Understand maids' plight

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1999, 12:00am

I closely followed in your columns the various opinions concerning a salary cut for domestic helpers. I was encouraged by Edwin Pun's letter (South China Morning Post, February 24), because it shows many locals understand the plights and suffering of those who come here to work. Many helpers are well-educated, but we all know the circumstances in their home countries, and it is difficult if not impossible for them to get any jobs at home. Otherwise, they certainly would not come here to work as maids.

What many locals do not realise is that without their domestic helpers, they would not have the freedom they enjoy. Often, both employers are working and their helper does all the household chores and looks after the kids. To leave their own kids with someone they can trust is already worth a small fortune and to argue whether or not helper's monthly salary should be reduced by HK$190 - or that the salary should be set at HK$3,000 per month - is absurd.

Most helpers just want to be respected and treated as human beings. We must also not forget that many of them have real problems at home - father out of work, children to feed and to educate. On top of that, they are harassed and discriminated against here. I wonder how many of us could smile under the same circumstances.

I noticed all those who wrote the bad and negative comments on this subject hide behind '. . . name and address supplied.' It seems therefore (and I hope this is the case) that deep inside their hearts they know that they are wrong as otherwise they would indicate their name.