Harsh might it be.
Take it or leave it.
what is really fair? A maid earning 370 a month, and send back 200, her family can live really well off that pay check. And while sending her pay back, live off the employee.
It might seemed that we are paying very little for the maids, but it's not the case.
370 ( pay check )
200 (Maid levy)
100 (Maid stuffs : clothings and stuffs)
120 ( Meals inhouse)
790 ( a month)
Let's not forget the insurances, and the flight back home at the end of the contract, what about the medical expenses she might have and other things that might happen.
there isn't much to argue about, if the maid don't think she is being treated correctly, then go back home and be whatever she wants to be, she can be a tai tai if she wants. But when she's here, stick to the agreement she had signed and keep to it.
The problem here is that the contracts they sign would not be what falls under the MOM guidelines. You can say that's what they agreed upon, but thats not the issue. The issue is why should these people be treated differently from Singaporeans? They work here, they don't work in the country where they come from, they shouldn't be treated like secondary residents.....these contracts shouldn't be the way they are now.
If you work in the UK or USA, you would get the same or almost the same workers rights. Singapore counts itself a first world country but in some points (socially) it isn't there yet.......
Anyway, what I find appaling is to see young parents enjoyning their weekends walking while their small childrens are being cared for by their maids who are just behind them. This way they loose the close contact with their own children, touch is very important for young kids, young parents who choose not to carry their own children are losing this importing thing.......
I've followed this thread with a sense of dread ...
What strikes me the most is the euphemism surrounding the issue of ... what exactly is a 'domestic helper' or 'assistant'?
If you're referring to a maid, a servant, or probably closer to actual reality, and in more cases than I would like to read about, a slave of sorts, why not just be honest and call a spade a spade?
In too many cases, based on actual reports of abuse and so on, one might as well just refer to these service providers simply as 'live-stock'. Afterall, that's the term used when discussing tradable commodities aka 'domestic helpers' - their background, training or abilities, value and worth, and during negotiations for the bset price, terms and conditions and so on.
THEY and no longer human beings, someone's daughter or a family's source of love and support in times of hardship, created 'equally' in god's eye (whichever god one chooses to believe in, or not), but from what I've seen so often in our gloriously gracious and first world nation, these domestic live-stocks are merely commodities to be negotiated for, bartered and traded, and once a 'choice' specimen is procured, used to the maximum of it's capability for as long as possible, then discarded for a lower-maintenance, more cost-effective option, or whatever is most convenient for the landlord or master of the manor! Heck! That sounds like a practical and master plan for car purchsing and maintenance!
When was the last time you regarded Mariah as actually being someone's mother, or sister, or someone's wife, and inspiration for living, instead of merely the assistance to take out the rubbish, buy groceries, do the washing, cook and clean and be a world-class nanny all at the same time lest fire and brimstone comes hailing down from the perch of heven?
Just look at any of the ST Classifieds lelonging all these domestic live-stock. Read the headlines and flashes used. Understand the language. It's laid out for all to see because ads are written simply to appeal to consumers, their values and value systems and what matters the most to these consumers. It reveals a lot, doesn't it?
I can go on, and we can argue about semantics to no end, but the fact is, most residents here treat these so called 'domestic helpers' as slaves to varying degrees because in their hearts and minds, that is all they are - servants or slaves of a much lower cast and creed. There are, of course, some who actually view them as humans, and treat them as such while maintaining proper boundaries.
It all starts in one's perceptions and definitions, because, that shapes the world you live in and the truths you adopt.
Rant mode off.
Last edited by Dream Merchant; 4th May 2008 at 05:17 AM.
I have a suggestion. Why not have two 1/2 day off during the week?
I am sure when the employer at work and kids at school, they can let the maid off for 1/2 day.
So, something like Tuesday and Thursday morning off.
I having seen and read stuff about these domestic helpers only too often that I can only hope things change for the better for them.
It used to be the rich ang mohs who employed them in their big houses. Nowadays any Tom, Dick and Harry can employ one if he/she can afford, though some barely.
Many don't know how to be an employer,thinking they are merely a paying customer and demands the best service.
Many also knows these domestic helpers are getting the short end of the stick and these employers are happy with that situation.
Attitude won't change by just discussing here but imagine one day, not too distant future, due to many Singaporean employers high demand and bad reputation, ALL these foreigners will give Singapore a pass.
We are doing it to ourself, ya know.
I would think having an off day once a week is fair, once a month??Crazy.
Nisa, if you hire a human being to work it is a moral obligation to take care of them especially if they are such an integral part of the household. To calculate their worth only in terms of dollars and cents is really disgusting. Take it or leave it? When there comes a day where you are in a situation where you have to go overseas to be a maid, let's see whether you accept a "take it or leave it" world.
We don't have to say "oh the world is like that so too bad", that's a very defeatist attitude!
I wonder if there is any person who went through NS who can imagine treating a maid like that.
Personally I find it troubling that so many singaporeans need maids.
Cleaners who come in once or twice a week I can understand, but live-in maids?
Wow we must be pretty useless people, can't cook can't clean can't take care of our children can't take care of ourselves.
Help me out here a little, I'm kinda having a brief "Back To The Future" moment reading this thread and various responses. Are we still in 2008, or back in the good ol' 1850s?
Chill, guys n' gals.
I believe most of us don't know how to deal with domestic workers. All our lives, we've been (well, not all of us) subjected to pressure/job scopes/responsibilities/deadlines/abuses/intimidation at our work places by our bosses, clients etc. So much so that, at times, this "survival instinct" often rears its ugly head within our homes too, when we have to deal with an "employee-employer" situation.
To make things confusing, there's no 8x5 agreement where the domestic worker can say "Whooops, 5pm, I'm knocking off back to my window-less bomb-shelter/store room. See you tomorrow at 9am, cheerio!"
