EAT, SLEEP, PLAY - an architecture for a ‘cuma di sin’ culture

Tsz Wing Clover Chau
Bachelor of Architecture

Advised by:
Jonathan Kline
Stefan Gruber

Studio coordinated by Jonathan Kline and Stefan Gruber

Themes: Narrative | Culture | Ecology

In Hong Kong, “foreign domestic helpers” are employed by middle to upper class households as the answer to domestic labour. Ranging fromtheir early 20s to late 40s, these women come from surrounding South Asian countries - primarily the Philippines and Indonesia, but also Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India. Dedicated employment agencies recruit, train, procure employment and secure paperwork for these women who leave their families behind to serve another. Initial employment contracts last 2 years, but most stay for far longer, serving the same family for up to 15 years or more. Also stipulated in the contract is one government mandated day-off per week, which for most falls on Sunday. Established in 1974 and even now actively promoted by various South EastAsian governments, this phenomenon of employing “foreign domestic helpers” is unlikely to end, making this an issue integral not only to the future of Hong Kong but also the world.

This thesis aims to analyse and intervene in the spaces in Hong Kong where domestic helpers gather on Sundays and public holidays. By proposing and potentially implementing a series of temporary cardboard installations that overturn the division between the public and domestic spheres, this thesis intends to use the pop-up culture of the weekend to turn streets and public parks into places of commoning, to give greater visibility to domestic workers and to advocate subversively for long term equitability in laws, wages and working conditions.