Just after Hong Kong introduced minimum wage laws of HKD 28/hr around May this year, the human-worker rights groups are on the roll. Maids there already have a minimum wage of HKD3,740 a month or about HKD 125 per day or in an 8-hour work day, about HKD 15/hr! Do you see where it is heading? Do you??? Maids would next ask for a revision of minimum wage of their HKD 15/hr to the new normal of HKD 28/hr! Just wait and see. The calculative money-face Honky employer would then charge food and room to their maids in return if maid wages go up.
What is the implication of Honky residency? Maids-turned-residents now have the right to bring in dependents to stay with them in Hong Kong. Daddy, mummy, sister, brother, hubby, uncle, aunty from Manila to Medan might turn up at Chek Lap Kok with huge cardboard boxes with raffia string wrapped around, as luggage. They jam into the MTR and place stress on healthcare, housing, education and all those services. These maids can then stop at being maids once they get residency, since nobody wants to be a maid forever.They would then compete for jobs with the locals in the service sector. Imagine the stereotypical polite Pinoy and the rude Hongky, which of the two is going to get the sales job at Giordano we all know. Well, that is according to the Hongky xenophobes who already have to deal with spitting, cussing and crass mainlanders.
Now the fun part. Would local do-gooders like Transient Workers Count Too shout for human rights for maids in Singapore too and lobby that maids are also allowed permanent residency in Singapore. Equality for foreigners and local without discrimination. However, I bet TWC2 dare not go into this area. There is already immense xenophobia in Singapore and it is hara-kiri for groups like TWC2, Maruah, TOC to defend maids to this extent i.e. minimum wage for maids and giving them residency. Better be a realistic hypocrite than an unrealistic activist they would quietly think.
Leticia Bongnino Happy Only