Friday, August 27, 2010

A Phone Call From Hong Kong

Criselda “Cely” Marcelo,- my sister-in-law, is the president of Occidental Mindoro Association in Hong Kong or OMAHK and she called up last night all the way from HK informing her mother that she is okay and her relationship with employers is not affected by the tragic hostage crisis in Manila.

There were at least 100,142 Filipinos working in Hong Kong in 2009.
Hong Kong is listed as the top working destination for “Household Service Workers” with at least 71,557 new hires in 2009. This is based on figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

According to presidential Communications Group Development Secretary Ricky Carandang in a press conference yesterday, “We're still trying to confirm reports that a Filipino maid was fired by her employers because of what happened.” Concerned government authorities, specially Malacanang, are verifying reports of physical threats against Filipinos who are residing or working in HK.

My sister-in-law added, through a telephone conversation with my wife last night, that though her good relation with her Chinese employers remained, she was advised by the couple,- if possible, to stay away from the streets while the emotions are still high and be extra careful when she is outside of their flat. Cely told her worrying sister, “Don’t worry, all of these will just pass.”

Cely went to HK when her son Patrick was barely two years old. It has been more that 15 years that she’s with the couple and practically took care of the needs of the couples’ two daughters. From their personal to academic needs. She feeds them and bring them to school everyday. She also assist the children in their home works. To the kids, she is not only their nanny but their second mother. She is a family member to them and the couple knows all her commitment, dedication and effort to her job.

For Cely, this is not only for financial reason but more importantly, it is her contribution to humanity. In her particular case, isn’t treating children as your own is a vocation and not a mere profession? Hard work and dedication or commitment bring good personal relation and it is indeed counts. Even over diplomatic affairs of two countries.

Christians as we are, let us also remember, not only the souls of innocent victims of the tragedy but also the soul of the hostage-taker. Do not only remember the suffering that the victims and their relatives have but remember too the positive fruits that came out in this suffering : media organizations’ move to organize themselves and how to respond collectively to incident, this became a wake- up call for Philippine law enforcers to revisit their manuals and guidelines and aim for more trainings and exercises on hostage situations, for our legislators to pass laws on how to improve government security agencies, for our external affairs offices to evaluate or assess their tasks, etc.

But let us not forget our experiences, the “sidebar stories” that popped out from this latest tragic story showing fundamental and universal traits of human beings, regardless of our creed, color, nationality and belief : fruits of comradeship, loyalty, humility, generosity and greatness of heart.

This is my call and prayer to HK people : May these fruits be ultimately become seeds of forgiveness…

(Photo from AP)

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