By: Juliet Ugay
Do you ever wonder where some Domestic Workers spend their days off? Here is an example.
The ‘Dream Catchers’, they call themselves, a group of people who are full of hopes and dreams; and they help young kids who want to reach their dreams. This group is special because most of them are members of the LGBT community. The Dream Catchers were founded by couple Mitch and Josephine Sisor. Mitch has been working in Singapore as a Domestic Worker for 14 years now, and Josephine for nine years.
The couple met in Singapore, and eventually a sparkle flared up between them. The group started with just the two of them, and but soon gained more members. At the moment, there are 30 members, and counting. Like Josephine and Mitch, most of the members are domestic workers. They spent most of their Sundays off organizing events, raising funds, and doing photo shoots. Proceeds of the activities goes to different causes they are sponsoring or helping in the Philippines.
Some of their efforts include: donating goods for those who are affected by the typhoon in Bicol and Cebu in the Philippines, financial assistance for the medication of a new-born, financial assistance for the families of those who died in the typhoon so they can get a proper burial, and providing school supplies for the children of poor farmers in some villages.
According to Mitch and Josephine, organizing such events is very challenging and rewarding at the same time. Challenging, in the sense that they need to get everything organized before the event, they need to advertise it, find a venue, sell tickets, get sponsors for their prizes and practice or rehearse a few hours during Sundays. Rewarding, because they are doing fun things for good causes, and feel it is a good way to spend their days off.
I had the chance to be part of their event held last June 26, 2016 at Ceylon Sports Club in Balestier Road. I was invited to be one of the four judges in a competition called “ Search for Gwapitong Tomboy” which means search for the most handsome or good-looking member of the LGBT group. The other judges included Mark Hermoso, a Senior Marketing Consultant and a grand winner of the Dream Top Model competition, Joyce Sng and Mr. Taylor who works for a company specializing in educational technology. The event showcased creativity, poise and wit among the twelve contestants. The stage was graced by performances from different groups and emceed by Jho Salac and Mharz Mangosong.
From the twelve contestants, Edward Lee Anderson, 38, called Luna Silos in real life, emerged as the winner with her confidence. Edward, as he is commonly called by friends, works as a domestic worker, taking care of an elderly. When asked about her thoughts about being a “tomboy”, she said, “Being a lesbian in a Filipino culture where religion is mostly Catholic, has always been a taboo since way back and its pretty difficult to fit in because people tend to discriminate you as a person and you have no place in the society. Even your own family tends to step away from you. But I can’t change the way I am. This is me, and if people can’t accept that then it is their problem. I won’t pretend to be something else I am not”.
The event gave me the chance to meet and be around these people and I see their different sides. I thought they were fun and jolly people. If you look at them, you’d think their life is so easy because of the way they are, but there are many things hidden behind the laughter. They are humans who have feelings, and want to live a normal life. They should be respected too, and be treated fairly like everyone else.