We’ve all heard of The Giving Tree, but how about The Racist Lift? Can an elevator discriminate? One of the most common complaints from HK’s foreign domestic helper community is that of ‘day-to-day discrimination‘ – a phenomena which can often be difficult to prove. However, a video commissioned by the upcoming HK Helpers Campaign revealed how Causeway Bay Centre Shopping Arcade (near Victoria Park) is in the habit of charging HK$5 for the use of their elevator. Manned by two security guards and surrounded by ‘no photography’ signs, the fee is only applied on Sundays, when Indonesian maids pour into the area on their day off.
As Hong Wrong blog went to investigate, Stories Beyond Borders spoke to an activist for Open Door HK. Her organisation noted that the guards were highly inconsistent in their application of the fee, targeting those who can least afford it…
Starbucks at Alexandra House closes their bathroom to customers and non-customers on Sundays. And seating around the base of the IFC miraculously disappears each Sunday, only to reappear on Mondays…
In some areas, the government itself deliberately prevent crowds from gathering, but at least the rule is applied consistently…
In the US, as Jim Crow laws were deemed unconstitutional, many businesses attempted to sustain unequal access to services through similar convoluted means. Are HK’s businesses and service providers discriminating against a group of people or against a day of the week? If services cannot be applied consistently for all sections of the community, then perhaps they should be scrapped altogether?
Today’s exclusive feature forms part of a series leading to the launch of a separate ‘HK Helpers Campaign’ – a coalition of NGOs and activists united to spark debate and effect change for Foreign Domestic Helpers. If you are a fellow blogger or media organisation, our coverage/videos are available for re-syndication free-of-charge, please get in touch.
- Indonesian Maids Rally in Support of Abused Domestic Helper.
- Now Gov’t Makes it Near-Impossible for Domestic Maids to Quit or Escape Abuse.
- Photo Project: ‘Why Do You Do What You Do’.