HELPERS – Domestic Workers Share Their Thoughts on Occupy Central


A cross-post from our sister site, HK Helpers Campaign.

HK Helpers Campaign volunteers Meredith McBride & Vivian Yan spoke to some of the city’s domestic worker community about the Umbrella Movement occupation protests.

Catherine, from the Philippines, has been living in Hong Kong for 3 years.

“The protesters want this fight and are against China. Maybe they can help us to make… law[s] in favour of the domestic workers? Maybe for me, I am in favour of the protesters because they really fight for their rights, for their democracy.  They make a lot of sacrifices so I hope they win.”

Bolot from Indonesia is nicknamed for a famous comedian because she makes her friends laugh. She is 29 years old and has been living in Hong Kong for two years. Bolot is part of an organisation in Hong Kong that supports democracy in Indonesia. She did not vote in Indonesia’s recent election, but says that she will next term if the new president proves himself.

“I really don’t know what was happening here, but what I heard is that they want democracy in Hong Kong. They want the government to listen to what people want… This is the same thing that happened in Indonesia. We want the democracy for the people… The government has to start to listen to what people want. Maybe this… government only has meetings with their own staff. They must start to listen to the public. I think they must… see with their own eyes how the people live, what they want, what they need.”

Nuri, center, is 36 years year old and was born in Indonesia. She worked in Saudi Arabia and Dubai before moving to Hong Kong for one year. She has been living and working in Macau for five months.

“I don’t know about that. I don’t understand about that because I am not living here. I live in Macau… My employer said ‘don’t you go to Hong Kong, I don’t want something bad [to] happen to you!’ She said ‘give me your passport’, like that! Macau is very nice because it never, never has that demo[onstration]!”

Indri, left, is also from Indonesia. She moved to Hong Kong four years ago when she was 19.

“[They] disturb other people maybe. You know Causeway Bay? You cannot go there! Because in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Admiralty, Central so many, many people. Many, many thousands of people.”

Rona, from the Philippines, has been living and working in Hong Kong for 3 years.

“I just think they have a right to do that. They should fight for their own democracy to choose the right chief executive for Hong Kongers, not mainlanders. As my employer says: they have 100% respect to the protesters… If the students do not stop Occupy Central, we also worry about what will happen to the students, even if we are just workers here. Maybe the Hong Kong government could listen to what the students want to do.”

Mia, 33 years old, from Indonesia, has lived in Hong Kong for 11 years since 2002. Mia voted in the last Indonesian election and plans to move back to Indonesia next year to be with her family.

“It’s Hong Kong people’s business, not my business. My mom told me to leave them. The Hong Kong people want democracy, ask them [the government] to change in 2017. I think if the government doesn’t listen to Hong Kong people, Hong Kong people will still be on the road. What is wrong, what is right, I don’t know. It’s up to them!”

Mildred, 29 from the Philippines, has been living in Hong Kong for two years.

“They [China] don’t care about whatever happens here in Hong Kong. They [Hong Kongers] know the mainlanders want Hong Kong on their side. But Hong Kongers don’t want to belong to China. They want freedom, democracy, but the mainlanders don’t want that for Hong Kong. They want the Hong Kong people under China.”

Rose (left) has lived in Hong Kong for five years and Lydia (right) has lived in Hong Kong for fifteen years since she was 16. Both take an entrepreneurship class every Sunday evening in Victoria Park.

“For Hong Kong’s future, it is good because Hong Kong still depends on China. I support the students. I think Hong Kong people need to do that because otherwise Hong Kong will not change. But sometimes I feel sad because of the fighting.”

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