6.14.2009

The Curious Filipina Flocks


















Downtown in Central Hong Kong, I witnessed a strange spectacle today as I shopped for an electrical outlet converter.  This article from 1990 seems to capture what is still true today about the curious "underclass" of Filipinas here in Hong Kong: 

Every Sunday, tens of thousands of Filipino women stream into the heart of Hong Kong, filling the park in front of City Hall and spilling out along the sidewalks beneath the stylish skyscrapers and luxury hotels.

The huge crowds are made up of women who work as maids here. On their one day off each week, the women, who have little money to spend, meet on the streets and sidewalks of downtown Hong Kong.

In the shade of the Chanel boutique, along the street in front of the fashionable Mandarin Oriental Hotel, they picnic on straw mats or pieces of cardboard, read Filipino romance comics, and write letters to the families they left behind.

There are also trucks that serve as informal shipping centers for the women.  Carboard boxes wrapped in blue and red checked plastic wrap line the streets in places.














Carboard boxes also make up the walls of some of the little picnic encampments made by groups of women on sidewalks, on stairways, under overpasses, and just about anywhere else.  And not a man in sight.  Quite odd.