15 Sep 2014

Hiring a domestic maid to look after special needs person

Plan for more male helpers in Singapore hits snag, The Straits Times, 14 Sep 2014
A push by a local maid agency to bring in more male helpers to Singapore has hit a snag because it has been found to be "not practical".

Homekeeper, which last year announced plans to bring in up to 100 male "maids", has decided there is not enough interest after bringing in 10 from Myanmar.

Issues include the longer time it takes for a male helper's work permit to be approved, the fact that he cannot be transferred to another family and families' reservations regarding living arrangements.  "If there are women living in the house, families are not comfortable with a male helper also staying under the same roof," said Homekeeper general manager Mark Chin.

The role of live-in male helpers is to take care of elderly men, who might be too heavy for female maids to lift. They are paid around $600 a month, compared with around $2,000 for a male nurse.

A Manpower Ministry (MOM) spokesman said there are around 30 male helpers here, and applications to bring them in are "very rare" and allowed only in "exceptional situations". There are more than 200,000 female maids here.

Last year, Homekeeper decided to bring in more male helpers after saying there was a strong demand for them to take care of elderly men who may be bedridden, given the ageing population. But it found that getting approval for a helper would take one to three months.

Families who wanted a male helper were willing to wait in the beginning, but as their needs grew more urgent, they became more impatient, Mr Chin said. Sometimes, prospective employers had to seek the help of their Members of Parliament to try to get the applications approved, he added. But this is only part of the problem.

One 32-year-old male helper from Myanmar decided to return home after four months because the job was not what he had expected. He thought he would only be taking care of the elderly man he was attached to but he was asked to do housework as well.  He could not be transferred to another family because MOM approves work permits for male helpers only on a case-by-case basis.  

Homekeeper chose to bear the return expenses for the male helpers who wanted or needed to be repatriated. Out of the 10 male helpers the firm brought in, six have left.

The owner of employment agency JRS Business Express, who did not want to be named, said she has brought in one or two male helpers, adding that the application process is "quite tough".

As for families who hope to hire male helpers, Mr Chin said his firm will still bring them in, but on an ad-hoc basis.

Winter:  My needs, an affordable special needs daycare centre that is located nearby (half day rate shouldn't cost about/more than a FDW's salary) or with transport provided to ferry her if Center is not within walking distance.  Grassroots and social workers tend to find Centres that do not want my girl (she is not independent, unable to understand and obey instructions - to be simple, not well-behaved and easy to take care) and failed to consider the fact I don't own a car, I need school transport to ferry her .... otherwise, how do I hold a full-time job?  

If I'm gone, I hope a daycare centre is available so that proper attention is given to my girl instead of hiring a live-in domestic maid.  Quality is not there.  What Employers paid and trained FDW isn't worth because of modern FDW's working mentality and attitude... they come here to play hard and not to work according to what they have agreed during interview.

Phenomenon of the squeezed middle-class, Straits Times, 21 Apr 2014
When asked to rate how well the Government has handled issues like health care and transport since 2011, again this group consistently gave the lowest scores.  The survey sought to find out how Singaporeans view the progress made since the 2011 General Election, when many issues were aired and voters sent a strong signal by electing six opposition members into the House, the most since 1966.

Singaporeans have the most confidence in the Government's ability to handle issues related to the elderly, the poor, health care and housing, although there appears to be growing frustration over train breakdowns, and the foreign worker issue remains divisive.  But another picture that emerged was of a U-shape curve in satisfaction.

Young Singaporeans are generally happy and optimistic. Those in their mid-30s, 40s and early-50s are stressed and critical. And then those aged 55 to 64 become more carefree and happier again.  When told these results from the survey, Mr Koh agreed: "These (aged 35 to 44) are the people with the most burdens, the most worries. We're in a midlife crisis of sorts. We have schoolgoing children, so the commitment is very high, and we're also afraid of a sudden career change.  "If you're committed to the car, house and children, the burden is huge. We're the sandwich group. The costs are tremendous."

The phenomenon of the middle-class squeeze is not a new one. And neither are the stresses of the middle-aged. But when age and income intersect, the survey suggest a bloc of voters in the middle who are feeling increasingly squeezed and in need of more help.  Scholars on well-being have posited just this relation between age and happiness - with the lowest point usually coinciding with middle age.

That does not surprise Nominated Member of Parliament Laurence Lien: "The middle-income may have higher expectations that are unmet, and they do not get as much government support as the lower-income.  "The 35- to 44-year-olds are often having to juggle multiple responsibilities. Apart from work and parental responsibilities, they may also have to provide caregiving help to their parents."

The survey also found that the overriding perception is that the Government helps the poor the most.

Over three-quarters of respondents said the low-income group have benefited most from government policies in the last three years.  In contrast, only 3 per cent said the middle-income group had been helped the most, less than the 10 per cent who said the richest were being helped the most.  This despite more measures recently to support the middle-income group, including GST vouchers to offset cost of living rises, and also hikes in the income ceiling so middle-income households can buy four-room HDB flats with subsidies.

The findings suggest that while the Government has increased support to the middle-income groups, it is either not felt, or not sufficient.  This traditional PAP-voting base may have wavered due to concerns over the rising cost of living and lack of retirement savings.

Overall, the survey findings suggest that even as the Government has moved to address many of the issues that had caused anxiety and insecurity among voters, there are still groups that remain sceptical, especially among the middle-aged and middle class.  The Government has to pay attention to their needs and aspirations, so as to make sure their dissatisfaction does not deepen further.

Lack of care, The New Paper, Monday, 24 Mar 2014
Last week, the Ministry of Social and Family Development announced a pilot programme in Parliament where multiple agencies would work together to give specific help to vulnerable families.  For sole breadwinner Lai Peng Nan, however, being able to get food and medicine may not be enough to ease his worries.  Mr Lai gets help, such as monthly food packages, from various welfare groups. His family also gets public assistance.

But finances are not his only worry. He can afford to live, he told The New Paper, but not to die.  His wife, 75, daughter, 55 and son, 52 are mentally disabled.

Mr Lai has another son who works as a labourer, but he has a family to feed in Batam. His two other daughters committed suicide 10 years ago.  He said: "Luckily, I'm still healthy for my age, but who'll look after them (his family members) when I die?"

Taking care of them is not easy.

When TNP caught up with him recently, he was heading home with a spring in his step.  The plastic bag the 82-year-old was holding was bursting with the spoils of the day - five discarded aluminium pot lids. Mere trash in other people's eyes, but they were worth far more to Mr Lai.  He said in a mixture of Mandarin and Teochew: "Do you know how expensive aluminium is?"  When sold to the karung guni man, the lids would fetch $2 or $3, he estimated.

That meant a boost to a monthly income ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.
Madam Tay, Mr Lai's wife, scuttles into the bedroom whenever visitors arrive. Mr Lai said: "She doesn't like people seeing her in this state. She used to be okay, but now she stays at home and doesn't like to go out."  It was only when The New Paper left the three-room flat in Serangoon that she re-appeared.

Neighbours said the younger Mr Lai would urinate at the corridor and staircase landing. He also sleeps at the corridor. Knowing the family's situation, many neighbours take the inconvenience in their stride.Grassroots volunteers said the younger Mr Lai had been arrested previously for stripping and urinating in public. On several occasions, the police had to bring him home.  He was not always like this. Mr Lai said his son grew up normal, but "lost his job, got dumped, couldn't take it and ended up like this".

TNP understands that Family Service Centre staff have been helping the son since 2000.  The younger Mr Lai visits the centre regularly for counselling and support.  Mr Lai declined to talk about his daughter, except to say that she hides in her room.  Aside from worrying about what will happen to them after he is gone, Mr Lai also frets about whether his family will be able to continue living together.

A counsellor with 15 years' experience said the state is likely to intervene only if there is no living next-of-kin. If that is the case, "the family members would likely be sent to homes".  The Ministry of Social and Family Development said that social workers "will work with (the) dependents and various agencies to provide alternative care arrangements". Institutionalisation is a last resort.

The suicides of Mr Lai's daughters more than 10 years ago still haunt him.  A neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Madam Ang, 80, saw one daughter's body at the void deck.  She recalled: "There was a canvas sheet covering her. The parents were standing there silently. There were no tears, no sound, no reaction."  Madam Ang's relative, who declined to be named, said: "Maybe they have no more tears left."

Winter:  Who will care for my special needs girl when I'm gone? 
Nothing is free in Spore.  PAP and activists won't care to look at you, even if you're really vulnerable.  Even if help is given, how long?  How much?   

24 Sep 2013 - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has confirmed in his recent speech (link) that Singaporeans are often “very preoccupied with our own problems”. PM Lee encouraged them to know what's happening in the world around them. PM Lee also discussed the concept of work-life balance which he said has become a “tag-phrase” and “meme” among Singaporeans. PM Lee said Singaporeans don’t quite understand the trade-offs of work-life balance. He explained that Singaporeans might want to "have a bit more free time" and "a bit less stress and pressure in life".

However, there are countries like China, Vietnam and India which are “hungry” and “anxious” to “steal” the lunch from Singapore, he added. PM Lee also said he wants Singaporeans to not depend on the government to solve all problems. While he agreed that the government has to be on top of the game, think ahead and solve problems, when issues come up, he wants Singaporeans to think of what they can do. PM Lee also encouraged Singaporeans to look after themselves and not to be just reliant on handouts.

枪口对外,内部腐烂也不比外患重要?政府不能同时兼顾, 人民应该自己解决政策引起的问题?耍太极?PM still perceive the citizens as inept and a bunch of complainers is appalling. Are we not good enough to hold the best positions? Are we inferior compared to imported foreigners? Have we not been one of the most hardworking (worked long hours) and resilient workers whether it's white or blue collar? It means internal problem, such as coping with special needs and how to help us should not be chanelled to him or his ministers? Really sad and shows how well PAP knows your own people. Our govt should not CREATE problems or implement unfriendly policies for Singaporeans to solve ourselves, am I right? Why asking PAP to reflect and show more care to the low income or sandwitched citizens is viewed as troublemakers?

May I ask who brought in cheaper people from China, Philippines, India and other countries to "steal" our lunch? Monopolies and oligarchies running the economy dictating prices in property, retail sector, telecommunication, transport etc. causing high inflation. Foreigners escalated prices of properties that are out of reach to the average citizens. An influx of foreigners with alien culture that add pressure to the infrastructure. Robbed us of everything, including our livelihood... you thought the roots of all these problems are the citizens, not you? Are we one of the policy makers?

Made lives of Singaporean miserable yet sounded we asked for it and caused it! Singaporeans are working longer hours but earned lesser income than our wealthier counterparts so that Spore remains on the top. Be fair and stop treating us like some uneducated people from poorer countries! Do note that your salary is 10 times of a manager. Your one month salary is so many times higher than my YEARLY income! In year 2012, PM Lee took a 36% pay reduction to S$2.2 million basic pay (link). The highest salary of any elected head of government in the world - more than four times as much as Barack Obama who earns US$400,000 a year as President of the United States. I didn't cast aspersions.

We feel the pain (problems) the greatest but you can't feel any because you made the policies, thinking they are perfect or workable since they suit you and the highly paid ministers. You don't seem to empathise and help those in pain by coming up with solutions to lessen the pain... you lost touch with the grounds! How to remain silence when we're facing the impact of the problems created by PAP? 在你成为人上人之后,不要把我们这些底层人忘了. 我们不至于过着水深火热但日子确实不好过!

23 Sep - Some people are PAP supporters or pro-maid, no matter what infuriating things FDWs did to employers, so when I made some true comments, they get defensive/frighten - either deleted my comments/the whole thread and my account was banned. Can you hide the truth forever? I may be a minority in Spore but if one day, more people like me decide to stand out, refused to suffer in silence and be deceived to think tomorrow will be better …. can you handle a massive group of angry netizens? Put an iron fist eg ridiculous law to stop people from voicing? 阻止人民言论自由?

Just realised one parenting forum, did this to me. 清者自清 做人何必假惺惺 Since people trying to cover up and stopping me from telling the truth, the only option available is to voice in my own blog, be the administrator. I became an owner of a blog so nobody can delete my comments or thread. If you want to be pro-maid, this blog is not for you. Don't bother to fight for maids in a blog that is managed by a miserable FDW's employer. Why should I be a hypocite to make you happy?

There are many people who refused to try to understand my situation, they felt what happened to me is no big deal so I must keep this blog active to make people realise, not everybody is so fortunate. There are really citizens who are suffering and a lot chose to keep quiet. A lot of government policies or subsidies were just for show, it didn't benefit or help us improve our lives... somebody has to come out to tell the truth with proof ... which I did, some of my posts contained email to MOM or what my FDW did. I'm thinking of whether I should dig out the letter from KK Hospital which claimed they are not responsible, they were merely acting according to Spore Medical Council's guidelines (endorsed by PAP) and refused my request to have detailed tests during my first trimester.

22 Sep - Somebody posted this in my blog: "And since you have so much to say about your maid, why do you hire a maid in the first place? And why are you blaming your government in the predicament you are in? Why did you start a family if you are not ready to tacle your future problems? What you are facing right now is part of the parcel of a married life. You chose to get married and chose to gave birth and now you encounter some problems, you are blaming your government and your maid and the people who are not so nice to you. You are facing all this problems because of your choices. Instead of washing your dirty lenin in public, why not just kept quiet and pray?"

Did I plan to have an abnormal child? You mean you'll do family planning to have an abnormal baby? Do I look like I'm crazy to plan and conceive an abnormal child?  Was I mentally prepared to have a special needs child in my family? Who has offered me a chance to say I don't want to have an abnormal child? Do I like to be hated when I tried to voice what I have been made to go thru? I delivered a special needs child even though I was under the 'good care' of KK Hospital. Played out by those professionals and a reputable hospital, what can I do? I'm just a commoner with no impressive background, not rich and no minister/govt office keen to help. Swallow everything that happened due to KK and pick up the 'burden of love' for life. What happened to me, don't I have the rights to tell the truth via a blog and share with others who may be in the same predicament? Why I am forced to employ a maid, why I am keeping JA, I strongly believe those who have read my blog know the answers. Posting in my blog for fun just show what kind of person you are! Being a FDW's employer is not my preferred choice. Just because I am a FDW's employer, I deserve nasty remarks? You want to comment something, get the facts right! If FDWs are really good helpers and can stay for 2 years, why there are woes from employers - maids getting easy transfer, wasting our time and money to train them?

There are too many people who can't be bothered to understand what others are suffering, 不知人间疾苦 had been too blessed, having smooth sailing life 好命, thus, no matter how much I tried to explain, they refused to use a bit of good heart to understand and be fair to me. Simple thing like read before shooting at me, they can't even do it.

I hope inconsiderate and insensitive people will land in my shoes to have a taste of what is means by trying to stay employable in order to survive in a cruel country, as a special needs parent.

I must keep this blog active so that 'dirty linen' can be shown to the public and hopefully, one fine day cleaned by MOM/PAP. By keeping quiet will mean more people will take advantage of FDW's employers. Most ministers are in their comfort zones and have not shown adequate care to the special needs families cum FDWs' employer. If I have been a special needs mum for 10 years, I have been enduring 10 years and hopes to be 'treated' were tarnished year after year.

This blog was created around Nov 2012, how many 10 years do I have? Imagine a person is sick for 10 years, denied treatment, what will happen to this person? This person will continue to be in pain till the day he/she dies painfully. If 'medical treatment' is given, he/she may recover or die a less painful way. Also, the family will not suffer so long, maybe spared from agony. How many 10 years do I have to wait for PAP/MOM? Kept quiet for 10 years .... not enough? One year 365 days .... you able to live in my kind of life?

By praying .... if it helps then in this world, nobody need to work, just pray for money to rain on you. If praying is so great, pray for good health so that we need not pay to see doctors and get medication. There are quite a number of people selling me the idea of healing (sounded like miracle) thru religion... to me, it is just a gathering but won't heal my 'wound' or my child... everything depends on myself. Don't pin hopes somewhere and realise they will never come thru. Maybe will come thru but I'm already dead!

21 Sep - How do you feel when somebody says
"I believe that these Pinoy maids are educated enough because as posted at the MOM website, an applicant should have a secondary school diploma. Comparing to the capacity to communicate, among all the foreign maids here, Filipino maids has no problem with english communication unlike other nationalities. But most of the time, problem also lies on employers like us, or maybe from our own family. If not educated enough or even those who did not finish school, still has problem with communication. Anyway, we should be thankful enough because if not of these maids then we can not find a living for our family and our kids might end up to be maids or gardener in the end."

