Hong Kong people tend to hire domestic workers to take care of their aged parents, but due to the language barrier and cultural differences, complications can arise.

However, a non-profit organization has started a workshop targeting domestic workers and the elderly, aiming to enhance their communications to have a better employer-worker relationship, news website HK01.com reported.

Mak Yuk-yu, the Assistant In-Charge of Harmony Garden Lutheran Centre for the Elderly, said cultural differences were the main problem between domestic workers and elderly Hong Kong people.

In some cases, when Indonesian domestic workers told their elderly employers they did not eat pork or could not prepare dishes with pork, or they are fasting during Ramadan, most elderly employers thought they were making excuses, were lazy or complained about their working attitude.

Ah Lan, a domestic worker from Thailand who came to Hong Kong six years ago, encountered difficulties when she worked for her first employer due to the language barrier. She could only understand simple Cantonese, but her employer spoke fast to her and she made mistakes and was scolded all the time.

Ah Lan was then hired by an 87-year-old woman. She and the employer joined the workshops hoping to have a better employer-worker relationship. The workshops will teach Ah Lan some techniques about taking care of the elderly and local culture, while the employer will try to learn more about the worker’s home country and her culture.

Both women said the workshop helped them to better understand each other.

Mak believed that by more communication, the workshop could help both domestic workers and employers to respect and understand each other, so abuse cases could be alleviated.

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