Sadness and Resolution in Hong Kong
The main body of this post is a modified version of an update published earlier today on A Death in Hong Kong. Anyone reading Greetings Earthlings! who would like to know more about the Discovery Bay community’s response to Vicenta Flores’ death can go there – it’s currently being updated twice a day. I’ve added further personal commentary here.
Memorial Service for Vicenta Flores
Vicenta Flores’ memorial service was held last night, 21 April, at the Discovery Bay International School on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Led by Father Henry Cabral of the Discovery Bay Catholic church and Sister Aida of the Catholic Centre in Hong Kong’s Central district, the service reflected on Vicenta’s life and the many difficulties faced by Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong.
Vicenta’s sister Irene spoke briefly in Tagalog, offering her thanks to those in attendance. She also asked anyone with any information about her sister’s disappearance and death to come forward. Her grief was obvious, and she soon broke down crying for the first time since she arrived in Hong Kong.
Here’s a brief video clip from the beginning of the service, as people were still coming in. The crowd eventually spilled out the hall doors.
The South China Morning Post reported on the service this morning, and included Father Henry’s comments on the degrading and dehumanising way domestic helpers are often treated here in Hong Kong. He also expressed his reluctance in saying that, but the necessity that it should be said.
After the service, migrant group representatives mentioned plans for a rally to express indignation about the handling of this specific case, and of Filipino migrant workers in general. As I mentioned yesterday, two other deaths have been treated lightly this month alone. Activists will assemble in the Admiralty district on Sunday 27 April, with a meeting point in Discovery Bay as well.
Everyone wants to see justice done. Perhaps even more importantly we want to see justice being done as the investigation into Vicenta’s mysterious death proceeds. Plain clothes police were again making inquiries in Discovery Bay last night, which indicates that further action is being taken.
A press release to that effect would be helpful.
Reflections a Day Later
Like many cities fighting to attract investment and tourism dollars these days, Hong Kong has a brand and an image. This is Asia’s World City, or so the slogan goes. But take away the money and the Hong Kong government has a hard time adjusting to what being part of the world really means.
The painfully slow process of dragging an anti-racial-discrimination bill into the light of day will not result in penalties for public displays of racism, will not affect key government officials. There should be little wonder that minority groups here are worried about a range of things – their social isolation and their safety included. Sure, some have sufficient resources and standing to let things slide. But not Filipinos.
These things must change.