Chapter

Service

Caroline Knowles and Douglas Harper

in Hong Kong

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780226448565
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226448589 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226448589.003.0007
Service

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This chapter focuses on serving-class migrants. Maids provide a clearer case of serving-class migration than waiters. Service is deeply entangled in their lives. It defines their entry conditions and the terms of their settlement. It defines the social architecture in which they operate. In the official immigration and labor policies of the SAR government they are refereed to as “domestic helpers.” Domestic helpers in Hong Kong live within diverse social and material circumstances. The government-established income threshold required to allow households to employ foreign domestic labor is KH$15,000. Foreign domestic workers are now predominantly women migrants from the Philippines. They are also the most highly politically organized. Their popularity, from 1970, was fuelled by their ability to operate in English, as a result of a long-standing subordinate relationship with the United States.

Keywords: serving-class migrants; maids; waiters; migration; Hong Kong; domestic helpers; income; women migrants

Chapter.  6415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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