Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 4:28am

If bankers and maids had same rights we'd fix racism

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts TVB’s Straight Talk show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

Racism is when one group is discriminated against due to its ethnic origin. This is now the charge against Hong Kong's top court, after it denied permanent residency to foreign domestic helpers. Maids were allowed into the city under very different immigration terms, but it is still racism to deny them the settlement right other foreigners acquire after seven years here. You can fix racism by giving maids the same rights. But the top court rejected that by ruling according to the letter of the law, despite its moral deficiency. The court of public opinion is dead set against granting residency rights to tens of thousands of foreign maids, which makes changing the actual law impossible. But there is another way to right this wrong: also deny permanent residency rights to all other groups - be they Westerners, mainlanders, Japanese, or Indians. It should be made clear to all who come here to work as bankers, chefs, bartenders, or whatever, that they won't qualify for residency rights simply by staying for seven years. It is ludicrous that even backpackers can drift into town, get a job teaching English without proper qualifications and get residency after seven years. What other place allows that? Public Eye can already hear the loud hollers of protest. But it is hypocritical to be outraged about the discriminatory treatment of foreign maids, yet reap the fruits of this unequal law. Let there be equality. And no more nonsense about Hong Kong collapsing without expatriates. That's racist talk.

 

Forget the moon, China, try engineering safe food first

Milk tainted with melamine, recycled "gutter" oil, hormone-filled "Frankenstein" chickens, pesticide-drenched vegetables, steroids in pork, and now even vitamin C supplements tainted with industrial sulphur. It's no longer a question of what's unsafe to eat in mainland China, but what's safe. How can China boast about being the world's second biggest economy when people don't even know if what they put in their mouths could make them sick? Where is the prestige of one day replacing the US as the top superpower when the milk you drink could kill you? Never mind landing a man on the moon. China needs to fix its image on earth first.

 

Ditch Occupy Central for a protest party in LKF

The business community is shaking in its boots. Even the central government is jittery about the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement for genuine democracy, which will see 10,000 peaceful protestors take over Central. But Public Eye has a question: where will the occupiers occupy? HSBC's ground level? Boring. It's already been done by the Hong Kong offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Chater Garden or Statue Square? They'll likely draw angry scowls from domestic helpers enjoying their days off. Besides, that won't paralyse Central. Queen's Road? No big deal. The area has long been occupied by mainland shoppers. Sure, they can block the road, but traffic can easily be diverted. And public toilets are a rarity on this stretch. How long can the occupiers hold out? That's why we think the Occupy Central movement should occupy Lan Kwai Fong and turn it into a civil disobedience boozing bash. They can party late into the night in the name of democracy. Isn't that more fun than 10,000 wannabe Gandhis sitting cross-legged to avoid the call of nature?

mickchug@gmail.com

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