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Article for Discussion

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on March 16, 2012

This is a repost from

 

The Original post is available here

http://mondediplo.com/2011/10/12maids

 

Always be punctual and don’t count the work you are doing’

Filipino maids for export

Twelve percent of the Philippines’ GDP comes as remittances from nationals abroad. Many of those are maids, sent all over the world into domestic service to support their children back home. The Philippines government is even training them in servitude

by Julien Brygo

Béatrice, a Franco-Belgian expatriate, lives in the gated community of Stanley Knoll, named after the explorer Henry Morton Stanley, in a house that overlooks Hong Kong Bay. She, her French husband Paul, a senior executive with a French bank, and their four children have lived here, half an hour from the heart of “the most free economy in the world” (1), since 2005. She does not have a job, but does humanitarian work for a French NGO, swims in Stanley Bay and plays tennis. They need a maid to help with their house and children. “Lennie is so devoted,” says Béatrice. Leonora Santos Torres looks after the children, cooks and cleans. She is one of the 290,600 foreign maids currently working in Hong Kong. Like most of them, she lives in a room measuring less than five square metres, on call day and night.

Béatrice has not set foot in a supermarket for four years, and says she feels “liberated” by not having to do domestic tasks. She is still surprised when the maid dries her swimsuit as soon as she returns from the beach. Béatrice and Paul pay Leonora $650 a month to be available 24 hours a day, six days a week, a quarter of the cost of such help in France. “It’s $144 more than the minimum wage for maids in Hong Kong, based on at least 10 hours’ work a day,” said Béatrice. They add $80 a month for food, because Paul does not want Leonora helping herself from the fridge. “That’s the law in Hong Kong,” said Béatrice (2). “$650 is a good salary. Some expat families pay $860-$1,000 a month. They’re spoiling the market for the rest of us.”

 

Leonora, 47, is from the northern Philippines province of Luzon, and has a diploma in telegram transcription. She left three of her five children in the village of Calatagan in 1999 to work in Hong Kong to support her family. “Every month I send four-fifths of my salary, minus the Western Union transfer charge [$3.5 per transaction], to pay my three children’s university fees. Education in the Philippines is so expensive we have to make sacrifices.” “Sacrifice” is a word you hear again and again when talking to Filipino maids. “We are usually not free to come and go in our employers’ homes, the food is rarely enough and we have to be completely dedicated to the family. Many of my compatriots live in terrible conditions,” said Leonora. They may be verbally or physically abused, subjected to their employers’ whims, underpaid and exploited. According to the Hong Kong Labour Department, 10% of domestic workers lodge complaints against their employers every year for non-payment of wages, infringement of contract, ill treatment or sexual harassment (25,000 complaints a year). Leonora was badly treated by a Hong Kong family (“They wanted me to give up my day off”) before she walked out after six months, then by a Chinese family she was with for six years, where the grandmother used to beat and insult her. Her current employers are good to her, she said. Many domestic workers don’t dare complain because they only get 14 days to find a new placement, or leave Hong Kong once a contract has terminated.

’Give thanks to the Lord’

 

“ It’s in their genes,” said Béatrice, explaining her employee’s devotion. “Filipino women are very good with people. It’s in their culture to be devoted. And they love children. That’s what they enjoy doing, because their lives are not much fun. What keeps Lennie going is her involvement in the parish.” Like many Filipinos, Leonora is a devoted Christian, who “draws strength from her relationship with the Lord”. Her moral code fits in well with her employers’ rules: “I listen to the Lord, who does not distinguish between rich and poor.” In her little room she has a computer connected to Skype, Facebook and Yahoo!, a baby monitor, and photographs of her own children. A large picture has pride of place above the computer, with the words: “Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever.”

 

Every year more than 100,000 Filipinos go abroad to work in the service industry. President Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86) started exporting manpower in 1974, when the economy was derelict, and he saw an opportunity in the rapid development of the Gulf states after the 1973 oil crisis. In 1974 35,000 Filipinos found jobs abroad. It was meant to be temporary, but 35 years later this trickle has turned into a flood, involving more than 8.5 million Filipinos, mostly women — just under 10% of the population and 22% of the working age population. According to the World Bank, foreign workers contributed 12% of the Philippines’ GDP in 2010 with $21.3bn in remittances (3). This is the fourth highest number of foreign remittances after China, India and Mexico.

 

Most of the permanent and temporary diaspora (of whom a quarter are illegal) are in the US, Canada and the Middle East. A million are in Saudi Arabia, even though it announced a ban on Filipino and Indonesian maids last July. Gloria Arroyo, the former Philippines president (2001-10), described them as “modern heroes”. In 2006 (after Israel’s bombing of Lebanon, where 30,000 Filipino workers lived) she launched the “supermaid” programme (4). She wanted to train domestic servants “in the language of their employers” and educate them, through a national diploma, in the use of household appliances and first aid. The aim was to do away with agency fees, ensure that every maid earned at least $400, and reduce the structural violence (economic as well as physical) affecting women. Five years later there are training colleges all over the country, but the promise of basic rights for Filipino overseas workers has proven empty.

 

Welcome to Little Hong Kong

 

“”Welcome to Little Hong Kong,” said Michelle Ventenilla, one of four teachers at Abest, one of the Philippines’s 364 registered private training centres for domestic servants, in Manila. The small brick villa resembles a typical upper middle class home in Hong Kong, with a saloon car, an aquarium with rare fish, western-style bathrooms and bedrooms with pink curtains and bright green walls. Since 2007 Abest has “exported” 1,500 domestic workers to Hong Kong, which is only two hours away by plane. The school’s fees are $212, and it is linked to a recruitment agency.