Regardless, any relationship that has to fall back on contracts/agreements is NOT a viable/sustainable one. Can you imagine your boss giving you a dress-down every morning you show up to work at 9:01am because you failed to oblige to the contractually agreed reporting hour of 9:00am? God knows there are bosses like this at our offices, whom we gleefully refer to as bas***ds and bi***es during kopi breaks with our kakis/colleagues.
So to those who aren't exactly having a good relationship with their domestic workers, try talking it out. I know it's not easy, but that's the challenge about bringing a human being into the house, be it your new husband/wife, your in-laws, your live-in boyfriend/girlfriend, and yes, your domestic worker.
If it's just the domestic worker you're having challenges with at home, count yourself lucky... the other "human beings" you bring in to your home rarely leave you with just the cost of a plane ticket.
Something wrong....so many double and triple post!
Well, we are lazy, and there is no neccessity to learn how to do those things.... Neccessity is the mother of inventions.
Don't beat ourselves up too much. I think its not just Singaporean. My African classmate is complaining that he has to cook and clean here, because his houseboy is not here with him to do it for him.. You learn to do things yourself when you have no choice. For instance, we never really need to cook in Singapore, cause the coffeeshop is just downstairs and its so convenient. Staying in the UK, we learn to cook decent meals.
"Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams
mabye maids should b housed in some rents apartments near the employers place, then have fixed & well laid out workhours & fixed tasks. this reduces the stress for them as they will not be made to work exceedingly long hrs. OT pay exceeding daily fixed hrs will go some way to compensate their work. this also reduces the need for some households to upgrade homes to house an extra person (eg, construction industry workers).
those more demanding households w/ more responsiblilties will employ a more experienced & better qualified (but really, let's not get to that topic for now...). then new system will grade the maids accordingly along WSQ standards type certification (at least regionally recognised type). then there are those w/ homes so big the agency need to do home quotation!
then coming back to the TS point, maids like any other worker should have at least 1 offday a week! come on, we're always boasting our 1st world standards maids working here deserve more an equal standing as they contribute their years & youth in a foreign land. for w/o them our ladies & tai-tais have to do the chores themselves. very tough de you know!
I will love to give my maid the day off every week. Unfortunately, I learnt that this shd not be so because of all the horror stories that we heard from our friends and relatives including our own experience, etc. horror stories like pregnancy and haywire outside. Learnt all the dirty tricks from others on how to manage, bluff your employers. Dun believe, u go orchard road on sunday and u will see all the nonsense happening there. Actually dun even need orchard road. Just walk around the estate and u will see maids talking on the phones and fooling around with the foreign workers. We want to trust our maids but our maids cannot be trusted. It is kind of a big irony. Some people may say that this is only 1 in a thousand and I dun want to be in that 1 especially, when the maid is taking care of our children and staying with us in the night. Honestly, judging from what I see, the nonsense is kind of prevalent. You see how the "experienced" maids corrupting the young maids. I have seen plenty with my own eyes. I have seen how my maid from a very hardworking one became one that we cannot trust when mingling around with others and learning all the bad stuff. A lot of employers like me have learnt not to give any rest days to the maid in our contract. It is not abt housework or anything, but abt protecting the safety of the family. I even have a maid whom my wife found in her personal belongings on how to attract men using dark arts. Haha, luckily I am not around at home most of the time or else I may fall for her arts. In fact, we dun even ask her to clean the house on her "rest" days.
Somebody may say that this is slavery but we have learnt things the hard way. We have learnt that "maids must be treated as maids". Sounds barbaric? When we first had our Indonesian maid, we tried to treat her like part of our family. We allow her to eat with us, etc. trying to make her comfortable cause she is like so alone. IT WAS A MISTAKE for they start climbing over our heads. That is when we realise why the maid agency treat them like soldiers. Making them stand in senang diri position. Treating them in a certain way. I guess i realise why. My relative who is an Indonesian told us later that the maids were treated like maids in their own country. She told us that there is a need cause they do not know how to manage freedom. It is the way thing is. Sounds barbaric. That is the reality of things.
Of course, I am not saying that we shd treat them like barbarians or abuse them in any way. Treat them with respect and like human beings. Allow the family maids (my in-laws maids) to have a private get together cause they also need to speak to their own pp. If there is an elderly custodian maid who is willing to bring her out, we would allow them. We also brought them out with us whenever we are going out as a family. In fact, my maid seems to be out with my family including my wife more often than with me cause I am working most of the time. But definitely not alone.
I hope I dun sound barbaric. It is again not abt doing housework for not granting them the leave but to protect the interest of the family.
Last edited by CreaXion; 4th May 2008 at 04:56 PM.
BTW didn't do NS.
I am in always in a moral obligation to take care of ppl. I treat my ppl well. They are the ones who had disappointed me over and over again. But I just say "Well, I can take it or leave it" cause being unhappy ain't going dish out any sh*t to the person who had caused it.
Unfortunately, I seen too many arguements for the domestic help (not that i don't support some of the arguments) but I don't see much support for the employers.
Anyway, for those who do not know, my friend's maid was molested, raped, etc by the employer and they were given off days every week in that country. What an irony, isn't it. She was so glad when she came to Singapore and she no longer lived in fear even though she do not have off days.
Frankly speaking, a lot of things are relative in nature. What is a necessity to us may not be a necessity to them. I once had a maid who do not wish to leave us and hopes to continue working for us. She had worked somewhere else before. She felt that life in Singapore is much more bearable than their country where they often have to make the bare minimum meet. Working in Singapore under a fair employer gave her security and money for her family. We were like all crying whens she was leaving the family. She was recalled by her own family. We even gave her additional angbao when she left.