The Voice Of Indonesian Domestic Helpers History Essay


By the early 1990s, there were about 100,000 Hong Kong Chinese families using foreign domestic assistants. In 1995, the figure had increased to 150,000, including 130,000 from the Philippines and another 20,000 from Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Indian and Nepal ( Asiatic Migrant Centre 1991 ) .

As of March 31, 2009, Hong Kong has 257, 872 foreign domestic assistants, and 49 % of them were from the Philippines ( Immigration Department Annual Report 2008-2009 ) . Harmonizing to the Hong Kong Labor Department April 2009 ‘s figure, the figure of Indonesian domestic assistants has increased to 125,567 compared to 2002 with merely 78,100, and that makes Indonesian domestic assistants the 2nd largest cultural minority group in Hong Kong.

Despite the turning figure of Indonesian domestic assistants in Hong Kong, a batch of employers are paying their Indonesian assistants with less than HK $ 3560 per month, which is the minimal pay harmonizing to the Hong Kong jurisprudence. A 2007 study sponsored by Oxfam-Hong Kong showed that 22 per centum of Indonesian domestic assistants in Hong Kong were underpaid..

In this paper, I want to happen out why Indonesian domestic assistants tend to be the “ easy mark ” for development, particularly when compared to Filipino domestic assistants. My comparings are based on their instruction, English proficiency, cultural and faith differences. Besides, I compared the support that they receive from their authoritiess and brotherhoods in Hong Kong. In add-on, I collected informations and information from one Indonesian domestic assistant and one Filipino domestic assistant who are working in Hong Kong.

For my decision, I have come up with a list of recommendations for the Hong Kong Government to assist Indonesian domestic assistants to hold a higher self-pride and raise consciousness of their rights in Hong Kong.

The interview

I invited my friend ‘s Indonesian assistant, Hemi, to hold an interview with me. Hemi was so helpful that she bought her Filipino friend, Emmy, along. In the interview, they shared their narratives and work experience in Hong Kong with me. Besides, they provided me with information and information about their instruction, household, upbringing ; their civilization, faith, and their authoritiess.

Background of my 2 female interviewees who are working in Hong Kong:










Home town

Surabaya, East of Java

Tondo, a territory of Manila

Soldierly position

Divorced with two kids


Educational degree

High school

Junior high

Language accomplishment

First linguistic communication:

Bahasa Indonesia

Foreign linguistic communications: Cantonese, Mandarin and English

First linguistic communication:


Second linguistic communication:





Family members

3 brothers and 1 sister

5 brothers 3 sisters

Number of old ages working in

Hong Kong

5 old ages

12 old ages

Previous employer

Hong Kong Chinese household

Hong Kong Chinese household

Present employer

Asiatic American household

American household

Hemi and Emmy met at a Taekwondo category about one twelvemonth ago. Hemi is at her black-belt degree whereas Emmy is merely a novice. I asked Hemi why she took up Taekwondo and she told me she wanted to be tough, and soldierly art could develop her head every bit good as her organic structure. For Emmy, it is more for maintaining fit and a topographic point to hang out on Lord’s daies. Hemi takes up soldierly art because she wants to construct up a stronger character so no organic structure could look down on her or take advantage of her piece for Emmy, it is merely for merriment and maintaining up with her visual aspect. With two people working in the same occupation, both working for an American household, taking up the same avocation, their personality and outlook are wholly different.

Family background

Emmy ‘s two sisters are working in Hong Kong excessively so they meet about every Sunday for tiffin or early dinner since they all have to travel back to their employer ‘s place ( Hong Kong Immigration Department ) by 9pm. Hemi, on the other manus, is working entirely in Hong Kong. Hemi ‘s younger sister worked as a domestic assistant in Hong Kong six old ages ago and where she met her Spanish hubby. They got married five old ages ago. They are now populating and running a Gallic eating house in Bali, Indonesia.

