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

A columnist who writes on parenting issues in a Chinese-language newspaper has urged employers to be considerate in dealing with their domestic workers, especially when they are suffering from an illness.

The woman, who writes in Headline Daily under the pseudonym “Oh! Dad and Mom”, told of her reaction after she learned that her maid had been diagnosed with a uterine fibroid, a growth that occurs in the uterus.

She said the Filipina was a widow with a 13-year-old son who lived with his grandfather in the Philippines. Every month she wires money back home to help with their living costs; however, her father gives the money to her elder brother instead, and then asks her to send some more.

The domestic worker is furious that the money is being misused, but knows that if she does send money home her father and son will suffer. She only returns home once every two years and relies the rest of the time on making video calls to her son.

When she discovered the uterine tumour, which is 20 centimetres in diameter, she was too scared to have surgery in case she could not see her son again. She cries from worry over the pain and the hospital bill.

The columnist admitted that she sometimes got angry when she found the worker had not cleaned properly or was not caring for her children, believing she should work harder and better because she gets wages.

However, after learning about the illness, the employer put herself in her worker’s shoes: it was not easy for a single mother forced to rely on others to raise her son and who now was sick and away from the family.

She suggested that employers show some more compassion for their domestic workers, display more understanding and care, and assist them  whenever possible.