According to Chinese culture, a kind boss should treat domestic workers as family members.
This is why some Hong Kong employers often ask their domestic workers to take food freely from the refrigerator and invite their maids to have dinner together with the family at the same table.
However, domestic workers may have different views. They may prefer not to take any food from the refrigerator for themselves and have their dinner alone in the kitchen. Many of them intend to keep a distance from their bosses.
It is hard for some Hong Kong employers to understand why their kind suggestions are rejected.
Fortunately, a woman has finally solved her long-standing puzzlement about her domestic worker’s meal preferences after she talked to some Filipino maids.
She realised that her intention to provide good food to her domestic workers might not have been the best idea, as many maids prefer to get the standard food allowance of HK$1,053 (US$135) and make their favorite dishes such as adobo, which consists of meat or seafood in vinegar and soy sauce.
Many domestic workers intend to keep a distance from their bosses as a way to show their respects. Some others are worried that a close relationship may come with a heavier workload. Many maids prefer to take their dinner in the kitchen alone simply because they want a private time after a full day of work.
Thinking from the domestic workers’ perspectives is what an employer should do.
(Updated at 11:50pm on Dec. 15, 2017)