Hong Kong Protests: 6 Things Domestic Helpers Should Be Aware of
Series of protests in Hong Kong, which started since early June, have many Hong Kong people worried. While places not affected by protests are operating as usual, we have some suggestions as to what domestic helpers should be aware of:
1. Stay tuned to major events ahead:
While small-scale, spontaneous protests are hard to predict and avoid, large-scale protests and demonstrations are planned ahead. Their date, time, and venue are announced some time before they take place.
Such information can easily be found on the internet (try searching Hong Kong protest calendar + month), through local news media, and social media.
Most of the bigger protests and demonstrations are happening during weekends, be sure to pay attention to what will happen around Hong Kong and mark them down on your schedule when you are planning for your day-offs or holidays.
2. Inform your friends (and employer) where you are heading
Before having your day-offs or holidays, especially if you are going to popular places where protest events had happened, you should tell your friends (ideally your employer too) where you are going. This allows them to find you in case you are affected by the protest activities.
3. Leave the scene if protests got intense
Peaceful protests may turn intense quickly, and they may shift or spread to other places. Even if the streets seem quiet and peaceful, you should always be cautious of your surroundings. If you hear loud shouting or siren alarming in the near distant, you should stay calm and prepare to leave the scene.
Ideally, you may want to check the news every now and then to see how the protests are developing.
4. Stay alert to traffic updates
During the protests, some MTR stations were vandalised, some closed, and certain roads were blocked by police and barricades. Your preferred way of transportation may not be available at the time you are going out or returning home. You should be alert to traffic news, which can change very quickly.
5. Beware of fake or inaccurate news
Do not trust everything you read online or watch on TV. There are media reporting fake or inaccurate news about the protests. You should read news from more reliable sources such as the Hong Kong Free Press and South China Morning Post.
6. Have emergency contacts with you
Just in case the protests have affected you and you need urgent help, here are some contacts that might be helpful:
- Emergency services (police, fire, ambulance) hotline: 999
- Police hotline: 2527 7177
- Labour Department
Emergency Hotline for domestic helpers: 2157 9537
- Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO)
Emergency Hotline: 5529 1880
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
Emergency Hotline: 6345 9324
You may also want to remember the contact number of your trusted person. If you lost your phone or your phone stopped working, you will still be able to call him or her for help.
While there have been intense protests, most places in Hong Kong are back to normal and remain peaceful, so there is no reason to overreact or panic. Also noted that the visa application processing time for foreign domestic helpers is not affected by protests.