Studies Program. His book, Surabaya, 1945-2010 was shortlisted for the EuroSEAS humanities book prize and he has written journal articles on urban renewal and the political economy of violence in the Indonesian city and on gender and work in Saigon, Jakarta and Surabaya. His current research focuses on a number of issues including those of death, commemoration and the politics of place in the Indonesian city; the effects of conditional cash transfer programs on the urban poor in Indonesia; and the work-life of the increasing number of Indonesian urban poor who work as motorbike taxi drivers for app-based ride hailing companies like GoJek and Uber. He is most interested, however, in the post-colonial city in Indonesia, with a particular emphasis on revolutionary violence.