I asked Hemi if her sister ‘s love narrative in Hong Kong “ divine ” her to come to Hong Kong and work, so she could happen a hubby and remarry. She laughed and had a bloom on her face. She told me life was really tough back place because there were non adequate occupations for everyone. Today, Indonesia has a population of 242, 968, 342 which makes it the 4th most populated state in the universe ( World Gazetteer ) . That was the ground her younger sister had to go forth place and work overseas as a domestic assistant. Hemi truly loves her hometown, Surabaya, it is large and airy, has mountains everyplace but there is no occupation at that place. Hemi has two brothers working in Jakarta and one brother working in Bali. Hemi ‘s household ‘s chief income relies on agriculture and her male parent merely makes about HK $ 1000 per month. In Indonesia, 55 % of the entire labour force is from the agricultural sector ( U.S. Library of Congress ) . In 2004, the farm household income was less than HK $ 650 per month ( FAO ) . Hemi needs to do more income to prolong the household and the two kids that she left buttocks for her female parent to take attention of since her divorce.

Merely like Hemi, Emmy and her two sisters all need to work in Hong Kong as a domestic assistant because there are non plenty occupations with a nice wage back in their hometown, Tondo. The Philippines has a population of 60 million ( World Gazetteer ) . Emmy said, “ Tondo is one of the territory [ s ] in Manila but it ‘s besides the poorest 1. ” In 2002-2003, the farm household income was around HK $ 1400 per month ( FAO ) .

Hemi got married at a stamp age of 20, in which early matrimony is really common in most underdeveloped states ( Singh and Samara, 1996 ) . She told me she did non acquire married because of love, it was merely a error — – she was pregnant.

Then, I asked Emmy if she had a fellow in Hong Kong or back in the Philippines, and she told me she had learnt a good lesson from her two sisters who are working in Hong Kong. “ They are lazy and ever fool about! ” Emmy said. This is a really common household job in the Philippines. With no employment at place, the work forces frequently feel lonely, low self-esteem and loss of power and self-respect as their married womans become the breadwinners. ( Gamburd, 2002 ) . But still, her sisters send money place every month, particularly both of their eldest girls are in college now. Harmonizing to Trager, immature and individual adult females in the Philippines have a long history to work as amahs and gain money to assist their household. For Emmy ‘s two sisters and Hemi, it is truly non easy to go forth their household behind and work entirely in Hong Kong ( Buijs, 1993 ) . Emmy said she would instead be individual or a sapphic than happening a adult male back in the Philippines. Based on my first 10 proceedingss conversation with Emmy, I could experience her independency and she is in complete control of her life. Not to reference, her unfastened and bold statement — – instead being a tribade than acquiring married.

Education background

Womans in the Philippines are better educated than Indonesian adult females. The literacy rate of adult females in the Philippines was 93 % in 1990, as compared to adult females in Indonesia at 81.4 % in 1995 ( UNESCO ) . The Philippines used to be a settlement under the U.S. so its instruction system is based on the U.S. theoretical account. Children in the Philippines enter public school at age 4 or above, and simple schooling is mandatory.

Most of the Filipino assistants have at least a high school ( F. 5 to F. 7 ) to college instruction. Most of them used to be professionals, nurses, instructors, clerical workers before working in Hong Kong as domestic assistants.

Hemi told me for most of the Indonesia assistants, they merely finished their simple school ( Primary 6 ) instruction and they would and could merely work on their household ‘s farm or work in abroad as domestic assistants afterwards. Harmonizing to the Ministry of National Education of Indonesia, the Government announced its compulsory 9 old ages of basic instruction ( Primary 6 to Form 3 ) in 1994. Hemi told me she was really lucky to be able to finish her high school instruction despite her household ‘s low income. As Filipinos have a much higher instruction, it explains why they have a better apprehension of the Hong Kong Miri and in-migration jurisprudence, and higher consciousness of their rights. As Francis Bacon ( 1561-1626 ) said, “ Knowledge is power. ”

English proficiency

Emmy told me they started to larn English since class 1 and English is a major topic. Filipinos speak and write American English because they were one time colonized by America, and English has been their 2nd linguistic communication of all time since. Unlike Emmy, Hemi merely started to larn English in Indonesia in her high school old ages, and when she was under the domestic occupation preparation with the enlisting bureau ( which she besides learned Mandarin and Cantonese throughout her 3-month occupation preparation ) . Indonesia declared their independency from the Dutch in November 1949, since so they replaced Dutch with English. In 1955, English became the first foreign linguistic communication in Indonesia. In the Guidelines of the State Policy in 1993, the development of English was clearly stated in the policy. However, with a instead late development of the linguistic communication, Filipinos ‘ English proficiency is still much higher than most Indonesians.

