Family-Same same but different

Hans Alcanzare and his family (Courtesy of SCMP)

Much have been said about the Lee family saga. Singaporeans were angry and bewildered but most of us were just sad to see an esteemed family resorting to mud-slapping each other. In this uncertain time when the leadership has urged the country to band together to counter the force of terrorism, such an episode leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth. If the family of the Prime Minister can’t stay united, how can he — as a leader, instil the confidence in us? Nuff said about this episode.

Hans Alcanzare

As I was browsing my FB on this episode, I chanced upon this news by the South Morning Post which brightened up my day. Ironically, it poses as a stark contrast to the “FamiLEE”. Hans Alcanzare, son of a Filipino maid working in Hong Kong, decided to give his mum a surprise holiday to seven countries. In his FB post, he expressed his gratitude to his mum who has provided for him and his six siblings by working as a maid for 20 years in Hong Kong. To show his gratitude, he decided to bring his mum on this holiday and after it, they will provide for her retirement in the Philippines.

Hans Alcanzare and his mum (Courtesy of SCMP)

This isn’t any big news, what Hans Alcanzare does only affect him and his mum, yet this article reflects the lives of many foreign domestic workers around the world.

This story has a happy ending but not many foreign domestic workers end up like Hans Alcanzare’s mum. We heard of cases where maids after working overseas for several years, went back home and found out that their husbands have left the family and children who just can’t be close to their mothers because of long-time estrangement. Again, here lies the irony — that many foreign domestic workers have to leave their children behind to go to another country to take care of other people’s children.

This is a simple heart-warming story. I’m glad to chance upon it because when I look at what the Lee family is doing now, it gives me the hope that the have-nots can still hold their heads high up in front of the supposed “elites”. One simply does not need to have a lot of money or power to keep the family together.

To the Lees, shame on you.

This post was first published over at Thoughts of Real Singaporeans on 18 June 2017. It is reproduced with permission.


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