My view (link):
Yes, getting a FDW let me stays employable but giving me headaches, unnecessary stress and financial drainage will just push me and other full-time mummies to resign and stay home. By staying home to nurture own kids, our kids won't end up as gardener or maids. By employing FDWs, your kids won't become ministers or somebody of substance. Maids are helpers, not suppose to replace parents. You employed maid to take over your role? Are you really an employer? Can't believe there's an employer who empowered the FDW to mould their children's future.

Filipino maids are educated but are they more educated than the employers? Their English is better than other FDWs but good enough to make you think they are superb people for your household or kids? Being able to communicate in English made Filipino maids felt superior and tend not to cooperate with employers in order to deliver a good job. If their English is good or qualified to tutor or guide your children to the right track, they shouldn't be FDWs, there are so many other jobs for educated filipinos.

If I must kick my current filipino out, have the courage to employ another FDW, I will find a FDW from other source country and adjust my life having poor communication. By being able to communicate in English, filipinos should understand my house rules and work instructions but they chose to pretend or purposely do opposite ways. Filipino maid quality sucks!

What for hire egoistic filipinos who are not prepared to do their best to help me in the capacity as FDW? What for pay filipinos higher salary than other nationalities and ended up with more unreasonable demands from them?

7 Sep - In July, the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) made an appeal to lower the minimum age requirement and to scrap the educational requirement for maids. It believes these changes are needed to boost the supply of maids in Singapore.

AEAS says a maid's education should be left to the employer's specification. MOM currently sets the requirement of all FDWs must receive at least 8 years of education. By having 8 years of education, it does not mean maid can speak simple English. It could be just fluent in their mother tongue. Who cares about their age or qualification? What employers need is a good helper, a person who is trainable and willing to follow work instructions.

We do not need FDWs who can afford to attend school, which means their families are not that poor, thus, do not really need to work hard in a foreign country and earn a decent salary. I hope to find a FDW who is the sole source of income. Others may want to buy land, build a home, etc. We do not need FDWs coming here to enjoy life or get a free holiday with live-in FDW's benefits. We do not need FDWs who are too highly educated and chose to spend time fighting for more benefits. They focused on self and are reluctant to lighten employers' load. I am sure most are aware what kind of salary Spore is offering yet they come in and claimed underpaid. Don't pollute our country. Stop whining.

If FDW is not a job chosen by you, I can't believe it. You're a human, not a slave, you can choose a job, you decide whether the salary is acceptable so all the while, working as FDW ie maid is YOUR choice ... you placed your ass in the plane, not Employers! You know you can't get such good terms and salary in your own country.  Point your fingers towards yourself, admit your own greed caused you to be a commodity and allowed agencies to earn big bucks.

For maid, to be separated from parents, children and/or husbands, to work in a strange place and be at the beck and call of strangers, could be quite a frightening experience. Worse, they often have to pay large sums to maid agencies to secure employment. Most of the time, the contract in source countries and Spore is different. When maids found out, they point their fingers to the employers. Are we suppose to give in to FDWs, feel sorry for them so do all we could to please them? Employers didn't set the policies or created the contract, they felt cheated, what can we do? We, employers also paid a lot to your agencies. Not our fault, if you have used your eyes to see and brains to think! By having a minimum age, 23 to work as FDW, such a simple logic, a matured person like you, don't know? Are you still a child?

By enforcing every maid must be at least 23 years old, does it means she has matured thinking? No, my past maids and current maid are examples of maturity is not present in them. Life experience makes a person grow and then be matured. Modern FDWs looked more like big babies, waiting to be nursed and taken good care at employers' expense. They are childish and irresponsible. They can afford to do so and remain childish, refused to think well because the circumstances didn't force them to grow up and behave like an adult.... too pampered! A real adult should be fully responsible for their actions. FDWs have off days but employers are made responsible for what they did. FDWs have to take half yearly medical test …. what's the purpose? To find out whether they have misbehaved! Who faced the consequences of what maids did eg pregnant or has HIV? Not totally maid herself, somebody else.

The solution is actually quite simple. If government is prepared to act in a decisive way, we may be able to get ourselves out of this shit. Even with a central agency in charge, dictate the terms of employment for maids in the host countries, including salaries, the people at the bottom will still suffer, whereas, those on top continue to find ways to reap huge profits. The best is MOM setup recruitment agencies and training centers in the source countries to get things right. Don't you know what is the meaning of corruption? Haven't you seen high ranking officials pocketing money – embezzlement?

Governments need to take direct control of the recruitment process... time to tighten the grips of your kites. The poor shouldn't be made poorer and become money making machines. This applies to both FDWs and Employers.

All we need is a good pair of helping hands, not rebellious troublemaker. Some maids claimed the chores assigned are not fit for human. Eg, if you ask maid to hand wash her own clothes, she felt she should be given a washing machine. See this comment by a maid.

Of course, there are also good maids but it is really very difficult to find in Spore. By lowering the FDWs age to 20 and remove the 8 years educational requirement, I believe we will have more maids who come to Spore, really in need of a FDW job and will be delighted to be paid S$420 to $600 per month. I hope maids who felt they are superior and do not deserve a low class FDW job (a job not fit for high class human), can reflect on yourselves. If you're worth more, can easily get a better job in your own country, by all means stay there, don't fly to Spore or Hong Kong and whine. Don't expect employers to please you and give in to your demands. Everything .... your entitlement and salary are in black and white. You cheated yourself by thinking you are good! You believe your agencies thinking you're fantastic and deserve more. Employers didn't cheat you!

Filipinos maids tend to be favoured by expats because of their command of English is significantly better. However, some employers said the Indonesian girls are better around the home, taking care of children and are very loyal. Recently, I saw one Taiwanese show, filmed that Indonesians learnt how to take care of children and elderly in their training centres. I didn't get an Indonesian FDW who could take good care of my girl. Similarly, some said Myanmese are hardworking and trainable, can learn another language easily, but is it true? There's no guarantee which nationality is better. It could be due to the quality of FDWs have deteriorated, some agencies didn't send their maids to attend beneficial training or I/we are unlucky. I guess it is the mindset. How much maids are prepared to do a FDW job, their willingness to co-operate and level of understanding towards her employer and family.

Filipinos will confront employers over their obligations and will make use of their agencies, Facebook, circle of friends and MOM to resolve any grievances. They have a much better command in English but this has become something scary to me. I can no longer live with a Filipino. It makes me feel lousy because they are not manageable and are time-bombs. As mentioned, the next time I have to employ a FDW, it will not be a Filipino. Thinking she is better than me, all the requests are justifiable and I must make her happy .... sorry, you've over-estimated my tolerance and the depth of my pocket. Of course, if there's a special needs daycare centre, I will be freed from FDWs and maid agencies!!

Tan Chuan-Jin commented in his Facebook: ‘We may be too dependent on maids’
TCJ said “I didn't grow up having maids at home. When we got married, we didn't have maids. When we had kids, we did have one. But I think we just didn't really like the idea of having someone else in the house. And basically after that we just stopped.

I actually think that as a society, we are a bit too dependent on maids. Obviously, for childcare and eldercare, it's useful. And every family has different needs, to be fair. But I think there's some merit also in managing your own household. Your children grow up not assuming that things automatically get cleaned. If you don't tidy up your room, it just remains untidy. And they help out with household chores.”

Well, TCJ has choice but do I?
He doesn't need maid. Maid is not a necessity in a normal family like his. Give me a special needs daycare centre, suitable for my girl (prefer affordable fee and located nearby) so that I do not need to depend on FDW.

2 Aug - Domestic helpers enable family caregivers to continue to work and earn income to support themselves and their families .... Yahoo news

In the midst of an ever-increasing number of complaints against domestic helpers -- from the usual complaints of incompetency to alleged abuse of children and elderly cases-- Misi is a rare find, her employer Alice Quek said.

“We couldn’t have done without Misi. She provided Ma with a high level of care and she was always there when we couldn’t be,” Alice added.

The increasing importance of domestic helpers when it comes to caregiving is something that the Asian Women's Welfare Association's (AWWA)’s caregiving arm, Centre for Caregivers, wants to highlight. The centre was established in 2006 to look after the well-being of the local caregiving community. The centre also conducts workshops and training sessions for caregivers.

Instead of just doing household chores such as cleaning, cooking and taking care of young children, more domestic helpers are being hired to take care of a family member who is elderly or with disabilities, Anita Ho, CFC’s assistant director said. With this in mind, the centre launched the foreign domestic helper category as part of their Model Caregiver awards last year.

As of December last year, there were 209, 600 foreign domestic workers in Singapore, a 14 per cent increase from 2007, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

Ho also referred to two surveys commissioned by Ministry Social and Family development (the former Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) conducted three years apart.

A 2009 survey reported that 17 per cent of the households interviewed hired domestic helpers mainly to care for an elderly. This jumped to 49 per cent in the second survey, conducted last year.

“Domestic helpers enable family caregivers to continue to work and earn income to support themselves and their families,” Anita said. “The limited availability of day care facilities and respite options also increases our reliance on domestic helpers”.

Sian Long • It is nice to know they value foreign maids and workers. What about our local low skilled staff, maids and workers? Singaporeans are getting more and more insignificant and ignored in their own country. Tsk tsk tsk. Charity begins at home.

Deaf Mute • They came to Singapore to work because they could not find works in their own countries and not because they have a special love for Singapore. They would have left Singapore as soon as they could find slightly high pay jobs elsewhere. Why should they be singled out for honour?

We should honour our old grandfathers and fathers, old grandmothers and mothers who are still slogging to keep themselves alive.

We should appreciate their contributions to what we are today, not just the handful of MIW's claims of their sacrifices.

Jenny Y • Most maids agency will teach the maid to say that they can fly, climb the tree and many more when someone want to employ them. When they reach the employer house, if not happy. Just act blur blur, say here pain, there pain and will get a transfer.

Now the maid agencies already earn our hard earned money. But we will go through this troublesome procedure again. The maid agency is like a crocodile. And the maid had also become one of them. Both of them are carnivorous. Earn our hard earned money without blinking their eyes and doing much. Give them a CARNIVOROUS AWARD.

A Yahoo! User • Sounds like a joke when the quality of maids that arrive here is getting worse by the day. The better ones have gone to HK or Taiwan where there's no maid levy, while others have taken up sales position here. MOM is on different frequency.

Zorro007 • I am not against this but, please award your original people before others, eg: those NS boys earned nothing serving our country, your peanuts paid ah pek, ah soo, makcik, pak cik, ama, aneh cleaners, rubbish collectors, what lah you gahmen!.

David • 209,600 FDWs at monthly levy of $265 = $55.544 Million / month = $666.52 Million / year. What else can I say! Singaporeans are sooooooo rich! or stupid?

Tuna Seng • This article featured on ISOLATED case. Install a spycam and you be surprise what your maid do to your aged parent.

Zack • From my experience, helpers have very poor mentality & some even think they are on holiday here...

Paige • maid are boss..boss are their slave.

Experts have stressed the need for more practical and emotional support for families to deal with caregiving (read article below).

Practical and emotional support for stressed caregiver?  Did Rebecca, special needs single mum (Read) get any help from the govt or was she being pushed out, faced people playing taiji .... just like me, years ago when I was still a stay-home mummy?  Most people are very fortunate, need not go thru and understand what is 处处碰壁 in Sg.

As a result of her son’s serious medical conditions, Rebecca was not able to seek employment and her mother has to be the sole breadwinner of the family on a $1000 paycheck. Their neighbors said they often hear violent quarrels from the household which alerted the police several times. The family is also often in adverse financial difficulties due to child’s high medical costs.

Unlike most first world countries, in Spore, the disabled and unemployed are not given any payouts (no such thing as free lunch). There is also no pension system to supplement the failed CPF system which explains why most elderly Singaporeans are still working into their 70s or 80s. There is also no Minimum Wage to help protect low income Singaporeans like Rebecca’s mother. Due to PAP’s obsession with GDP growth, running Sg like a MNC to guarantee our ministers with high salary & fat bonuses, some people (those stuck at the bottom) have to be sacrificed, especially those who are not the pillars of Sg, cannot help to make Spore a better MNC.   It's not as if social welfare would be funding Rebecca's extravagant lifestyle. If Sg can spend over $300M to fund something like the Youth Olympics, whopping $10M just to ensure that FTs integrate with us, why not a fund to provide a decent support to these special need families?  Go low cost but provide adequate financial and emotional support, really not workable in Sg? 

It is not easy to find a good FDW, somebody who has a heart to work, sensible, responsible, co-operative and not stubborn (will do her work as per my training).  If my worse scenario takes place, that is to fire my current FDW, I have to quit a job I like and become stay-home mum again (this time, it will be permanant, doubt I'll be able to get back to workforce), wife cum 24/7 maid, will I be able to handle a life of no future, low-income better than this mummy?  As of this date, Sg govt doesn't enable the poor to live with dignity and hope. 

Normal people certainly cannot visualise nor fully understand what we're going thru.  Explain to them?  No, I tried and failed.  They thought I was exaggerating, had made my own life complicated or over pampered (want to rely on others 不劳而获)!  Only people who has an open heart or low income parents will understand.  

26 May - Caregivers in Singapore reported symptoms of Depression, Channel News Asia, 25 May
SINGAPORE: According to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, about 20 per cent of caregivers in Singapore reported symptoms of depression. These findings were shared in the Tsao Foundation's Caregiving Conference, which discussed the problems faced by caregivers here.
The survey polled 1,190 pairs of elderly persons and their caregivers over a one-year period from 2009 to 2010.

According to the survey, having a maid does not reduce stress among caregivers. Instead, it increases negative self-esteem.  Associate Professor Angelique Chan from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, said: "People feel guilty, and particularly women, because the majority of caregivers are women at 60 per cent.

"You are working and you sort of wish you were at home taking care of your mother or father but you aren't. But instead a person from a different country is -- who may not even speak the language and you worry. And you start feeling bad about yourself. And that's where this vicious cycle begins -- negative self esteem leading to depression."

Over the last 12 months ending March 2013, the foreign domestic grant benefited only about 3,000 families while about 7,000 caregivers underwent training with the caregiver training grant.
Experts have stressed the need for more practical and emotional support for families to deal with caregiving. 

22 May - FDW grant, effective somewhere Sep 2012.  read

I qualify for FDWG (based on my household income) but to get the funds is not easy.  I have to find a suitable course centre and a course that will really enrich my FDW so that she can understand and handle my girl.  How can I sign her up for a course that is meant for an elderly.... ridiculous, right? I can't simply dump my maid for any course. 

For M, I waited 3 months for a suitable course but only managed to get cash back of one month .... because I kicked M out!  JA, she's with me for 2 months but to get a relevant course, I must wait till Jun.  No FDW grant for me, no back dated reimbursement.  From M to JA, I am eligible to get 6 months reimbursement, ie $120 per month x 6.  Not forgetting my previous filipino maid who wanted to job hop after her home leave so I didn't sign her for any course .... kissed good-bye to 3 months grant.  Total FDW grant not entitled to was 8 months ($960). 

Course dates are fixed by the training centres, very inconvenient but AIC/CEL/MOM won't be keen to make this Grant hassle-free to us... it means more money will be taken from the govt... too easily.  Our govt doesn't want to disburse easy money so there are many terms and conditions to meet.  Also, the application is not one-time.  Once you change a FDW, you have to re-do everything again.  Thus, I was only given one month of grant instead of 8 months..... so disappointed.

Helpers from Myanmar to arrive by end-February, to look after old men
By Amelia Tan, The Straits Times, 28 Jan 2013

A MAID agency is planning to bring in a batch of about 30 male domestic workers trained in caregiving from Myanmar by the end of next month.

Homekeeper, one of the largest players in Singapore, says there is a strong demand for male helpers to take care of elderly men whom the more petite maids may have difficulty handling.

The agency is also ramping up recruitment to bring in about 60 male domestic workers from Myanmar in June, and more after that if demand is good.

This is the first time an agency is bringing in male foreign domestic workers on a regular basis.

Only a handful have hired men on an ad hoc basis at their customers' request in the past two years.

Agencies estimate there are fewer than 20 male foreign domestic workers in Singapore. Most of them are Filipinos who have been hired to care for elderly men. In contrast, there are 208,400 foreign maids.

Agents say the Manpower Ministry allows employers to bring in foreign male domestic workers if they have strong reasons for doing so.

Employers have to send a letter to the ministry explaining their situation.
Homekeeper managing director Carene Chin said many of her customers point out that their maids struggle to carry their wheelchair-bound or bed- ridden fathers.

The employers also find it is less awkward for their fathers if their caregiver is a man.

She added: "They feel that their father will be more comfortable to have a man to help them with showering and changing their clothes."

Ms Chin said hiring foreign domestic workers equipped with caregiving skills will allow more Singapore employers to avoid sending their parents to nursing homes, which are facing a shortage of places.

