Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2009, 12:00am

Will the maids' voices ever be heard?

Who's more valuable? The policeman who keeps criminals at bay or the domestic helper who keeps your baby safe, cooks the food and leans dangerously out of a high-rise to wash your windows? The maids will be marching today. Thousands will join the July 1 protest to demand the same minimum wage as local workers. But they can forget about it. They can wave fists and holler through megaphones all they want. People don't listen to maids. The police are different. They didn't even have to march for better pay. They just threatened to. But everyone listened. Even Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was all ears. The police commissioner cut short an overseas trip so he, too, could listen. Exco members Leung Chun-ying and Cheng Yiu-tong, and legislators Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Priscilla Leung Mei-fun gave up their Sunday to listen to police grievances. Will they give up their holiday today to join the marching maids? What if all the maids in Hong Kong decided to stop keeping your babies safe, stop cooking your food, stop cleaning your toilets? Would people listen then?

Get your own house in order first

Public Eye sometimes gets a bit weary of maids moaning about their pay and perks. We're seeing that now in Malaysia where Indonesian helpers are denied any days off. OK, the Malaysians are being really mean. No one should work seven days a week. The maids here are moaning about pay discrimination. They want the same minimum wage as locals. Public Eye is not saying they don't deserve it. They do. What we are saying is this: fight to improve your lives in your own homeland. Both the Philippines and Indonesia are supposed to be democracies. Make your governments create wealth at home so you won't have to do demeaning jobs abroad. It's preposterous that even college graduates end up as maids. But then, as the saying goes, you deserve the government you have. Public Eye knows we'll get flak for saying this, but it's the truth. And that's what we do - speak the truth.

It's a dog's life in Guangzhou ... and why not?

Sometimes, not often, someone comes up with something worthy of Public Eye's praise. Today, we're going to take a deep bow in the direction of Guangzhou. Make that three bows. That's how impressed we are. Where else would officials dare to impose a one-dog policy? That's right, Guangzhou is going the way of many other mainland cities. Starting today, you're allowed only one of those mangy mutts. That's one too many for Public Eye, but it's a start. Mainland bureaucrats have guts, not like the wimps in our government. They don't crack at the first sight of pictures showing cute canines with floppy ears, which pet-lovers sneakily throw at you to melt your heart. Guangzhou dog owners are playing dirty. They're spreading horror stories of the authorities 'massacring' mutts that families turn in to comply with the new policy. Our advice to any wavering official: just think of the past piles of pooch poop you've stepped on. And the sleepless nights listening to your neighbour's barking beast. That will steel you up for the next step - a no-dog policy.

Wall Street vultures return with a vengeance

Greed is back. Just when you thought it was gone for good the vultures of Wall Street have revived it. These are the people who paid themselves obscene bonuses while they gambled with your money and sold products that robbed you of your life savings. In their greed they drove the world over a financial cliff. Then they went with begging bowls to the government for public bailouts. Now the vultures are back, even as good people everywhere are still trying to cope with lost jobs and savings. That's right, Citbank, Morgan Stanley and others, who took billions in bailout money, will now give top executives 50 per cent pay rises and new stock options. These are the same people who helped cause a global financial collapse. Go ahead, scream out those expletives. You're allowed.