This is one of the grounds Hong Kong employers prefer engaging Filipinos than Indonesians because a batch of the educated, overseas educated households with immature kids want their assistant to be their kids ‘s private English coach every bit good — – learn them English vocabulary, assist them with their English prep, read them English narrative books, and therefore, heighten their English communicating accomplishments. For most expatriate households, they much prefer Filipinos because most of them do non talk a word of Cantonese, they must hold person who can pass on with them in English fluently ( Wright, 2007 ) . Emmy besides said, “ In the Philippines, English is besides the linguistic communication of power. For people who can talk good English, they can hold higher societal place [ s ] and happen well-paid occupations ” ( Kachru, 1986 ) .

Professor Randy LaPolla besides mentioned that prestigiousness of a linguistic communication by and large derives from its economic value and the military power of its talkers. In this instance, the Philippines and its people has the strong support from the U.S.

Hemi told me with limited English vocabulary and hapless spellings, it has caused her a batch of incommodiousness, misconstruing and errors at work ( Jones, 2000 ) . For illustration, her American employer can non read what she writes sometimes, or she does non understand what her employer ‘s written direction, and she buys the incorrect food market or nutrient ingredient because of her low proficiency of English.


Most of the Indonesians are Muslims. “ The Koran is stating to worlds, this is the concluding counsel from your Creator, for the specific intent of idolizing him and making a civil society where you can populate in peace with one another, ” says Muslim bookman Imam Sulayman S. Nyang of Howard University in Washington, D.C. This was besides what Hemi told me about her faith — — advancing peace.

Hemi said may be that is why a batch of Hong Kong Chinese employers shouted and yelled at the Indonesian assistants because but they rarely fight back or speak back. For Muslims, they are non allowed to eat porc. Hemi told me she lost some occupation interview chances because of her faith. Some Chinese households do non desire to engage her because she does non eat porc ( but they can touch or cook porc ) and if the employer needs to purchase excess or other nutrient points, which means it will increase their day-to-day family nutrient disbursals.

As Muslims, they have to make fasting which is a religious pattern. There is one full month in every twelvemonth in which it has to be purely followed by Muslims all over the universe. Fasting Begins at morning and ends with sundown. During this period, the Muslims are restricted from all nutrient and drinks, and sexual activities.

Besides sublimating their psyche and head, fasting besides teaches Moslems about forbearance and humbleness. This can besides explicate the quiet, unagitated and obedient traits of most Indonesians adult females.

For most Filipinos, they are Catholics. They are non allowed to acquire a divorce but a separation merely. Besides, they are non allowed to utilize impregnable steps because it is a wickedness ( Bible – Genesis 38:8-10 ) or have abortions. Harmonizing to Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father of the Vatican, it is the duty as a Catholic to protect life at all phases of its development.

Emmy ‘s sister got pregnant once more two old ages ago when she returned to the Philippines for vacation — – they have 3 kids already. Emmy told me it was truly non easy for her sister to go forth her newborn and return to work in Hong Kong. This is besides why Emmy does non desire to acquire married and have kids because she thinks it is truly unjust and sad to go forth them behind if she is still working in Hong Kong ( Parrenas 2002 ) .

A batch of Hong Kong Chinese employers think Indonesians are easier to develop and pull off because of their devotedness to their faith. They live a simple life and they merely need to pray five times a twenty-four hours at place, they do non necessitate to travel the Mosque on every Saturday or Sunday. A batch of Hong Kong employers see Sunday church to the Filipinos assistants as a assemblage merely — – clip for dish the dirting and interchanging “ tips and fast ones ” on how to “ manage ” or “ antagonistic act ” their employers.

Unfair interventions in Hong Kong

As Hemi said about the Koran, the Muslim Bible, is about peace and how to do peace. She said that is the ground Indonesian adult females are in general really soft-spoken and submissive because they ever try to avoid statements. But she said because of their nature and personality, they ever being taken advantage by their Hong Kong Chinese employers. For illustration, the underpayment job.