 

It was the day of the final exam, and candidate number five, a frail-looking woman, sweated as she carried a porcelain tureen in both hands to the table, and then mimed serving a bowl of soup. Lea Talabis, 41, was one of around 100,000 candidates per year to take the National Certificate II exam, after 216 hours of training. The inspector from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Rommel Ventenilla (5), watched the candidate as she performed the table service test. Talabis, a former primary school teacher who became a maid to support her family, approached her fictitious boss and asked: “Would you like some soup, sir?” Ventenilla nodded his head and grunted. Talabis hesitated — after serving him from the left, should she take the tureen back to the kitchen, or leave it for him to help himself? Confused, she lowered her eyes and put the tureen down on the sideboard.

 

The examiner gave her a second chance with the question and answer part of the test. Indicating the table, laid out for a typical middle class Hong Kong family with three placemats, fish and meat knives, and glasses, he asked: “How much water do you pour into the glass?” Talabis moved to his right hand side carrying a carafe, and filled his glass three-quarters full. Ventenilla validated the test and Talabis went back to the kitchen. The final part of the exam could include making the bed, washing the floor, cleaning the aquarium, ironing clothes or washing the car.

 

“The final mark is made up of 20% skill, 20% theory and 60% behaviour,” said Ventenilla, indicating that future maids are tested less on their medical, housekeeping or cooking abilities than on their capacity to obey the rules. “We don’t use the term maid any more,” said Susan de la Rama, head of the programme. “We now say ‘domestic helper’. We don’t want the Philippines to be labelled a country that exports maids, as it was a few years ago.” The second definition of a Filipino woman in the 2005 Merriam-Webster dictionary is “maid”. This angered the Filipino government, prompting it to professionalise the industry.

 

“Many employers are looking for domestic workers who are polite, respectful, patient and quiet. Here we try to get them used to the excitable temperament of Hong Kong employers. You have to be patient, and work from the heart,” said Michelle Ventenilla, delivering a key point of the super maid programme. Above the aquarium (symbol of social success within Asian families) is written the college slogan: “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. On the classroom wall, a poster distinguishes winners (those who “look for solutions” and say to their bosses “let me do it for you”) from losers (those who “look for someone to blame” and “always have an excuse” for not doing what they are asked). The Code of Discipline stipulates: “DO NOT ARGUE with your employer”; “Do not talk to other maids”; “Do not show a temper or long face when scolded by your employer”; “Contact your agency whenever you have problems and don’t rely on your friends”.

 

A factory for workers

 

There is no chance of socialism here: no union, no strikes, no political meetings, no questioning the basis of servitude. “Always be punctual”, says chapter six of the manual, while the “Things Not To Do” section lists “Don’t count the work you are doing”.

 

“These schools are a disgrace to our country,” said Garry Martinez, chair of the NGO Migrante International in Manila. “Every day the bodies of six to ten Filipinos who have died working overseas are repatriated. The Philippines has become a factory producing workers.”

 

Ten years ago Talabis worked as a maid with a middle-class family in Hong Kong, but she came back “to bring [her] skills up to standard”, and to get National Certificate II, which allows her to work overseas legally. She had resolved to go abroad again, leaving her fisherman husband and two children. “I’m doing it for them. In Hong Kong I would earn twice what I earn here as a teacher.” She acknowledged that the college taught her to obey and submit to the boss’s rules, but it didn’t surprise her: “It’s to make sure we complete our contracts, because we get into debt to become maids.”

 

She had to use her savings to pay the agency fee of $1,839, the equivalent of six months of her salary as a teacher. “I paid cash and got no receipt. The agency is approved by the department for Filipinos working abroad, but they were clear — take it or leave it. I had to pay the fee if I wanted to work in Hong Kong.” She hoped her husband and children would join her later. Her eventual aim was to go to Europe, like 10% of her fellow expatriates (6). “I don’t want to be a maid all my life,” she said. Three weeks later, after she had arrived in Hong Kong, she said she was delighted because her employers told her to think of them as her second family. But the best thing was that the house had Wifi: “Every evening I can use the web cam to talk to my children and husband. For the moment I’m very happy.”

 

Joseph Law, 65, opened the door to his 13th floor apartment on Elegant Terrace, a building with caretakers and a swimming pool in Mid-Levels, a fashionable part of Hong Kong. “Elena!” he shouted to the maid. “Julien is a French journalist. He’s writing an article about the daily life of Filipino maids in Hong Kong. Go and make us some tea with milk.” Joseph showed me his shirt: “I like them well ironed, with a crease down the middle.” He flopped on to his leather sofa: “Do I like being waited on? That’s a good question. I admit I have always preferred being waited on than doing things myself. I’ve been hiring foreign maids for the last 35 years, and my favourite by far are the Filipinos. They speak better English, are less risky than the others and are generally much more devoted to their job.” His apartment and his appearance are impeccable, thanks to Elena’s hard graft. “I pay her the legal minimum: HK$3,580 [US$459]” (7), said Law, former assistant manager of the Hong Kong fire brigade, now chairman of the official Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, the enemy of the six maids’ unions in Hong Kong.

 

Elena Meredores is 51, has an 18-year old daughter in the Philippines, and has been a maid for more than 16 years. She entered the room wearing cropped trousers and a t-shirt wet from doing the washing up, and put a tray with two cups and a teapot on the table in front of her boss. After acknowledging a complaint from Law (“Next time I have guests, bring a bigger tray”), she perched on the edge of the sofa. “Why are salaries so low?” Law continued. “It’s because Filipinos like Elena have no qualifications and low skills. Isn’t that right Elena? No qualifications.” She lowered her eyes and agreed: “That’s right, sir.”

