Sundays are unique – especially in Statue Square
Statue Square is in the midst of Hong Kong’s Central District (the main financial and business district). The square was built at the end of the 19th century – and originally housed the statue of Queen Victoria amongst others. The statue has since been moved to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
On weekdays Statue Square is a busy place where people often relax during their lunch breaks or sit by the fountains. On Sundays, however, the place comes alive. Filipina domestic workers who moved to Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s, and number around 180,000, congregate in Statue Square and the areas surrounding it on Sundays to meet with friends and relatives. They have picnics and parties, they sing and dance, they buy and sell goods and generally have a good time. They catch up with each other, speak their own language and enjoy a sense of community. Two access roads to Statue Square are actually blocked off to traffic on Sundays because of this mass congregation. It has become such a Hong Kong fixture that the HongKong Tourist Association now mentions it as a tourist attraction.
Filipina migration to Hong Kong started in the ’70s, when Hong Kong was experiencing an economic boom and the Philippine economy was beginning to hit rock bottom. Housewives in Hong Kong had more opportunities to work to meet increasing economic demands – and Chinese amahs were expensive. The demand for cheap domestic workers was high. Filipinas filled this demand. As more local women were lured into industrial higher paid jobs, there was a heightened demand for English-speaking Filipinas. They came in droves, making Hong Kong the host city for close to 180,000+ maids. Most of these domestic workers are graduates – teachers and nurses who couldn’t make a decent income in the Philippines. They came to Hong Kong and sent back much needed money to their parents and younger brothers and sisters back home. They don’t have much of a life other than the work they do in posh homes across Hong Kong and Kowloon. They are very diligent workers and do everything – cleaning and cooking, washing & ironing, taking care of young children. Sunday offers them a break and Statue Square and the surrounding areas is where they can be found.
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