Underpayment: In Hong Kong, the current and official minimal pay for foreign domestic assistants is HK $ $ 3,580 per month, which has been effectual since 10 July 2008 ( Hong Kong Immigration Department ) . However, a batch of Indonesian assistants were underpaid at illegal rates from HK $ 1500 to HK $ 2000 per month ( AMC et al 2001 ) .

A 2007 study sponsored by Oxfam-Hong Kong showed that 22 per centum of Indonesian domestic assistants in Hong Kong were underpaid. The Hong Kong Labor Department handled 1786 wage and contract claims from foreign domestic assistants between January and October 2000, largely from Indonesian assistants ( South China Morning Post, 24 February 2000 ) . Hemi told me when she foremost came to Hong Kong, the enlisting bureau instructed her Chinese employer to subtract HK $ 3000 from her salary each month as the arrangement fees, and paid the enlisting bureau straight, so that merely left her with less than HK $ 500 a month.

Placement fee: Presently, the Hong Kong jurisprudence sets the maximal arrangement fee that enlisting bureaus may bear down the foreign domestic assistants at 10 % of their first month ‘s salary merely. However, for most Indonesians, they have to pay the bureau HK $ 3000 for seven months. A batch of bureaus even offer sub-rosa trades to employers so the Indonesian assistants will work for every bit small as half of the legal lower limit pay ( Earth Times, 9 November 2009 ) . In contrast, no Filipino was overcharged by their enlisting bureaus because the Filipino Government has successfully lobbied to let direct hiring of Filipino domestic assistants for Hong Kong, without the engagement of an bureau. Emmy said, “ The Hong Kong Chinese employers wo n’t make bold to underpay us because we are the largest cultural minority group in Hong Kong, and we ‘ve been in Hong Kong for a long clip so the employer will non mess with us. ” I could experience the power from Emmy as she was talking. She amazed me with her pick of English words and phrases, such as “ wo n’t make bold to ” and “ will non mess with us ” . Again, it proves that when people master a linguistic communication accomplishment, it can authorise them to a greater ego.

As Professor Randy LaPolla said, “ Filipinos have a stronger sense of equity because they have a western attitude and more of a broad thought. ”

Besides, most of the Filipino assistants will go to a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar ( PDOS ) before coming to Hong Kong. However, for most Indonesians, they will merely trust on their enlisting bureau to give them the relevant legal information. As mentioned earlier, when 1s have a higher instruction, they will be more cognizant of their rights.

Vacations / Rest yearss: Harmonizing to the Hong Kong labour Torahs, foreign domestic assistants are entitled to hold one 24-hour remainder twenty-four hours within a 7-day period. However, a batch of Indonesia assistants are non able to bask their vacations because their employers require them to work at least a few hours before they can go forth their employer ‘s place.

Hemi told me that was the ground she left her old Hong Kong Chinese employer. “ Because they have a newborn babe, every Sunday I can merely go forth place after 12 o’clock. My foreman know [ s ] I ‘m non happy, so she pay [ s ] me HK $ 30 every Sunday, but it ‘s adequate. I want my vacation, go to my Taekwondo category, and travel out with my friends. ” Hemi is one of the lucky 1s already because at least her ex-boss was seeking to counterbalance her alternatively of go againsting her rights wholly.

Employers exercise their power: Hemi told me she was good cognizant of the state of affairs. Hemi said, “ Because [ of ] our faith, we Indonesian [ s ] are really quiet. We do n’t wish argue [ ing ] with people. We do n’t wish [ to ] complain. Sometimes, when my employer cry [ s ] at me, I merely state myself, “ ne’er head ” . After two old ages, I ‘m non here any more. ” ( The criterion employer contract is two old ages, Hong Kong Immigration Department ) . Filipino assistants stay and work in Hong Kong on an norm of 5 to 7 old ages whereas Indonesia assistants tend to remain 3 to 5 old ages merely ( Asian Development Bank ) . Hemi continued, “ My ex-employer ask [ s ] me to clean her friend ‘s place but I ‘m non supposed to clean other people [ ‘s ] place except my employer [ ‘s ] . This besides displays the power and control from the employers ( Constable, 1996 ) .

