Domestic Helpers

I was inspired to write this entry after reading a friend’s status on Facebook a few weeks ago. She is a Malaysian currently residing in Singapore.

In her status, she expressed frustration over her Filipino maid because “she wants weekends off like her friends in America”. Then, she went on to say that her maid is only entitled for one day off per month but she is already giving her another day extra and still, the maid complains.

I felt gutted…

Only two days off a month on one of the most stressful jobs – taking care of small kids everyday? With no specified daily working hours or job specification? I am sure taking care of kids plus managing a household is no easy feat, otherwise why would one need domestic help?

Is it because of the fact that she is a “maid” makes her undeserving of rest day(s) and personal time each week like any employee?

Even office workers, who get weekends off and additional annual leave complain of job-related stress. Why the double standard?

Is the “maid” here to provide assistance as an employee or a slave? Or perhaps a robot?

Reading Genn’s observations, can these (often) young foreigners working in Singapore or Malaysia be blamed if they are not exactly “performing”? They are exhausted! 

Like any other employees (e.g. you and I), when unhappy with the job or boss (i.e. no job satisfaction), do you think they will have a heart to be dedicated while on the job?

One of the comments on her status read, “Get Indons instead, they are more obedient and less stubborn”.

I don’t know what else to say. Food for thought.


22 comments on “Domestic Helpers

  1. Khanum says:

    A good piece Tien. Maids/servants are also human. They may nt work in offices. But they have equal rights as we the educated lot expects from our bosses.

  2. anne says:

    hey there, i am filipino and is working here in singapore, too but not as a DH. i have heard this story too many times. and i have mixed feelings towards it. most of the time, i feel the same way you do. taking care of a household (plus kids) is indeed exhausting. they need the time to unwind and de-stress themselves. i should know, i see some of our helpers in the philippines the same way, too.

  3. nadia says:

    This is an example of modern slavery which, unfortunately, is pretty common here in the Gulf countries too.

    • Tien says:

      I hope the authorities will do something to regulate a set of rules when employing these domestic helpers. They are just employees, just the same!

  4. Sendie-Lou says:

    I grew up with helpers and my family still do back home and here I am as my own maid.. karma! hahaha 🙂 But yeah.. I hear that story many times. I agree with one of the comment here that there are a lot of cases of modern day slavery nowdays. The economy isn’t getting any better and people are getting more desperate and there are others who take advantage of that. Lots of people have lots their humanity thesedays. You know the saying of “good helpers are hard to find” I think it goes both way, good employers are hard to find as well. Btw, the comment of Indon are more obidient.. hahaha my husband will object to that in a heartbeat! 🙂

  5. Claire says:

    I know of some families who treat the maids as their own family members so much so that some of them don’t even want to go back because they’re living a good life here.

    It’s really unfair to get a job that only allows you ONE rest day, and it’s even worse to have your employer give you another day off thinking that you should be oh-so-grateful.

    Dear employers of maids/domestic helpers. These people, are actually people, and these people are the ones who are cleaning up your mess, the ones you create and don’t have the time to tend to. They are not your slaves. Just because you’re paying them to do something doesn’t mean you can squeeze every bit of energy out of them. You wouldn’t like it if your boss at work did that to you either…. Seriously, if you can’t afford (the time) to do so many things, then be less ambitious for crying out loud. Simple as that.

    Hi Tien 😛 sorry had to rant a bit 😛

  6. scrambled7 says:

    I’m always nice to my maid, and I hate it when people treat their driver’s and maid’s incorrectly.

  7. D... says:

    Wow your friend sounds like a terrible person. She’s obviously taking advantage of the girl and is treating her like some sort of slave, like she’s not even deserving of being treated fairly, humanely. I don’t think I would be able to be friends with someone like that, but that’s just me. And really, I had no idea what an indon was, and you know what that sounds even worse that she believes that a certain race would be more willing to take her abuse. But then again I am a liberal American and I believe in treating people like people and giving them their rights. I know that some cultures may not have come to that understanding, so right now I guess I am being judgmental. But human rights issues are something that I think need protecting.

    • Tien says:

      Danielle, she is my “Facebook friend”, whom I haven’t seen in years but continue to “stalk”….hahahaha! I can hardly believe my eyes when I read her status the other day. She sounds snobbish and demanding. And her circle of friends sounds the same, judging from their comments and “support” on her “situation”. Oh, an “Indon” is short for an “Indonesian”. This is what I admire about the American culture. You guys take human rights very seriously. I do hope something will be done soon to protect the rights of these poor domestic helpers…..

      • D... says:

        I figured it was one of those I know you but I don’t really know you sort of friendships. Like you were friends at one time, maybe not super close, more like acquaintances. It’s like my Granny said some friend you have on the porch and some you invite into your house.
        Yeah we Americans are super serious about human rights, not that some people don’t try and get away with some bad junk, but we call you on it. And no sooner than you can saw law suit do these things get blown wide open. Sympathy always goes to the person who is being taken advantage of.

  8. The treatment of this maid sucks. It is basically bullying the weak. It is a scandel that it is allowed and sad that she does’nt realise how poor her behaviour is

  9. Nicole says:

    Yeah, that’s really sad… 😦

  10. westwood says:

    Sure is a far cry from what I’m used to.

  11. What is that status all about?! Did she mean Americans are lazy?! I live in the US & all of my friends & family are very hard workers. That’s why weekends are important (to avoid inevidable burn out). Anyway, I won’t even get into that. The poor maid should quit! That other girl sounds like she has her head in the clouds & her priorities all messed up. Yikes!

  12. Tien says:

    Mindy, I think she is trying to say that American employers are generally more flexible and less demanding. Which I totally respect because you guys take human rights seriously. Instead of being ashamed of her “one day off but am giving her one day extra per month” attitude, she blamed her maid for comparing! Simply outrageous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s