Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times
Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

Two employers sought help on social media after they found unusual items stored in the corners of domestic workers’ drawers.

A female employer posted a message on a Facebook group named “Group for HK Employers with FDHs” on Monday. She said that in her domestic worker’s drawer she had discovered a small bag containing hair, a rock and some dried plants together with a photo of her and the domestic worker with both of their names written on the back. This was reported on news website

The employer said this was the second time she had made such a discovery, and that on the previous occasion the bag contained a photograph of her daughter and the domestic worker.

She explained that as items had gone missing at home, she and her husband checked the domestic worker’s quarters during her day off. They first found some household materials which did not belong to the domestic worker, and when they checked her drawer, they found the bag containing the strange items.

Another employer posted a photo on May 24 claiming she had found a plastic bag with soil and a nail inside in a drawer formerly used by an Indonesian domestic worker.

Visitors to the Facebook page said the items in the bags represented black magic spells. They advised the employer that she needed to find out the meaning of the spell and, if she felt uncomfortable enough, she should terminate the maid’s contract.

But other page visitors were of the opinion that the domestic workers only wanted to charm their employers into liking them.

Joan Tsui Hiu-tung, convenor of the Support Group for Hong Kong Employers, said that from time to time they receive inquiries from employers who suspect their domestic workers of using black magic spells against them.

Though she realized that such incidents would make many local people uncomfortable, Tsui explained that the use of black magic and lucky charms is simply a part of indigenous Indonesian culture.

Tsui advised employers to engage with their domestic workers to help understand the reasons why employees resort to black magic. If used with good intentions, such as attempts to improve employer-employee relations, Tsui recommends employers explain to their workers that they don’t believe in such matters, and that the only way for a domestic worker to cement the relationship with his or her employer is to perform their job well.

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