mardi, février 19, 2008

Maid to order

The other day, I was explaining to my colleagues about the family nucleus in Singapore. In an ideal singaporean family, there is a young married couple with a kid and a house maid. Usually they would be staying near one of their parents.

I started explaining the unique situation of having a house maid even for the middle income family. The maid's salary was low and these young girls from under developed countries were often greeted with culture shock. There were cases of girls falling down from high rise buildings while hanging out the clothes or cleaning the windows. I remembered my granny's maid asking for wood to start a cooking fire the first day she arrived. In the newspaper, we read about maids being abused and also abusing maids.

Out of curiosity, I started to search for the low wages of the maids and I found this interesting paper written about the work condition of maids in Singapore. I think the study was rather one sided as it highlighted only extreme cases. I know of a few maids who were really happy working for my friends and my relatives and were treated like a family member. However, as the title said "Workplace Abuses in Singapore", what else can you expect from this report. Read more in:

It is really long but worth reading. It highlighted the working condition and missing labour laws to protect these maids. With no off day for Indonesian maids, with no fix working hours, with no min wages, some maids entered into salvery without leaving the house, without having enough sleep, without being paid. Really sad stories really happening in Singapore.

2 commentaires:

Paradoxical Carrie a dit…

By looking at the link, I presume the report was written in 2005, which since the foreign labour law, in particular law governing the "domestic helpers" has changed quite a bit.

I last know tat their mthly salary has risen (% is even more than our pay increment). It's now mandatory to give day off to the maid, but of cos, if they are willing to not take day off, the employer and maid can negotiate on additional pay for tat (but it's "under the table").

Just today, there was this discussion about this Malay family not paying their maid salary for the past 6 yrs! They had oso not allowed her to go out or hv any contact wif any pple, so much so tat the maid's family tot she had met wif some mishap! Wat the?! And when the Malay husband was interviewed, he feign ignorance tat he din know the maid wasn't paid. Ya right! Who is he trying to fool?

Unlike our European counterparts, the majority of Asian countries are not strong in their human rights law so I guess tat the reason why.

sohcool a dit…

Hi PC,

Even with change of law, there are always abusive family. So sad for this maid. 6 years of salary! Shame on this family. I hope the maid gets her full pay with interest included and the family bars from having a maid.