In this essay we discuss the cross-cultural differences in the household management of handling children between the Philippines and Hong Kong. Managing children in HK households In Hong Kong, Filipino maids make up 3% of the population. They are especially common amongst families who prefer an English speaking maid. Hong Kong people utilize maids for household management and supervision of the children while both parents have full time jobs. In many situations, the maids will spend far more time with the children than both the parents. Thus, the management of children in Hong Kong is highly related to the amah in the family.
There are certain requirements of maids before employment in Hong Kong: 2/3 Weeks training of Chinese household management Experience in managing children As most of employers are busy at work, the maid becomes a critical part in the family in taking care of the children during daytime. From school activities to playground, the maid has full responsibility to take care of the children. Management of Children in Philippines: Most of the population in Phillipines do not have maids. In the case where the mother is a maid in Hong Kong, then the grandparents or the father need to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the children.
Differences: In this part we analyze how the maid manages the children of her employer in Hong Kong, and how it would be different if she were managing her own children in the Philippines. In terms of the Filipino maid, we found two main differences. The first one is role shift. Whilst in Hong Kong maids must follow the style and instructions of managing the children prescribed by the employer. In contrast in the Philippines, the maids have the full freedom to adopt their own personal parenting style with their own children. The second difference is that of collective culture.
Filipinos are considered a collectivistic society. Most or all members of Filipino families live together and are close to one another. This is manifested in a strong long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. But in Hong Kong, family members are more divided, in contrast to the Filipinos. Normally family members sit in their own rooms and there is not much interaction within the family (10-20 minutes a day). From the aspect of the children, there are two different cross-cultural findings.
The first one is children in Hong Kong are under pressure with too many assignments and activities, and not an adequate amount of free playtime. One amah said, “ I feel like kids in Hong Kong are losing their childhood”. In contrast the children in Philippines have far more time to play with their friends. The second difference is children in Hong Kong are overprotected by parents. In contrast, the children in Philippines are very independent. For example, the kids in Hong Kong are sent to and collected from the school by their amah.
But the kids in Philippines go to school and come back home by themselves. Management & Adaptation In this section we discuss how Hong Kong employers train their maids to take care of their family and household. When an amah is employed in the family, the employer will give her the basic introduction of the family, such as likes and dislikes for food, the daily tasks, schedules and routines for the household and children including when to take the children to school and pick them up, and so on. Most importantly, according to our findings from the interviews, the employer will try to build trust with the amah and treat her like a family member.
One of the amah said, “I just immerse myself in the family naturally, and they trust me and give me full responsibility immediately. ” Analysis and Conclusion The two major differences that seem to be driving the contrast of the two cultures are the difference in individualistic and collective culture. Firstly, Hong Kong is a very developed city compared to the Philippines. In Hong Kong, money and material wealth is very important which is why parents are occupied making money and kids are overly busy due to academic pressure.
However in the Philippines, people spend a lot more time socializing by talking, sharing, and laughing with others. One of maids we interviewed said “The parents and kids only talk 10 to 20 minutes a day, I find that ridiculous. Even I am so far away from my daughter, I talk to her so much more through the Internet. ” Another maid said “The kids here are too stressed, in Philippines, the kids play more, they grow happier. ” Apart from maid interviews, one member of the group observed when visiting the Philippines that it’s a happier and friendlier environment compared to Hong Kong.
Courtney from Study Moose
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