She said Singaporean employers like maids from Myanmar for their patient and hardworking nature. She believes that male workers from Myanmar will have a similar temperament.

Homekeeper is also sourcing women from the same country to be trained as caregivers. The agency will bring in about 60 of them by next month.

Both the male and female workers will be trained as caregivers in Yangon. They will be paid about $500 a month, higher than the average of $450 which foreign domestic workers earn in Singapore.

Most of them are high school or university graduates. But those who are trained nurses will be paid about $800.

Homekeeper has struck a deal with Singapore training course provider Grace Management and Consultancy Services (GMCS), as well as Yangon private school ACM School, to put all the workers through a 45-day caregiver course.

Conducted on ACM's premises in Yangon, the sessions will equip the workers with knowledge on dealing with the elderly and spotting health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

They will be taught in hands- on segments and classroom lectures, and will also learn conversational English and Mandarin.

GMCS managing director Richard Khoo said a team of its Myanmar doctors, nurses and trainers will conduct the classes and ensure the course is up to the mark.

GMCS runs the compulsory one-day Settling-In-Programme in Singapore which teaches first-time maids how to work safely and adjust to life here.

Employers with elderly parents said they are interested in hiring male caregivers. Shipping company director Serene Tan, 41, said her Filipino maid has trouble shifting her 82-year-old bedridden father-in-law to prevent him from getting bedsores.

"Hiring a trained caregiver will also free my maid up to concentrate on doing household chores."

Stronger pair of helping hands
By Amelia Tan, The Straits Times, 28 Jan 2013

MADAM Fatimah Ismail, 42, was troubled when she saw black and blue bruises on the arms of the female Filipino caregiver she had hired to take care of her bed-ridden father.

They came about when her 75-year-old dad gripped his caregiver's arms instinctively as he was afraid of falling when he was moved from his bed onto a wheelchair. The caregiver also had trouble lifting the 1.8m-tall man from his bed due to his bulky stature.

Madam Fatimah, a bank officer, started thinking that a male caregiver would be better suited for the job and began sourcing for one.

Three months ago, she hired a 24-year-old male helper from the Philippines through recruitment agency Aseana HR Consultants. The trained nurse is paid about $800 a month - almost twice the $450 that foreign domestic workers earn in Singapore.

Madam Fatimah says she is happy with her choice as the caregiver does not have any problems lifting her dad. She is also comfortable with having a male worker in her home and gives him his own room.

Agents who bring in male foreign domestic workers say there is a big demand for them.

Like maids, these male helpers come to Singapore on foreign domestic worker work permits, which are valid for two years, and live with their employers.

Bosses who hire male helpers and have family members above the age of 65 get to pay a discounted monthly levy of $170. The full monthly levy is $265. Aseana HR Consultants managing director Thess Lagdameo, who has brought in four male caregivers in the last six months, says some employers prefer male helpers but decide to hire maids instead because of the relatively shorter waiting time.

Agents say it takes three to five weeks for employers to be informed by the Manpower Ministry if the work permit application for their male helper is successful. Work permits for maids are usually approved within a few days.

Some employers interviewed said, however, that they are un-comfortable with hiring a male caregiver. Mr H.H. Yeo hires a Filipino maid who is a trained nurse to care for his elderly mother. He said: "My mum lives alone with the caregiver. She will not be comfortable with an unfamiliar man in the house."

Getting in male as FDW is good but how come only Myanmese?  They are easier to managed?  MOM realised Filipinos are full of ego or males tend to be more highly educated?  When I was a new FDW's employer, I thought the choices were wide.  Then after visiting a few maid agencies, I was shocked to find out nobody holding passports from Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand wants to be domestic maid.  MOM is trying deceive us.

The actual source countries are India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.  Most FDWs come from Philippines and Indonesia, these nationalities are maid agencies preferred money making tools.  There are FDWs from India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Cambodia but due to language, they are not the preferred choices.  

We need more source countries so as not to be blackmailed by Philippines and Indonesia.  
India may catch up because we've a lot of Indian foreign talents who flew over to 淘金.  My colleague needed a strong pair of hands to take care of his aged dad and brother with special needs so I sent him above articles.  He said he tried to get helpers in India but they didn't work long and also report to work infrequently.  He thought of bringing his male family members here and hire caregivers.

17 Dec 2012 - What Singapore government, ministers and activists did to protect employers who hired FDWs to look after persons with special needs?  When FDW is at fault, employer and family suffered the most - mentally and financially.  Is this fair?  We paid for her services and didn't treat her like slave or robot working 24/7.

Should Singapore government and activists help employers such as me urge for affordable daycare centres to be built so that we need not be forced to hire FDWs?  It is a risk to hire FDWs and leave persons with special needs alone with FDWs.  It is not easy to survive in Spore with single income.  Hubby and I are merely 'O' level holder and don't earn much.

Have you seen this news?  Did you feel justice was given to the deceased and her family?

Maid who allegedly caused death of disabled girl only 16 - Sat, Dec 25, 2010, AsiaOne

Verdict - The Straits Times, 09 Oct 2012
Within two weeks of starting work, a 16-year-old Indonesian maid harboured thoughts of poisoning her male employer, whom she resented for reprimanding her.  Nurhayati, who goes by only one name, later ditched the plan.

Two weeks later, she decided to kill Mr Lee Kai Yam’s 12-year-old physically and mentally disabled daughter – his only child – so he would feel her suffering.  On the morning of Nov 24, 2010, after he had left for work and while his wife was sleeping, Nurhayati carried Linda Lee Yee Lin to the 16th floor of their block of flats in Hougang and pushed her over the parapet wall.

Yesterday, Nurhayati, now 18, was jailed for 20 years after she pleaded guilty in the High Court to a charge of culpable homicide.

Since birth, Linda had been stricken with scoliosis, a curving of the spine that caused her to suffer poor mobility, an inability to talk properly and other deficiencies. Before Linda, Mr Lee and his wife Tan Pey Shya had had another child who died of an illness.

The court heard that Nurhayati started working for the family on Oct 27, 2010. At the time, she was thought to be 24 as she had lied about her age to work here.  She found it difficult to work for Mr Lee, who was particular about cleanliness and had scolded her about work.  One or two weeks into her job, Nurhayati hit on the idea of mixing his coffee with insecticide. She got the poison from another Indonesian maid and added it to his coffee. But she later abandoned her plan.

On the fateful day, barely a month into her job, Nurhayati woke up late. She apologised to Mr Lee for oversleeping. He did not scold her and left for work.  As she was doing the laundry, she thought of killing Linda to avenge her suffering. She carried the girl out of the flat and took the lift to the ground floor, but did not know how to kill her, so she went up to the 16th floor.  As the maid stood at a secluded spot, wondering how to kill Linda, the girl held onto the railing above the parapet wall. Nurhayati extended Linda’s body over the wall and gave her a shove.

Back at the flat, the maid worked out a plan – Linda had been kidnapped by two men – to deflect blame from herself. To make her story more believable, she lay naked on her mattress. Her story would be that the abductors had rendered her unconscious before taking Linda.

Madam Tan found her when she came in to check on Linda. She rushed out to look for her daughter and found the main gate ajar. Earlier, a taxi driver who saw a body at the foot of the block had called the police.

Questioned by the police, Nurhayati told the story about the two kidnappers. When she was advised to tell the truth, she gave a second version, of how a woman had thrown Linda down and told her to concoct the story.

The maid eventually confessed to killing Linda. The police later recovered her notebook, in which she wrote in Bahasa Indonesia about her situation. She said in one note: “I have no family and relatives here to whom I can seek help... I wanted to run, I could not even stand, how to run?”

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jean Chan asked for Nurhayati to be jailed for close to 20 years, for venting her anger on an innocent and helpless child out of spite, and then covering up her crime with no hint of remorse.

Nurhayati’s lawyer, Mr Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, argued that she was not given training to care for a child with special needs. He said Nurhayati’s mother, Madam Darmen Kapil, who was in court, wanted to seek forgiveness from Linda’s parents.  Madam Darmen later told reporters that her daughter had asked her to do so when she previously visited her in prison.

Also in court was lawyer Chia Boon Teck, who said he was retained by Mr Lee to look into the possibility of starting legal action against the maid agency. 

Maid agencies here said that it is not unusual for maids to lie about their ages, with the average lying by three to five years.
In the case of Indonesian maids, the agencies also said that it is harder to verify their actual ages, as many do not have birth certificates.
Agencies will net a three-point demerit from MOM when a maid is found to have falsely declared her age. Twelve demerit points will merit a warning and a spot on the surveillance list, while further offences may cause its licence to be revoked.

My FDW looked underaged (my 3rd filipino maid told me M said she's only 21), I am worried.  I am also very particular about cleanliness and food hygiene.  I did scold M for not doing her job well.  M 'hates' me for making her write down what she has forgotten and her mistakes.  Why can't she just remember or refer to her notes and don't make the same mistakes?  I don't want to spend time checking and reminding M everyday... stressful. 

Why M must purposely provoke me?  I'm also made of flesh and blood.  Must I contain my anger and kick her out of the house when threshold is reached?  Why I must feed agency so much money to get a replacement?  I didn't know she's underaged (insisted she's 26 but she behaved and looked like small girl) nor did I force M to work in my house.  She read my requirements.  She knew her job scope, visited my house to see my girl and agreed to work in my house. 

Why can't I have a trustworthy FDW to help me?  FDW made mistake, why employers can't scold her?  Don't want to be scolded, why cannot remember things/instructions related to work?  How much patience and EQ must we have?

Myanmar maid (FDW)

Myanmar has temporarily banned its women from working as maids in Singapore due to concerns over abuse and exploitation, an employment body in Yangon said on Saturday (Sep 13).

The suspension comes amid a global spotlight on the working conditions of migrant domestic helpers in Asia after reports of widespread abuse, including the case of an Indonesian maid who allegedly endured months of torture by her Hong Kong boss.

Myanmar - which only last year passed a law allowing its nationals to work as domestic helpers overseas - will impose the ban until an agreement is reached with Singapore over issues including worker rights and salary.

"We have been informed of cases of abuse and ill-treatment of Myanmar maids in Singapore... That's why we want proper protection for workers," Soe Myint Aung, a vice-chairman of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, told AFP. "The labour ministry has temporarily suspended permits for women until the federation signs a Memorandum of Understanding with (its counterpart in) Singapore."  He did not specify when the suspension came into place but said discussions for an agreement began around a month ago.

After amending its migration law in 2013, the former junta-ruled state has officially only sent domestic helpers - most of whom are women - to Singapore and Hong Kong.  The official said there is also a suspension on permits for maids wanting to work in the southern Chinese city, which received its first official group of 19 helpers in February, but did not say when this came into effect.

The case of Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih - whose Hong Kong employer now faces charges including grievous bodily harm with intent - triggered international concern about the treatment of domestic helpers.  Migration experts have previously warned about poor working conditions for Myanmar nationals in these roles.

The "temporary suspension", in effect for about five months, will be lifted once an agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), is signed with labour agencies in Singapore, it added. An official from Myanmar's Labour Ministry confirmed the suspension.

In Singapore, the president of the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS), Ms K. Jayaprema, said she has not been informed of any suspension by the Myanmar embassy, the "usual channel of communication".  However, Ms Jayaprema acknowledged that the association is in discussions with its Myanmar counterpart on an MOU. She said it is currently just a draft document and there are several issues that need to be addressed.

In an interview with The Straits Times, MOEAF vice-chairman Soe Myint Aung said: "We just made a temporary suspension. We will start it again after signing a memorandum of understanding... We are still discussing this (MOU) with agencies from the Singapore side."
Concern over maid abuse prompted the suspension, he said. "There were some cases of Burmese maids abused in Singapore, but those maids did not go through our agency, they went the illegal way."

There are reportedly 30,000 to 40,000 Myanmar women working as maids in Singapore.
"There was no problem before and the Labour Ministry let us operate even though there is no MOU," said Mr Soe Myint Aung. "But we found later that there were some problems when agencies from Singapore violated regulations. That is why the Labour Ministry imposed the suspension," he added, without giving any details about the cases.

The Straits Times reported in April last year that a rising number of Myanmar maids were "running away" from their Singapore employers. One reason was that they found it unbearable to work for months without receiving any pay.  Earlier this year, Myanmar media reported that the government wants its women working as maids in Singapore to be paid a minimum monthly wage of $450, be given at least one day off a month, and not to have to pay a recruitment fee that exceeds four months of their salary.

The MOU is intended to turn these proposals into regulations.
"When we have done the MOU, all of us will need to respect the agreement. This MOU will protect our domestic workers from exploitation and rights abuses," Mr Soe Myint Aung said.  An MOU could see 1,000 maids head to Singapore a month, the Myanmar Times said on Monday.

Ms Jayaprema noted that this is the first time that the AEAS has been asked to sign an MOU with a source country.  In the case of the Philippines and Indonesia, they have formal laws that provide protection for their women who work overseas.
Early this year, Myanmar stopped sending its women to Hong Kong just after the first batch of 19 domestic helpers arrived in the city. The suspension followed a high-profile case in which a Hong Kong housewife was accused of abusing her young Indonesian maid for months.

Alice Han - Not all Myanmar maids are that so bad. My youngest sister engage a Myanmar maid who is helpful n tends to all household chores besides looking after my mum who is 85. My mum has high blood pressure n dementia. Before my dad passed away two n a half years ago she has been caring for him. She even carries him at a later stage when my dad has difficulties in walking to the wheel chair. She has been with my youngest sister n my mum for four years till today. Engaging a maid depends on luck. Some are good n some are bad.

Faiza Sofi - I'm indonesia and work wth my employer for 12 years and I take care two baby and 86 years old grandma . My salary is bellow 500$ And off day only one month one time.
A lot friend said I'm stupid And ask me to find new employer to get better salary and off day every week .but I will never leave my employer . my sir treat me like his own daughter ..
And my mom is my best friend we share food and drink from the same plate or glass but my mom never feel disgusting .
I love grandma and happy take care two baby and do all house work myself .

Emily Blunt - Har less than $500! U r under paid! Do u know there is a basic wage for pinoy maids in sg! The basic requirement is $600

Rosanti Mbura - Emily blunt, I am Indonesian maid to and I have been working for my employer for 8 years and my salary is just$400.  many of my friends are telling me the samething as what faiza said.but salary doesn't matter cause there are things that more important than a big salary.  As long as we are happy and they treat us good then the big money is not an issue any more. Just be grateful for whatever we have and no to be greedy

Denis Antunes - To treat you well is the MINIMUM they could do after doing all this for 500 dollars and 12 years of work. I don't know your comparative, so I respect your point, but the fact is that it's very convenient for them to have someone like you.

Tomex Lfc Anfield - this looks like some made up comment lol
writes good English, obviously better than your owners, use Facebook and receive $500 every month?? you kidding me?!

Joshua Lee - Singaporean who employ Myanmar maids need to really understand their country's culture, they are from different tribe with different culture even among themselves the tribal culture is different & the way they think & look at life, they are not the same with Filipino or Indonesian maid, a lot of them do not get a chance for basic education, they come to Singapore with a lot of fear in them but they have no choice as they need to survive, their country cannot provide them a good paid job. Some were even despised by their fellow countryman as they work as a maid. My plead to Singaporean employers is have compassion on them & be patient. They can catch on very fast once they overcome their fear !

Christina Ho - Our sg govt has been good to maids so far as compared to other countries....in fact at times the maids seem better protected than the employer!!!

Elaine Ho - Give an example of maids that seem better protected than employers? From what is commonly known about our laws, so many maids are in vulnerable positions legally and physically, unable to protect themselves . Seems like the maid's welfare just depends on how humane the employer decides she/he wants to be. (Winter:  Read Unfair MOM Polices)

Clarice Viola Pereira - I will never employ Myanmar maid due to communication problem as my Mum can only speak in English and lots of them can't speak English so will just stick to Filipino maids. Some of my friends who employed Myanmar maids did not have much problems with them. I think it all comes down to luck and how we treat the maids. We should treat them with respect because it's a job they are doing. If they do anything wrong I correct them straight away.

Keong Ng - well.. if myanmar is so good.. why their people still need to work as maid.. their govt shud check themself first..
i dont feel superior..in your country...so many of your people got killed by the army... got rob, and many things happen... singapore gave you secured life..good living and yet you wanna bring your culture to singapore??

at least when rain, you wont get wet. You have nice HDB house to stay, you wont go hungry in singapore...I have been to myanmar and i know what is it. Its not a Tokyo or New York city or London...
you should learn adapt to singapore culture..not singapore adapt your culture

so many burmese is on run with UNCHR pass all around..you get screwed from your own government... you have to pay 10% tax even though you work oversea,,,if not you are barred frm working oversea again.... now you should ask your govt and yourself...who is so superior...