 

Doctors, teachers, graduates

 

Sensing that she felt obliged to agree with him, Law told Meredores to speak “freely”. She laughed, then said: “No sir, you can’t explain our low salaries by saying we are under-qualified or have few skills. Many of my fellow maids are doctors, teachers, university graduates, but they are obliged to become maids to support their families. And the government has created training centres to train them.” Law dismissed these schools (“They are the biggest joke, and the biggest source of dispute between employers and employees”) and asked: “Elena, I think 50% of foreign maids in Hong Kong enjoy a peaceful and harmonious relationship with their employers, like you and myself do. Don’t you agree?” “I would say 15% sir,” she replied. “No, come on, 15%?” said Law, irritated; “Be fair, Elena.” “Many employers claim to have a good relationship, but it’s a lie. They say that just to show off. Not like you, Mr Law.” He interrupted her: “Hong Kong is paradise for foreign maids. Paradise!”

 

When I drew a comparison between his monthly income of more than $14,000, and his maid’s salary, he got angry. “Hong Kong is their dream location. They get an employment contract, a minimum wage, and on top of that they get room and board, plane tickets, health insurance and long-service payment after five years. The whole package costs employers an average HK$5,500 [$705] a month. That’s a lot of money.” He conceded that most employers were upper class, but he said giving small gifts helped to even things out: “Every year I give her presents. At New Year, Chinese New Year…isn’t that right, Elena?” Meredores recalled getting a brown envelope at New Year, containing almost $60.

 

At the end of 2010 the Philippines’ government announced that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) would have to pay HK$200 ($25) insurance, and it intends to introduce a minimum wage of $400 for its 10 million overseas workers. It’s a proposal that angers Law: “I warn the Philippines and Indonesia: if they carry on adopting such stupid policies, and demanding higher salaries, I will call for the embargo on Chinese maids to be lifted” (8). He has cause to be nervous: both the Philippines and Indonesia — who are the most aggressive defenders of overseas domestic workers — announced in June 2011 they intended to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s convention on decent working conditions for maids. “We employers are strongly opposed to this convention, because it is impossible to count hours in this kind of work,” said Law.

 

Early next Sunday morning, Meredores went to the Catholic church. “I’m going to pray for my family, and also for Law’s family. You mustn’t be selfish in your faith.” Afterwards she went to the big weekly gathering of Filipino maids in the financial district, where Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has its headquarters, between the Bank of China and Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery. Tens of thousands of maids like Meredores meet at the foot of this steel and glass skyscraper every Sunday. “We meet here because we have nowhere else to go on our day off. All week we are alone, cleaning their apartments, then once a week, we can free ourselves of our employers. That gives us our dignity,” she said.

 

That week a fashion parade had been organised by the federation of Filipinos from Benguet province in the northern Philippines to celebrate Mothers Day. The theme was “women as daughters, wives and mothers”. This promotion of women in stereotyped gender roles has led millions to become domestic servants. Filipino women in their 40s and 50s — nurses, housemaids — paraded across the podium, opposite Bank of America, hoping to win titles such as “most beautiful secretary”. Fifty metres away, thousands of maids waved their Western Union flags: the company that handled most of the $21bn sent in remittances in 2010 had organised a concert of Filipino singing stars for the Fiesta at Saya festival.

Two bronze lions flank the HSBC tower, representing the bank’s founders AG Stephen and GH Stitt. The lion on the right, Stitt, has a serious expression, while the other one, Stephen, seems to be roaring with pleasure. Over the years it has become a favourite meeting place for expatriate Filipinos. “I like having my photo taken in front of the laughing lion, because it represents our hard work,” said Gorgogna, who is a maid on a low salary, after 22 years in the country. The lion, symbol of employers and their wealth, has eaten well, and looks up towards the top of the HSBC tower, while at the bottom, thousands of domestic servants savour their day off. “To the Chinese, the lion symbolises money,” said Gorgogna. “If it weren’t for us, it wouldn’t be so well fed.”

Julien Brygo is a journalist

(1) The Index of Economic Freedom measures 10 criteria (business, trade and fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary, investment and financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, labour freedom) in 183 countries. In 2011 Hong Kong was rated number one.

 

(2) In fact, employers who do not feed their maids are required to pay them a food allowance of $96.

 

(3) “Remittances to PH ranked 4th biggest in world”, OFM Ngayon, 11 November 2010.

 

(4) “Housemaids to Supermaids soon!”, OFMGuide, 24 August 2006.

 

(5) No relation to Michelle Ventenilla.

 

(6) In 2009, 41.7% of the 8,579,378 Filipinos abroad worked in America (33.5% in the US, 7.4% in Canada), 28.2% in the Middle East (13.5% in Saudi Arabia, 7.1% in United Arab Emirates), 12.5% in Asia and 8.4% in Europe. Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

 

(7) The minimum wage was frozen at HK$3,580 ($459) between 2009 and 2011, but was raised in June 2011 to $3,740 ($480); it is still below the 1999 figure of HK$3,860 ($495) (pre-financial crash value).

 

(8) The British authorities in Hong Kong declared an embargo on Chinese domestic workers in the 1970s.

 

 

Question/Points  for Discussion

How should we evaluate the position of people who move from one society to the other, just like the maids in the example?

What can best explain to us this type of stratification, Weberian or Marxian perspective?

 

You may also add your own question and points for discussion.   (Commenting will be accepted until March 24)

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22 Responses to “Article for Discussion”

  1. Jenny Rose Serfino said

    Both Marx and Weber contributed to sociology in many ways. An important contribution is their different approaches to social class and inequality. Max Weber saw classes based upon three factors: power, wealth and prestige. On the other hand, Karl Marx saw classes as defined by people’s relationship to the means of production, whether they themselves own productive property or, like in the cases above, labour for others. Knowing the line differentiating both, I believe the best perspective that can explain the aforementioned stratification is that of Marx. In the article(s), there are many diverse conflict always between the employers and the domestic helpers–not paying wages, not enough food allowance as required by the gov’t, getting rid of day off, sexual/verbal harassment, and many more. The domestic helpers, of course, are helpless because they depend much solely on what their employers will pay them or according to Marx, they think they can count on their capitalist bosses to do what was best for them. Other than these, they are also faced with the limitations of the law like only getting 14 days to find a new placement, otherwise leaving Hong Kong once a contract has terminated…leaving them with almost no choice at all. Furthermore, there is this relationship, which is also a Marxian view, between the employers and their helpers wherein the employer must be treated with much respect that at some point, one would have to swallow her pride to maintain a peaceful connection and to be able to keep the job. Plus, unlike what Weber had said, the stratification above does not regard one’s prestige to identify what class she really is. What makes me say this is that even people with good careers, such as doctors, teachers and graduates from universities, give up what they have and are now maids just to support their families. The employers of this once priviledged people do not mind anymore what potential, mental ability and skill their maid has or what academic award of whatsoever their maid has achieved. The point here is that they are the big bosses now. They have the right to order them (D.H.) around because they are the ones who pay them and are the people who hold the key to their worker’s family’s so-called future.

