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PostHeaderIcon Maid Abuse? Employer Abuse? Agency Abuse? in Singapore

Singapore maid abuse? Employer abuse? Agency abuse? Thought this would make an interesting topic since I finally have some time to write (it’s school holiday for the kids finally!)

Singapore Maid Abuse?

Most of us read about the typical maid abuse cases in the newspapers. The maid may be punched in the face or scorched with boiling water, but have you ever wondered about the unreported cases? While these are not physical abuse per se, they do affect the girls’ well-being to a certain extent.

Just recently, the Philippines has tightened the “release” of girls to work as maids in other countries. From my discussions with the girls and people in the industry, many employers have picked up on this and directly or indirectly “threatened” the girl to send them back if they do not improve on their work or if they did something wrong.

Some girls who were unhappy about their current jobs were also afraid to seek work with new employers for fear of “revenge” by the employers for not staying with them.

While the MOM has regulations about verbal abuse, this kind of “mental” abuse is too “intangible”. As such, quite a number of girls were distressed by the situation but were quite helpless to do anything about it.

Is this maid abuse of some form? All we can do is to appeal to the employers to think about the girl’s family back home waiting for her remittance to feed them. They are as human as we are, so shouldn’t they be given a second chance?

Employer Abuse?

Some cases I remember were: (1) a maid breaking her employer’s baby’s arm or leg; (2) a maid murdering an old lady, and (3) a maid putting bleach into the contact lens solution of her employer. I must add that these are not just abuse, they are criminal acts against the employers!

While these are rare cases, there is always a possibility that it may happen to anyone. This is especially the case if one is extremely temperamental and behaves in an aggressive manner towards the girl. Remember, they are foreign domestic workers, not slaves! They deserve respect too.

Let’s look at it this way… most of the maids do not know anyone here. Most agencies would advise them to do their best and finish their contracts. But, sometimes, something happens that just makes the girl snap. To some of them, the anger of being bullied and the thought of revenge got the better of them, and they chose to do what they did.

As such, I feel that employers should keep one eye closed to certain matters and not “push it”. You really wouldn’t know what is the limit of each maid, and you definitely do not want to find out. It is a balancing act, no doubt, but a necessity, especially if you leave your young children in the girl’s care while the family is out to work.

Agency Abuse?

Sometimes, I feel that the maid agencies in Singapore have the toughest role to play. We are highly regulated by the MOM and at the same time, many employers are “perfectionists” who wants all the maids to work out perfectly - a little bit of problem, they will complain first.

Moreover, some employers really look down on people working in maid agencies, as if we are some form of low life. In actual fact, we are providing a much needed service to the community. How else can many Singaporeans go to work when there is no helper at home to help out with taking care of the children and household chores?

There is a Chinese saying that there is no “cheap” or “expensive” job, but whether you do a good job.

I venture to say that many maid agencies in Singapore are probably doing their best to serve the community. However, people have to understand that many of our foreign domestic workers are new to you and Singapore, and they may not know your way of doing things. As such, please do not “abuse” the agencies if things do not work out your way.

All in all, I feel that all three parties - the maid, the employer and the agency really have to put in an effort to make the stay of the maid in Singapore pleasant while making sure that the employers’ needs are met. As for the agency, I am thankful if a day goes by without complaints from the employers…

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