A sporting tribute to the domestic helper

October 23, 2017


There is an ambivalence about the way in which attitudes towards Hong Kong's burgeoning domestic helper population have recently manifested.


Specifically as a pivot swinging between cases of outspoken xenophobia and abuse, to heartwarming accounts of personal introspection and appreciation of their hidden struggles and sacrifices (see Justin Baggio Cheung's SCMP article and Joanna Bower's highly-acclaimed documentary entitled The Helper).


Crucially, what both Bower and Cheung touch on is the fact that as is the case with any labour force, especially one that has been continually institutionalised and bureaucratised since beginning in the 1970s as a formal economic policy under Marcos in the Philippines, it is easy for maids to lose their own sense of individuality and become subsumed in their super-identities as cook, caretaker, cleaner, nanny and (insert odd job here) rolled into one.


This is only worsened by a growing sense of entitlement among some employers, who perceive their helpers as commodities to be squeezed for every cent's worth or in more extreme cases, a subject of physical and emotional abuse.


Consequently, their outward sense of identity as perceived by others, is similarly devalued, undermined and limited.


As a sports website dedicated to reporting on the sporting achievements and initiatives of everyday people in Hong Kong, we hope to change this in the way we know best.


We thus present the empowering story of the Hong Kong Exiles- a touch rugby team comprised of domestic workers who defy convention by choosing to spend their day off pursuing their dream of playing in a local tournament:




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