  2. Jonnierene P. Placio said

    I think we should evaluate the position of those people who moved from one society to the other through the weight of their needs financially. Like for example, Filipinos who worked outside the country will likely to have different reasons on working on that certain country. Moreover, when they already interact or spend their days and nights with their employers, difference will be observed. Like for instance, there are maids that even though they were treated like animals by their employers, still they worked for them. They still linger on their minds the word “sacrifice” even they were treated as “trash”. People enduring this kind of pains and sufferings are more likely need great amount of salary to sustain the needs of the families they have left in their respective native land. On the other hand, there are maids who have the courage to fight and argue with their employers if they think their employer’s deeds is immoral. Usually, this people achieve higher degree of education that they can stand for their own rights. I’m not saying that people who don’t even graduated in college cannot speak out their feelings and cannot stand for what is right. My point is that people that achieved high degree of education such as doctors, teachers, nurse who were forced to work as maids have less difficulty in searching for as new job in case their employers would fired them or they themselves will voluntarily get out of their jobs. If we compare their situation to those people who don’t even reach first year college, a large different is visible. This people will have the greater difficulty in searching for a new job, thus if they find a new one the salary they will get is not surely as high as the the salary they get from the job they had before. The worst part of it was that they were likely to have no stable job at all.

    This type of stratification I think can be best explain by Marxian perspective. This perspective of Marx states that classes are based on the relationship to the means of production meaning when you have lots of money you can even dominate other people. Because employers are the one who hired and paid for the monthly salary of their maids, they uses their wealth to abandoned those people who were then
    considered by them as “slaves”. The wealth they have become the greatest factor why they have the power to control those people serving them in a harsh ways. This employers treated their homes as their palace in where they are the king and queen. Those maids were then their pity slaves and followers.

  3. Catherine C. Borreros said

    Filipino maids for export: Béatrice and her family is said to be the dominant party here. Wherein Leonora Santos Torres, a Filipino overseas worker is the one working available for 24 hours a day and six days a week for them, but got exact payment at the end of the month. She was provided with everything to provide the needs of her family back home. I guess, this falls under Weberian perspective. Béatrice who has the means of production, do not treat Leonora Santos Torres as an inferior person than her, because she find Lennie as a devoted person and without her, the family would not live as convenient life than they are experiencing with Lennie’s service. I guess, there is an equal treatment between the two parties because each party stands for an important role.

  4. Nina Ruth C. Martirez said

    We know that we are constantly subjected to change in society and what we do to survive these changes in society is that we adapt. We modify our lifestyles to match the changes in the society. For example, a preschool teacher (In the example) becomes a maid in Hong Kong because the daily wage provided by her employers in the Philippines might not be sufficient enough to support her family. Let’s face it; the economy of the Philippines isn’t getting any better. They raise prices of goods without even increasing the daily wages. It definitely isn’t a win-win situation; consumers have the shorter end of the stick. I guess maids take these kinds of jobs in other societies because other societies offer more chances of survival like better wages.

    Marx defined the stratification of classes through an individual’s mean of production. Does the individual own productive property or does the person work for another individual? I believe that the Marxian perspective for stratification is the best way to explain the employer-maid relationship. As exhibited in the examples above, Filipino women go abroad to be employed by wealthy foreigners just because they need the money to help their families. They allow themselves to be the subjects of slavery because they have no other choice, foreign societies offer better wages and it is the only way their families can survive the harsh economy in the Philippines.

  5. John Carlo C. Go said

    As we can see , those people who moved from society to society , just like the maids in the article ,comes from a very poor society whose wages offered upon them was not enough to sustain their daily lives , to support their children and family and to do something for themselves . They do not feel the sense of security in the community where they are living , since this communities are very poor . And so in order to have a more stable and a much more higher income , those maids took the risk of going abroad to work as domestic helpers , in spite of all the issues of abuse , sexual harassment , and ill treatments by the employers . But some of them end up being lucky and some end up in a bad luck . Some maids were being abused and were deprived of their rights but some got very high privileges to work in a very wealthy and good employer.
    This stratification can be best explained by the Marxian perspective. In the article , it is explicitly stated there the inequality between the employer and the maids . The employers have the relationship to the means of production in a way that they either own the productive property or labor for other . We can see there that the employers are the ones who give labor to the maids , they give salary to the maids , they control the wages for the maids , they even control the lives of these maids and make it a very miserable life . The maids are just the workers , they do not own the means of production , they just depend upon the mercy of their employers and they only follow them . In the article it is like in the industrial class system . the capitalist or the bourgeoisie controls factories which use the labor of workers ( the proletariat) . In the article it is very obvious that the inequality in wealth and power is existing. That’s why we can consider this stratification in a Marxian perspective.

  6. Mary Athea R. Hilario said

    In previous discussion, we learned the different perspective of stratification from Marx and Weber. In this particular example, it is more likely under the Marxian viewpoint since he believes that the one who is the source of production is wealthier compared to those who work for him. The maids, domestic helper or even they are called the modern heroes today of our country, they still work for other people which is the salary is fixed. It does mean that even they received a good salary and treated equally, it is still up to the employer’s choice how to deal with their employees.
    That is why for me, we can evaluate the maids by how the society, under to their own perspective, look into them as workers. For instance, Filipino people see them as heroes but for others, especially in foreign countries, they are just maids.

