MANILA, Philippines – Racial harmony or racial discrimination? This was the question raised by Hong Kong-based British blogger-activist Tony Grundy after a textbook for primary students describes Filipinos as a domestic helper.
“In case you are wondering about your destiny in Hong Kong, a primary textbook here is to enlighten you with this fun ‘fill-in-the-blank’ tasks entitled ‘racial harmony,’” Grundy wrote in his blogsite Hongwrong.com.
A photo was posted by Grundy saying the controversial page is going viral among Filipino parents in Hong Kong and among teacher forums online. The “Racial Harmony” activity in the book published by Singaporean Educational Publishing House Ltd. is supposedly asking Primary 4 schoolers to fill in the blanks the appropriate nationality for the description given.
For the description “I am an English teacher”, the supposedly correct answer is British.
For “I have a sushi restaurant in Hong Kong”, the correct answer is Japanese.
For “Shanghai is my hometown”, the answer is Chinese.
For “I study in an international school”, the answer is Indian.
And for “I am a domestic helper in Hong Kong”, one should write Filipino.
But it seems Filipinos are not the only victims of this abject discrimination by Hong Kong towards other nationality and the ethnic minority.
In the same blog, Tom Grundy posted hours later another worksheet he obtained from another website, The Sub-Standard, and purportedly approved by the Hong Kong government. This time it was a multicultural studies activity asking students to match the given statements to the correct minority group.
For the statement “I am a refugee in Hong Kong and could barely afford food”, the answer is Bangladeshi.
For “I work unlimited hours in debt bondage”, the answer is Indonesian.
For “I get stopped and searched by police every week”, the answer is Canadian.
For “I enrich your economy”, the answer is Chinese.
For “My school is segregated from the rest of the community”, the answer is Pakistani.
And for “I am paid peanuts to clear up your crap,” the answer is Filipino.
However, the authenticity of the last post is not yet verified if it was really a government-approved worksheet for Primary 4 knowing The Sub-Standard to be a satire website.
Nevertheless, Grundy said this interesting worksheet is rapidly causing an uproar online.
Majority of Hong Kong nationals are known for discriminating other nationalities, especially Filipino women who work as maid or domestic helpers. Their resentment for Filipinos took an even deeper root after the controversial Manila shooting incident where eight of Hong Kong tourists were k****d and President Benigno Aquino III refused to apologize for years, before Mayor Joseph Estrada took the task last April.
This January, FIFA has slapped the Hong Kong Football Association with $30,000 penalty following the racial a***e by HK fans to Filipino fans during a friendly match last year. Hong Kong fans are accused of throwing plastic bottles to Philippine bench and called them “a slave nation.”
This is not also the first time Filipino women are called by a similar derogatory name. More than a decade ago, the Philippine government itself objected to a definition by a Greek dictionary of a Filipina not only as a woman from the Philippines, but also as a ‘maid’.