Boundaries

Central crosswalk – above Central Wet Market on Sunday

Hong Kong’s economy is built on positive non-interventions. In the last forty years the city’s drastic growth has led to phenomenons most Hong Kong residents would like to ignore.

If you ask most Hong Kong locals, they would tell you to avoid 1) Victoria Park 2) Kowloon Park 3) Central on Sundays because of this:

Enjoying a potluck together

Filipina domestic helpers in Central

There are over 120,000 Filipina domestic helpers (and more from Thailand and Indonesia) in Hong Kong, working in homes of middle-class and wealthy families. These domestic helpers have living accommodations and food provided by their employer and for six days a week, they tend to household chores. Their wages are significantly lower than local domestic helpers and most have to send money back home to their families. With little money leftover, on their days off they gather around in public areas mentioned above to relax and enjoy time with friends.

Gathering in large groups in public areas is a challenge both physically and mentally. Most Hong Kong residents find this a nuisance – they cannot sympathize with the idea that these domestic helpers have no other option but to take over public space. For the domestic helpers, they feel uncomfortable having their every motion being gawked at by the public.

With make-do intelligence, these domestic helpers create boundaries for themselves:

One of the most elaborate constructions on the crosswalk

Makeshift living room

Domestic helpers gather

Everyone is watching

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