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Navigating Dual Identities – Foreign Domestic Helpers’ Negotiation of Self and Other

In the bustling urban landscapes of cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, foreign domestic helpers form an integral part of the social fabric. Yet, behind their roles as caregivers and household managers lies a complex negotiation of self and other, shaped by the interplay of cultural, social, and economic forces. For many foreign domestic helpers, the experience of migrating to a foreign land for work involves a profound shift in identity. They must navigate between their roles as breadwinners, often sending remittances back home to support their families, and as caregivers to their employers’ households. This dual identity can be both empowering and challenging, as it requires them to balance their own aspirations and needs with the expectations placed upon them by their employers and society at large. One aspect of this negotiation is the preservation of cultural identity in the face of assimilation pressures. Many foreign domestic helpers come from countries in Southeast Asia, where they may have strong ties to their native culture, language, and traditions.

Domestic Helpers

However, upon arriving in their host countries, they are often expected to adapt to local customs and norms, sometimes at the expense of their own cultural identity. This tension between assimilation and preservation can lead to feelings of alienation and dislocation, as foreign domestic helpers struggle to find a sense of belonging in their new environment while staying connected to their roots. Foreign domestic helpers must navigate the complex dynamics of power and inequality within the households where they work. As migrant workers in a foreign land, they are often in vulnerable positions, subject to exploitation and abuse by their employers. This power imbalance can shape their sense of self-worth and agency, as they navigate the fine line between asserting their rights and maintaining their employment. For many foreign domestic helpers, the fear of losing their livelihoods often outweighs their desire for justice, leading them to endure mistreatment in silence. Despite these challenges, foreign domestic helpers also find moments of resilience and empowerment in their daily lives.

Through their work, they forge bonds of solidarity with other migrant workers, creating networks of support and camaraderie that help them navigate the challenges of living in a foreign land. They also find ways to assert their agency and autonomy, whether through small acts of resistance or by pursuing opportunities for personal and professional growth. Ultimately, the negotiation of self and other is an ongoing process for foreign domestic helpers, shaped by the intersections of gender, race, class, and nationality. As they navigate the complexities of their dual identities, they challenge conventional notions of citizenship and belonging, forcing us to confront the ways in which structural inequalities shapes our understanding of who belongs and who does not. The experience of foreign domestic helpers is one of constant negotiation and adaptation, as they navigate the complexities of their dual identities in a foreign land. By acknowledging and addressing the structural inequalities that shape their lives, 外傭工資 can work towards creating a more just and inclusive society for all members, regardless of their nationality or socioeconomic status.