  7. Catherine C. Borreros said

    “DO NOT ARGUE with your employer”; “Do not talk to other maids”; “Do not show a temper or long face when scolded by your employer”; “Contact your agency whenever you have problems and don’t rely on your friends”, as I read these phrases, I came to think that stratification/inequality really exists. Not just on our own country, but our countrymen being trapped in other countries, especially in Hong Kong that most of our fellows working as DHs. In some aspects, if they only have choice, they would not leave their family back home for the sake of money, but because of the financial arrangement calling in the Philippines, they would sacrifice for better future. In the articles above, as a whole, it showed Marxian perspective wherein there is someone who is called to be the dominant that has the source of production or has the means of manufacture. The inferior one’s have certain standards to meet in order for them to be recognized as “devoted” person. Those who own the power/capitalist don’t value anyone whether they will hurt the feelings or not, as long as they known from themselves that they have the control of the life and future of the workers. In their hands lies the opportunity for the family who are waiting for salaries every end of the month. On the other hand, Weberian perspectives can also be applied in some cases in the articles. Just like what I’ve mentioned earlier, in the case of Béatrice and Leonora Santos Torres. They value each role in the society for they consider each of them as an important individual in the accomplishments of their everyday lives. Exact and equal amount of pay every end of the month, provided with internet connection to keep in touch with the family.
    Evaluating the position of people moving from one society to the other can be best explained in the re-socialization process which involves the breaking of past and internalization of a radically different norm. The maids cope up with the standards of the society to please certain people. They must adapt on how they look on things to avoid misunderstanding. And also, anticipatory socialization can be applied. The maids anticipate their role in the working area. They put into account working correctly and as much as possible, precisely.

  8. Joanna Mari N. Perez said

    Being financially unstable is one of the reasons why people moved from society to society, just like maids in the above article. They come from very poor society which offered less opportunity of having a stable job and high income to sustain their everyday living, to support their children to school, to give the needs of their family and also for themselves. This kind of situation forced them to go abroad as domestic helper, leave their respective families just to have a job that offers higher income to support their need. However, those maids took the risk of going abroad, inspite of all issues of abuses, and animal like treatment of some employers. Sometimes, of all maids going to abroad, one of them may become lucky and some are not. On the other hand, there are some domestic helpers who fight for their right when their employers abused them.
    This kind of stratification can be best explain by Marxian perspective. Marx states that the basis of classes are through the relationship to mean s of production which means when you are rich you have the power to rule other people and you can control everything even life of a certain individual. Like in the case of maids, their employers pay who hired them, pay for their services however sometimes salaries were not given on time. In this kind of situation, we can see how wealth give the power of controlling people and make them “slaves”. Marxian perspective really defines this kind of stratification.

  9. Jeremy Anne K. Lucero said

    This situation can be best explained in the MARXIAN PERSPECTIVE where social class depends on the means of production. Since the Philippines couldn’t offer much benefits to their people especially those at a lower position in the society, people tend to sacrifice themselves in working abroad where great opportunities awaits them. This can be seen in the case of our DHs Leonora, Talabis, and Elena who were challenged to go abroad for the sake of supporting their families because they personally believe that they could earn in Hongkong as twice as much as working back home.
    As we all know, Hongkong is a very well developed and progressive country compared to the Philippines. With their advanced economy, they have lots of jobs to offer. Thus, this affects the movement from one society to another wherein people go to places where they could earn much money. This can be seen in mostly in our domestic helpers who chose to render their service to other nation.
    As to how the position of Filipinos change from one society to another, so does the economy and name of the country changes. This was shown in the issue of the Merriam-Webster definition of us Filipino women. Filipinas are being degraded since it is what other countries know about us-being maids for sale-due to the increase number of domestic helpers working overseas per year. This illustrates a real and unjust INEQUALITY not just among domestic helpers, but also our whole Filipino nation. Another is the position of the government in supporting our fellows. Filipino domestic helpers go abroad mainly to earn money but most of them do not know that they mostly contribute to the development of our economy. I say that the government shouldn’t just give training for Filipino maids in order to earn the certificate or title of being “domestic helpers” , if for others it only means the same thing. They only think of their personal interests that they get among these OFWs. In a way there is no seen action from the government. They should value our DHs more.
    In conclusion, the country’s progress is mainly the reason why people especially domestic helpers go abroad. They are somewhat “nomads” in which they move where there are bigger opportunities for them. But working abroad isn’t just about earning money for one’s sake, it is also sacrificing for the state’s economy and progress. :D`

  10. Trinidad Agui said

    Every human being needs basic needs like food,water,shelter and especially money nowadays. In the past, people move from one place to another ,in order to survive. So wherever there is water or other resources around ,there are villages nearby. People transfer from one place to another to satisfy their needs or else they will die if they just stand or stay in a place where there’s no presence of food and other basic needs. Leaving a society which seems to have no hope for survival and transferring to a society which offers a better way for the attainment of an individual and his family’s basic necessities ,wants and needs seems to be the only choice for the individuals who think they’ve got nothing else to choose from. The filipinos serving as foreigns maids today may have the same sentiment to the people in the past. They’ve got nothing else to choose from. In order to support their family and themselves they’ve got to do something . if we were in their place,we also can’t just stand still and see how our own family members suffer and may die due to poverity and insufficiency ,right?

    The type of stratification that can best explain this kind of strafication is the marxian perspective. According to Marx, the people considered to be on top of the stratification are those who control the resources and own the means of production.Most of the filipinos don’t own the means of production,therefore they got nothing else to do but to follow and comply to what the people of higher class /rank wants them to do.If they don’t, they won’t have a salary,no money and can’t buy the things that he and his family needs in order to survive.

