Usually, our song of the day selections are just released, new songs. But sometimes one feels like shining the proverbial light on something that’s been around for a while. That’s the case with today’s pick, “Mahal Kita” by Emmy The Great. Her publicist actually e-mailed me about this back in March, as I just discovered when deleting some old e-mails. Unfortunately, when you get as many e-mails as we do, it’s very easy for something to fall through the cracks like this. Sometimes it even happens with one of your favorite artists, as Emmy is one of mine. (Check out my February 2016 interview with her.)
“Mahal Kita” is a lovely song that feels as good as the water washing over you when you first get into a warm bath. That said, it’s perfect for chilling out. If you’re looking for something to get mellow to after a night out at the club, you can hardly find one more suitable than this. The subject matter, though, is serious. Emmy is a fellow journalist and she wrote it about her time spent interviewing migrant domestic women in Hong Kong’s Central District.
Here’s Emmy talking about “Mahal Kita” from the press release:
“Since the early 1980’s, domestic workers have congregated in Hong Kong’s public spaces every Sunday, their weekly statutory rest day, and on a further ten public holidays.
Tens of thousands of women sit on cardboard or plastic mats, in the shadow of five-star hotels, major bank buildings, and storefronts with luxury brandnames etched across them in glowing cursive.
They picnic, or cut hair, hold beauty competitions, bridal showers, take part in dance routines. They reclaim public space and transform it into a sanctuary, a place to relax, to share information, to cement networks of support and camaraderie.
There are 380,000 migrant workers in Hong Kong, earning a minimum wage of approx US$550 a month. They are mostly women, many of whom are mothers working to support their families. A 2016 report found ‘serious gaps in Hong Kong’s legal framework in relation to trafficking and forced labour’.
For the many workers who suffer abuse, the Sunday gatherings are an essential route to access help, or to learn about their rights.
This is why it Central is the spiritual home of Hong Kong’s migrant activist community, who have been advocating for migrant women since they first arrived in the city.
Mahal Kita is a record of my time interviewing domestic workers in Hong Kong, where I was born.
I hope this song will be a tribute to every migrant worker who took Hong Kong’s public space and made it their own.”