It is not uncommon to see groups of foreign domestic helpers gathering at public area in Hong Kong every Sunday. Usually they will meet fellow countrymen on this day when they can take off from work.
There are over 300,000 foreign domestic helpers working in Hong Kong now, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, with a smaller number from Thailand and other places. They cook for Hong Kong families, take care of their elderly and children and do the housework. Most of them will wire transfer their salary back home to provide a better living to their own families in homeland.As the culture and lifestyle of Hong Kong is different from their homeland, they have to pay a lot of effort to adapt to the new working and living environment. Besides, as most of them have families back home, they have to give up living with them and the opportunities to see their children grow up. Although working in Hong Kong is their own decision, the economic situation and policies of their countries have left this group of people few choices but to work in Hong Kong to provide for their families.
Some of these foreign domestic helpers who come to Hong Kong for the first time were even asked to attend training courses which may cost over HK$10,000 and this “training fee” would be deducted from their first year’s salary. Some agencies would vastly overcharge agency fee and conspired with loan companies to engage complex and ambiguous shenanigans to make these foreign domestic helpers heavily laden in debt, enslaving them into contract forced labour.
News about foreign domestic helpers are mostly negative in Hong Kong: some are employer’s complaints and some are foreign domestic helpers being exploited. This is not the kind of news we want to hear. We hope we can understand and empathize with each other more to live in harmony. At the same time, we hope that Christians and Church could become neighbours that care for their working condition and rights in Hong Kong and provide necessary support.
Meditation on Scriptures:
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
God teaches us to show hospitality to strangers and foreign domestic helpers working far away from home are strangers in Hong Kong. Although they earn salary when working here, they have to live in different culture without any relatives or friends by their sides. We who live in Hong Kong should offer help as far as we can and treat them like locals.
Let us pray for us and the world:
- Pray for their adaptation to work, life and culture of Hong Kong
- Pray for their dealings with their employers
- Pray for their relationship with friends and families back home
- Pray that we and our Church are willing to become their neighbours and live out the love of Christ