  11. Every human being needs basic needs like food,water,shelter and especially money nowadays. In the past, people move from one place to another ,in order to survive. So wherever there is water or other resources around ,there are villages nearby. People transfer from one place to another to satisfy their needs or else they will die if they just stand or stay in a place where there’s no presence of food and other basic needs. Leaving a society which seems to have no hope for survival and transferring to a society which offers a better way for the attainment of an individual and his family’s basic necessities ,wants and needs seems to be the only choice for the individuals who think they’ve got nothing else to choose from. The filipinos serving as foreigns maids today may have the same sentiment to the people in the past. They’ve got nothing else to choose from. In order to support their family and themselves they’ve got to do something . if we were in their place,we also can’t just stand still and see how our own family members suffer and may die due to poverity and insufficiency ,right?
    The type of stratification that can best explain this kind of stratification is the marxian perspective. According to Marx, the people considered to be on top of the stratification are those who control the resources and own the means of production.Most of the filipinos don’t own the means of production,therefore they got nothing else to do but to follow and comply to what the people of higher class /rank wants them to do.If they don’t, they won’t have a salary,no money and can’t buy the things that he and his family needs in order to survive.

  12. Angeleca A. Sumogod said said

    The concept of Social Stratification is interpreted differently by the various theoretical perspective of Sociology. Proponents of action theory have suggested that since social Stratification is commonly found in developed societies, hierarchy maybe necessary in order to stabilize social structure. Karl Marx in his Marxist Theory asserted that capitalist mode of production consists of two main economic parts: the structure and superstructure. Marx saw classes as defined by people’s relationship to the mode of production either they own productive property or labor for others. Another Sociological Theory is that of Max Weber (Weberian Theory) which saw classes as defined by three factors: POWER, WEALTH AND PRESTIGE.
    This stratification can be best explained by the Marxian perspective since we can obviously notice that there is an inequality between the employers and the workers. In the article it was stated that the employers must be deal with much respect that one must deprive even her personal pride to be able to keep their job and the harmonious relationship towards their employers. In this case, I think injustice exist. We can see that the employers does not pay wages, give insufficient allowance for food and the very worst scenario were the sexual and verbal harassment that their boss does unto them. In short, the employers control the lives of maids; they don’t even care for they were thinking that those Filipino domestic helpers really need money in order for them to sustain their family needs. These domestic helpers allow themselves to be abandoned by their employers because they are destitute and have no choice; this is the only way their family can live on. See, that’s how powerful wealth is!
    This behavior exhibited by the employers can be seen in the capitalist system, were the ruling class own the means of production, which essentially includes the working class itself as they only have their own labor power (wage labor) to offer in order to survive.
    I think we must know first why this people change their status from one society to another in order of us to evaluate them. Filipino was very affectionate and understanding. They were very much aware of the people around them, especially their beloved (eg. family). Moreover they were willing to sacrifice their own self just for the sake of other people. This people were come from meager society who has less opportunity of having high earnings to sustain their everyday living, to support the financial needs of their children in school and as well as their family as a whole. As we can see in our culture, those who are unemployed were very dependent to their relatives with occupation. This way of thinking according to social science is UTILITARIAN-where it is stated that people prioritize the betterment of majority rather than for their own selves. Like in the case of the maids, even though their employers treated them as slaves and they suffered from various harassments, they continue to work, persevere, and writhed to uplift their family status.
    “People adapt in order to survive”. For instance, those professionals who prefer to be a maid in Hong Kong might think that their salary in the Philippines were not sufficient to support their family. Let’s examine the Philippine economy: too expensive goods and services, frequent rise of oil and petroleum gas, and low wages. Perhaps, these teachers (in the article) were thinking that if they will still persist in this type of society there is less probability for them to survive so they took the risk of going abroad to work as domestic helpers.

  13. Jeremy Anne K. Lucero said

    This situation can be best explained in the MARXIAN PERSPECTIVE where social class depends on the means of production. Since the Philippines couldn’t offer much benefits to their people especially those at a lower position in the society, people tend to sacrifice themselves in working abroad where great opportunities awaits them. This can be seen in the case of our DHs Leonora, Talabis, and Elena who were challenged to go abroad for the sake of supporting their families because they personally believe that they could earn in Hongkong as twice as much as working back home.
    As we all know, Hongkong is a very well developed and progressive country compared to the Philippines. With their advanced economy, they have lots of jobs to offer. Thus, this affects the movement from one society to another wherein people go to places where they could earn much money. This can be seen in mostly in our domestic helpers who chose to render their service to other nation.
    As to how the position of Filipinos change from one society to another, so does the economy and name of the country changes. This was shown in the issue of the Merriam-Webster definition of us Filipino women. Filipinas are being degraded since it is what other countries know about us-being maids for sale-due to the increase number of domestic helpers working overseas per year. This illustrates a real and unjust INEQUALITY not just among domestic helpers, but also our whole Filipino nation. Another is the position of the government in supporting our fellows. Filipino domestic helpers go abroad mainly to earn money but most of them do not know that they mostly contribute to the development of our economy. I say that the government shouldn’t just give training for Filipino maids in order to earn the certificate or title of being “domestic helpers” , if for others it only means the same thing. They only think of their personal interests that they get among these OFWs. In a way there is no seen action from the government. They should value our DHs more.
    In conclusion, the country’s progress is mainly the reason why people especially domestic helpers go abroad. They are somewhat “nomads” in which they move where there are bigger opportunities for them. But working abroad isn’t just about earning money for one’s sake, it is also sacrificing for the state’s economy and progress.

