Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lewis: Filipino maids and middle class dream

Filipino maids and middle class dream

Written by Lewis (無待堂), translated by Chen-t'ang (鎮棠)

One day I saw a Filipino maid and a "young master" (the kid of the master) on a minibus. He was five or six, throwing tantrums. The maid held her on her lap. The kid cried for getting off, and was so loud that the driver turned his head and scolded him: "Kid, stop annoying. There are other passengers on the minibus." Holding his reins for two seconds, he came full circle, and waved his hands, thus the maid's face was hit.

Probably because the maid abuse becomes the social concern, passengers around him was quite astonished. The kid kept his noises, and the maid just condone him, with her face and head being hit twice or thrice. That's just suffering. The journey was around six to seven minutes, and the kid was noisy for that long. The driver again turned his back, said: "Shut up!" He can't help much. I think something should go behind that sentence, "Screw your mom!". What kind of mom would born such kind of monster? Such distorted relationship of powers will breed such kind of "young master". Foreign maids work in HK as a servant, and the one who employ her is the master, whose children are young masters. Foreign maids take care of their basic necessities, and she can't pretty much help on other aspects. When the "young master" did wrongly, the maid can only condone and forbear, and will not rectify them. Because the gap on powers are shown on the faces of every pair of master and maid.

First, they are here to earn money, but not to teach your son; Second, even the young masters are impertinent, to maids, the only way is to endure the pain. The maids can't afford to have issues when they are the breadwinner of the entire family. Just take that inside. Erwiana endured for a long time even her face was severely swollen. For small stuff, you can rule that out.

More than a half of middle class families' children are brought up by foreign maids. The consequence is that next generation of HK are spoiled since they are born. Their moral characters are problematic, but no adults rectified it. If I am the parents on the minibus, I would have slapped him. Problematic character, problematic competitiveness. Surely does the foreign maid system exploit the 'third world', Hong Kong is quite selfish on its own, and allow those countries foreign maids come from continue their lives depending on foreign exchange and foreign maids industry.

To Hong Kong, it's some kind of convenience for hiring foreign maids, but in the long term, it distorts the labour market. Those who need to take care of their kids can come out and work. The more the job seekers, the lower the salaries. Dual-working-parents families become the norm. The next generation is brought up in an environment 'without dads and moms', distorting the kinship. And eventually, those so-called middle class find somebody to express their querulousness: their maids. So they can enjoy the hallucination of 'better class', and temporarily eschew from the cruel fact that they are actually exploited by big capitalists.

Without maids, many people in HK cannot afford to have kids. Why? High price levels, high property prices, low income. Parents have to work in order to be feed their children. If the entire society does not allow you to continue your family tree, the disgruntles of the entire society will accumulate - that's a sad fact. But we have foreign maids system, using a cheap cheap price hiring maids from the 'third world' to take care of our kids, so we can continue to do what we have to, to study, to work, to born a child and to wait until retire. We don't have to face the sad fact. We can have someone to call upon, and feel like a yuppie middle class.

So the invention of foreign maids system is indeed superb! Just hallucinate people as if it's a drug. Just like the dream machine in Inception, we can have an old school dream once we connect to the machine. We graduate, we find jobs, we marry, we buy cars, we buy properties, we have kids. Our happy little family shall convert to Christian as well, with a maid to serve!

'Maria! Time for sending James to school!' yelled you. James is the son in your dream. How is it possible for kids form middle class not having Christian names! Maria politely replies: 'Come on! James!' Your son goes to school happily. The dream is so sweet, so 'love and peace'. I have a dream - but a dream woven by the tears of Filipino maids, the quality of the next generation and exhaustion of the future between HK and the 'third world'.


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