Khun Myo Maung Maung - u all want to have good maids? Reconsider yourself, do every one of maid employer treat them the same way?

Laarnie Dumawat - An agent told me before "I don't like filipino maid because they always know their right" I just keep quiet. Come on.... what's wrong of knowing your right. There are problem about the maid and also the employer as well as the agent. Some maid agencies don't treat their maid well.

Tong Bn - This maid issue arises out of a simple way we are living here - high cost of living. So much so able bodied folks need to work to cope with the living here.
Hearing ministers equating high cost of living as being first world is a big joke. Wonder why we have them making things costly for us.
Stayed in first world countries and there are few families with maids or nannies. Cost of basic necessities are highly affordable. Single breadwinner in the family is good enough. And they enjoy good family life. No need to sweat it out like we need here just to sustain our family. 
Lack of family life was identified years back with our govt targeting to improve that election after election but all came to nought. The cost of living remains high and increasing yearly.
If our govt has no heart to improve this, maid will be a necessary fixture in our families. 
And we have to be generous to them as they had to leave their families and country to eke out a living here. If they can earn enough in their own country I am sure they won't be here.

Adeline Sek-Tan - Our grandparents' can raise us up single handedly without maids. So are our parents. Why can't we? It's all about sacrifices and living humbly.

Edmund Leck - To tell u all the truth I rather not keep a maid . It is like we have to take care of an addition person who does not treat her work seriously and free loading and enjoying a 2 year holiday in sg

PK Ang  - Singaporeans please take note, if there's no maids, you will not be able to work n your household income will be less.
Singapore will be shortage of workers n that will be the cause of having more FTs coming to compete with your husand's job.

Yue Sern Mok - Yes, it is appalling and I share their concerns. Perhaps they should try to apply to work in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait where the salaries may be much higher. They should not work in Singapore due to ill treatment. They should go to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait immediately.

Ange Wong - Exactly. Since spore employers are ill treating them, stop coming over. Go elsewhere and work.

Chan ShiJie - actually i don believe singaporeans will abuse maids. 
myanmar just want to reap more benefits from Singapore , look at their country since past to present , since when their govt care about their people ? if you study history or read recent news you probably know what i am talking about

Work Work - But banning, the Myanmar govt is actually terminating job opportunities to its own citizen without thinking. There is never shortage of maids n this action will impact only their citizens, not Singapore.

Jay Daniel - the problem with the maid process if the paying of recruiting agents in their home country. since we are paying the maid levy what is this for? We should be sending a gov or stat board recruiting agent over to the country (fat chance) to do the recruiting, what is the point of these ppl working at such low wages when they have to take years sometimes to pay off the recruiting agent, it makes for an unhappy maid, but these ppl are not exactly geniuses so they get themselves into that sort of situation.....

Linda Ong - It's better don't take Myanmar maid....they r very dummy.....n make u very angry....if they don't work, they will just sit down there n wait for agency to come. If u don't need a maid, pls don't hire. It's better to put them at childcare to learn something better then let maid take care. If they do something wrong, MOM always help them. It's better to ban Myanmar maid for coming in.

Katlyn Zen - Ban lor....Their government should pay or feed them if they are unemployed.

Francis Gan - Pse dont come to work in spore ....go to europe where the environment will be better to work there. Our own sporeans already felt the heat of desperation n spore is no longer their ideal place to live.

Ken Tan Bingyan - They need a good excuse to tax their income. So must tabulate their exit properly

Jing Wei - I think once the maids are in our home, most employees treat them pretty well, and humanely. Im guessing is the whole business of marketing and selling the agencies have to do the biggest problem

Doris Loo - Not all employers treat maid badly. My Myanmar maid can't speak or understand English till I taught her for 6 months. I increased her pay n give her off day without deducting from her pay. As for her working on her off days I pay accordingly back to her. Maids are human need to destress too

Signorina Su - Unless you're very rich, wives wouldnt have to work. Tell me whc women wouldnt want to stay home and look after their own children? Cook for the husband?

Although DH salary might sound little to some, their food, electricity & water usage are all beared by the employer. Not forgetting the monthly levy. Therefore it is not very cheap to have a DH here. 

Back in their country most of them are jobless and poor. Its better to spend 2yrs overseas working as a DH than not doing anytg.

Meera Abdul - Whatever la maid, fdw, dw, helper..same what...i'd rather the ban is permanent cos they always bite the hand that feed them.  my neighbour's helper stole from them n yet my neighbour didn't report just send her back.  my other neighbour's helper, is even better, after 2 years, she left, they found her printed photo under the cupboard( naked on the employer's bed) the question is who took the photo?

Another neighbour's helper got caught bringing home men to moonlight.
Another neighbour's helper can finish the entire fridge stock and 10kg rice in 8days yet went to MOM and her embassy to complain that employer don't give her food,in that 6months she work with my neighbour,she gained 18kg.

Another neighbour's helper shattered a glass door and used the glass shard to slash herself,she called the police and say employer abuse her but fortunately for cctv,all caught on camera.she then say it's because she wanted friday to sunday off so she can go "camping" with her friends and her employer say no.

Another neighbour's helper threw a kitten out of the window because she got "bored" the kitten always sleep and guess what? Not charged.just change employer.
Well,you may all say employers are bad etc etc but these people I know personally and they are polite respectful people,unfortunately the maids took advantage of their niceness.
All of these helpers nationalities? They are MYANMAR

Tan Chia Hao - Best ban all maids in Singapore. Elite class Singaporeans are getting extravagrant.

Sarahlyn Tan - Assume that most people who hire foreign helpers have kids at home. Otherwise, household chores should be pretty manageable. In view of the recent threats from governments of neighboring countries time and again, Singapore should consider sustainable ways to not only reduce her reliance on foreign workers, but also to introduce more child-friendly policies that encourage higher birth rates. 

As Singapore progresses into a developed nation, maybe it is time for us to explore the use of technology over foreign labor. Some issues for the government to consider are: 1) Why does this group of people require helpers? 2) What can Singapore do to reduce the reliance on them in an efficient and cost effective way? For example, Sweden has one of the most successful policies in the world for balancing work and family responsibilities and maintaining female and maternal employment rates that do not require foreign helpers. Some of their policies include guaranteeing public childcare that operate on a whole-day basis (most childcare facilities are open from 6:30am to 6:30pm). Pre-school is free for children aged between 3 to 6 for up to 15 hours per week. Maybe Singapore can go a step further by bringing these childcare facilities closer to working parents (eg. establishing the facilities near the workplace of the parents - MRT stations) or by encouraging companies to allow flexible work arrangements (eg. Flexi hours, work-from-home). There are always many alternative ways that Singapore can consider to reduce its reliance on any country in the long run. 

On a side note, I personally applaud the adoption of ipads to order food at several restaurants in Singapore lately instead of conveniently hiring cheaper staff from overseas. That is a smart, and yet, cost effective move that we can learn from.

Adeline Chua - İ believe if you talk about maids get ill treated or being exploited , it must be in history .

Now they do get their off days quite easily, and carry expensive or at least selectes hdps and even take taxis so easily . Do such situations speaks they are ill treated. Look at my mymmar maid , she got to sit downstairs because of my mum 's routine to go talk with her neighbouring friends . She can be on the hdp talking. When my mum is sleeping she can be on the hdp again or and in the night when she is free, she will use the time to talk on the hdp till a time before she goes to bed. These are the freedom given to her to enjoy so she is also expect to make sure she has to carry out her duties properly and responsive. İf she does not carry out tk my expectations surely i will give her a peace of mind and remind her of her boundaries that shw cannot cross. As for food she is given good food to eat and even now she is selective or she dare not eat because she is worried to put on weight. İ will not stop her if she make this choice as she is also accountable for her self to what she wants for her life.

Raquel Mondarte - I think the issue here is not about banning Myanmar domestic helpers....maybe the agencies who hire maids from Myanmar should high their qualifications on them...as I observed during my stay in my agency's bording house, a lot Myanmar ladies are don't know how to speak english......and you all singaporean if you tried to find a good maids why you should choice Myanmar ladies? Because they have low salary than us filipino? For me it's not fair...singaporean must treat fair on us working here...even we are filipinos , myanmar or whatever country we from....I have one friend from myanmar but she's very good in all works...from cleaning to cook and she taking care two kids and yes she can't speak English well but she really understand what her employer told to her...so all agencies try to make it higher in ur qualification in Myanmar maids....

Poh Yang Loong - Not happy with the pay and system then don't come, simple as that. How much are they earning back home? Give you one inch you want one ruler

Thuya Than Htike Aung - you all hire maid pay by cheap salary as 400 dollars and singaporean house wife can work as 1500 dollars job..that is why they hire maid from others country

Tan Chia Hao - Standard Maid cost $600 per month before levy. IF you can't speak simple English, then how do you expect $600 per month? $400 for a Myanmar maid is already a big grace given. Accept it or don't come in, simple as that.

Tin Htet Paing - WHY DO YOU ALL EXPECT GOOD ENGLISH FROM A FOREIGN "MAID"? Not all country's first language is English! Can't you even get this simple sense? If you want to communicate with a maid by English, just don't hire foreign maid. You don't want to pay "standard" salary and expect "standard" quality? It's that simple! (Winter:  you mean employer must learn a maid's language?)

Hamzah Osman - Please dont ask too much if you cant deliver. Simple as that. If they want to be equal as other foreign maid , Then upgrade to be more competitive. Learn new skills and ask the new govt for courses. Maid here are paid based on their skills. If they dont have skills eg. to turn on the oven Then get them learn and took courses before they come to Singapore. We dont want accident happen to maid who came here and being able to communicate will prevent this from happening!
Even monkeys at the zoo must show some skills to perform at the Zoo to get MORE BANANAS from the zoo keeper. 
Get this message clear please. We Singaporean, even treat animals at zoo more than Human. Tell me, which zoo is the best in Asia? 
Maid here are not being left out too regardless which country they came from!!!!!!!
Dont just comment based on emotional and anger. Think before you talk!!!!!

i m not saying my english is good or maid is bad english. But if they cant understand simple english how to communicate. What if they give a wrong medicine to a child?? And Tis Tin Htet Paing.. We really hope Mynmar maid who murder her employer will suffer life sentence or death sentence if guilty. We dont depend on one single country maid either!

If the Phillipne maid was the 1st to be hang here in Singapore. Just pray hard for your people who murder 85 old women!!

Gracie Ang - I think a balanced view is needed here. What does it mean by most SG employers make their maids do housework before they leave the house on off day?

Those maids usually work for bosses living in HDB. Maids who work for bosses living in condo, mostly are much better off. Maid room, less chores, surfing internet in between work. & most maids nowadays know their rights because MOM officials tell them so during their SG briefing sessions before they are sent to their employers. 

Nowadays, some maids, regardless of nationalities, come to SG, not happy with their work & think of ways to make their employer send them home by damaging their employer's belongings or threaten to report to MOM for alleged abuse by inflicting injuries on themselves. I've seen these happened over past three years when I go over to students' home for tuition. 

Not all employers are devils & not all employees are angels either. Not happy? Don't hire, don't work lah. Train everyone in the house to help. Life still goes on.

Jessie Boey - To thuya than htike aung, your country ppl deserve this price become your ppl are uneducated n do not understand basic English! And dare to lie abt their education! By the way why u r staying in our country try to learn basic English too. Your country lifestyle is too different from us. Over here is a modern city but yr country is just an undeveloped country. Your government still wants us to give yr people a chance to work here, we r very different from you.

Emily Blunt - Please la most households maids here r pinoys or Indonesian becos they understand simple english unlike Myanmar maids! your threats dont work on us and lesser one foreigner as maid is better la. If They think their corrupt country so good than PLEASE dont let your people come Singapore. We don't welcome u

Lee Primavera - Better require their government or agencies to make them undergo basic English training first before deploying them to SG or HK. That would make a difference.

Josephine Jovelle Su - My ex helper is fluent in english. A uni grad from Myanmar but that does not make her a good experience helper.For your info, is best for them to know that if they are not prepared to do housework here and have their freedom limited its better for them to stay put. Screening them doesnt mean u get the best. So do not assume.

Adeline Chua - Well i must say when an empolyer takes a maid is also not easy because they have to train them until she fits into the family and able to cope with the work and emotions . She must have to understand her reason of coming here . No doubt she is here to earn money she has to also practice and perform her duties to her best too whether she is from which country . She must know where her margins are and not cross her boundaries . Otherwise the employers will not be happy with them . As working life in Singapore is busy maids are needed to help maintain in the household issues. 

They must learn or know how to adjust or change their mindsets or attitudes if they want to work in Singapore .

Andy Thia - I hope our government should stand up now . First of all we can be considered the most welfare of all dealing with maids compare to other Asian or middle east countries. We don"t need them if they abusing us as employers . Remember Singapore is a dot in the map but we are not a pushover by any countries . Since they want to ban their people coming over here to work . I stand up for my country . LET DO IT . It ok .

Paul Yap - Myanmar themselves have basic human right in the first place or not?

Yong Sheng Ang - U see.. other country take care of their pple... but look at sg.. lousy

Muthu Balakrishnan - It's funny the PAP imposes a levy of $200 on employers of domestic help while it opens the door to so many foreigners in the PMET sector. If this levy is removed, the employers could be mandated to pay the domestic help more.

This is yet another example of the PAP's perverse policy.

Teacsiewdai  •  Understand that some employer get very frustrated as their maid cannot perform what they required. I engage a maid few years back. According to the maid agency, the maid can cook; can understand simple English and age at 24. But when I give her instruction patiently and I ask her to repeat what is my instruction to her? She says forget! I repeat it patiently and again I got the same answer is ‘forgotten’ 3 times. At that time, I am really blank! After a few chat with the maid and she declares that she is only 17 years old. After 2 weeks, I decided to send her back to the agency. To my advice to the employer, if you are not happy with your maid. Don’t need to abuse or dirty your hand because it is not worth it. Rather send them back to the agency. Lastly, I hope MOM can help up on this because when we select the maid whether they are underage, job history etc.. and those information is actually come in from the maid agency

Shang  •  I sincerely wish to point out that most of the young and single Myanmar girls are not ready to leave their country to work in Singapore. Most of them are immature and rather low stress resistant. The Myanmar Maid Agency also needs to play a more important role to inform them on the job roles and responsibilities required as a maid in Singapore. Instead, these girls are painted a wrong idea of coming to Singapore to work. They are being projected with the view of Singapore as a upmarket, fun, good for shopping & sight-seeing country. Most of these girls leave their county wanting to escape from poverty but not knowing the consequences and the expectation of being a foreign maid. I had my experience with a Myanmar maid who has given me a nightmare of my life after allowing her to have off-days on each month for relaxation for only 4 months. I had to quite my job after 2.5 months to send her back to Myanmar after working for me for 8 months....

No Name Small People  •  The worst thing about maid is someone is pocketing a large part of their hard work in the disguised name called levy. I rather the maid who worked so hard gets the full amount we are paying . we'll also be able to attract better qualified home assistant.

Brain Plumber  •  Yes, Singapore has to stop maid abuse whether they are from Indonesian, Myanmar, Cambodia or anywhere in the world. The government should spelt up heavy penalty for people who abused their maid.

However, some of these countries are throwing voicing out their anger against the host country but they never realized that in their own countries, they are abusing their own citizen that work as maid. I witnessed many years back a when I was in Myanmar looking for a place to set up a coffee house. I was brought to one colonial house and while I was looking around inside the hosue, I step into the kitchen and I was shock to see a dark skinny (with only skin covering the bone) human being couching at one corner of the kitchen like a monkey. She look so frighten when I look at her and it seem like she has very little to eat and her condition is really deplorable. The Myanmar are treating their own citizen like animal and the authority is not doing anything about it and here they are complaining that S'porean are treating their maid badly.

Frederick L  •  Before going to work in a foreign land , good for maids to learn the basic language for communication. Then some individual rights like abuse by boss and salary need to be addressed. Basic housework and cooking skills should also be taught . Maybe have a maid certificate for those qualified to work to ensure ability to perform.

Lion King  •  Why don't Myanmar totally ban those girls coming to Sinapore? If Myanmar can provide better jobs, better pay and without letting their boss to exploit them then very well stay put in your own homeland? Don't kick up a fuss to demand more just like Indonesia.

Pepe  •  Are we doing the Myanmar Government a big favour by allowing their citizens to work in Singapore, or are they doing Singapore a big favour by allowing their citizens to make a living here?