  14. Christian P. Cordero said

    Job opportunities with high salary is what I think as one of the main causes why people move from one society to another. Just like in our country, pinoy’s would dare to go abroad just to have higher salaries that our country can’t provide. With this, they can sustain the needs of their children and their family in the future. In the article, filipino maids can’t expect that their salary is given on time and with that, I relate to Marx view of stratification wherein the one that holds the power and the wealth dictates the tempo of giving the salary to the workers(maids). Meaning the employers have the this kind of power but despite of this kind of problem they(maids) face they still continue their job hoping for their employers to give them the share that they wanted and that is to earn for their family here in the Philippines.
    So I think, Marx’s perspective of stratification best describes this kind of situation in the article.

  15. Charaine H. Mendoza said

    We can evaluate the position of people who move from one society to the other, just like the maids in the example though their hope and dreams for their family to be financially stable. They sacrifice for their family just to give them good future. They work hard abroad in spite of the many obstacles they encountered along their way. They find the courage and determination to work in favour to their families’ way back home. Some Filipino maidservants are excelling in this kind of business abroad. In fact, they are admired by their foreign employers because of the quality of service that they render coupled with honesty, loyalty, and sincere dedication to duty. But other is not that really fortunate, they experience brutality and humiliation. Filipino maids became insensitive with their feelings when it comes to oppression by their own employers. Some have college diploma but forced to work abroad as maids to have higher wages even it means self degradation. They must follow everything what their employers says or else they will suffer the consequences. Filipinos are known to be “palaban” but when it comes with the family, “the words surrender and sacrifice” are very common. In addition, Filipinos abroad plays a vital role in economic development of the Philippines, they remitted billion of dollars to the Philippines every year. They worked abroad alone not just for their self but for their family. Thus, they are truly the heroes of the present generation.

    This stratification best explain to us the Marxian perspective because it shows people’s relationship to the means of productions in two basic ways: either they own productive property or labour for others. It shows that the ruling class uses tradition and institutions, as well its economic power, to reinforce its domination over the working class. In the capitalist system, the ruling classes own the means of production, which essentially includes the working class itself as they only, have their own labour power to offer in order to survive just like the employer and maidservant relationships.

  16. Inna Erika E. Medina said

    Today, OFWs have been labelled as our modern heroes. They are the people who chose to work abroad and earn more money in order to support their families. This move became a great sacrifice for their part for they did not only leave Philippines, but at the same time, they left their families, children, friends, the society where they grew up and most especially, they left home. If we try to put ourselves in their shoes, what they are experiencing is indeed a whole lot of obstacle. In order to earn, they need to adapt to a very foreign society; they need to fit in with new kind of people, adjust to different environment and the worst, they need to fight loneliness all by themselves. The article clearly describes the difficulties of those maids who worked abroad for a better living. If they are fortunate enough to have kind employers, the only problem they need to deal with is homesickness and a little problem in adaptation, however, for those maids who were less fortunate and was employed to serve cruel people, the cross laid on them is heavier. Those people need to adapt to a new environment, new culture while bearing their employee’s physical and verbal tortures. If we try to evaluate this kind of stratification, I think it is best explained through a Marxian Perspective. As we know, Marx believed that a society has two classes, it is either the ruling class known as Bourgeoisie or the lower class known as Proletariat and as we can observe, the situation of our fellowmen is much more horrible because people who employs them sometimes labelled them as “no qualifications” or “no skills”. In the society where our countrymen got involved, they are to be considered as the Proletariat; people who owns nothing but sells their labor for a living. It is indeed a very unfortunate situation they got into but they do not have enough power to disagree with it. Even though they were abused physically or verbally, they could not remove the fact that in order to survive they must still rely on those Bourgeoisies. It is a pity that our modern heroes need to face these kinds of obstacles. But if we look at the brighter side of things, we must be very proud of them, because they are the one who proves that Filipino is a race of brave people; we never give up even though we are thrown in a completely foreign society and that we indeed are people of great strength and courage.

  17. Angeleca Sumogod said said

    The concept of Social Stratification is interpreted differently by the various theoretical perspective of Sociology. Proponents of action theory have suggested that since social Stratification is commonly found in developed societies, hierarchy maybe necessary in order to stabilize social structure. Karl Marx in his Marxist Theory asserted that capitalist mode of production consists of two main economic parts: the structure and superstructure. Marx saw classes as defined by people’s relationship to the mode of production either they own productive property or labor for others. Another Sociological Theory is that of Max Weber (Weberian Theory) which saw classes as defined by three factors: POWER, WEALTH AND PRESTIGE.
    This stratification can be best explained by the Marxian perspective since we can obviously notice that there is an inequality between the employers and the workers. In the article it was stated that the employers must be deal with much respect that one must deprive even her personal pride to be able to keep their job and the harmonious relationship towards their employers. In this case, I think injustice exist. We can see that the employers does not pay wages, give insufficient allowance for food and the very worst scenario were the sexual and verbal harassment that their boss does unto them. In short, the employers control the lives of maids; they don’t even care for they were thinking that those Filipino domestic helpers really need money in order for them to sustain their family needs. These domestic helpers allow themselves to be abandoned by their employers because they are destitute and have no choice; this is the only way their family can live on. See, that’s how powerful wealth is!
    This behavior exhibited by the employers can be seen in the capitalist system, were the ruling class own the means of production, which essentially includes the working class itself as they only have their own labor power (wage labor) to offer in order to survive.
    I think we must know first why this people change their status from one society to another in order of us to evaluate them. Filipino was very affectionate and understanding. They were very much aware of the people around them, especially their beloved (eg. family). Moreover they were willing to sacrifice their own self just for the sake of other people. This people were come from meager society who has less opportunity of having high earnings to sustain their everyday living, to support the financial needs of their children in school and as well as their family as a whole. As we can see in our culture, those who are unemployed were very dependent to their relatives with occupation. This way of thinking according to social science is UTILITARIANiSM-where it is stated that people prioritize the betterment of majority rather than for their own selves. Like in the case of the maids, even though their employers treated them as slaves and they suffered from various harassments, they continue to work, persevere, and writhed to uplift their family status.
    “People adapt in order to survive”. For instance, those professionals who prefer to be a maid in Hong Kong might think that their salary in the Philippines were not sufficient to support their family. Let’s examine the Philippine economy: too expensive goods and services, frequent rise of oil and petroleum gas, and low wages. Perhaps, these teachers (in the article) were thinking that if they will still persist in this type of society there is less probability for them to survive so they took the risk of going abroad to work as domestic helpers.

