Many years ago, we came across a post from A Maid’s Eye View of Singapore Employers – a now inactive Facebook group (last post was in August 2014) created by a group of MDWs to speak their stories in Singapore. We realised that even right up till this day, discriminations on helpers continue to surface. The story is as follows:
One day, I accidentally put my fork and spoon together with my employer’s spoon. Grandma see me, and scold me very hard. She say maid’s spoon should not be put in the same place as employer’s spoon. She make me feel like I am an animal. I feel so low. I said sorry, I will take the spoon away.
I want to say, Ah Maa, I will take away my spoon if you want, but, my spoon will not dirty your spoon. I am not a dog. I clean everything for you, your plate, your spoon, I cook for you. But you cannot take it that my spoon mix with your spoon? Why you need to feel like you are above me, why you want to make me feel so low, like animal, like dog? Maybe worse than dog.
Sadly, some MDWs in Singapore are treated as punching bags to kick and humiliate. There are a handful of employers who seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to mete out this kind of verbal and physical abuse on another person. Ironically, employers would still continue to hire a helper they assume is untrustworthy, but still place them in charge of the care of their children or elderly relatives.
Another Facebook post by actor Nicholas Bloodworth on SCC staff barring his family’s helper Mary drew attention to the club’s policy. https://www.facebook.com/nicholas.bloodworth/posts/10157891450902388. Although many speak out strongly online against the club’s policy, there were many others who sided with the club. If the idea is to maintain a club’s exclusivity, all non-members should be refused entry, not just domestic helpers. No?
Of course there are also very nice employers (Yes! Customers of EELIT AGENCY) whom we came across, who treated their Helpers as part of their family. They would bring their helper out for fine dining, buy them gifts, bring them for spa treatments, shopping, hotel staycations etc.
So let us all be gracious and treat our MDWs as human beings, not robots or commodities. Treat them as equals who deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. After all, MDWs are hired to perform tasks that few Singaporeans want to do.