Who is paying the piper and who is the piper? The Singapore Government should simply ban or stop issuing work permit to these countries who think we owe them a living - be they the Philippines, Indonesia or Myanmar. Singapore should make it more difficult for them to make a living here to support their families back home. Let them swim across the Straits of Johor under cover of darkness or sail across the Straits of Singapore in their rickety boats during the Monsoons to get onto our shore - then they will learn to appreciate or even kowtow to the Singapore Government and people! 

In contrast, the Malaysian workers waking up at 3 or 4 am to make their trips across their two-stroke engine motorcycles across the dark highways and endure long hours at the immigrant crossings, and then returning home in their soiled clothes - they never made any complaints or demands about working in Singapore. Indeed they are more than happy - and grateful - that the Singapore Government allows them to come here to make a living. They come here happily doing the work they want to do, and go home happily earning the wages they expected.

I am not suggesting that ill-treatments of foreign workers or non-payment of their market-rate salary should be condoned. What I am suggesting is that the people and often the Government of these countries shouldn't make unreasonable demands like asking for minimum wages or mandatory days off when even some Singaporean workers are not entitled or given. These workers come here on their own accord and free will! 

They should know that Singapore REAL pioneers from China, India and the archipelago never made these demands in the early days when they worked as coolies or rickshaw pullers and rubber plantation workers and took opium to relieve their pain. These present days migrants appear to want Singapore to lay the red carpets for them and to treat them like princes and princesses! It makes me to conclude that the Governments of these countries appear very happy to let their people live in poverty in their shanty houses without the proper or even basic sanitation and water supplies.

Dennis  •  You want to know what is modern day slavery? How about 78 year old Singaporean who only a year ago was making S$750 cleaning toilets for 9 hours a day and 6 days a week? Mind you, he was a true blue pioneer Singaporean who contributed to the nation-building. And foreign maids are de-crying slavery and getting support. How about some support for our cleaners, security guards, taxi drivers etc?

Dylan  •  Very few Singaporean would want to abuse their maid.Myanmar is going too fast and they are not ready.  End of the day, Do u think they really want to protect their people or they just want more MONEY.  Singapore employers are always in the losing end!

Nicole  •  It's a disgrace of Singapore and us Singaporeans to be singled out, alongside HK with the ban. It show that when it comes to the abuse situation of maids, we are still not handling it well.

A  •  hey bodoh, then they can very well go back to their own cuntry, no body forced them to work in Singapore!
how much does their own country pay??? HUH!!! need I tell you??? hmmmmNO!

BRONDONG  •  Myanmar Government should comply to our terms and condition NOT the other way round.

Ski  •  I don't think sporeans abuse the mynmars,..as they put it. Only a handful are able to adapt outside spore, its best mynmar condition and educate their maids before sending them here. 
No loss if they don't come in . afterall they are not popular and we have to teach them everything from English to common sense and how to tell lies properly.

J Foo  •  They need jobs and income for their family. Millions of jobless in this country. if you stop Myanmar maids coming here, the losers are the maids. More jobless, no income, more poverty.. They are the loser for stopipng the maids from coming to Singapore

Ihatemsg  •  Millions of jobless in their county doesn't mean that Singapore should hire them at $299 whereas living expenses are $2000 and above. I must salute Myanmar gov. that opted the right way instead of neither way!

Roland  •  Myanmar overseas employement agencies.should first teach and train their intended maids to spore speaks basis, english., this is main causes of disputes., between employers and myanmar maids. Talking big., and its just empty., most myanmar do not speaks basis english., although i think over all., they are quite smarts.

Why not suspend also the work permits of those engineers coming to work in Singapore? They should be building Myanmar, up fast and furious, to boost their economy. Not to boost Singapore economy!

Angel  •  We should not be overly reliance on domestic maids. The kids grow up spoiled and unable to do things on their own

I do not understand why the authority keep allowing maid to come here.  If we do not allow maids, perhaps family can be closer as grandparents look after children.

We can also have locals signed up to be caregiver for children.  Instead of relying on foreign workers, we should trained locals to handle children and family issues. the transport will not be overly crowded on weekends.

Mac12  •  By all means, yes, stopped the Myanmar maids and anyone else who feels the same from coming to Singapore...no, banned them permanently....and why not?...because this is their way of squeezing every ounce of oil out of Singaporean employers...yup, it's one way of upping the pay and all but have anybody ever thought that out of the thousands of employers in Singapore, only a handful of employers are undeserving of employing anyone....because they're either mentally sick or were born with a sadistic streak in them. The law must deal with these offenders as strictly as possible and MOM must prevent them from ever being able to employ anyone to be their maids, and that should include the immediate family members who' re staying with the offender...this is because it's with their connivance that such ill treatment can continue without interruption...in this way if the wife is convicted of ill treating the maid, the husband cannot employ another maid to replace her otherwise the whole rigmarole with ensue again...there're laws in Singapore that should enable the offenders be adequately punished if the courts do not just give them a slap on the wrists as punishments...in this way, employers will certainly bear in mind that if they were to offend and ill treat their maids, not only they will be the ones who're punished but also their children who may need the services of these maids in their daily lives. With such in mind, employers will show more restraint when dealing with their maids, errant or otherwise.....

PAPLover  •  Maintaining maid is not cheap. Not only you pay their salary, you also need to feed them, they use your water and electricity and other consumption with high cost and expenses of living in Singapore. When you add that up, you will rather not have a maid.

KM  •  Maids are also fellow human beings. If they could help it , they won’t want to work in Spore away from family , friends and love ones. Lets not take advantage of their misfortune , as we cannot be sure that the same misfortune will one day befall us or our children. History have shown us that there is no guarantee in life. So please have the decency to treat them well and with respect and as one of your family members if you need their services. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you are mistreated and taken advantage of in a foreign land ? People will forget what you said , but they will not forget how you have make them feel about you. For one day, it will come and haunt you , your family or children in one way or another.

Koreanpurchase  •  Good. More space for SG. If Myanmar is so "concerned" for its citizens, then develop the nation & create jobs so its people don't need to ever have to come out & clutter other countries.

Oliver  •  About time. On TRaSh one maid was refered to as a slave when the m0ron poster said that someone should find the maids' owner. This master/slave mentality shows Singapore as no better than some some third world African countries.

Singapore is shaping up to become a major destination for domestic workers from Myanmar, with the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its Singaporean counterparts in the coming weeks.

The deal, which could see up to 1000 maids head to Singapore each month, is being signed despite concerns about migrant rights in the city-state and after the Myanmar government ordered an indefinite halt on the sending of maids to Hong Kong, pending an assessment of working conditions there.

The federation’s vice chair, U Soe Myint Aung, said employment agents in Hong Kong have repeatedly requested that more maids be sent from Myanmar, but outstanding questions about the safety and well-being of migrant workers in the former British colony have prompted them to hold off for the time being.

Several overseas employment agents based in Yangon – all of whom asked not to be identified – said the reason for stopping the flow of maids to Hong Kong was the media attention surrounding a case of domestic abuse that occurred earlier this year, just as the first group of 92 workers from Myanmar arrived in the city in February.

At the time, Hong Kong was facing protests over the alleged torture of an Indonesian housekeeper by her employer.  The scandal made headlines across the globe. The employer was arrested, and the maid, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, was later named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

The case meant the Myanmar group received an unusually high level of media attention – enough to prompt the government to halt the legal migration of domestic workers since then, despite there being no suggestion that Myanmar domestic workers have been subject to abuse in Hong Kong.

In the case of Singapore, U Soe Myint Aung said the federation hoped the upcoming MOU with the Singaporean Association of Employment Agencies would greatly expand the number of Myanmar maids travelling to the city-state. Currently about 300 women travel to Singapore each month to work as domestic helpers under an existing MOU, but the federation hopes the new agreement will see that figure increase to 1000, while at the same time allow Myanmar workers to find jobs in hotels and other hospitality industries.

The gap between the Hong Kong and Singapore policies has led some labour and human rights groups to question the government’s larger labour strategy. Many of the problems the government claims to be concerned about in Hong Kong are also rampant in Singapore, where about 30,000 Myanmar women already work as domestic helpers.

“There is a lot more that needs to be done to uphold just basic labour standards for domestic workers” in Singapore, said Jolovan Wham, the executive director of the Singapore-based Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics.

Mr Wham led a workshop in Yangon late last month with local civil society groups and some members of the federation to create a list of recommendations for the upcoming MOU. He said the current agreement between the two nations falls “well short” of international standards.  “We are seeing more abused [Myanmar] domestic workers coming to us for help,” he said.

He said the most common problems faced by these workers are debt bondage and physical abuse, although there are also complaints of sexual assault. Many human rights groups, including the United Nations, have released reports documenting similar abuse of maids across all nationalities in Singapore.

When asked about the reports of abuse and exploitation in Singapore, U Min Hlaing said none of these reports had reached his office and declined to comment further.  U Soe Myint Aung said human rights concerns will be addressed in the new MOU, and added that the Singaporean labour industry is well-equipped to handle any problems domestic workers might face.

However, migrants in Hong Kong are afforded a number of rights denied to them in Singapore, including the right to unionise, to take at least one day off per week and to quit whenever they desired.

Mr Wham said it is the responsibility of the Myanmar government to ensure the safety of their overseas workers because bigger receiving nations like Singapore have shown little political will to address the issue of migrant rights.

Myanmar domestic maid trainee Win Pa Pa, 23, is raring to work in Singapore. The former garment factory worker used to earn only about US$120 (S$148) a month. But if she works as a domestic maid in Singapore, she can hope to earn about US$363 (S$449) monthly.

"I want to work in Singapore because I think it's a safe country and I can earn more money,” she said.

“I heard there are some problems between maids and employers in Singapore but I'm not afraid because the trainers advise us on these problems. My agent and boss are in Singapore and if I have problems with employers, I will contact my boss and he will take care of us."

Domestic maid trainees learn basic skills like how to care for an elderly person. In fact, many of them have never experienced life as a domestic worker. But agencies say that more are willing to step forward in order to try their hands at this in the hope of earning higher wages as well as to give themselves and their families, a better living. 

Myanmar maids worth the minimum salary set by source country?
No.  Most fresh Myanmese FDWs barely speak or understand basic English.  It is hard to communicate with them and get them to do housework or duties as per your instructions... the way you want not how maid wants.  They certainly don't have prior experience working as maids.  You may have demonstrated, reminded maid but she can appear forgetful or don't understand.... if she 'catch no ball', you can only suffer 'internal injury' .... scolding, correcting mistakes and your instructions means nothing to her.  Your words are 'alien'.  

Due to inability to understand simple English:
To employ maids from Myanmar, you need patience, patience x2 and endurance.  Sign language isn't going to let you put your message across CORRECTLY.
To employ maids from Indonesia, you need patience too and endurance.  Their English may be a bit better than Myanmese but certainly not on par with Filipinos.  Remember what I faced with M, my only ex-Indonesian maid?

To make these two nationality worthy to be hired as FDWs (they asked for minimum salary so shouldn't employer be allowed to employ a FDW that is worthy?), MOM should make them undergo at least 2 weeks of mandatory basic conversational English before work permit, medical test, etc being processed.  Employers should be given a chance to speak to these FDWs and find out how much they understand each other, can they build a long relationship, is it alright for them to be paired, etc? 

Spore is not a dumping ground or charity place for people who need money or want a 'paid vacation cum work' but CANNOT deliver what her job expects .... am I wrong?  You felt I'm too demanding?

A stay-home friend in daughter's school said Myanmar maid is good if you are a stay home employer, can drill/train FDW with lots of love, offer understanding and tolerance... spare her your abundant time!  Her Myanmar FDW was house trained for almost 1.5 years before she was allowed to take the child to special school.  In school, English is the main language for communication.  There's no Myanmese translator so maid has to know simple English in order to understand what the teachers are saying.

Myanmar maid's Employer commented:
"Their salary are not cheaper. However, be prepared, even though experienced, their cleanliness and performance in housework are not better than other nationalities. Only good point is majority not so outspoken. I have employed philippino, Indonesian and currently Myanmar maid. Make me most angry is Myanmar maid. You can repeat 10 times and they still forget your instructions. You must be very very patience with them. Of course there are some exceptional good one."

"Now, all maids are about the same salary. Myan maids grate on my nerves the most. They don't seem to have a grasp on what service means, what a maid does or how they should behave."

"Myanmar maid are not cheap in fact. Actually they prefer to have higher quality of life. Also, they know how to use computer .
I feel that indo and philliphinos maids are better if you will like a maid do purely household chores."

"Employing a helper really depends on luck. This is the first time I employed a Myanmar Helper reason being there are not many Myanmese Helpers in our estate therefore the chances of her yakking with other domestic helpers are very slim. Even with 2 years experience but she remind me of our 1st Indonesian Maid (fresh) whom joined us 8 years ago. Her first 3 mths with us was getting on my nerves ( I admit I'm not a patient person) therefore she had to withstand all my scolding and pressure. Surprisingly, her stress tolerance are very high and fast learner as well. From someone with zero knowledge of cooking to someone who know how to cook chicken curry and Nasi Lemak within 3 mths, I would say it she is a hardworking helper. Frankly speaking, we don't mind paying her a bit more if she continue to perform well and keep upgrading herself (for long term)"

"i paid my current myanmar maid $500 no off day, work in SG 3.5 yrs before.
seriously have to think twice getting myanmar maid, i feel they are overpaid.
work 3.5 yrs in SG still speak bad english, most of the time cannot understand what she says. worst still, work so long in SG cant cook.
when interview her, she say can cook actually is cook porridge only and taste is horrendous. only plus point is, they listen and wont argue or rebuke."

"I recently got a myanmar maid, and within 2nd days already start complaining and wanted to go back to agency. She complaint that my child (22mth old) is too naughty for her to take care. After much negotiation and consultation from the agency, we are still unable to change her mind. And finally send her back within 2 week.

Now the problem here is to get another replacement, even the fault is not on me, I still have to pay again for the new Document fees, run away bond, Insurance and levy. ( processing fees,maid lodging fees waived) Even though I will be getting back 70% back of the previous insurance, I still loose over 25% of that amount, and not forgetting that run away bond again.

Total estimated cost on me will be $300 after deducting that 70% refund from insurance. And not forgetting about the levy which is still on me until this maid got sold. I understand that the agency will impose 2 mths salary penalties on the maid, plus again they can sell off to profit again. But for me, it like I'm in the losing end.

Worst part is that, to get the next replacement, the current one has to be sold first.
Has anyone has similar case as me ? And what happens if the maid cant be sold with 21 days ?"

"I understand your feeling. But what to do? This is the policy in Singapore. I also feel very unfair if it is the maid who request to get transfer but we as an employer get penalty.

Unless we can live without a maid if not.... we have to follow the rule.
If the maid can't be "sold", you have to pay for her air ticket to send her back."

"I had similar experience with yours. The only difference was that my former maid had ran away from home the very next day after we had caught her stealing red-handed. This happened before we could bring her back to the agency as we were still deciding what to do with her. She had only been with us for less than a month.

Luckily she was found 3 days later at the MOM. We were also stuck with this maid and paid all the extra expenses (Govt Levy + Insurance + Food & Lodging at SGD 15/per day for 21 days) till she get employed again. The Agency assured me that they would try their best to "market" her ASAP so that the liability would be released from my name soon.

We had made a police report against her (Stealing + Run Away) but the police officer in charge had only made a statement of her running away. He said we could use this police statement to cancel her work permit and stop paying for her levy. As the money that the maid stole is "too little" to justify that she had indeed stolen from us, he refused to add on the statement.

We then called up the maid agency and they told us not to cancel the work permit otherwise they would have problem in transfering the maid's current loan to prospective employer.

Until then, we really had no choice but to pray that she could get a new job ASAP. In the meanwhile, we could only wait for a new replacement after settling with this maid and again paid for extra expenses (Govt Levy + Insurance + Documents + Health check-up etc) for the replacement maid which again is of no guarantee."

Winter:  Modern maids (applies to all source countries) are like princesses, never really gone through hardship in their home country so it is tough for such pampered person to ‘stoop low’ and become FDWs.  They were sweet talked to fly over for a holiday cum good-life job.  During interview, maybe employers should probe more into her life.  My ex-filipino maid (#2) was a single mother but she doesn't need to take care of her own boy nor do housework.  Everything was done by her mum.  She was not exposed to harsh life, well protected/sheltered by parents so it wasn't easy to manage an adult cry baby... she cried almost everyday in my house!  She cried not because she missed her son but the 'hardship' and the uneasiness of taking care of my special needs girl.  

