Friday, 4 October 2013

“Time to price maids out of our reach”: Alex Lo's fact-free bigotry

To the Editor of South China Morning Post
Alex Lo’s piece on maids is a farrago of supposition entirely unsupported by facts. (“Time to price maids out of our reach” ($) (PDF), My Take, 2 October).
  • “In fact they [maids] cost our society far more than it’s often realized.”  Source?
  • “Most [maids] try to do the minimum or less…”.  Clearly Lo’s prejudice and a calumny on hard-working domestic helpers.
  • “Some steal.. to get.. their fare share”.  Another unsupported calumny.  In passing, Lo  gives us an insight into his own dishonest character when he startlingly admits “I would do the same, if not worse”. Mr Lo: I was a domestic helper in the UK in the seventies, earning a subsistence wage, but the idea of stealing from my employer didn’t even enter my mind; your readers do not share your low morals.
  • “Bosses… have to spend a disproportionate amount of time monitoring, disciplining, even abusing…”.  Source?  [Of course any abuse which does come to light ought to be punished to the greatest exent of the law.]
Yet, unencumbered by a single fact, Lo cavalierly proceeds to suggest a revolution of family life and government social support infrastructure. 
He urges a 90% reduction in domestic helpers from over 300,000 to 30,000 with higher wages.  Put aside the fact that such a salary hike would be profoundly retrogressive – hitting the middle classes hardest, and the wealthy not at all – there is the very real concern about how this would affect the 270,000 that Lo wants to throw out of work. 
Surely it cannot have escaped Lo’s notice that domestic helpers provide many billions in foreign currency remittances mainly to the Philippines and Indonesia.  Would those governments and those maids thank Mr Lo for his fact-free intervention to have  90% of Hong Kong’s domestic helpers thrown out of work?
Perhaps some facts on the “maids issue” is in order: a government-led survey of the people most involved: the maids themselves. 
Until then, the Lo’s of the world ought to keep their bigotry to themselves.  
Yours, etc.
Peter Fu.saisee
... Hong Kong