CDotD: Your Domestic Helper Has a Degree in Astrophysics.

…or not quite, but your domestic helper, if she’s Filipina (which notably the majority in Hong Kong seem to be), most likely has a college degree apparently!

For those of you who have been to Hong Kong, you will have witnessed the masses of primarily Filipina maids who set forth on Hong Kong’s many interconnecting  walkways, parks, and other public spaces to camp out on their days off, notably Sundays, but also Saturdays.  It looks like a giant sit-in or protest at first glance, but it’s just how the domestic helper community get together, kick back, and enjoy their free time.  They notably have laptops with portable WiFi devices, DVD players, playing cards, manicure sets, and native food (sometimes I wish I had an in so that I could try this amazing home-made and no doubt authentic food!).

The Hong Kong domestic helper microeconomy is huge.  They make up a substantial enough population that there are separate lines for foreigners with a domestic helper visa, and the Hong Kong economy relied heavily on this cheap help (not sure if wages went up wince the HK$28 an hour minimum wage, but for around US$200 a month, you can afford to get someone to come over every day to cook and clean for you, save their one day off).   I believe I wrote about the subject before, and found myself initially put off by this, worrying that domestic helpers got the bad end of the stick, but in fact, they similarly depend on this demand, and in their own homelands of the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, among others, they take back a very good wage for their standards.

My boss told me his maid actually owns 5 homes back in the Philippines, which no doubt come in handy for any of 10+ siblings!

Anyhow, I was browsing some domestic helper ads (not for me) and noticed that nearly all of the ads posted by Filipinas indicated a college level education, versus those of other nationalities, where high school was generally the highest education attained.

I thought this very interesting, and it makes me wonder what is going on in the Philippines that so many college-educated women are actually choosing to clean homes and care for children than pursue jobs that typically require college degrees.  I suppose the domestic helper lifestyle is either THAT lucrative or the economy in the Philippines is THAT poor, or perhaps, just both!



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