“ Actually, I do n’t mind but one clip, I see [ proverb ] my employer take [ had taken ] money from her friend but non portion [ ing ] with me, I was a spot disquieted. ” Hemi said. Even though Hemi was kicking about her ex-employer, she was still speaking in instead unagitated voice and mode. “ Thankss to Emmy, I know and understand my right [ s ] and I can state no to my employer if it ‘s non on the contract. ” ( Hong Kong Immigration Department ) Hemi said it in her consistent unagitated voice. Hemi admitted that she was excessively easy-going and nescient when she foremost arrived to Hong Kong. Most Indonesian assistants working in Hong Kong are aged 21 to 42 old ages old whereas Filipino assistants are runing from 23 to 53 ( Ignacio and Mejia, 2008 ) . This explains with adulthood, the Filipinos assistants know where to inquire inquiries and how to contend for their rights. Harmonizing to the imperativeness interview with the President of Indonesian Migrant Workers ‘ Union, Ms Sartiwen Binti Sanbardi, she said a batch of Indonesia domestic workers are exploited because they do n’t cognize the jurisprudence. “ Yes, people ever thought we Indonesians are stupid. Merely because we do n’t contend back, it does n’t intend we are stupid! ” Hemi said it in a instead frustrating voice this clip.

The right of residence: Emmy laughed aloud, clapping her custodies and nodding her caput as Hemi was speaking. Emmy said, “ That ‘s our difference. ” . When Emmy said that, I think it has a batch do with her cultural background as the Philippines has been under the American influence all these old ages. They are non afraid to talk up and battle for their rights. Besides, whenever it was Emmy ‘s bend to speak, she had rather a spot of organic structure gestures and organic structure motions. That besides shows her assurance in herself and how expressive she is. Emmy continued, “ If it ‘s non my mistake, I ‘ll contend back and stand house. I ‘m their assistant, non their punching bag! I can happen a occupation easy in Hong Kong or even in Canada. I have two cousins work [ ing ] there already. ” Emmy said, “ Canada provide [ s ] much better societal public assistance than Hong Kong. I can acquire 10 Canadian dollars per hr, and merely [ work ] 8 hours a twenty-four hours. I can besides hold my Saturday [ s ] and Sunday [ s ] off. That ‘s about HK $ 16,000 per month. ” ( Armacost, 1995 ) . Harmonizing to the Immigration Department of Canada, after the foreign domestic assistants have worked in Canada for 3 old ages, they can use to be a Canadian citizen. Then, after they have turned into a Canadian citizen, they can use their boies, girls, female parents and male parents, sisters and brothers to Canada every bit good. Emmy said, “ How fantastic is that! ”

I can understand why Emmy felt so strongly about this because she has been working in Hong Kong for 12 old ages, but still, she can NEVER use for a Hong Kong residence because of her work individuality — – she can merely be a domestic assistant ( Hong Kong Immigration Department ) in Hong Kong despite her other clerical and client service accomplishments.

Unfair interventions by the Indonesian Government

Hemi told me this December, she will travel back to Indonesia for good because she has bought and built a nice large house back place last twelvemonth. However, she is truly annoyed the manner her fatherland had treated her.

In the past few old ages, whenever she went place through the Jakarta Airport, there was a particular waiting line for “ Domestic Helpers ” and she felt like she was being labeled and discriminated. It made her experience really ashamed and embarrassed to be a domestic assistant overseas despite the important sum of money she has “ contributed to ” the authorities over the old ages. On norm, Indonesians send more than HK $ 2300 per month back to Indonesia ( Asian Development Bank, 2006 ) . She told me the experience at the Jakarta Airport truly gave her low self-esteem as she felt like she is an foreigner and she is non welcome to come place.

To avoid this sort of humiliation, Hemi has decided to take a direct flight from Hong Kong to Surabaya this December even though the air ticket is a small spot more expensive. On top of this sort of favoritism and humiliation, Hemi told me whenever they have to do remittals from Hong Kong to Indonesia through a money exchange, she has to pay HK $ 30 for each dealing. Besides, when she landed to the Jakarta Airport, there would be people “ recognizing ” her by stating her she could non take a public conveyance, but a “ particular manager ” prepared by the authorities, which of class, she has to pay for the coach drive place. Hemi told me the Indonesian authorities will seek every possible manner to squash money out of its ain people, unlike Hong Kong. The Indonesian authorities should non trust to a great extent on remittals the abroad domestic assistants send back. Alternatively, it should work sharply to better and increase employment chances in their ain dirt.

