In good faith that I reposted a job ad for a domestic helper (DH) in Tokyo yesterday.   Since I receive many inquiries about available work that I may know of, but I have limited time to respond all, I just shared the info in a public forum. In between my classes, I was responding to related messages.

Got the shock of my life when I was asked, “Hello, ok kalang.” (Hello, are you okay?) Seconded by a thumbs up. Another one clicked a laughing emoticon. Slighted by the reactions as if a DH does not need any diploma. With the current immigration policy in Japan, only CEOs and embassy employees can directly sponsor a DH. Is it too much to ask for a DH to have a degree since she will be working for ambassador/s, consul/s, executive director/s, VIP/s? I thought the offer is up for a quick grab because the DH I meet receive a higher salary than English teachers, engineers, and those having the so-called white-collar jobs. They are even paid to travel abroad with their employers. Some of their children back home even receive a scholarship from their foreign bosses. After their “house/office service” to their employer-visa sponsors, they are in demand for baby/dog/cat/aquarium/house-sitting, party helpers at different embassies and VIP function halls, gardening, cooking, etc. with big part-time pay plus freebies.

As belonging to the 1st batch of graduates of Ateneo Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship (A-LSE) in Japan, I fully support the next batch where some of them are domestic helpers.

The first respondents when I needed help in my early years in Japan were Filipina domestic helpers. In one unforgettable situation, I had to go back to the Philippines to attend a funeral ceremony as soon as possible. With just one call to a DH-friend, she talked right away to her boss who is the chairman of an airline company. After few minutes, it was confirmed I can fly the following day! Another Filipina DH offered financial help when I rented my first apartment in Tokyo. I did not ask but just gave the money to pay in full the 6 months advance rental payment. I have repaid in full but can never repay the comfort and trust she extended to me when I had no one, no relative in Japan, to seek for help. She’s a DH.

With my limited time to blog, I’ll just repost my article in a Filipino FB Group: Just thinking again the reaction here why a DH job offer needs somebody with a college diploma. I met a lot of DH here in Japan working at various embassies and for foreign CEOs. Part of their job is to take care of their children. One of my friends works for an American lawyer with a wife who’s an architect — 24 years & counting as DH. She proudly shared to me last year that the kids she took care are now studying Law at Yale University and the other one will take Medicine in Germany. Mababa ba ang tingin natin sa mga DH? (Do we look down on DHs?)

Business presentation of the A-LSE students with the Philippine embassy representatives as my fellow panelists. The DH proposal is the most feasible project!

I met a lot of DH in Singapore, Hong Kong & other countries who were career ladies, degree holders and some of them were even teachers back home. In my early years in Japan, a Japanese family selected me to teach their kids instead of the Caucasian teachers. In the early 1990s, only “white people” were employed at big English companies. The local family selected me (with my kayumangging kulay/brown skin) because they had a DH back in Hong Kong who was a Filipina with an accountancy degree. The Japanese father was the Branch Manager of Citizen watch company then. Thanks to our kababayan DH, one with a college diploma, that her good service to the Japanese family opened wide doors for me to teach many Japanese children then spread to adults. Kudos to all Filipina DH around the world and I hope more to be employed here in Japan. May we support them. 

Brainstorming with DHs for possible income-generating social enterprise in the Philippines.   Our business meeting was held at the condo of one of their employers. Imagine working & living just across the Imperial Palace, go overseas fully-paid and eat the same food as your VIP boss. Only DH can so never underestimate them!

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