Social security is a particularly precarious issue where states hardly provide any services in periods of need and distress. This book analyses the arrangements relationships through which food, shelter and care are provided on the island of Ambon, famous spice island in Eastern Indonesia. It also shows how relations of support tie Ambonese migrants in the Netherlands to their home villages, and how normative conceptions of need and care among kinsmen and villagers change over time. Though special in their own historical setting, Ambonese networks of care and support are illustrative of poor rural populations in the Third World. Focusing on the precursors of the violent conflict that erupted in 1998, the book shows that social security is like a magnifying glass linking past, present and future.