I'M writing at this time because of two people - an English woman and a Filipino. The woman is a social worker who uses the name of Ann Smyth because she wants to be anonymous, owing to the nature of her work. The Filipino is President Fidel Ramos, in Hongkong yesterday and today. They represent two sides of the issue I am raising, which is the need to provide a place of refuge and recreation for Asian domestic workers - most of whom, as you know, are Filipino women. The Old High Street hospital building in Western district, which has been empty for the past 30 years, should, Ann Smyth believes, be turned into a much-needed shelter for domestics. Ann has dealt with many problems faced by Filipino women who are looked on as Hongkong's underclass, and is concerned about their welfare and the attitude of local people towards them. President Ramos is also concerned about the welfare of the 90,000 Filipinos here, who help keep the Philippines' economy afloat. Before he left for his state visit to China, the President told newsmen in Manila that he would raise the issue of the status of Filipino domestics in Hongkong in his talks with the Chinese leaders, requesting that the women be allowed to continue working here after 1997. Despite all the promises made by various Filipino politicians in the past about providing job opportunities at home for their people, this has remained an elusive goal which seems harder to achieve as the years go by. A combination of natural and man-made disasters has succeeded in keeping the Philippines down, driving Filipinos to seek those proverbial green pastures overseas. A Canadian gentleman, writing to the South China Morning Post last year, pointed out that there may be ''close to a million Filipinos who depend, quite literally, on Hongkong for their daily bread, or rice.'' He pointed out that Filipinos would not be facing the difficulties they do if they had a government which honoured its ''duty to provide the means of earning a living at home, along with the other benefits that go with a good, just and efficient government.'' The parlous state of our economy and Hongkong's prosperity and proximity to the Philippines have made this place most attractive for thousands of our workers who haven't been able to earn a decent living at home. The past year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of women arriving to work in Hongkong households, bringing the Filipino population in Hongkong to more than 90,000. There are now a growing number of Filipinas working in restaurants, shops, offices and industry here (their employers have somehow been able to circumvent immigration and labour union rules). And Ann Smyth will tell you - because she deals with many of them - that sadly, more Filipinas are being recruited to work in local brothels, many of them controlled by triads with connections in high places in Manila. All this reflects the growing desperation felt by jobless Filipinos who will grab any opportunity to improve their lot in life. As you know, Filipinos comprise the largest expatriate community here - most of them domestic workers, some musicians, and a few professionals. Unfortunately the domestics have been relegated to the fringes of society because they are looked on as outsiders with few rights. The labour contract attests to this treatment most blatantly, and despite countless appeals for a review, none has ever been granted. Of course you have seen the women congregating on Sundays just around the corner from your residence; and since they are a highly visible presence at Statue Square and around Central each weekend, there has, over the past few years, been much resentment over the crowds of Filipinas in those areas. People tend to forget that, given Hongkong's limited size and population density, it simply isn't possible for groups of people to remain hidden from the general populace during holidays. The women are cooped up six days a week in flats, many living under stringent restrictions, and their wages are such that they can't afford to travel around the territory on weekends to engage in various activities, as local residents do. So the reason they like to assemble in Central is because it is a convenient meeting place, and it doesn't cost much to just sit around the park. The new project Ann Smyth envisions involving the old building in Western is something that would not only help decongest Central, but would provide some badly needed breathing space for the domestics (there is a large leafy park across the building, a better environment than the concrete ''greenery'' of Statue Square). It would also provide a refuge for those women whose employment is unfairly terminated, who quit for various reasons, and who are abused and are waiting to have their cases settled by the authorities. Last week Ann Smyth organised a rally to urge the Government to allow the old hospital building to be turned into a refuge for all Asian domestics. She has long been appalled by sight of crowds of women hunkering down on the sidewalks of Central on Sundays, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. As someone who has, over the years, personally assisted countless domestics in distress, this formidable lady works tirelessly to extend aid to those in trouble and fights for the domestics' rights whenever an injustice occurs. Because she has come to know many of the women who come to her for assistance, she has, over the years, learned about some of the more onerous conditions under which they work. Ann Smyth has also approached various organisations and institutions to appeal for backing for a scheme to provide an alternative venue to Statue Square for the domestics. She has obtained pledges of financial support from certain parties. We hope the Government will grant the use of the Old High Street building for migrant workers. There are rumours that developers are eyeing the place, but the fact that the building has been vacant since the 60s surely means there is no urgent need for it by other parties. If, after all the sparring between Britain and China, the latter agrees to let Hongkong people continue to have the freedom they have long taken for granted, who knows, Jiang Zemin's promise to President Ramos may not be breached. This will mean that more Filipinos will come to Hongkong for more job opportunities, which will surely produce more congestion in Central. So if that old building can be turned into a refuge-cum-recreation home for migrant workers, China will be able to point to its ''fair treatment'' of outsiders to human rights advocates. And even if China takes the credit for being generous to President Ramos' compatriots, people will know it was you who gave them this boon.