Hong Kong — domestic help

On Saturday, over in the Central district, and again on Monday right here in the Mong Kok area of Kowloon, we witnessed the strange spectacle of hundreds (!) of women seated on blankets or newspapers or sheets on the sides of covered public walkways.

The women were generally, but not always

  • young
  • Muslim
  • reading or chatting or taking selfies on the phone
  • or doing each other’s make up.

They were almost always snacking on salty things.

And they appeared to be from another country, if language and facial features are an indication.

Curiosity = piqued.

Upon investigation — the concierge on the club floor can answer all sort of questions — these women are domestic help, mostly Indonesian and Filipino, who were gathering as they always do on their day off.  They socialize when and where they can . . . and the police allow the congregation in public spaces such as above-ground pedestrian bridges, or below-ground passageways.  Since Saturday would be their day off, and since Monday was a public holiday, they had two days to gather.  And obstruct.

How curious was the same route on Tuesday morning when they were not present!  I almost, but not quite, missed the energy.

I got a couple of hip-side shots while walking on Monday, but chose not to be the gawker and stop to take the more formal photo.  I’ll provide them here, even though they are blurred, since they provide context:


From that same walkway, one sees a daily market on Fa Yuan Street.  We walked this last evening to find fruit and vegetable stands, and all sort of housewares and domestic needs on sale in the three-block festival of smells and sounds.

fa-yuan-1

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