28 March 2012

We are starting a helpers day


Appreciating a vast section of our society that allows us to operate seems to me to be the morally correct thing to do. Yes I know they get paid already. But as a society we owe them; not money, but thanks - it's the human thing to do. We owe them a thank you.

I am not asking for sponsors - just ideas.

I have no idea how we start this movement, but the comments section is open.

Question 1: Is it a good idea?
Question 2: Would you participate?
Questions 3: How?

We'll go from there.


  1. Without wishing to sound like a wet blanket (what noise does a wet blanket make?), I think a lot of helpers get themselves into a downward spiral here by getting into conflict with their employers.

    Naturally, they 'compare notes' on their day off and often this translates into working out how much (or little, depending how you look at it) they can get away with. They drag themselves down to the lowest common level.

    When they are caught out following their friends' advice (basically when the job isn't done properly), the employer gives them a hard time and things go from bad to worse and the relationship goes sour.

    Whilst some employers do exploit helpers, I think there is a tendency for helpers, because of all the peer information or misinformation that is passed around, to assume this is going to happen before it does, to try to 'get even' before it happens - in other words getting into a cycle of mistrust with their employer before there is a reason for it.

    Furthermore, there seems to be no concept of the value of a job: we consider ourselves firm but reasonable employers, with extra salary given for trying hard, loans when the inevitable family illness occurs, and so on, yet we seem to continually find helpers who steal, lie, won't follow the simplest instruction (when we aren't looking), don't care about health, hygiene, cost, wastage or breaking things, have even been menacing to my wife when she has been recuperating from serious illness and I have had to be away on business, and so on. In fact there seems to be a common resentment of and particular conflict between the helper and an Asian wife.

    In short, many helpers seem determined to create a situation where they lose their job and have to risk not being able to find another one before they have to leave Hong Kong. I am completely baffled by this apparently self-destructive, approach. What some people see as happy-go-lucky and charming, one can also view as self-imposed victimhood.

    The bottom line for every helper we have had in well over 10 years seems to have been ckuf the employer, treat them like fools, but make sure you go to church and pray.

    Any positive suggestions? (1)A serious induction course where DHs learn that Hong Kong is not the Philippines and that there is a proper work ethic here, and that they should repay the special treatment that allows them to come here by valuing the opportunity (2) A serious vetting by the ID (e.g. make available extracts of the DH's history to the next emplyer - whether and why fired - and/or don't let repeat firees back in, so that employers have a way of avoiding the bad ones), and (3) a bit more positive, a system where the good ones get paid more, e.g. the minimum wage goes up for every successfully completed contract. Why should an exemplary employee with several years good work under her belt be paid only the same as a workshy newbie?

  2. Like in any walk of life there are the good and the bad (and the fugly).
    It's a good idea to give a little thanks and respect to the good, but the bad can take a running jump.

    Is it a good idea? In principle I think so. In practice it may be hard to determine the good from the bad.
    Would I participate? No, for that reason.

    Disclaimer: I don't employ a helper and never have.


We like comments thanks.