Despite his questionable, often violent leadership, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys an astounding 80% approval rating. In actuality, this support is carefully weighed and highly conditional. While Duterte won the presidency by speaking to the anxieties and hopes of the citizens, he now has to deliver on his promises, and the people are keeping tabs.
As demand for documented migrant labor has risen across Asia, smugglers have been replaced with migration brokers, who utilize and manage webs of relationships to send workers abroad. With knowledge of both the intricacies of bureaucracy and the informal world of local communities, they are an essential part of the international migration infrastructure.
The age of AI and automation is upon us. This may be music to the ears of technologists, businesses, and investors, but Asia’s factory workers will be severely affected when computers and robots take over labor-intensive jobs. To help workers navigate the new economy, governments and businesses should invest in social safety net programs and education.
Their environment leaves them little space for personal expression, but Hong Kong’s domestic workers have found ways to engage in politics and pursue their own paths of leadership.