  18. Alvin M. Maghopoy said

    “Survival to the fittest”,they say. Though it’s so cliche to hear but it’s the fact that we must admit. we are here in this world find means for us to survive. We are in a big arena of competition so we must go and find goods . In the said articles, we can see vividly that most of the people who compete for survival are those who are completely empty. I mean, these are those who are not given much blessings of life like the maids for example. And these people, who accommodate the big percentage of ‘travelers’ here in the Philippines, move from the ‘tinubuang-lupa’ to the foreign lands to work and to find job for them to support their family, to sustain the education of their children, to pay the left debt which always disturb them, and to give the family the best of life even at once. So in order to attain all these, they must take all the risks and sacrifice. They will grab all the opportunities even their blood will be the exchange. As we read and heard from some news reports, some of these maids are being raped and molested by their bosses, some are punished, some do not anymore received their salary, some are treated like animals by their bad employers. and these are the fact that overpower our maids nowadays.
    Marx’s perspective about stratification boasts over this issue. As defined by him, the relationship of people to the means of production is very important. so here we can see that the employers are the ones who ultimately govern these maids to the extent that they are already free to do whatever they do to these people because they mainly think that they have the power to rule them. So these maids, even they like it or not, are under the umbrella of so-called power.

  19. joanna garcia said

    The idea of stratification was explained by Marx and Weber. In this particular example, it best explained by Marxian perspective, which is according to him, stratification is based on the mode/ means of production. In the case, one must be working for the other (slave) and the one was a boss.In the domestic helper (DH) and the Beatrice relationship, the Filipino DH served as a slave because she sells her labor just to meet the expenses of her family here in the Philippines.Though it is hard for them to go abroad and to separate from her family but she needs it because we all knew that Filipinos are well known to be loving and responsible.We will do anything to prove that we loved our family though it is hard for us.We sacrifice for the needs of the family most especially the children.And Beatrice was the one who has mode of production because she pays for the labor of Leonora Santos Torres.
    For me,evaluating the position of workers who moved from one place to another will be based on how the society defined stratification in their own way.In the case of the Philippines, we considered Overseas Filipino Worker’s (OFW’s) as heroes of today.

  20. The concept of Social Stratification is interpreted differently by the various theoretical perspective of Sociology. Proponents of action theory have suggested that since social Stratification is commonly found in developed societies, hierarchy maybe necessary in order to stabilize social structure. Karl Marx in his Marxist Theory asserted that capitalist mode of production consists of two main economic parts: the structure and superstructure. Marx saw classes as defined by people’s relationship to the mode of production either they own productive property or labor for others. Another Sociological Theory is that of Max Weber (Weberian Theory) which saw classes as defined by three factors: POWER, WEALTH AND PRESTIGE.
    This stratification can be best explained by the Marxian perspective since we can obviously notice that there is an inequality between the employers and the workers. In the article it was stated that the employers must be deal with much respect that one must deprive even her personal pride to be able to keep their job and the harmonious relationship towards their employers. In this case, I think injustice exist. We can see that the employers does not pay wages, give insufficient allowance for food and the very worst scenario were the sexual and verbal harassment that their boss does unto them. In short, the employers control the lives of maids; they don’t even care for they were thinking that those Filipino domestic helpers really need money in order for them to sustain their family needs. These domestic helpers allow themselves to be abandoned by their employers because they are destitute and have no choice; this is the only way their family can live on. See, that’s how powerful wealth is!
    This behavior exhibited by the employers can be seen in the capitalist system, were the ruling class own the means of production, which essentially includes the working class itself as they only have their own labor power (wage labor) to offer in order to survive.
    I think we must know first why this people change their status from one society to another in order of us to evaluate them. Filipino was very affectionate and understanding. They were very much aware of the people around them, especially their beloved (eg. family). Moreover they were willing to sacrifice their own self just for the sake of other people. This people were come from meager society who has less opportunity of having high earnings to sustain their everyday living, to support the financial needs of their children in school and as well as their family as a whole. As we can see in our culture, those who are unemployed were very dependent to their relatives with occupation. This way of thinking according to social science is UTILITARIAN-where it is stated that people prioritize the betterment of majority rather than for their own selves. Like in the caseof the maids, even though their employers treated them as slaves and they suffered from various harassments, they continue to work, persevere, and writhed to uplift their family status.
    “People adapt in order to survive”. For instance, those professionals who prefer to be a maid in Hong Kong might think that their salary in the Philippines were not sufficient to support their family. Let’s examine the Philippine economy: too expensive goods and services, frequent rise of oil and petroleum gas, and low wages. Perhaps, these teachers (in the article) were thinking that if they will still persist in this type of society there is less probability for them to survive so they took the risk of going abroad to work as domestic helpers.

  21. The position of every individual in our society is very important. In the example, Filipino maids moved from one society because of the situation in our country. Filipino maids went abroad because of higher salary and would certainly give a better life in their families here in our country. As what I have thought, the best type of stratification that could explain this problem is Marxian perspective,wherein the one that holds greater production, would certainly have the wealth and power in our society. In the case of Filipino maids, their employers have the power and wealth. They tend to control the way whether they would pay salary or not to their maids. This is a great example of Marxian perspective. To Filipinos abroad, I still praise them because despite of this kind of problem they still sacrifice their lives just to give a better life to their family here in our country.
    This is a serious problem that we need to take in action in most crimes.

  22. Charles Von Laoc said

    I do not know the deadline of this commenting. and it is now march 27, 2012.
    i am sorry sir.

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