Hemi recalled “ life incubus ” at the preparation centre back in Indonesia — – it was rough and inhumane. All the misss were non allowed to travel place for three months. At dark, they slept on floor ( no beds ) and they had perfectly no privateness. Hemi said, “ I feel like I am a fish prevarication on the floor in the market. ” She said some misss could non manage it and ran off. For those “ run-away amahs ” , they need to pay the preparation Centre around HK $ 1000 as compensation for their repasts and adjustment. Emmy told me that was ne’er happened and would ne’er go on to them in the Philippines.

Support from the Philippines Government to Filipino domestic assistants

Harmonizing to the POEA ( the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration ) 2002, Philippinies is the universe ‘s largest exporter of labour, with approximately 4.2 to 6.4 million adult females are working on board as domestic assistants and entertainers.

To protect its subjects working on board, the Philippines Government has implemented the undermentioned policies and steps:

In 2001, the Government successfully lobbied to let direct hiring of domestic assistants to Hong Kong, without the engagement of a enlisting bureau, hence, no more bureau fees, which is one of the greatest costs to Filipino domestic assistants.

In October 2006, the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration set a standardised minimal wage to all Filipino domestic assistants working overseas. From a minimal pay of US $ 200 to US $ 400.

The minimal age demand for working overseas is 25.

Employment bureaus must subscribe and stomp contracts with the embassy for every Filipino domestic worker brought in.

The Filipino domestic assistants to-be must go to a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar ( PDOS ) before coming to Hong Kong.

In 2009, the Government imposed a prohibition on directing more workers to Jordan unless the Middle Eastern states passed ordinances to protect Filipino citizens. It is obvious that one time their subjects reported to them about such maltreatments, their Government would take immediate action and protect their rights and safety.

Beginnings: MFMW ( Mission for Migrant Workers )

Unions / Support groups

In Hong Kong, Indonesian domestic assistants can seek professional aid and legal advice sing their rights and benefits from two brotherhoods — – the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union ( IMWU ) and Coalition of Indonesian Migrant Workers ‘ Organisations ( KOTKIHO, Koalisi Organisasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Hong Kong ) . For the Filipino assistants, they have the United Filipinos in Hong Kong ( UNIFIL ) which it was established in 1984. It has 60000 members which is the largest brotherhood in Hong Kong for Filipino domestic assistants. It provides paralegal preparation, survey groups, media affair and educational seminars on rights. They besides provide safe impermanent shelter for those in demand ( UNIFIL website ) . Besides UNIFIL, there are besides Filipino Domestic Helpers General Union-HK, and Mission for Migrant Workers ( MFMW ) .

Of class, both Filipino and Indonesian domestic assistants can besides seek aid from their ain consulate and the Hong Kong Labor and Employment Department. As you can see, there are more brotherhoods and support groups in Hong Kong for Filipino domestic assistants than for Indonesian assistants. However, as the figure of Indonesian assistants has raised to 125,567, there is a existent demand to hold a 3rd or forth brotherhood and more support groups to educate the Indonesian assistants about their rights and assist them to work out any work-related differences.

Hemi told me she would wish see their brotherhoods to hold more power and authorization like UNIFIL — – keeping public mass meetings and presentations, and demanding action from their Consulate, battles for better rights for the Indonesian assistants in Hong Kong. On top of that, the Filipino domestic assistants in Hong Kong have really well-established and organized labour brotherhoods in Hong Kong. Whenever they think they are being mistreated or violated of rights, they will either travel to the Philippines Consulate or their labour brotherhoods. Unlike Filipino assistants, most Indonesian assistants will travel directly to their enlisting bureau for aid merely.

