Reducing OFWs to abstract, commodity

This article is about the negative impact of classifying OFWs according to their skills–“lowly skilled”; “semi-skilled” and “highly skilled”– blogger.

If the argument was purposely to label the workers according to their type of work, yes they can do it and they’ve done it. That is how commodities (are we?) are labeled, right? When the government decides on a matter of policy one is very likely or forced to, whether OFWs likes it or not, comply with it. But complying with it does not mean one agrees with it, or this will become absolutely correct at all.

But whether it has use in reality or what impact is has had in ones daily life, no scholar or government can feel the depth of what a person is experiencing. If the policy needs to be changed, then it is where it should go. It is (in theory) for the OFW, not for the sake of having a policy, right?

But you see, this ‘scholarly defined’ terms itself loses the identity of who the person is, and the education he had obtained. I am sure that you’re aware of doctors wanting to become nurse to work in foreign countries; am sure you’re also aware of professionals, medical technology graduates, who are working as domestic workers, etc. etc. I have deep appreciation of their sacrifices for swallowing their pride.

My point is this ‘scholarly definition’–if I may borrow your word–does not serve its purpose; and it has caused needless discrimination on OFWs. And these scholars, whoever they are (I don’t know), should think of how to correct this. I’m giving them the benefit of a doubt that they may not thought of this negative effect. But what we can see they are only concern of labeling workers to sell and export them easy.

See here in HK: for locals and employers, even our own Filipino people, they are treating domestic workers like any ‘lowly skilled’ worker deserves to be treated. This ‘scholarly definition’ is in reality have already been perceived as: “lowly skilled” for idiots; “semi-skilled” for smart; and “highly skilled” for genius. It is in the mind.

In signing contracts, none in this contract would ever have any portion about what other profession or skills an applicant for domestic work had back home. Nothing about them of their own person is said at all. Their traces disappear on contract paper. Will one bothers knowing who and what their skills are? No.

This labeling had reduced a human to abstract, commodity.

The full text of the comment responded to is:

askmore in reply to DayoHK:

You have a very big misconception of things:

1. These terms are scholarly defined and not intended to ostracize people of different classes or whatsoever.

2. When we are talking about “high, semi and low skilled”, we dont refer to people but to the the kind of job that they are into. When we talk about high-skilled jobs, this include a lot of framework needed for a job to be done. You may need good education to acquire( i.e. Doctors, Lawyers, Economist, Engineers, Scientists etc). On the the other hand, semi-skilled workers can fall into the category of middle class worker (i.e. Manufacturing Industry, Hotels, etc.). Lastly, low-skilled refers to jobs that are done manually and needed less of technical knowledge ( i.e janitors, cleaners, helper). You see, these terms are coined based on the complexities of job and not a matter of social stratification.


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Filed under Expat's life, Overseas workers, Public opinion

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