Friday, September 3, 2010

give justice to the victims, not direct anger at the weak

These are lines of a longer article from this page... ... One friend said the identity of the writer isn't confirmed yet (was this supposed impostor this good of a storyteller??? ). Another said, no victim of such name exists. Fake or not, these lines comes really close to what most of us feel recently.

I kept thinking about what turned a former excellent policeman into a cold-blooded killer? Didn't he have any reservations? Didn't he worry about his own family? What drove him to such desperate straits? Why did he have to choose to take hostages in order to force the government to review his case? Is there no way of making an appeal in that country?

I realized finally that even though I had some colleagues from the Philippines, I and most Hong Kong people know almost nothing about that country. There are more than one hundred thousand Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong and they live with our families. But we have never cared about this country and its people who provide us with a large number of cheap laborers. We know that the Philippines is poor and that is why they export domestic workers all over the world. But how poor? I checked and I found out that one-third of its people live below the poverty line. Killings and kidnapping occur on a daily basis. Under such circumstances, why kind of life do the people have? I remembered that two days before the hijacking, our schedule included a visit to a flower car factory. There we smelled a foul odor. The tour guide pointed to the outside of the factory wall. There was a mountain of garbage out there. Many young children were picking through the garbage to make their living. This made us sad and speechless.

After returning to Hong Kong, I learned that there had been quite a bit of anti-Philippines talk in Hong Kong over the past several days. On the Internet, someone proposed revenge by sending all Filipina domestic helpers home so that their country would plunge into economic hardship. I learned that Filipina domestic helpers were insulted in the streets, with the Philippines being referred to as the "nation of slaves" and the "nation of servants." I can understand that the citizens are incredibly angry with the Philippines government and police. I feel the same way myself. But what has this got to do with the people of the Philippines?

Have we forgotten what it feels like to be discriminated against? Hong Kong was a colonized society for a long time, with the Chinese being discriminated against by the so-called "masters" within the system and their daily lives. But now some Hong Kong people turn around to speak like slave-owners that "We hired so many Filipinas so we are their bosses" and "it was an act of benevolence to hire you so how dare you offend your superiors" against the Filipina domestic helpers who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Manila hostage incident itself. This is just appalling.

The Filipina domestic helpers are the victims of their incompetent government, which was unable to provide a decent living for its people. That is why so many Filipinas have to leave their families. They work to take care of other's children while leaving their own children behind. So why should the Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong serve as the scapegoats of their incompetent government? Why are some Hong Kong people angry but also being racist?

Even more incomprehensibly, the Hong Kong government has just announced at this time that the wages of all domestic helpers (including Filipinas) will continue to be frozen. This means that the foreign domestic helpers cannot share the fruits of the economic recovery. Is our government exploiting the situation? Would the government care to tell us about their standards and system for determining wage levels for foreign domestic helpers? Their actions right now carry the impression that the government wants to punish the foreign domestic helpers. This is no help towards relieving anti-Philippines sentiments. A friend quoted the words of Lu Xun: When the brave become angry, they draw their knives at those even stronger; when the meek become angry, they draw their knives at those even weaker. Do the people of Hong Kong only know to draw their knives against the weak?

Over the past several days, Hong Kong has been both angry and sad over this Manila hostage incident. Although I have not discussed with other team members, I am sure that we are grateful for the concern and support of the citizens. But the way to comfort the souls of the dead is not to blame the innocent Filipina domestic helpers and the people of the Philippines. Our focus should be clearly on the Philippines government and its police. We want a fair and proper investigation. We want to an account of the responsibility in the incident. We want to provide for the future of the injured persons as well as the families of the deceased. This is how we show our concern for the casualties in this incident.

In the long run, we should support the people of the Philippines to build a more trustworthy government and a more just society. This is how Hong Kong truly becomes a member of the international community and a cosmopolitan city with humanitarian concerns.

No comments: