While much media and scholarly attention has been paid to the growing tension between Hong Kong people and Indonesian foreign domestic workers, the underlying reasons of cultural difference are largely ignored as an explanation for the challenges Indonesian domestic workers face in Hong Kong. Most often, Islam is one of the primary cultural differences that Hong Kong people overlook. This paper begins with an overview of the significance of Indonesian Muslim foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong society and the domestic sphere. Then, the paper suggests that the Indonesian Muslim domestic helpers have been politically weak, struggling and accommodating to the mainstream Chinese culture. Generally speaking, Indonesian Muslim domestic workers in Hong Kong have been powerless under the global labor market and the local socio-cultural forces of Chinese society. Nevertheless, there has been an emerging visibility of Islam through their re-assertion of Islamic piety in Hong Kong everyday life via, for example, veiling, practicing daily prayer, and seeking to follow a halal diet. Visibility, however, does not mean accommodation and understanding. © 2015, The Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
CitationHo, W.-Y. (2015). The emerging visibility of Islam through the powerless: Indonesian Muslim domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Asian Anthropology, 14(1), 79-90. doi: 10.1080/1683478X.2015.1025593
- Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs)
- Hong Kong