Manila hostage tragedy: who’ll do the dishes?

The League of Social Democrats’ ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, Hong Kong’s most high-profile militant Troskyist legislator, aligns himself with lawmakers from the pro-Beijing DAB and New People’s Party and with the government against his fellow radical agitators of the People Power faction. The issue: People Power’s modest proposal to banish Filipino domestic workers from Hong Kong as retaliation for Manila’s refusal to apologize for the 2010 tourist bus shootings.

People Power of course split from the LSD nearly three years ago. In terms of socialist doctrine, it was a group of rightist deviationists parting ways from the more ideologically correct force, plus the usual clash of egos that leaves Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators coming in at least eight flavours. And this is what we see over the Filipino maids. People Power is peddling populism verging on racism, while the LSD urges solidarity with oppressed workers of all nations.

The DAB – Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Whatever of Hong Kong – are a local front for the Chinese Communist Party, but stress patriotism rather than the proletarian internationalism of Marx and Engels. They and their pro-labour comrades have in the past expressed alarm at the prospect of brown people getting right of abode here on the grounds that the foreigners would compete with local grassroots who are (to use my own helper’s words) ‘too stupid to speak English’. Ip Kwok-him’s non-comment in the Standard suggests the DAB’s opposition is simply the line handed down by the administration.

The New People’s Party fancies itself as the voice of the moderate, clean-living middle class who don’t desperately want democracy much. Leader Regina Ip fearlessly speaks on this occasion for those of us who are hard-working and self-reliant, to the extent that we can cook for ourselves – but don’t desperately want to do the washing-up much. Quite right too.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok vaguely burbles something along similar lines about the interests of employers of Filipino maids. (You might wonder why the city’s uber-police chief is in charge of our household staff matters: his Immigration Department hands out migrant workers’ visas, and therefore houses unsurpassed expertise in political policy on the subject.)

The Manila hostage tragedy is not just an opportunity for lawmakers to score brownie points through racist rabble-rousing or noble defence of the right to hire domestic servants for next to nothing. It is also a hammer – no less effective than illegal structures and other obscenities – with which the Big Lychee’s half-spurned tycoon caste can strike blows against their nemesis Chief Executive CY Leung. The Standard’s ‘Mary Ma’ editorial agonizes over the way Philippine President Benigno Aquino, after keeping CY and his aides waiting for ages, lined them up on the floor and wiped his shoes on them for the cameras, grinning despicably and grinding Hong Kong’s dignity into the carpet. And this just over the page from the story about the invasion of Tuen Mun by giant, man-eating, 10-pound, mutant flies, just in case you don’t get the message.

Which brings us rather neatly to Quote of the Day Award, which goes to Hong Kong University’s Dr Danny Chan, whose research suggests that a genetic mutation causes some back-pain disorders. “People who know they have the gene,” he advises, “perhaps should not become weight-lifters.”

Think how wonderful life would be if all the world’s health problems could be solved by people not becoming weight lifters! 

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16 Responses to Manila hostage tragedy: who’ll do the dishes?

  1. gweiloeye says:

    Is it just me or has, what i perceived 5 years ago when i got here, as a “whispered behind hands” racism, now turned into an all out “shouting from the roof tops” racism.

  2. mjrelje says:

    “Chan (Albert Wai-yip), who has a Filipino domestic helper” — what a complete hypocritical racist idiot. These people are incapable of wiping their own arses, let alone being a ‘lawmaker’.

  3. Jeff says:

    You should include the business section in your morning scan.

    There was a great one in there today, a picture of a smartly dressed Ronald Arculli, in his role as member of one of the million boards he’s is on, and his giant quote: “The thing that makes Hong Kong special is its spirit of giving.”

    Uh, Ron, this is one of the greediest, most grasping, selfish and venal cities in the world, everyone knows it, and that’s what makes it spectacular.

    The mindless shit some people spout in this town.

  4. Gumshoe says:

    I have to agree: a great way to get back at a rich politician is to punish a strata of people so poor that they will leave their families for years at a time to work for rich people for peanuts.

  5. Oik says:

    And while Albert is spouting his racist claptrap to the media, his gay sidekick is standing right next to him grinning like a buffoon. Thought you would have learned a little about the evils of discrimination in all its forms by now, Gaz me old china?

  6. Grog says:

    Totally agree, Jeff.

    To use an oldie but a goodie: If the members of CY’s cabinet, everyone in Legco and all the rapacious tycoons and their dim witted offspring had to jump off a building, which functional constituency would hit the ground first?

    Exactly. Who gives a sh1t.

  7. maugrim says:

    Yes, Aquino’s grin was blood boiling. However, who are our activists trying to hurt? I can’t see how relatively poor Philippinas should bear a burden not of their making. Besides, the reality is that if it wasn’t for such workers, half of Hong Kong would have little choice to wash their own undies and cars and worse, spend time with their own kids. What’s the bet a few in HK are saying today ‘whoa, lets not be too hasty eh?”

  8. reductio says:


    I think The Ronster was referring to the fact that the people of HK just keep giving and giving to the Li’s, the Kuok’s, to the pointless infrastructure building people (i.e the Li’s, the Kuok’s ..). Also, pity there isn’t a “bad governance ” gene, then Donald and the Cropped Hair one could have been identified as carriers years ago and we would have avoided a lot of the present mess.

  9. Headache says:

    This conversation is only possible because Indonesian helpers are cheaper than Filipinas nowadays.

  10. Real Scot Player says:

    @headache. Exactly! Plus Indonesia sorts more often speak the Canto

  11. maugrim says:

    Headache, only two months ago the media were crying that there was an under supply of Phillippino helpers.

  12. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Collective punishment! That’s the way to go. In the meantime, lets make them wear pointy hats so they can be identified and vilified at every opportunity.

  13. Chimp says:

    Load of tosh to pick on Hong Kong as being particularly rascist, venal or whatever. One of the symptoms of irritable gwailo syndrome.

  14. Perhaps no more racist than any other small provincial city, Chimp, but then most such places don’t pretend to be “Asia’s World City”.

  15. PCC says:

    Whatever characteristics or values one may ascribe to the slogan “Asia’s World City”, Singapore is now streets ahead in claiming the moniker. Hong Kong is now “China’s World City”, at best.

  16. Headache says:

    PCC, I agree. How things have changed. Almost makes me nostalgic for the old “why Singapore is pathetic” days!

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