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  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 9:50am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 3:28am

Court's ruling enforces semi-apartheid

Hong Kong now has full judicial backing to continue treating foreign domestic helpers as a special class of people to be excluded from many basic rights accorded to legal residents who, in the jargon of the Basic Law, "ordinarily reside" in Hong Kong. Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief, especially the government, following the judgment yesterday by the Court of Final Appeal - all except the maids and their supporters.

It is never good for a society's moral fibre when a whole class of individuals, based on race, nationality and/or gender, is permanently consigned to the status of servants. I know many people in Hong Kong are fine with that, but I do not want my children to automatically assume every Filipino or Indonesian woman they see is a servant.

Of course, those countries that supply the maids - who form a key pillar of their economies - have a lot to answer for by failing to create enough opportunities for the women to lead more fulfilling lives in their own countries. But recipient countries and cities benefit from their failure.

What if the court judgment had turned the other way and the maids were granted the same status as other expatriates? No doubt many people would fear that thousands of maids would flood into Hong Kong. The government would then curtail the number entering the city, leading to a shortage of supply and higher wages for those already here.

Others who started off working as maids could find new jobs where they could develop their talents. Local and expat families that could not find help or afford to hire maids would have to do their own household chores. Is that really so bad?

But without maids' help, what about childcare for mothers who must work, you ask? The government would then come under pressure to develop and pay for proper childcare and kindergarten services to help working mums, like most governments in developed and rich economies do. The maids' low wages have been, in fact, an excuse for the government to make us pay for what should have been provided by the state.

If equality is a condition of real democracy, then by virtue of our semi-apartheid system, we have proved ourselves unfit for it.

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Shadow
If equality is a condition of real democracy, then by virtue of our semi-apartheid system, we have proved ourselves unfit for it.>>>>>Alex you are great keep it up,you should not care for the narrow mind and racist people
HoyaCougars
Alex,
Thank you for being willing to state the obvious - though unpopular - truth on this issue.
blue
I love how people love to call Alex Lo "Pro Beijing" and a "leftist" just because he says something they happen to disagree with. Then Alex drops a bomb like this.

I don't agree with Alex as far as the court ruling being racist, but you gotta respect a man who speaks his mind and doesn't just parrot back a Pro Beijing OR Pan Dem party line.

Hats off to you Alex
hkbulib2
I don't think is it correct to say that foreign domestic helpers are excluded based on race. It is the entry requirements that they don't come in for settlement. If a Filipino, whose job is not a domestic helper, enters into Hong Kong for work and lives for seven years like any other foreigners, he will have the right to apply for permanent identity card too. Of course he still has to go through the means test ect. But this shows that they are denied the right simply because of the entry requirements not because of their race. A Filipino doctor, lawyer, banker, accountant, clerk, teacher, or a waitor is likely to have the right. How difficulty it is for him to get in is another thing. So there is no racial discrimination. They are denied the right because they agreed that they wont have the right on the day they sign the employment contract for working as a domestic helper in hk.
However, on human rights aspect, whether there is any room for discussion is another issue. High standard of human rights may call for them being given the right too. But since there is no social consensus yet, we need more discussion.
roxanne.chang.73
"A Filipino doctor, lawyer, banker, accountant, clerk, teacher, or a waitor is likely to have the right. "
I think that might be true for doctors, lawyers and bankers. And this is simply because they are important to the economic development of Hong Kong - the fact that they might be working for multi-national corporations..
But on the other hand, teachers, waiters and clerks alike do not receive the same respect.
More on: ****www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a9S20H57wU
At the same time, that does not mean racism is not an issue in Hong Kong.
We are seeing racial discrimination on the local individual, societal and institutional level.
Many Hong Kong citizens discriminate against people from all places, including white people that are privileged in this society.
We also see many Southeast-Asian families and professionals (an Indian professor) that have been refused the HKSAR passport by the HK Customs and Excise Dept, a topic which is covered in the TV Programme -- Hong Kong Connection on 15/10/12 in detail: ****www.youtube.com/watch?v=odILDgGXNA8
My thoughts on the case of domestic helpers are that these jobs and contracts should not be allowed in the first place regardless of its demand. Any worker should deserve respect for his or her work in terms of income, safety, free of discrimination, personal dignity, etc.
Nonetheless, my point is our society is a mess and there is so much we still need to do to help make it a better place for all of us!
blue
"If a Filipino, whose job is not a domestic helper, enters into Hong Kong for work and lives for seven years like any other foreigners, he will have the right to apply for permanent identity card too."

Several people have said this already, but this is something these self righteous western sacks of **** seem to always ignore. These westerners are totally full of it.
megafun
a BAD day for equality. An even sadder day for our law. Finally real and hard evidence that our TOP judges are no longer any good!
HK-Explorer
The decision was made by the people of Hong Kong. The Judiciary and the Government of Hong Kong were aware what the people wanted the vote to be. They also looked out for what was in the best interest for Hong Kong. Even though HK does not have universal suffrage it does have democracy.
All the negativity about the ruling is based on a small group of probably non-permanent residents who feel they have the moral obligation to say "domestic helpers have the intrinsic right to apply for PR" and do not care about what impact that would have on the economy or the people of HK. Luckily in this case the law prevailed and is a happy day for democracy and the future of HK.
blue
"All the negativity about the ruling is based on a small group of probably non-permanent residents who feel they have the moral obligation to say "

Agreed. It's a bunch of arrogant westerners who think they have the moral high ground. I left the west because I was so sick of dealing with self righteous sacks of garbage like this.

Also people who tend to be so damn self righteous without a doubt have plenty of character flaws that they hope no one will notice.

"Finally real and hard evidence that our TOP judges are no longer any good!" Yeah just because the judge ruled against your wishes, now they're suddenly total Pro Beijing stooges. Do you even know how the judiciary works in your home country? I bet you that there was at least one controversial ruling in your home country that you disagreed with too.
johnyuan
Fearing the most after the middleclass is the property sector about granting right-of-abode to the foreign domestic helpers. Without these cheap helpers which would have resulted, the entire housing market will collapse in Hong Kong.
I think most Hong Kong citizens have no choice when come to the dependency on domestic helpers whereby a spouse/parent’s income is ten times or more than paying a domestic helper. Too, the middleclass has no alternative giving small and expansive housing that sleeping on kitchen floor by helpers seems normal. Too, picnic on city pavements is normal. Hong Kong government made laws to assure a condition that foreign domestic helpers don’t bear children in Hong Kong to claim for right-of-abode. Without those laws, too government’s land policy will collapse. So all in all, modern Hong Kong citizens live in human tragedy both to themselves and others just because of land and property being manipulated in the privileged hands of a few.
China is halting in the mainland the unsustainable land and property development that exported from Hong Kong.

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