Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Farzana Aslam on Domestic Helpers' Day Off (SCMP)

South China Morning Post
21 November 2015
Three letters have been published recently on the subject of where and how migrant domestic workers spend their days off.
     The tone that has been used throughout this series of letters is polarising, patronizing, and problematic. The latest has the letter writer suggesting that the Hong Kong government provide training courses in community centres or city halls. The rationale being: "This will prevent them from mixing with the wrong company, which most of Hong Kong employers are afraid of…"
     The writer goes on to argue, "nowadays it is not uncommon for maids to have to look after family members with certain health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease … In such cases, professional training courses can be offered to the helpers, who often have no experience in looking after people with such conditions. Wouldn't this be a more meaningful way for helpers to spend their days off, rather than mingling with other helpers?"
     Really? Yes, there are many migrant domestic workers who choose to congregate in Central and other urban areas on their day off. But, then again, there are many Hong Kong residents who also choose to spend their day off in Central and other densely populated areas of the city.  Click here to read the full article.

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