Human rights in Hong Kong

Emmy likes Hong Kong because in general, it is a really just metropolis. Emmy said, “ The people and the authorities are really “ clean ” , non corrupted. ”

Hemi seconded and said, “ The Hong Kong authorities is so Clean and they do n’t squash money from the people. Unlike our authorities, they will seek every individual manner to take money out of your pocket. ” Hemi said.

Hemi told me she enjoyed her rights as a adult female in Hong Kong the most. She told me back place, adult females did non hold a say. As a adult female in Indonesia, one must follow the adult male / work forces behind physically. When the work forces talk, adult females are non supposed to give sentiments, talk back or object to what the work forces said — – they can merely follow what the work forces say or follow the instructions consequently even if they disagree. However, in Hong Kong, they can show themselves freely. The Hong Kong Women ‘s Commission conducted a study in 2009 and interviewed 1530 people aged 15 or above, 58.9 % was really satisfied and satisfied with the overall state of affairs of gender equality in Hong Kong. Merely 12.1 % was really disgruntled and dissatisfied. They can walk in forepart of a adult male or anybody. They can speak aloud if they like to or desire to. They do non hold to hold everything other people say. They can hold their ain sentiments.

Adopted in 1990, the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families ( CMW ) entered force in 2003. It is the first lawfully adhering international instrument to integrate a full scope of human rights, which include civil rights, political rights, economic, societal and cultural rights, for all migratory workers. The Convention was ratified by the Philippines in 1995, but neither Indonesia nor Hong Kong has yet sign on. ( Ignacio and Mejia, 2008 )

My recommendations for the Hong Kong authorities


Imprisonment footings for those who violate the jurisprudence of paying the minimal pay. On 9 June 2010, the Hong Kong Government had a imperativeness release on its web site saying an employer is in gaol for three months because he had been underpaid his Indonesian domestic assistant since 2007 and the outstanding rewards was about HK $ 25,000.

It was the first instance of all time that a gaol sentence was imposed on an employer ( The Labor Department ) .

Working status:

They must hold their ain bed, non kiping on the floor or in the kitchen or anywhere that is non suited for kiping or resting.

They should be allowed to populate exterior of the employer ‘s place, and have the employers paid for their room and board if their life status does non give them any privateness

They must hold 8 hours of sleep every twenty-four hours.

Residence / Citizenship:

For those who have been working in Hong Kong continuously for seven old ages or more, they should entitle for a residence in Hong Kong despite their nature of work or individuality.

Harmonizing to The Basic Law of Hong Kong ( the constitutional papers for Hong Kong, SAR, China ) , the right of residence is granted to people to hold entered Hong Kong with valid travel paperss, resided in Hong Kong for a uninterrupted period of non less than seven old ages and taken Hong Kong to be their topographic point of lasting abode.

States such as the U.S. , Canada ( The Live-in Caregiver Program ) and Australia have more broad in-migration Torahs, allowing work, residence and household reunion. But in Hong Kong, because of the legislative limitations under the Immigration Ordinance, they are ne’er qualified for a right of residence.


They must hold one vacation or one twenty-four hours of remainder per hebdomad. The vacation or twenty-four hours of remainder must be agreed by both employee and the employer.

They are entitled to all statutory vacations, merely like every other workers in Hong Kong. Heavy punishment of mulct should be imposed on employers who fail to give or do up any of the statutory vacations.

Employment contract:

Any occupation responsibilities or occupation descriptions which are non written in the employment contract, they should hold the right to reject.

Employers can change occupation responsibilities, but they must hold their domestic assistants ‘ written consent.


The “ 14-day regulation ” was implemented in April 1987 under the Immigration Ordinance. Foreign domestic assistants merely have 14 yearss to happen new domestic occupation upon completion or expiration of the biennial contract. If they fail to happen a new employer within 14 yearss, they must return to their place state instantly or they will confront a maximal punishment of HK $ 50,000 and imprisonment for 2 old ages for overstay. The length of clip for “ occupation runing ” should be extended to one month so it would give more clip for domestic assistants to look for a new employer and avoid illegal staying or illegal working.

They should be granted an extend of their stay in Hong Kong while they are waiting for their visa alternatively of traveling back to their fatherland.

Severe imprisonment footings for employers who physically abuse their domestic assistants.

Pass legal ordinances to halt employers to avoid the rupture payments and long service payments.

