Filipino maid's living conditions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 1995, 12:00am


MARY has slept on a camp bed in a kitchen for 31/2 years, with her clothes hanging outside the window. She shares the room with a dog, and wet laundry drying overhead. The Filipino domestic helper gets up at 6.30 am to clean the lavish three-bedroom Pokfulam flat, but despite the fact that her contract stipulates that she should receive decent accommodation in return, her living conditions are appalling.

'I sleep just behind the stove. Usually I get woken up by the children or dogs coming into the kitchen - one of the dogs sleeps in the same room with me. The flat is on the ground floor, so I put all my clothes just outside the back door and window. When it rains, they're soaked,' she said. The 45-year-old had not expected this. Although she knew when she signed her contract that her living quarters would probably be small, she at least expected to have some privacy. However, she would not contemplate complaining. 'If I complain, they will terminate my contract,' she said.