I'd like to know what people think about Taiwanese families hiring maids and helpers (for the young, elderly, or for general household chores) from Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, etc.
I'm asking this question because I initially thought of this is as being very wrong. In the cases I had observed - where the maids/helpers looking after children, looking after the elderly & doing chores - they sometimes seemed to be treat poorly:
- For instance everyone was sitting at a restaurant (party for kids), and the parents of one child brought a maid along. They never sat down or ate while everyone else was doing so - and this made me feel very uncomfortable.
- Another case involved going to Zhanghua, to a rural/farming home, and as we ate, the older Taiwanese guys kept cracking jokes about the maids/helpers - about them eating the local mice and rats. The other Taiwanese (mostly from wealthy families - with lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. laughed at the jokes.
- I have also seen maids/helpers working in better conditions, and "seemingly" more integrated with their employing families.
My main problem (and perhaps this is too much of a general notion) is that it seems to be a form of exploitation. I've heard Taiwanese refer to these people as being black or blacker. In English, for me personally, black is not a pejorative or offensive terms; however, the way in which some Taiwanese were using it certainly seemed to be racist. I once had a Chinese teacher who was describing how a friend divorced his Taiwanese wife, who had more classical northern Chinese features, and married a local hairdresser who was bi jiao hei, danshi hai keyi (a bit blacker/darker, but still OK). This really annoyed me, and I stopped taking classes from that guy (ages ago) - but I digress.
I've spoke with many Taiwanese about this topic, and very few of them can see my point of view. They often argue that they can "earn even more money" in Taiwan, and then go back and buy so much land, etc. Some of them mention that in the west many white nations took black slaves. My response is something along the lines of - yes, it happened in the past, and it was disgusting, racist, evil and wrong, and anyone with a shred of decency knows this. Then the conversation just ends in - don't think to much, la - lo -just like that.
I'd just like people to share their ideas - is this always a case of exploitation? Why are the helpers always from Southeast Asia and not from Taiwan?
I'm not in a position to hire a maid/helper, and even if I was - I wouldn't. I just want to know what people think.