Yes, she missed her good life at home.  If maid mentally unprepared to 'slog as FDW', it is tough for employers to babysit and counsel her.  After #2 left me, agency arranged for her to look after 3 kids and then she feedback to friends in my girl's school, as well as rang me hinting she wanted to come back.... looking after only one child is definitely more relaxing!  The chores weren't mountain high.  I must admit as my girl grows older, it is tougher to handle her.  It is a job I don't think any Myanmese or Indonesian FDW can handle.  Filipino may be too smart but being able to communicate reduced my time spent to train and 'hitting myself' 鸡同鸭讲 好比撞墙.

十指不占阳春水 从没真正过苦日子 如何能降低水准当人家的女佣?

Extracted for Facebook Maid's page.
Read more here - Maids on Display

Myanmese:  Recently in the International Newspapers Al Jazeera it was written that Singapore maid agency in shopping centre was selling maids in a mall. They have big signs saying "No day off" and "Lowest Pay". They have the girls standing there for sale, like pigs in a market. You can read it here.

This sickens me and it is wrong. It is like slavery last time, but like many things in Singapore, they can even make the most sickening thing a legal thing, because of their play on words.

It is also illegal - Singapore has laws to say that every week must have one day off. Signs saying `No Off Day' is against the law. But the Government don't care because there is no big pressure, they make a law which they do not care about. The cheap maid problem started about 6 months ago, but 3 months ago there is more problem. What happened? Here I tell you.

Since our country open up, some Singaporean make friends with Myanmar labor agent, because our country is open up now. They ask for many many girls. The Myanmar agent can supply. But there are many girls and not fast enough get employed.

Most of these bad Singapore agencies are new agencies. They are not like the older, trusted agencies. They sell on price.Last time, if employer want a maid, they will have to pay maybe Singapore $1,500-$2,000 as agent fees. Also, employer pay the maid debt in advance. So, later, the maid's pay maybe 3-5 months have to pay back to employer to reimburse employer's forward payment - it is fair.

The good traditional Myanmar agent very take care of the family, generally. They lend money to the girl's families while they wait for the 3-5 months for the money to come. Not so much money, just a bit, to survive. They know every girl they send, and they listen to the girls' problems and translate to the Singapore agent. It is a good relationship and fair. Because Myanmar people have to earn some money overseas, this is a good way.

But today, some agents, are terrible.
The agent in Singapore today, because they have no trust and goodwill among the Singapore buyers, they drop the price. They give FREE maid. Who pay for the agent in Singapore and Myanmar? It's the maid. The maid who get employed for FREE, now have to work for 6-12 months and all her pay is collected given to agent. Employer don't need to pay anything!

For 6-12 months to work for free, the poor girls have no money to send back. The girls and their families really don't understand this complicated system of debt bondage. They work like a slave for no money. The parents at home, usually old, have no food and their daughter and children are taken overseas to work.

The new generation Myanmar `mass production' agents treat the girls like things. They don't care the girls or families. All they care is the money. But worst thing happen, because of Singapore law, it allow Singapore employer to send back the girl to Myanmar, without need any reason.  But now, more and more girls get send back to Myanmar, not because girls are bad, but because Singapore employer don't have to pay anything, so they don't lose anything when they send back the girl and get a new girl. Some family one money change 3 girls.

What happen to the girl? They still have the debt! They still have the 6-12 months debt they have to pay to the `new bad Myanamar agent' and `new bad Singapore agent'. So when the girl come back, the `new bad Myanmar agent' try to threaten the girl and her family to get money. What they have to do? They have to sell their farm land and house. Then they have nothing left. They go stay with relative, always not welcome.

For Singapore employer it is easy to send back the girl, but for Myanmar girl, it is destruction for the family. To pay back 12 months of S$450 it is taking 90 months based on S$60 salary a month of a farm worker. It is really destruction of the entire family not only the girl.

Among agents, there is big problem. The traditional agents both in Singapore and Myanmar who give some care for the girls' welfare, they have no business now, all the business in Singapore go to the "free low pay no off day maid seller". Of course! You give free, everybody want!

The maid agencies in Singapore and Myanmar now think that, unless Singapore government acts to protect the maids, they will die. They are under pressure to change to become the terrible free slave seller. Many have changed, but some remain strong. I have spoken to the agents, and Myanmar agents are under pressure that they have to supply maids to the "free low pay no off day maid seller" in Singapore. But they don't want! Because if they supply the maid to the slave seller they know the maid will get sent back and the whole family suffer. But what to do? They also need their pay.

As a person who cares about the country, I tell you that Myanmar has to be able to send maids to Singapore. Myanmar government does not have the power or advanced sophistication to improve for their girls. And worse, every new initiative by the Myanmar government to protect the girls, they have no power to enforce it.   The true people who can make it better for our girls, is the Singapore government. They have to let go the old times where Singapore was a poor country, and have to exploit foreign labor to advance themselves. Generations of foreign workers have already been sacrificed to give Singapore the beautiful city they have today built on the blood of foreign labor.

Singapore government should see that it is enough and it is time to change their policy. Stop the policy of trying to gain advantage out of every deal they make with their neighbor country, and start doing policies which respect human rights and the dignity of humanity. Singapore government should embrace human dignity and workers' rights, and embrace all our girls which have spent their blood to make their heaven in Singapore possible. Stop trying to cover up. You have work to do, dear Singapore government. If the richest country in the world continue to have the greed out of human misery, it will come a time where every drop of blood and sweat and tears spent by foreigners to build your beautiful country, you may have to pay out of the blood and sweat and tears of your own people.  (Winter: Nonsensical!  Spore's growth has nothing to do with Myanmar nor built by you.  If you define yourself as slave then stay in your comfort zone - your source country and rot there.  Nobody would be stupid to work in a place that pays lesser and treating you like slaves/animals.)

Karien Van Ditzhuijzen: If a company hires an expensive headhunter to find a person for a job, who pays the fee? The company, not the employee. It should be the same for domestic workers.
(Winter:  are FDWs head hunted?  Are they worthy of the fee Employers paid?  If FDWs are not professionals, why employer need to engage you with high fees?)

FB maid: It's a matter of negotiation power, Karien Van Ditzhuijzen. The laws of Singapore are stacked against the foreign maid, especially the ability of employer to send back maid without reason. What is the use of any contract anyway? Because at any time, the contract is totally in the rubbish if the employer sends the maid back to own country. (Winter:  I strongly advise modern employers to use repatriation as your weapon to kick out bad FDWs .... if there's no maid loan to blackmail you.  Every time a lousy FDW is kicked out, Spore will have one lesser headache.  Let them spread words at home that Spore has no gold for them to dig and maid agencies are blood suckers.  By allowing errant maids to remain in Spore (recycle/transfer), they pollute our country with nonsensical thoughts and greedy demands.  Employers, if you have the power/extra cash to repatriate FDW, please do it!)

As the writer mentioned, the law is made to disadvantage the maid. Every good protection law for the maid, is made rubbish.

This makes the country look like a villager dressed up like a businessman and taught to say a few words properly. The embarassment of this situation is not for Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines - they are the victims. The embarassment is to the Singapore nation.

Ray Mund: I can just say one thing to all who plan to come to Singapore to work :
Think thrice, think another thrice before you decide. This place filled with sickos, I term them Sickaporeans, you're better off working in HK then here because in HK the laws protecting DH is stronger. Don't come to Sgp. It is a living hell.

Mahal Ko Sya: They doesn't care as long as they can earn money from the maids... Some agencies really horrible!

Tiyan YanTi: Sorry to said if u don't hv enough money to hire the Maids so better just ask ur wife ur sister ur aunty ur mothers or just ask ur family members to doing Maid Job
For this kind of agency is really very heartless where is ur brain event u hv is highly educated but why u must earn money from our Maids
They always said that our maids is stupid actually who is the most stupid n poorly??????
For all those agents don't forget that without maids u don't hv any income to feed ur family's so please be more respect to our maids.
Coz we are human same u. We are not toys that u can selling us with a cheep price!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yan Andriyan: Some agency just beeing happy when the helper,,, want to change employer ,,so they can get more money again ,,,,and again,,, that is always happen with new helper,( they think they are big BOSS,,,,but actully helper are they are BOSS,, because from the helper,,, agency get money,,,,

Mariane Capalaran: Agency sucks like vampires Lol . .karma is waiting for them grrrr

Extracted from here.
I am just normal man with my wife and 2 children, residing in Singapore. This is the real and terrible story I have experienced during last 35days, from 16 Feb to 22 Mar 2014, even progressive at this moment. I feel that it is my obligation to share this story to prevent 2nd victim, because many of Singapore residences are likely to expose to this risk. In such case, I am willing to help and share my know-how to anyone.
Day-0 (From 6 Feb ~ 16 Feb 2014).

On 6 Feb 2014, myanmar FDW was finally collected from the agency . She looks just standard myanmar country girl (Born at 1988), and no any maid experience before. She seems to live far away from civilization, judging from she didn't even know how to open car door. In document, even score 3 out of 5 level in simple english ability, she never understand any of my talk/order without body language. No other choice.

She looks quite nervous when she come to my house, but it doesn't take so long time for her to get confidence on housework. Strangely, the more she acts with confidence, the more my wife feel nervous, because my wife observe her not to sense the leaking gas on the stove. it is scary, gas explosion will kill all the family as well as the innocent neighbor.

On top of her insensibility, her overact is another worry. Like any human being, she also wants to show us her performance by doing more than she was asked to do. For example, we asked to wash the rice, she turn on the gas and tried to cook the rice. We asked to gather up the laundry, she tried to iron it. She was asked to wipe the floor in the room, she try to clean the window. All of her overact may jeopardize my family, even though her nature/intention is pure and nice.

In the morning of 16 Feb (sunday), I heard my wife scolded the maid very harshly, because she observed her stepping on the bed and climbing on the window. She overacted again, because she was asked to tidy up bedding only. She just smile back after getting scolding. I wonder she know she just get scolded. Usually, on every sunday, I drive my wife and 2nd kid to church, leaving 1st kid at home. After hiring this maid, my wife force me to leave at home, and monitor the maid until she fully trust the maid. When my wife left home at 11:50 AM, I was watching TV at living room, 1st kid was at studying room, and maid was supposed to be my children room to tidy up the bedding and clothes. 5min later, I looked around to find what she is doing, but I can only find a fallen chair. My instinct tell something is wrong, because this chair is supposed to be in another room. I just look outside the open window. Oh my gosh!!! . There is my maid lying down on the ground floor after jumping out of the window.

Winter: Safety is in maid's hand.  Your employer is not your nanny or babysitter and have to constantly remind you what is dangerous.  If you died, your family won't be able to touch or see you forever.  When you're careless, your employer suffers monetary losses while your beloved family will lose you forever.  Don't be so reckless and thoughtless.  Spore is not a playground.  

If you're really badly treated, there are many people waiting to be your saviour and won't hesitate to pour shit on your employer.  Help is either a phone call away or an unit away (neighbour).  Please note that you can't fly like butterfly nor climb like a monkey.  Please behave like a sensible human.  Be responsible, take safety seriously!

I know communication is important so I employed Filipino because she can speak and understand simple English.  Filipinos are not the best FDWs, they are well known to be self-centred and demanding but all these 'flaws' have to be accepted because she has better English.  If your FDW just smile or say 'yes' without understanding your instructions, can you tolerate and accept?  How much time and how long can you train a person from zero to nursery level of communication?  

Are you open to risks?  Example, the water is boiling, maid forgot to turn off the gas and the sprouting water caused the flame to be out, what's going to happen?  I mentioned before, my ex-Indonesian maid couldn't smell the leaking gas, her senses were out or switched off!  You told your FDW it is dangerous, she just smile but didn't get the meaning of fall from heights and will be killed, blame who?  SIP trainer?  MOM for being so pro-maid?  Blame Employers for not leaving their work and watch the maid carry out her chores like an eagle (think we're so free?)?  Bottom line, FDWs have to know how to work safely.  It is MOM/SIP's duty to ensure all maids understand in their native language.  Videos have to be shown to let FDW know once dropped died, she's gone forever.  

Maid's safety
Too easy to blame the boss? The New Paper, Apr 2012
Each time my husband and I consider hiring a maid, something happens and we take a step back, again.  Just two weeks ago, we discussed if it was more cost-effective to get a maid to cope with the housework and meal preparation for our kids instead of depending on a part-time cleaner and dining out.  Then came the news about two weeks ago that a 23-year-old Indonesian had fallen 30 storeys to her death at Telok Blangah Heights.

That makes six deaths in the first three months this year alone. One is already too many. And it's worrying.  But can Singaporean families live without the extra pair of hands?

Madam Lai Kiat Yee, 58, who sees maids tagging behind their "mums" and "sirs" and feeding the children, sometimes wonders if the parents do any parenting at all.  Or do they leave everything to the maids and become only part-time parents?  Like her own daughter, who has a four-year-old son and a seven-month-old baby.  Madam Lai, who sells claypot noodles at the Beach Road hawker centre, says in Cantonese: "My daughter and her husband have to work shifts and they don't have a choice."

Not that it's an unusual situation for many young families, with both husband and wife having to work.  Mr Chia Bin Hao, 69, who runs a coffee stall in Toa Payoh, is able to empathise because all his five married children have a maid each.  "You don't feel it until we come together for a family meal; that's when we go 'Wah our maids make up half a table (of 10)'," jokes the grandfather to 13 grandchildren aged two months to 17 years. 

With the spotlight on maids again this week, insurance manager Susan Phoon wants to know what she can do to prevent a tragedy.  

Mrs Phoon, 45, has a pair of one-year-old twins and depends on her Filipino maid to take care of them.  Her Indonesian maid takes care of Mrs Phoon's bedridden mother-in-law and does the housework.  "It's virtually impossible to cope on our own, with both my husband (who runs a renovation business) and I working," she says.

This week, the Ministry of Manpower has reminded employers and the public to proactively ensure that their maids are not placed in a position where their safety is jeopardised.  Between 2007 and 2011, 24 maids died after falling from a height while they were cleaning windows or hanging laundry.

There were 45 non-fatal falls in the same period.  Madam Yip Cui Ing, 50, a butcher, feels that it's unfair to put the blame on employers.  She says in Mandarin: "It's always sad to read the news that another maid has died while cleaning windows in high-rise homes.  "But frankly, some of those with maids will tell you how they just don't listen to instructions despite the constant reminders."

Mr Henry Quah, a retiree, 70, agrees. He lives with his son and daughter-in-law and their three children, eight, 10 and 13.  They have an Indonesian maid.  Says Mr Quah: "My daughter-in-law carefully trains our maid and keeps reminding her about safety rules.  "Yet there have been so many occasions that we've caught her standing on a stool while she's cleaning, with the window grilles open."  He adds: "Once, I even caught the maid leaning out of the window. My heart nearly jumped out."  I can understand how Mr Quah feels.

It's easy for those who don't have a maid to pin the blame on employers whenever something goes wrong. Or to be quick to suggest rolling out all kinds of bans or penalties.  While I agree that the onus is on the employers to train their maids properly, what about the employment agents here and back in the maids' home towns?

And the maids must take responsibility for their own safety too.
It's only then that we can avert any potential tragedies.

If there is no safe way to clean window exteriors, then the maids should not be asked to do it.

When hanging laundry: There should not be too much clothing on the pole The heavier clothing should be closer to the maid.  Lighter clothes can be on the far end of the pole MOM will take action against employers who are negligent or who disregard the safety of their maids.

Under the law, employers should ensure that maids perform their duties in a way which does not endanger her life or personal safety and is in accordance with the work practices stipulated by MOM in its training course and safety materials.

Runaway maid, AsiaOne, 22 May 2012
A maid was found dead at the foot of an HDB block in Sembawang yesterday morning.  Her employer, known as Madam Goh, told The Straits Times that she suspects that this is due to an attempt by her Myanmar maid to run away.

The maid, 24, had fallen out of the 13th-storey flat's kitchen window and was found motionless at the foot of Block 421, Canberra Road at about 6.20am. She was declared dead on the scene by the paramedics.  

The maid had been working with Madam Goh's family for about two months, and was its second maid. Her duties included housework and taking care of Madam Goh's wheelchair-bound father.  However, she was found to be defiant and did not follow instructions. Hence, her employer had already asked the agency to take her back. She then agreed to stay on until a replacement came.

Madam Goh, who had woken up at 6am only to find the maid missing, said she didn't sense anything wrong before the incident. She related that the maid had even wished them good night before going to bed at about 10.30pm the night before.  Saying the maid knew where the keys to the front door and gate were, Madam Goh said she would rather the maid had used the gate to run away, instead of the window.

Myanmar maids cover minimum monthly wage and day off, The Straits Times
 24 Mar 2014

After years of not actively enforcing what it once regarded as an illicit cross-boundary trade, Myanmar has legalised the export of maids and drawn up rules to better protect its women abroad.  The rules have been communicated to agents in Singapore in recent weeks, three of which will affect employers here.

