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From nannies to entrepreneurs

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There is a small town, away from the bustling centers of Hong Kong and Kowloon, that has gradually grown into a distinctly multicultural community.

Posted: March 24th, 2013 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

The ubiquitous Pinoy

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It was troubling to see the photograph on the front page of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Jan. 19 of a patient lying apparently unconscious, his head heavily bandaged and in a neck-brace, with Algerian Minister Youcef Yousfi and a doctor looking anxiously down at him. The photo caption only said it was a “freed Filipino hostage” and the accompanying AFP (Agence France Presse) report did not identify him.

Posted: January 27th, 2013 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

Filipina lesbians at home in HK’s Statue Square

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Hong Kong may be a well-developed metropolis which touts itself as “Asia’s World City,” but it’s quite backward in one major way.

Posted: October 7th, 2012 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

Filipina workers abroad and family planning

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“Dili siya gusto maggamit og supot” (He doesn’t like to use condoms), my friend Lilia told me ruefully in Cebuano, giggling a bit. That was her reply to my query about what form of birth control she and her husband Ben used. Having known her for some time, I consulted her about what she thought of the reproductive health (RH) issue that’s been roiling Philippine politics these past months. Lilia belongs to the army of intrepid women toiling in Hong Kong, working as a domestic for eight years in this Chinese territory. Of the total of some 285,000 foreign maids, Pinays number 137,000, making up 48 percent (Indonesian women, who captured the traditional Pinoy lead a few years ago, are now close to 50 percent).

Posted: September 9th, 2012 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

Hong Kong: A tight little territory

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Over a century ago, some Western countries which had allowed Chinese in as immigrants worried about being infiltrated by the “Yellow Peril.” Today it’s the Hong Kongers who apparently view their Filipino and Indonesian servants with fears of being flooded by the “Brown Menace,” should they be given permanent residency. Society in this tight little territory of seven million is generally adamant about not granting their Southeast Asian domestics the right to become permanent residents, regardless of how many years they’ve lived in this Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

Posted: April 29th, 2012 in Global Pinoy,Latest Global Nation Stories | Read More »

More on national labels

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Not long ago a Hong Kong magazine columnist infuriated the Filipino community in the territory, and some other expatriate Pinoys elsewhere, when he called the Philippines a Nation of Servants. His weekly satirical essays don’t always hit the mark, but that one about national servitude hit a nerve among Pinoys—even though some 80 percent of the migrant workers do indeed work as menials in the region. Nowadays of course the word “servant” has been replaced by the more politically correct “helper,” but it still carries vestiges of the stigma associated with belonging to the lower classes. That Hong Kong writer’s words were seen as insulting to the dignity of the migrant workers who often chafe at being treated like slaves by some Chinese—an irony since many of the Hong Kongers’ forebears were refugees from the mainland where they were once themselves enslaved.

Posted: February 25th, 2012 in Global Pinoy,Latest Global Nation Stories | Read More »

Powerless migrant women vs powerful men

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Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s recent admission of moral turpitude brought forth two strains of thought for me. The first is how the powerful males on this planet can just shrug off their misdemeanors. The second is how two of our past presidents not only were excused for their moral lapses but ended up being idolized by some of our kabayan.

Posted: September 25th, 2011 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

Can HK embrace a multicultural future?

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HONG KONG—It didn’t need a study by Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to reveal what foreigners in the territory have known  for some time: that racial prejudice is rampant, even among the youngest inhabitants of this prosperous Chinese city.  Children as young as three were recently asked for their attitudes towards different skin colors.  [...]

Posted: August 14th, 2011 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

Who are our true role models abroad?

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Would you say, my pal Merlie asked recently, that Manny Pacquiao is a good role model for Filipino boys? And didn’t I, on hearing the question posed by my old friend (who’d come all the way from Kowloon to visit me on Lantau Island in the New Territories), ask if she was being facetious?  Couldn’t [...]

Posted: June 5th, 2011 in Global Pinoy | Read More »

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