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Indebted RI workers endure mistreatment in HK
The Jakarta Post | Sat, 12/17/2011 2:00 PM
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Although films like Minggu Pagi di Victoria Park (Sunday Morning in Victoria Park) by director Lola Amaria have tried to present the living conditions of domestic helpers in Hong Kong, most Indonesians are largely ignorant of the difficulties and struggles they face on a daily basis. The Jakarta Post’s Xinyan Yu captured how Indonesia’s migrant workers lived their lives in the uniquely free and diverse city of Hong Kong. As a very liberal metropolitan city, Hong Kong is usually considered one of the better places to work as a domestic helper in the region. However, although guaranteed a minimum wage of HK$3,740 (US$480) per month and possibly the right to abode in the future,
New skills: Anisa (left, foreground) and her Indonesian domestic helpers are still students chat and practice playing guitar next to a pedestrian footway outside of among the most exploited in Hong Victoria Park. JP/Xinyan Yu
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Newly arrived Indonesian domestic helpers are usually forced to compromise on their religious beliefs, and some of them develop homosexual relationships due to exploitation in Hong Kong, according to British sociologist Paul O'Connor. Trapped in “debt bondage”, a large loan borrowed from the employment agencies that domestic workers pay off though labor over a lengthy period of time, many Indonesians remain silent due to “the need to earn money, pay off their debt and not get into trouble”, O’Connor said in a talk recently at the Hong Kong Museum of History on behalf of the Hong Kong Anthropological Society. Eni Lestari, one of the first Indonesian domestic workers to go to Hong Kong more than 10 years ago, said: “Many Hong Kong families don’t like us to pray in the house. One of my employers once told me to stop kissing the floor, because it was so dirty. They also didn’t like me wearing white, because it’s a symbol of death in Chinese culture.” “Sometimes it really pisses us off, but because so many of us have been terminated and sent back without earning any money, we try to compromise by not practicing our religion,” said Lestari, the chairperson of the Association for Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong. “Also, because we must pay agency fees, in reality we don’t receive any wages for a long time; so we have to endure all kinds of treatment to get through the first few months.” Lestari’s colleague, Sringatin, was underpaid for almost a year when she first arrived. “When I signed the contract, the agency didn’t tell me about Hong Kong’s minimum wage,” she said, “They told me I was a newcomer, so [they gave me] only HK$2,000 [$200 a month]... You can talk to the employer about it
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“Also. most of us are not aware that paying a third party violates the law. we can borrow money from each other.” Lee said. We want to make love. they live and sleep together without being allowed to go out. However.” Setya. http://www. Doris Lee.12 13:07 . They proactively call up employers to encourage them to change helpers whenever we want.. and the employers always complain. “It’s not something they had planned. which is taboo in Islamic belief. This policy is problematic. I think I can be like her or him. We see lots of Hong Kong people [who] are so stylish.com/news/2011/12/17/indebted-ri-. or keep silent and finish the contract.” she said. “It is a private-sector agreement turned into government policy.” Lestari. They just fill out all the forms for us.” Sociologist Sim observed that intimacy comes naturally in a state of alienation. They start to offer promotions like two for one. [I am homosexual] because maybe no men [are] in here. Same-sex relationships are comforting.” Lestari said. Sim said. another helper in her 20s. so that the agencies can attract more customers and make a profit from helpers who have to pay to repeat the training process. which unites Hong Kong families to help create respect and justice for domestic workers. For seven months.. because [in Hong Kong] it’s the employers’ obligation.700) that employment agencies in Indonesia charged prospective domestic workers was a “cartel price” to which the Indonesian government turned a blind eye.thejakartapost. but Islam doesn’t allow [it]. “One of the ways to pass all these years alone overseas is to find a female partner. said that employers were also victims in the hiring process. “It is trendy and 2 of 3 27.” Vulnerability from debt bondage and mistreatment at work also contribute to the significant presence of homosexual relationships among Indonesian domestic helpers. There’s much more freedom here. Very rarely is the agency legally liable. so [we] have somebody as a girlfriend.Indebted RI workers endure mistreatment in HK | The Jakarta. these women try to develop relationships with women to keep their honor at home. “It’s also fun.. but the agencies encourage us to do so.” Sim said. It’s fantastic. maybe 50 percent. Both Lestari and Sringatin said they had been forced to eat pork and take off their headscarves in their employers’ houses. but because premarital sex is against their religion.” said Setya. said that homosexual relationships usually start from the intensive everyday interactions domestic helpers have in the training centers. Amy Sim. said: “[We] have so many [homosexual relationships] here. They just want somebody to love. “Agencies misinform both workers and employers.” Lestari said. It’s easier that way. “There’s no time.” She also complained that the Indonesian government failed to provide adequate information for workers like her. care for them before they go home and marry a man. so we just gave it up. said that the HK$21. “If we have a girlfriend. a sociologist who has studied Southeast Asian migrant workers in Hong Kong for more than a decade. sees homosexuality as another aspect of the freedom that Indonesian women enjoy far from the restrictions of their conservative society. Having lived in Hong Kong for years. A young helper Ryan who recently came to work at a senior house.000 ($2.. they don’t wear headscarves or pray five times a day any more. Many agencies encourage employers to dismiss helpers at will. now stepping down from her current position to engage the Indonesian community on a more international level. an Indonesian domestic helper who just arrived in Hong Kong four months ago.05. many Indonesian helpers’ debt ends up increasing over the years. “The fear of being terminated without paying off the debt forces helpers to put up with all [sorts of] mistreatment. because it is based on the assumption that one can finish paying off the debt. an employer who founded Open Door. which is really turning the helpers into commodities. [underpayment] and be terminated.
http://www. fashionable to assert sexuality. According to the Association of Indonesian Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong (ATKIHK)..com/news/2011/12/17/indebted-ri-.0298 seconds 3 of 3 27.Indebted RI workers endure mistreatment in HK | The Jakarta.000 by April last year. Add Comment Unabhängiger Preisvergleich. Empfohlen vom Spiegel.airline-direct. It has become the biggest population of foreign domestic workers and the largest ethnic minority in Hong Kong. and 53 percent of them have been underpaid.. Bina Media Tenggara © 2012 | Sitemap | Rendered in 0.000 Indonesian migrants by the association says that as many as 93 percent of them have been overcharged by agencies..12 13:07 . Homosexuality is seen as powerful. because it makes positive statements about themselves and opens a whole space of freedom for them. stalking 1m children Batam implements rolling Gaga gig going ahead: blackouts to cope with Promoter 40MW power deﬁcit Recent comments Post comment Comment are closed PROFILE Online Edition History Editorial Staff Progress & Development Sunday Edition Book Publishing Promoting Art & Culture Book & Publishing RESOURCES & DIRECTORIES Indonesian History Indonesian Cabinets Acronyms Important Addresses Universities Who's Who MORE ONLINE STUFF RSS Feeds iPhone / iPad App Android App Blackberry App Nokia S40 App Mobile version ADVERTISE WITH US Media Kit (IDR) Media Kit (USD) Online Ads Paper Ads Weekender Ads Direct Contact PT. They are also the most exploited. A survey carried out among almost 3. Focus. the number of Indonesian domestic helpers reached almost 136.thejakartapost.” said Sim.05.. Bild! www.de Günstige Flugtickets Editor's Choice Gaga's romance with Indonesian 'Little Monsters' ends badly Hunger returns to Africa.