Culture of indifference : dilemmas of the Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong
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In this study, an examination of the everyday experiences of the contract migrant Filipina domestic helpers exposes a culture of indifference which pervades the Hong Kong society on all levels--individual, community, and judiciary. At the centre of the abuses inflicted upon the Helpers is the employment contract with extraordinarily restrictive terms which promotes abuse by many employers. This study also looks at the transnational informal social infrastructure which has been organized by the Filipino community to mediate the hostile working environment engendered by the indifference of the global economic and political climate upon their lives. Faced with the task of implementing new policies for controlling labour migration into Hong Kong, the legislators have focused on the end result and finding the means with which to accomplish their goal. Embedded within this process are unexamined cultural mores and practices. Although the starting point is to benefit the community, by providing domestic helpers to serve the middle and upper class households, too often the abusive consequences to individual migrants are ignored as the women become the means to an end. Migration has often been viewed as an aberration to the notion of the sedentary community. Treated as an anomaly, it is the migrant who problematizes simple theoretical positions of social organization and structure. The migrant is always treated as the one who does not conform to the ideal community and is conveniently merged into existing social categories, such as the lower status of women in Hong Kong, and the lower status of domestic workers -- relegated thereby to the periphery of the society's consciousness.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Description of related resourcesEmployment Contract (For A Domestic Helper recruited from outside Hong Kong), 1998, Hong Kong Gov. Printing Office
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