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Filipina maid in viral video can file case for discrimination, says Labatt

17 March 2018

Local woman lashing out at a Filipina helper
(screen grab from Mel C. Santiago's video)

Daisy CL Mandap

The Filipina domestic worker who was caught on video being verbally assaulted by a local Chinese woman in a dog park in Tseung Kwan O could seek relief from the Equal Opportunities Commission.

This was the advice given by Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre, when asked what remedies the Filipina could seek as a result of the assault which was filmed by another Filipina helper, Mel C. Santiago, on Mar. 15. The video which immediately became viral, already has 1 million views as of this writing.

“If the person's act constitutes racial harassment, the Filipina can bring a case to the EOC for violation of the RDO (Racial Discrimination Ordinance),” said Labatt dela Torre.

But the Filipina, who was berated by the Chinese woman for at least five minutes, and was identified by Santiago as “MJ” in a subsequent post, is reportedly not keen to file charges.

“MJ said her employers said they won’t file case against that Chinese girl. They just let it pass this time…” said Santiago.

In the video, the Filipina was repeatedly cursed and shouted at by the local woman who also kept a finger pointed at the maid’s face for an extended period of time.

The assailant kept complaining about how the Filipina’s two dogs kept “barking, barking, barking”.

The local woman also took issue at how the Filipina supposedly could not control her dogs because she also had a baby with her.

She then ordered the Filipina to call her “boss” and make him go to the park “or I will call the police.”

“Call your boss now! Ask him to come here now! I’m telling you, are wrong! [When you] take care of the baby you bring your two dogs, and your dogs… always keep barking, you should control your dog.”

When the helper replied, “I am controlling them,” the local woman replied, “You are not because your dog is barking (into) my dog!”

As the Filipina complied with her bidding, the local woman, obviously enraged that the helper had tried to reason out with her, kept up her rant.

“You should change your attitude. You are not (fit) to be a helper. You only working in Hong Kong. You should go back to Philippine. Bad attitude, bad helper!”, she raged.

Man who was around said to be local woman's husband
At one point, a man, identified by Santiago as the local woman’s husband, tried to intervene, but was brushed aside by his wife. The couple also had a Filipina domestic helper with them.

The one-sided ranting ended after the helper gave her employer’s telephone number to the irate woman.

A few hours after the video was posted by Santiago, many Filipinos in Hong Kong took to social media to express outrage over the incident.

One of them, Eman Villanueva of Bayan Hong Kong and Macau, slammed the the local woman for being “racist”.

“She’s just using the baby and the dog as an excuse to shout and vent her racial and class hatred at the Filipino worker,” said Villanueva in his Facebook post. “She’s racist and she hates migrant domestic workers. It is so obvious even dogs can sense it”.

But not only Filipinos were incensed by the incident. A man named David Lee posted this comment in response to an article in Apple Daily: “Dogs are not created equal…some are nastier than others…no different from this nasty lady…yelling at the poor maid for a good few minutes…even pointing her finger right on the person’s face.”

“What a disrespectful gesture…absolutely bullying her…wondered might have happened to her had she done it to a mainlander "dai ma" .. A punch back to her face definitely”.

Meanwhile, several Filipinos have asked Santiago to urge the concerned Filipina to seek redress for what was done to her. But Santiago says MJ is concerned this could lead to questions being raised about her work situation.

Kaya tahimik si Ate MJ kasi na manage naman daw niya ang work niya. Makukuwestiyon nga po na may baby at two dogs pero what should we do nga po, di ba, (kasi)may work ang amo…may baby at dalawang aso…binabayaran naman daw po si ate at ok sa kanya ang work,” said Santiago in a reply to a message from a concerned Filipino.
(MJ is quiet, saying she can manage her work. Questions might be raised about her being made to look after a baby and two dogs, but what should we do, right? Her employer has work, and there is a baby and two dogs. She is being paid properly, and she says she is ok with the work).

She said MJ’s employers who are Americans, are hoping the overwhelmingly negative feedback to her outburst would have made the local woman realize her mistake.

But given the smug attitude shown by the offending woman in the video, this could be like wishing for the impossible.

Santiago told another concerned Filipina that she had also spoken to the local woman’s helper, and remorse appeared to be farthest from the aggressor’s mind.

Nakausap ko din po ang helper ng Chinese girl. Proud pa nga daw po yung amo niya. Parang wala lang. She doesn’t mind, alam niya daw tama sila. Mali daw na may baby at aso.”
(I have also spoken with the helper of the Chinese girl. The helper says her employer is even proud of what she did. Like it was nothing. She doesn’t mind, she knows she is right. It is not right to have to look after both a baby and two dogs). – with Ellen Asis

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