Thursday, November 11, 2004

Setting boundaries

This week my popularity in Chungking Mansions has hit an all time low. I'm normally greeted with enthusiastic cries of 'Mr Joe' at two metre intervals when walking through the ground floor. Now I meet with nasty stares as I walk past the crowd who congregate around the main enterance.

What did I do?

The aim of our centre is to help two types of clients. My job is to coordinate the help that we give to asylum seekers and refugees. My Sister S' job is to coordinate the work we do with ethnic minority Hong Kong residents.

We also have a third type of clients who don't fit into these two groups - those who are in Hong Kong on a visitor visa but not doing very much. Most of these come from Ghana because, unlike citizens of most other developing countries, Ghanaians get an automatic three month tourist visa to Hong Kong on entry.

Previously we turned a blind eye to the couple of these non-asylum seekers gettting assistance from our food program. When the number starting to increase dramatically I had to make an 'asylum seeker ony' rule. Resources are limited.

As far as I'm concerned, non-asylum seekers on visitor visas should return to their countries if they are in financial difficulty. I'm just going to have to ignore the angry stares for a while!

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