First, Myanmar maids must receive a minimum monthly wage of S$450 (US$353.38).  Second, they must get at least a day off in a month, according to Myanmar newspaper reports.  Third, their recruitment fees must not exceed four months of their salary.  But agents in Singapore said that the rules have yet to be implemented, and could remain loosely enforced for some time.

Most Myanmar maids arriving here are still being paid between S$400 and S$430, and do not get any days off. They are also charged up to eight months of salary - or more than S$3,000 - in recruitment fees, which lets employers pay fees as low as S$300.

In Singapore, since Jan 1 last year, all maids hired or who have their work permits renewed must get a weekly day off or pay in lieu.  The governments of the Philippines and Indonesia have mandated minimum monthly wages for maids of $500 and $450 respectively, and a weekly day off. The Philippines does not want maids to pay any recruitment fee, while Indonesia has capped it at about S$2,000, or six months' salary.  (Winter:  FDWs and source countries finding ways to make employers absorb costs and be given poorer work performance as well as FDW attitude.  Come to Spore have fun at Employers' expenses and be choosey/demanding?)

Industry players said the changes for the hiring of Myanmar maids are important, as they form the fastest growing group of domestic workers here and need better safeguards.  The number of Myanmar maids in Singapore has grown by 50 per cent over the past two years, from about 20,000 to 30,000 now.  In comparison, over the same period, the number of Indonesian maids increased by 25 per cent - from 100,000 to 125,000 - while that of Filipinos grew by about 30per cent, from 55,000 to 70,000. These were based on estimates by embassies and maid agents.

Agents said Myanmar's legalisation will also help employers here.  There have been persistent complaints about the maids' poor training and high turnover. Agents estimate that the majority of Myanmar maids change employers at least twice in their first six months in Singapore.  There are also more runaways. Between last September and last month, 61 maids sought shelter with migrant worker group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), compared with 49 in the same period in 2012.

The churn is partly because their work was seen as illegal back home. Many left Myanmar as tourists without any training and were offered poor employment terms.  "Many Myanmar maids are not trained, and their recruitment fees are too high. That is why the turnover is so high," said Best Home Employment Agency owner Tay Khoon Beng.  Home's executive director Jolovan Wham agreed, saying that many ran away because they were discouraged by the hefty recruitment fees they paid.  (Winter:  this recruitment fee wasn't imposed by Employer, we don't get a cent.  Employer also need to pay maid agency for its no good services)

"Up to eight months of their salary goes to paying the recruitment fees. In the meantime, they can't send any money home. So many just give up and run away."  (Winter: FDW runs away, Employer incur losses yet activists felt FDWs are doing the right thing!)

The Myanmar government has given the nod to Singapore and Hong Kong to source for maids legally. Taiwan is expected to receive approval too.  Besides the new rules, the women will have to attend month-long training programmes in centres in Myanmar, where they will be taught simple English and housekeeping skills, and learn about life in Singapore.  At least 10 training centres have been established since last year, of which two are run by Singapore training course provider Grace Management & Consultancy Services and its Myanmar partners.

Its managing director, Richard Khoo, said: "We will ensure the maids learn about life in a city like Singapore. We don't want them to have a culture shock."  Stephen Chia, who owns 21st Century Employment Agency, said the Myanmar government needs time to put in place a system to enforce the rules, and believes that the quality of maids will improve soon.  Employers agreed that the Myanmar maids will be able to work well here with better training.

15 Sep - My view is the same. Although talking about a 6-week old new Myanmar maid, such maid's problem/behaviour will surface more often and it can happen to any nationality. You give FDW a room, you wanted your FDW to feel at home, have some privacy or be welcomed, you may have to pay a high price for your kindness. With the mandatory off days, allowing FDWs to seek pleasure and fun outside at the expense of employers .... employing maid will be a headache. If maids are sensible and responsible, it is alright to let FDWs take a break. Maids are easily led astray and turn bad ... too gullible or they flew to Spore with evil intention? They deserve sympathy?

FDWs tend to use excuses such as human rights, it is not wrong to find love in Spore, etc .... I will direct the starter to these problems - the filipino FDWs. They misused their rights, repay nice employers with problems, abused employers' kindness and trust. Most people know filipino FDWs are quite vain and demanding. They are liars but they felt they were forced to lie, nothing wrong to use some white lies to secure a job and make their unfortunate employers face the real them - a person who is seeking love/sex or pleasure, using FDW as a disguise. Can you stand your FDW bringing man/men into your house? Do you allow your house to be a brothel? A maid who has only worked for 6-week is so daring, who knows if that was her only man. New maid can do this, what about those who are in Spore for months or years? What's happening behind your back, you don't want to know? Also, do you know that first man/men will come to meet the maid, then they may force your maids to do something else like steal the employers valuables in the name of "LOVE"? You never know in some situations it can also end up as a murder case. Have you forgotten about the water maid who was killed by her lover? Those nice earthings/activists, have you ever thought about all these consequences? If this is your maid, can you tolerate such a person and give her the rights to find 'Love'? If you're a maid, you felt you CAN hurt or betray your employer's trust? You don't feel you are doing the wrong thing?

Man in 6-week old maid’s room, The New Paper, 11 Sep 2013
When she woke up at midnight on Monday night, the family dog was licking her legs. She got up and saw it running to the maid's room, sniffing and pawing at the door. Sensing something was amiss, she opened the door and saw a man underneath the maid's bed. The maid wasn't in the room.

"When I saw him, I was scared to death," said the 78-year-old woman, who wanted to be known only as Madam Rose, in Mandarin. She then called her son-in-law for help.

Other than the maid, the only other person in the house was her 86-year-old husband, who is bedridden after two strokes.

It turned out that the man was a foreigner, allegedly brought home by the family's Myanmar maid. The maid, who had been working for the family for six weeks, denied knowing the man, who is believed to be working near their Bukit Timah house.

Madam Rose's son-in-law, who does not live with them, told The New Paper on Tuesday that he and his wife rushed to the scene. The 46-year-old declined to be named as he does not want to risk more unknown persons coming to the house.

He recounted: "I quickly opened the door of the maid's room, shined a torchlight in and found him there." He then left the room and sought to keep the man in there. Using his body weight, he pushed against the door and called the police. On the other end, he felt the man pushing back and trying to force his way out of the room. "I also heard him talking to someone in the room, I think, over his mobile phone. He may have been calling his friends for advice," the son-in-law said, describing the unknown man as about 1.75m tall.

"I just caught him lying under the bed, I didn't know if he was armed. I wondered, 'Is he here to visit the maid or is he here to rob?'" In the meantime, his wife, who is a doctor, had to stabilise his father-in-law as he seemed about to go into shock. The son-in-law added that he was unsure how long it took before police arrived, as his main concern was to keep the struggling man in the room.

When the police arrived, they asked him to come out of the room, said Madam Rose. "He knelt on my living room floor, crying and saying he was sorry," she said. After being questioned, the man was released. It is understood that no offence was committed.

Madam Rose's son-in-law said the family had previously smelt cigarette smoke in the house, which they found suspicious, but the maid denied having any relationship with men.

Yet about two weeks ago, a man who sounded like he was from Myanmar repeatedly called the house and Madam Rose's mobile phone, he said. The son-in-law recounted: "We confronted her about it and she begged us to let her stay, but this incident crossed the line." He added he informed the maid agency yesterday morning and the maid is now with the agency.

He declined to name the agency as he did not want to hamper any resolution of the situation In the 20 years the family has employed maids, this was the first time such an incident has occurred, he said. He added that the family would have to get another maid to look after his father-in-law who suffered his second stroke in December last year. They are depending on home nursing for the time being.

"We're trying to keep this low key and let it pass. Now, we just need to secure the house as much as possible."

4 Sep - These are obtained from a motherhood thread talking about Myanmar maids. It may be about a particular nationality but do note that such problems and maids' attitude are getting more common. The starter of all these human rights or attitude problem, I will direct them to the filipino FDWs. They are better in English and hold themselves very high. They deliberately set bad examples and support bad habits such as lying. Filipino FDWs are often seen on Facebook bad mouthing employers or crying wolves. Maids claimed they are forced to behave and perform badly, it is the way they play back on employers who failed to make them happy. In their theory, Employers have the obligations to please them, treat them like princesses or Queens in the house. This is how they define as being happy working for you. To be treated like human beings, it is to be able to do things they please, no invading of their privacy, etc. They do not care what they are doing is unfair to their employers. They are not interested to know all these are not part of their contact. They cracked their brains to give their employers unnecessary stress and headaches, yet felt they are just slaves. Where on earth can you find a slave who can post on Facebook, chat on mobile, complain on the simplest matter, entitled to off days, paid a monthly salary, given live-in benefits, etc? Where can you find a slave who is entitled to home leave which includes returned air ticket and 15 days paid off?

Filipino FDWs want to manage their employers, feel superior or on par so have numerous ways to make their employers give in to all their nonsense. Filipino FDWs felt what they are advocating is correct, make full use the excuse "human rights" = alright to set bad examples and driving their employers to the walls eg make employers waste money and time to train them. Cunning FDWs influenced naive FDWs to think it is no big deal, perfectly correct to demand something not as per agreement, agency contract or MOM's rules and regulations. Filipino FDWs took the lead to fight for this and that. Myanmese are just learning from them. Filipino FDWs spend time finding loopholes and how to get lesser chores, yet higher salary and benefits. Readers don't need to rebuke, read all my posts, pictures, links and you have to admit I am not stating something baseless.
Open you heart to accept the fact FDWs of any nationality is capable of give employers hell. If MOM continues to side FDWs, source countries and their agencies, our lives will just get worst. It will push citizens who do not have other help to resign and stay home to nurture their children. Otherwise, don't give birth, don't find trouble for themselves. Spore (those holding power and pro-maid activists) is uncaring and not giving enough understanding to its full-time working women.

Myanmar takes steps to allow women to work as maids in S'pore, Channel News Asia, 14 Jul
The Myanmar government has taken steps to allow its women citizens to work as foreign domestic workers in Singapore.

It has set up training centres to equip them with the skills needed before being sent overseas. A total of 50 women have attended training and have been deployed to Singapore.

The Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) will assist in developing a structured recruitment process and improve the training programme. Win Kyin came to Singapore to work as a domestic worker more than five years ago. The 32-year-old did not get any training before working in Singapore and speaks little English. She said: "At first when I came to Singapore, I was very scared because my English was very poor. Now, I learn from my employer, slowly my English (has become) better."

Myanmar does not allow its women to work overseas as maids, but the regulation is not strictly enforced. However, Singapore's Manpower Ministry recognises Myanmar as a source country for domestic workers. Recently, the AEAS met with Myanmar's Labour Minister to seek clarification on the matter.

K Jayaprema, president of AEAS, said: "As a follow-up with the conversation we had with the minister, he's actually very pleased with Singapore and he feels that he would want to send domestic workers only to Singapore exclusively at this juncture because he thinks Singapore is a very safe country, we have very good policies in place to protect the domestic workers who come here."

The Myanmar government has set conditions for its women citizens to work in Singapore as foreign domestic workers. She must be recruited by a licensed agent in Myanmar and attend training at an approved centre. Only one training centre is approved, while another two are applying to get approval from the Myanmar Labour Ministry. In addition, six months ago, the government set up an association of employment agencies for better coordination.

There are a total of 166 employment agencies in Myanmar. AEAS will play an active role in facilitating the recruitment and training of these women. This includes harmonising standards on recruitment practices between Singapore employment agencies and their counterparts from Myanmar.

In the area of training, the association will recommend more effective teaching of the English language. In addition, it will ensure the welfare of the women is protected when they arrive in Singapore. The association also wants to provide easy access should the women need support or assistance.

Migrant worker groups welcome the move by Myanmar to legalise women as foreign domestic workers. Bridget Tan, president of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, said: "I believe there are thousands of Myanmar women working here as domestic workers, and if the sending country doesn't have a law that allows them to work here, then there will be no laws to protect them as well. So, what's going to happen to them when they have a problem out here in other countries, including Singapore?"

More Myanmar maids are running away from their employers. Migrant worker groups like the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics have seen a two-fold increase this year of women from Myanmar seeking assistance from them. However, with a more structured recruitment and training programme in place in Myanmar, it is hoped that this problem can be mitigated.

Ms Jayaprema said: "The common complaints are the domestic workers are not aware of the kind of duties they are supposed to do here. Many of them are having communication problems. “The other main issue they are always concerned about is the high placement fee that they are paying. Some of these workers are paying between 7-8 months. This concern was raised by the embassy here when we had a meeting a month ago with the ambassador. So, when that happens we see domestic workers from Myanmar going without salary for about a year.

“If this problem is addressed we are quite confident that the transfer rate of Myanmar domestic workers will drop, and we will see fewer of them running away, seeking assistance, because they will be much more satisfied working in Singapore."

There are about 27,000 foreign domestic workers from Myanmar in Singapore.

With the changes in regulations, more maids from Myanmar are expected to work in Singapore. It is understood the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore is expected to appoint a Labour Attache soon, to provide support and welfare to the increasing numbers of their foreign domestic workers.

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Myanmar maids finding it hard here, 16 Jun 2013, Straits Times

Unable to please their employers, more Myanmar maids are giving up and running away, so much so that some agents are trying to improve matters themselves by conducting home visits and training.  A total of 51 maids have sought shelter so far this year at a migrant worker’s group, which expects this to continue if employment conditions do not improve.

The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) sheltered 64 runaway maids from Myanmar last year, 29 in 2011 and 13 in 2010.  The figures reflect the increase in the number of Myanmar women who now come here to work as maids.  There are more than 27,000, and more are expected as a shortfall in Indonesian maids persists.

They are paid $400 to $420 a month, compared with $450 for Indonesians and $500 for Filipinas.  Said Ms Tan:

“This should be a wake-up call to both the agents and employers.

They must look at treating the workers fairly and also reducing their debt, or more will run away.”

Agents here say recruiters in Myanmar are asking for more money, knowing the maids are needed to plug the shortfall.  But with Myanmar the most viable new source of domestic help, some agents are taking it upon themselves to help smooth the transition.  One makes regular visits at no extra charge to homes where there are problems and offers special training courses for maids in languages and housework.

Mr J.H. Htay, the director of Striker Employment Agency, said the key stumbling blocks are a poor command of English, cultural differences and the relatively stressful workload here.  Mr Htay, a Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident, goes to the homes of employers who have problems with their maids.  With a Myanmar employee who speaks the language, he tries to deal with the source of the employer’s unhappiness.

The sessions are often emotionally charged and last one to four hours.  Most women in Myanmar do not work outside their homes and may not be used to having a boss to answer to, he said.  The “culture shock” affects them intensely.  “Sometimes, they don’t even want to talk. They are completely demoralised,” he said.  “I put myself in their shoes and think, wouldn’t I feel the same way if I’m in a foreign country and my employer keeps scolding me all the time?”

The maids also attend a training course and Mr Htay may follow up with another visit afterwards to see if things have improved.  This helped banker Abhishek Gupta, 34, who was at wits’ end when his new maid could not understand a word he or his wife said.  After a four-day intensive course at Striker, Ms Khaing, 31, could understand simple words and do household chores to her employer’s satisfaction.

The Guptas chose a Myanmar maid because their friend employs one and is happy with her.  Mr Gupta said:
“My maid still can’t form full sentences.  But she speaks and understands simple words.  It is an improvement from speaking to her and getting a blank stare back.”  

Employers said it was important to be patient and not expect too much at the start.Myanmar maids now make up the third biggest group among Singapore’s 209,600 domestic workers, after Indonesians and Filipinos.  Unlike those others, the bulk of Myanmar maids come to Singapore without any training, and against the law, as their government forbids them from going overseas to be maids or entertainers.

Many are underage and untrained and find it hard to cope with life here.  Another agent, Ms Anna Tan, the owner of AT Employment Agency, has those facing problems live at her home for about a week to learn how to live and work in a Singapore household.  Ms Tan said the maids learn to adjust to the eating habits of Singaporeans and work to a schedule.  She also coaches them in English.  Agents say the extra help does not guarantee a smooth ride but the success rate is promising.  

Seven of the 10 Myanmar maids trained and counselled by Ms Tan this year are still with their employers.

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My Maid Station Agency, specialises in Myanmar maids:
1. Unprofessional, posted online, Dec 2012
I chose a fresh maid from My Maid Station (never worked in SG before) from them in September as they assured me that all the maids in their Myanmar training centres can speak basic English and do housework. I accepted Louis's recommendation. When I picked up the maid, immediately I told Louis that I don't think it will work as the maid just stood and stared blankly when I spoke to her.  Louis insisted that she is trained and I need to give her time to adapt.