Public instruction:

The Immigration Department, the Labor Department and the Police Department should all step up and promote prosecution of enlisting bureaus who overcharge Indonesian assistants.

The authorities should establish educational runs aimed at employers, warning them against underpaying their assistants, coercing their assistants to work illicitly at their stores, offices or their relations ‘ or friends ‘ abodes. The authorities can advance the rights of foreign domestic assistants to Indonesian domestic assistants through Television ads, postings, brochures, cusps and VCDs / DVDs.

In 2005, the authorities introduced the “ Mobile Information Service ” at Hong Kong International Airport. However, a mandatory debut plan should be implemented to guarantee all Indonesian assistants upon reaching are adequately informed of their statutory rights and channels.

The Immigration Department, the Labor Department and the Police Department should all step up and promote prosecution of enlisting bureaus who overcharge Indonesian assistants.

Encourage Indonesian assistants to lodge ailments to the Equal Opportunities Commission if they are being discriminated in any manner.

The function of the Hong Kong Government and NGOs:

Government support for brotherhoods, support groups and NGOs is of import as they provide reding, legal aid and shelters for foreign

domestic assistants.

The authorities should carry on meetings with the brotherhoods, support groups or other NGOs every three to six months, to confer with with them and implement any new enterprises or action to better the work and living status of Indonesia domestic assistants in Hong Kong.

The authorities should keep a regular duologue with the Indonesian Government and Consulate General of for the Republic of Indonesia, and happen ways to better the public assistance of the Indonesia assistants in Hong Kong.

Cultural exchange:

Merely like Chater Road in Central is closed for vehicle traffic to suit largely Filipino domestic assistants on Sundays, the Government can denominate an country at the Victoria Park, Hong Kong Park, Kowloon Park or any other handily located Parkss on every Sunday, entirely for Indonesian domestic assistants to form cultural and leisure activities.

The brotherhoods, NGOs and territory councils can form cross-culture seminars and workshops for freshly arrived Indonesian domestic assistants and for the employers who are engaging Indonesian assistants.

When both parties can understand and esteem each other ‘s civilization and faiths, it can assist to avoid any unneeded struggles, statements or barriers of any sort.

Geting new accomplishments:

The authorities should offer FREE English linguistic communication classs at the community centres in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, Ma On Shan and Tuen Mun where are most Indonesian domestic assistants are working.

Merely like the Bayanihan Center, they offer extension grade classs from the University of the Philippines on Sundays. Well-established universities in Indonesia can follow and offer certification, sheepskin and even degree classs in Hong Kong for Indonesian domestic assistants to foster their instruction. Again, cognition is power.

The territory council or community centres should offer FREE computing machine acquisition categories for domestic assistants so they can get a new accomplishment, and they can lend to their employer. Of class, when they go back place, they can fall in the work force which requires engineering or computing machine accomplishments in the market.


Hong Kong is a place for more than 250,000 foreign domestic assistants. It is because of their part, the Hong Kong economic system has taken off and turning strongly twelvemonth by twelvemonth. Most of the households in Hong Kong merely can non populate without a foreign domestic assistant.

Based on the facts and interviews between the Indonesian and Filipino assistants, it is clear that there is a broad spread between the two cultural groups.

Part of the job lies on the cultural and spiritual background of the Indonesians but besides the educational and economic foundation where they come from. Although the Philippines and Indonesia are comparatively hapless states, there are greater support and services for the Filipinos than for the Indonesians.

However, the solution should be initiated by the authoritiess ( the receiving state and the sending state ) on both sides — – how to better and back up those who support its citizens. Offering greater consciousness, support web, and communications channels are my major recommendations. They are executable and are aligned rather closely with what is already available in Hong Kong for Filipino workers.

Although this paper is focused on Filipino and Indonesia assistants in Hong Kong, and ways to give Indonesia domestic assistants a bigger voice, my belief is that everyone in the developed or wealthier states will profit from holding a greater back uping web for the foreign domestic assistant market. Ultimately the foreign domestic assistants of all nationalities can offer a high quality and dependable work force if they are treated with more respects and equity. Of class, instruction is the manner to better support, instruction is the key to halt poorness.