Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Why can’t Hong Kong show its domestic helpers some respect?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 1:31pm

I am writing in response to the article, “Hong Kong’s domestic helpers reveal hunger horror stories in appeal to increase food allowance” (August 8).

I was shocked to read about the “devastating experience” of one Filipino helper, who could eat only food that had been in the fridge for five days, and was offered leftovers from the family’s meals when they did not use serving spoons. It was also news to me that the cash allowance for food for foreign domestic workers is just HK$1,035 a month, or about HK$35 per day, meaning little more than HK$10 per meal. That is terribly insufficient.

Why is this happening in a well-developed economy like ours? Why are Hongkongers treating helpers so badly? Is a helper not one of us? We may have differences in culture, traditions or daily habits, but we must respect those differences. Can anyone in this city survive on HK$10 for a meal?

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We are so dependent on our helpers, to take care of our homes and families so we can go to work, but we can’t show them the minimum respect due to a fellow human being. Once I saw a child hitting his domestic helper, who did not scold the child but just let him do what he wanted. Since when do we let children hit adults? Did I miss something? Now I know it is all about their parents. Children watch how their parents treat domestic helpers, and learn from them.

Ensure basic human rights for our helpers: increase the food allowance; there’s no need for grand gestures, but at least provide them with adequate daily support; treat them better; and, most of all, learn to show respect.

Kris Wong, Tiu Keng Leng