Public gardens of forbidden pleasures
Musical maids have been told to get out of public parks and make better use of activity centres if they want to make noise.
Domestic workers frequenting the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens on their days off have found notices forbidding music, dancing and singing.
Some workers' groups are outraged at the notices.
'A park is a public place. Aren't we also entitled to enjoy the fresh air on our holidays?' said maid Belinda Garvano.
'If we can't sing in parks then perhaps more Filipinos will go to Statue Square instead.' An Urban Council spokesman said making noise in public parks could warrant a $500 fine.
'It is illegal because it disturbs people who want to enjoy the quiet surroundings and it also affects the welfare of the animals and nesting birds,' said zoo and garden manager Wat Chi-chuen.
'But it is not just domestic workers. We often get groups of Chinese in there making noise too, so we are not picking on any particular group of people.' Carole Mangambo of the Philippine Domestic Workers' Union urged maids to use activity centres to play music rather than risk fines.
'But the noise rules should not be too exaggerated. It's okay to make a bit of noise,' she said.