On Fililpina Domestic WorkersTranslated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by Jinky Tam Hoi-yan
In the vestibule, we can see a lot of things others don't. As a mixed of Hong Kong and the Philippines, I see a lot of things other Hongkongers and Filipinos don't.
My granny and my mom started a maid employment agency for over a decade. They are all Filipinas, and so I witness many of their stories.
My mum has a good friend Ester, who has been a foreign domestic worker in Hong Kong for 7 years. As her son wishes to be a pilot, she works hard in Hong Kong to earn a living and help her son to fulfill his dreams. Ester said, “Last time I was back. He was playing computer games, and I said, 'If you are not studying hard, I will not earn money in Hong Kong. This is a waste of time.' Then he started to revise.” She could not hold her tears when she spoke of her family members.
Ester could be a lawyer, but her family lacks money. Ester was the best in her school with flying colours, and many teachers appreciated her. Yet, her family could not afford her fees anymore, and her dream subsided. However, she works hard in Hong Kong for her son's dream. “I don't want him to follow me, an example with ability but without a chance.” You can feel that she is different and more independent than other Hongkongers.
Unlike other domestic workers, she would not sit on the ground in the park. “We have dignity too. There are seats in McDonald's and Starbucks, and benches in parks. Why should we sit on the ground?” She understands that Hongkongers do not like going to these streets on Sunday, as there are so many workers, but Hongkongers should understand that they have no other places to go. When they work 6 days a week at home, they naturally want to go somewhere else. Some say they are annoying, loud and dirty. But they are more optimistic and blissful with laughters. They are happy even if they earn a little, and even buy things for their families back home. Hongkongers might wonder why do they often take photos in front of brand name shops? They told me, “We just want them to know we are good in Hong Kong.”