The 5 weeks I had her were terrible. She not only is unable speak English, she also cannot cook or do any housework. Even after drawing out the schedule - yes I have to draw as she does not even know what is a mop, to clean, to cook etc... I have attempted to communicate through gestures ... still she got me wrong. For example, instead of feeding my child, she ate her food. .. After two weeks, I kept calling Louis for new biodata. he is full of excuses and each time after selecting a biodata, he said they are taken. Finally in early November, I chose a new maid from their biodata and returned the maid as I cannot stand having to 'mother' her. I am now served by Gerladine (in Hougang branch). I thought she will be better. I WAS WRONG. She claimed that the maid will come in early Dec . I called her on the 4th Dec, she said my application has not been approved and she promised to update me. I called again many times. Each time she said the my application is pending. On 17th I realised that she had never checked my application status as she said she will return my call after checking with the admin department.

I hit the roof when she told me that application was not approved as the maid is not longer available and that I have been waiting in vain. There was nothing wrong with my application; rather the maid has decided to go to other agents. She told me to come to the agency instead to interview two transfer maids whom she think are suitable for my needs. She was totally unprofessional as upon reaching there, not only we found that these transfer maids not there (but in other branches) and they are highly UNSUIITABLE and do not understand us at all when we spoke to them on the phone. She did not show any professionalism and was always laughing away. Yesterday Geraldine called me and told me that she emailed a new biodata of a transfer maid from the Bukit Timah branch and was told to consider quickly as there are few of such kinds... I called immediately I found out that this maid is NOT even returned by the employer yet. I have given up on them.  This agency lack professionalism and be weary of their 'promises'

I would like to share my bad experience with "My maid station" in regards to their irresponsible maid and their service attitude.

We got a maid from them with the payment of the agent fees $388 and loan amount of $1700 on dated 13.09.11. During the interview time we have specific asked for a maid who can take care of our 3 children and Chris the staff, was the one who recommended one of their maid to us by the name of Htet Htet Win.

With the trust from the agency I and my wife happily took her. After working with us for a few days, we noticed that she keep using her handphone whenever to her likes and demand. I have no choice and after discussed with my wife, we both end up decided to bring her back to agency and ask them to help to talk to her. We even asked her politely if she is willing to continue to work with us as we do not want waste her time and to hold back a person who is not keen to work at all. She still persisted that she wanted to work for us, as such we agreed and bring her back again.

On 09.10.11 when my wife was out to pick my younger son back from school, she was shocked that our maid had left the house leaving my 18 months old baby sleeping in the room. She immediately contacted the agency and seek help and later in the evening she went to police station to lodge a police report. She was totally lost and mentally stress with such incident happened, who is going to hold the responsible if something happen to my baby.

The next day 10.10.11 we receive no call from the agency at all and we end up need to call them and check the status, Chris the one who we get to know she was a manager in charge keep saying that they are trying to reach and get in touch to my run away maid. We have no choice and need to trust their capability we waited for whole day end up no answer from them.

On 11.10.11, I have no choice but to take urgent leave and went down to the agency to check personally. I was there but couldn't get a reply from them and at choice i demand a full refund. Chris the manager with no interest to settle the issue but only giving a statement that, "There is no such thing, you mean you can choose a maid and after that you don't want her and ask for refund ".

I have no choice again and i have to call MOM and seek for help, the MOM officers gave me the AEAS contact no. to call in regards of any monetary issue to assist us. When i returned to the agency office after spoken to AEAS officers, to my surprised Chris claimed that the missing maid was found and they are at MOM with her Boss. At this stage, to be honest i have totally lost my trust on them. Immediately Chris took out a form and advised my wife to sign on it, when we asked further, she claimed that the form was for cancellation of work permit 

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6 Jun - Winter: Do you want to be kind by giving your maid a termination notice? Below is a case of a Myanmar maid.  This kind of behaviour can happen to any nationality.  They are just maids, humans, NOT angels!   Some FDWs just felt that they have the rights to vent their anger but still can get a transfer to another employer because no police report was made.  This MOM loophole is to their advantage, it would be silly not to use it.  Employer cannot do anything to make her pay for her actions.  Sending her back home means no need to bother about maid loan and a free air ticket paid by employer .... good deal ... another loophole! MOM hasn't done anything to prove this is wrong.   Maid vent anger by pouring bleach
She was in the shower when she felt her head burning and the pungent smell of chlorine filling her nose.  It turned out someone had poured bleach into her shampoo and conditioner.

The culprit, she later found out, was her former maid, whom she had decided to send back to the agency the day before.  The maid, a 26-year-old Myanmar national, had been with the family for four months. 

Her employer, a 45-year-old businesswoman who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan,was unhappy with the maid's performance.  What she did not expect was that the maid would get back at the family by putting bleach into all the bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the three bathrooms of the family's penthouse unit in a Woodlands condominium.

Mrs Tan lives with her husband, and her two daughters, aged 21 and 18. Her older daughter's boyfriend, Mr Neo, 21, a civil servant, lives with them. 

The maid even allegedly poured bleach into Mrs Tan's youngest daughter's contact lens solution.  Luckily, the alert teenager discovered it before she put the lens into her eyes. She sensed something amiss when she smelled the solution.  Mrs Tan said: "What if my daughter had put on the contact lens? She could have gone blind.

"If you look at the maid, you will never think she is capable of this."  When she confronted the maid at the agency the next day, she said the latter admitted what she had done.  But the maid claimed "she did not know the solution was for the eyes".

There has been a recent spate of incidents where maids tried to harm their employers.

While maid agents say it is not common, they have come across cases of maids getting back at their employers over perceived injustices.
Mr Peter Loh, owner of Swift Arrow maid agency, said he has heard of maids venting their frustration by pinching their employers' children when no one else is home.  He has even heard of maids talking about adding urine into the employer's drinks.

"It is a superstitious belief that by doing so the employer will like them. When they talk about this, we will educate them that there's no such thing," he said.

Some 28 per cent of maids had their contracts terminated within three months of starting work, The Straits Times reported last month.  Some maid agents said that maids are under more pressure these days as employers have higher expectations.

Mr Ronnie Toh, owner of maid agency AC Toh Enterprises, said one reason maids do such things is to empower themselves.
"A maid feels she can't fight back, so she gets back at her employer in other subtle ways," he said.  Mr Toh, who has been in the business for 30 years, said that while some maids are no angels, some employers can also be too demanding.

He also blamed some agents for exaggerating the abilities of the maids. "So when the maids cannot perform, the employers are unhappy," he said.  Mrs Tan said during the meeting at the agency, the reasons given by her maid for her behaviour were that she was scolded often and had to wake up at 2am to wash dishes.

Mrs Tan claimed this was not true and that the family had treated the maid well. When she was scolded, it was for valid reasons.
She said the maid once served her husband, a 48-year-old businessman, fish porridge with uncooked fish.

Another time, he ended up eating rice with a 10-cent coin in it.
Once, when Mrs Tan told the maid to clean the kitchen, she splashed pails of water on the walls.  This soaked a power socket, causing a blackout.

And her younger daughter once saw the maid kicking the family dog.
The final straw for Mrs Tan was when the maid allowed two curry puffs to burn in the oven early last month.  "The kitchen was filled with smoke. She was there washing dishes and didn't do anything. So I was angry and scolded her," she said.

The next day, she told the maid that she would be sending her back to the agency.  Two weeks later, on 21 May 2010, she sent the maid back to her maid agent.  The next day, the family discovered that the maid had broken the washing machine by cutting one of the wires.
Mrs Tan also found that some of the family's clothes had become discoloured after they were left in a tub of bleach.  And one of their curtains had holes.

Mr Neo had to search for his belt and work pass which were found hidden under a pile of mats.  The maid also stuffed soiled newspapers into the drains in the washrooms and balcony.

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12 May - 
First male helper from Myanmar starts work    Source, Straits Times

The first male domestic worker from Myanmar has arrived and started work with his new employer on Friday.

Brought to Singapore by local maid agency Homekeeper, 31-year-old Lum Hkawng has already completed a 45-day caregiver course. He also speaks Mandarin, which he picked up from ethnic Chinese friends living in his village in Myanmar's northern Kachin state.  Agents say male domestic workers like Mr Hkawng can perform similar tasks as their female counterparts and more. These include caring for elderly men who are bedridden, which often requires more strenuous work.

While agents say there has been an increase in demand for male domestic workers, plans to bring in more men like Mr Hkawng have hit a snag.  So far only 33 male helpers, mostly Filipinos, are in Singapore.

It is estimated that there are 27,000 Myanmar women working in Singapore as maids, a 35% increase in the number of Myanmar maids at the beginning of last year.  The number of illegal freelance recruiters has also gone up hand-in-hand. A local maid agency estimated that about 30% of the new Myanmar maids coming to Singapore each month are recruited by these illegal freelancers.

Some of the local agents admit that they are currently working with these illegal Myanmar freelancers because they want to increase their supply of Myanmar maids.  The freelancers usually get referrals from their fellow Myanmar friends and relatives.  One illegal Myanmar freelancer who works as an engineer in Singapore said, “We have friends and relatives who ask us to help them get a job here as a maid. So I thought why not. I can earn some extra money too.”

These illegal freelancers can earn about $2,000 for each maid they recruit. This is equal to about 4 months of a Myanmar maid’s salary. But they may end up earning a few hundred dollars if they have to split the commission with other middlemen.

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More maids from Myanmar running away
Apr 07, 2013, Straits Times

A rising number of Myanmar maids are running away from their Singapore employers, saying they find it unbearable to work for months without receiving any pay.  The reason is that they arrive with large debts to repay, and until those are cleared some receive no money at all. Others get just $10 or $20 a month.

Maid agents estimate that there are close to 27,000 Myanmar women working here as domestic workers, up from about 20,000 at the start of last year.

Although Myanmar bars its women from going overseas to be maids or entertainers, more have been arriving to make up for the shrinking number of new Indonesian maids.  Since January this year, 32 Myanmar runaways have sought shelter at foreign workers group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

This number is half of the 64 who turned up over the whole of last year. Home sheltered 29 runaway Myanmar maids in 2011 and 13 in 2010.

Agents say the women get demoralised when they go unpaid for up to eight months while repaying placement fees of $3,200 to $3,360.  The going rate for Myanmar maids is between $400 and $420 a month, lower than what Indonesians and Filipinas command.  Many also arrive underage and untrained, do not speak English and find it hard to cope with working here, agents said.

The president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), Ms K. Jayaprema, said the placement fees for Myanmar maids has spiked from the equivalent of five months' pay to eight months' pay over the past year.

She blamed agents in Myanmar for jacking up their fees, knowing that their counterparts here were desperate to make up a shortfall in supply after months of wrangling with Indonesian recruiters over fees for their maids.

She said the extra costs are passed on to the women, not employers, because agents here are anxious to keep the cost of hiring a Myanmar maid low.  Many agents charge employers $300 or less for Myanmar maids.

Ms Jayaprema felt the Myanmar government needs to stop agents there from jacking up their fees.

Meanwhile, some agents here have begun putting a limit on the placement fees that Myanmar maids have to repay. Some have capped it at the equivalent of four months' pay, and raised the fees employers must pay to close to $1,000.

Agent Carene Chin said: "I tell customers if their maid's loans are lower, we can motivate them to work harder and be happier."

A Manpower Ministry spokesman said fees that are paid overseas and the regulation of employment agencies in foreign countries are beyond Singapore's jurisdiction.

"However, the ministry works closely with the respective foreign embassies and shares relevant information obtained during the course of its investigations," she said.

She added that Singapore laws bar agencies here from charging foreign workers fees that exceed one month of pay for each year of the duration of their work pass. The total amount charged must not exceed two months' salary.

Employment agents who flout these guidelines can be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. They will also be issued demerit points.

Agents must also ensure that all maids brought here are at least 23 years old.  Last year, seven agencies were warned and four of them were issued demerit points for bringing in underage maids.

Home chief executive Bridget Tan felt there should be a more coordinated effort by the Singapore and Myanmar authorities to improve the employment terms of Myanmar maids.

"Myanmar women are eager to leave their country to earn a living and will agree to any terms given to them," she said. "The Singapore and Myanmar governments need to step up checks to prevent them from being abused."

Winter: The demand has exploded, not just in Singapore but elsewhere in the region too, including in Malaysia and Hong Kong.  Because of this, many more women are being recruited from places such as Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The recruitment is taking place not just in the cities where women tend to be better educated and used to urban living but also from rural areas with less suitable women or underaged girls.

MOM should stop FDW demand from staying rocket high. If FDW demand is kept low, would agents be able to jerk up prices on maid loan and agent fees?  If demand remains high, agencies will continue to rope in anybody who steps into their agencies, don't do proper job screening or training and sell them out as FDW asap in order to reap a profit.

If MOM has set stricter criteria such PRs, expats and those citizens with combined household income exceeding $10,000 should not be allowed to hire FDWs, encourage or force them pay for hourly rated domestic maids. 

If more affordable eldercare, childcare, daycare or special needs care centres (to take in all ages and disabilities, eg my girl) are set up, why do we need to rely on FDWs?  
Why allow employers who can afford to hire 2 or more maids in the same household, enjoy similar levy and employ live-in maids .... who looked dirt cheap in their eyes?

It is not human trafficking nor slavery because maids have contracts, receiving salary, were told the terms of their employment, packed their own luggages, boarded the planes on their own will and can leave employment to find better employers in Sg.  FDWs get full month salary in cash after full repayment of 7-8 months maid loan (imposed by their agencies, claiming it is part of training costs, air fare, etc).  Agencies are not treating FDWs like humans because they told lies to them by painting nice pictures to work in Spore.  Not our fault, why make employers bear the actions of agencies?  Were maids exploited?  No, not by employers.  We paid what is required by MOM and foot the live-in costs as well as salary, which easy amounted to S$1500 per month. 

Some people have weird theory, thinking FDWs are dirt cheap so employers can't complain.  If we insist on complaining or telling the truth about what our maids did, we shouldn't because that's the quality we should get since we paid them peanuts!  FDWs contributed the minimal but wishing to get everything, this is not right but MOM and activists encouraged them to do so. 

Some abnormal righteous people enjoy telling employer this is a one-sided story, unfair to maid, not right for us to post online.  They are eager to shoot employers and don't try to understand what we've been through.  Phew, this is my blog, I can delete comments from pretenders who thought so great about themselves, belittle FDW's employers and prevent me from telling the truth (with pictures and proof still feel FDWs are more pathetic than employers .... sigh)! 

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CCTV footage: Maid slams fridge door on toddler, 2012, AsiaOne

A couple have lodged a police report over the alleged mistreatment of their two-year-old daughter.

The first incident was captured two days after the maid from Myanmar was hired, said Mr Tan.
He claimed footage showed the maid, Ms Siang Nei Thluai, 24, slamming the fridge door and hurting the toddler, according to the Shin Min Daily News.

Mr Tan, a driver, also said she mistreated the girl two to three times an hour on a separate occasion.
He said Ms Siang was hired to look after the couple's two younger girls - the toddler and a nine-month-old infant, as he and his wife, a human resource executive, work during the day.
Their eldest child, 4, attends kindergarten in the daytime.

In the clips Mr Tan showed The Straits Times, Ms Siang was seen closing the fridge door with one hand while carrying an infant in another arm.  The fridge door moves a few times before a toddler emerges from behind it and follows her.
Another clip shows the toddler, who was lying down in a playpen, being forcefully pulled up by the shoulder.

But according to Mr Tan, the police have said there is insufficient evidence and asked him to look for more evidence.

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KUANTAN, Malaysia - As a maid, 40-year-old Nanis Supardi was tasked with taking care of her employer's handicapped son, who is also bed-ridden.  Instead of giving full attention to the 11-year-old boy, the Indonesian maid had abused the boy including stepping on his face, neck, chest and stomach.

The mother of four also covered the victim's face with a piece of cloth before forcing the helpless boy to drink.  Nanis' cruel acts were recorded on a closed-circuit television camera and she was yesterday sentenced to four years' jail after pleading guilty to abusing the boy at her employer's home in Kampung Batu Hitam between 6pm and 6.30pm on March 13.
She was also sentenced to six months' jail after she pleaded guilty to overstaying as her social visit pass had expired on 29 Feb 2012.

The woman, from East Java, was expressionless, when Sessions Court judge Noradidah Ahmad meted out the sentence, which was translated into Javanese by a court interpreter. When Noradida said her act was cruel as the victim could not even move, Nanis, only said that she khilaf (had made a mistake).