5 Mar 2015

Activist - fighters for migrant workers

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This was posted in my blog, topic: "House Rules".  

Maid activist posted on 4 March, 2015
What is wrong with you?? Maids are there to help that does not mean you own them. They're helpers not slaves. I know that the Chinese tend to treat maids (anyone lower class than them) as low class citizens and deprive them of basic rights... Thanks for confirming this stereotype. 

And all that rubbish about not allowing maids to use the washing machine- technology exists for a reason. If you don't like clothes being mixed then she can wash her stuff separately no?

I'm Indian american, I have family in India which manage several maids, not just one and Ive never heard of such nonsense. Please get it together and drop this employer-Nazi attitude.

FDW's passport
MOM is definitely pro-maid.  If your FDW request to keep her own passport, ponder before you employ her.  Employers are keeping FDWs' passport as a form of security.  MOM may come after you for withholding your FDW's without her consent so if you want to safeguard yourself from errant maid or fighters (MOM/activists) for migrant workers, get the prospective maid to agree in writing BEFORE you hire her, in the presence of agent.  State some sort of compensation just to prevent maid from playing games or a compulsive liar.  When a maid runs away, you're fully responsible for her till her name is removed in MOM's record.  Any maid loan, fees and time spent on her could be gone - unrecoverable.  If FDW gets hurt, you are liable to pay the bill.  Note that at least 50% of your security bond will be eaten by MOM if you can't find her.  

Do you want to get into such a shit?  Prevention is better than to be sorry.
The reason why employers should keep FDWs' passport is to prevent maids from running away.  Runaway maids are not those who were abused but are those who can't accept a FDW's job scope, poor working mentality - wanted a job that has plenty of free time and little chores.  Maid ran away simply because she was too pampered and misused her 'rights'.  A FDW who threatens to go back home/agency or intentionally left your in the lurch is defined as a bad and irresponsible maid.  MOM/activists side bad migrant workers, they have a truly soft heart for them.  Nobody will protect employers' interest except you (yourself).

I don't see a reason why FDWs should hold on to their passports.  If maid insists on keeping her passport, that smells a rat!  Why does she need her passport?  She plans to moonlight in Malaysia/Batam during her off days?  She has lots of money to go overseas for sightseeing on her only off day each week?  Take note, if agent insists that you shouldn't keep FDW's passport .... leave, such an agency will not offer good after sales service.  Agent cares for her pocket, not you!  She could be in cahoots with FDW and planning her next transfer as runaway maid.  Don't bother to explain or highlight your fears, such agency obviously doesn't care about what may happen to you.  Same case for FDW who demand for freedom to use her mobile phone.  Any agent who insists FDW should use her mobile phone freely should be avoided.  We need a domestic worker, not receptionist or 'customer service hotline person'.  Maid can use her mobile in the night but not during the day - distraction.  If FDW appears unhappy or bargaining her usage and you want to avoid a potential bad worker, leave, find another agency.  I am sure you have plenty of choices.... click to search for an agency near you.   Any agency advocating human rights ought to reflect on themselves... start treating FDWs like human beings, not commodities or their money making tools.  Secondly, don't earn so much heartless money (maid loan) from FDWs.  Preach is easy... doing right is another thing.

One of the interview questions to ask prospective FDW, "Does or Can employer keep your passport?"  
Listen to what she says.  Her uneasiness is a sign that she shouldn't be employed.  A maid who ask for too much 'rights' is very hard to manage or work with.  Yes, she's a human but that is not an excuse to deliver shabby work or be a liar.

Maid is employed to help you.  She is not somebody deserving 100% of your trust.  Trust is built over months of work, not the moment you decide to employ her.  There should not be any issue for employer to keep maid's passport if FDW really wants to work for you.  Only those unsure or planning something will say she wants to keep her passport or claim that's part of human rights.  To me, these are excuses.  Seriously, would a maid need her passport while working for you?  If she has to take home leave, she'll certainly get her passport back.  If she need to renew her passport, I don't see a reason why employer should refuse and then cause her work permit to be revoked.  Nobody will be nice and help you when you faced a runaway or lousy maid.  MOM will continue to shake legs, although you've paid levy promptly.

Always remember, in Spore, the fighters - MOM, Ministers (eg Halimah Yacob) and activists are bringing us miseries.  If you don't try to protect yourself, don't cry over spilled milk.  Yes, you should give people the benefit of doubt .... if you can afford the losses and inconveniences.  Once maid's work permit has been approved, you're the legal guardian cum maid's babysitter.  It is your duty to ensure maid is well-fed and cared for till the day her name is removed from MOM's record.  

MOM’s “Guide to Employing a domestic worker”: 
You [Employers] must not retain your FDW’s Work Permit. She [Domestic Worker] should carry her original Work Permit with her at all times for inspection on demand by any public officer.

You [Employers] must not retain your FDW’s passport without her consent. If prior consent was given for you to safe keep the passport, you must return the passport to your FDW upon her request.

Bringing home boyfriends a key gripe about maids, 16 Jun 2014, Straits Times
Bringing boyfriends home, stealing, and hitting the children are the top three complaints employers make about their maids, major agencies here told The Straits Times.

These complaints are lodged with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which receives an average of about 200 complaints a month, a spokesman said yesterday, in response to queries.

The figure represents less than 0.1 per cent of the 214,500 maids here as of December, MOM said.  The ministry has been collecting feedback on maids since 2010 to help employers make more informed hiring decisions.

Complaints against a maid may be flagged to prospective employers when they apply for a work pass for a maid on the MOM online work permit system.  They have to sign a letter to confirm that they know of the complaint if they decide to hire the maid.  Prospective employers will not be told the nature of the complaint, but can call the maid's previous boss for details. About half of them leave phone numbers.  

Agents say most maids with a complaint against them are not hired here again. Orange Employment agency owner Shirley Ng said: "They won't get a second chance to work in Singapore."

Best Home Employment agency owner Tay Khoon Beng added: "Most employers won't even call the previous employer to find out more. They just say no."  Foreign worker activist Jolovan Wham of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics said the feedback system is "unfair".  "Some of the complaints, such as having a boyfriend, are unreasonable as they have no bearing on the ability of the worker to perform her tasks," he said.

But some said they welcome feedback on their maid, and added that it was up to them to make a call.  Businesswoman Fiona Lee, 47, decided to hire her Filipino maid though she was accused by her previous employer of pinching her child.  "She explained that it was not true, and I decided to take the risk. In the end, she met my expectation, which is to take care of my daughter well," she said.

Mr Karl Tan, owner of maid agency Inter-Mares Management Services, said it is only fair that employers speak to the maids to find out their side of the story.  Nation Employment managing director Gary Chin said a poor track record does not mean a maid will stay a bad worker.  "It may be because she needs more time to adapt. We have seen many maids who were transferred a few times but do well later," he said.

Roman Franta: Maids are set to lowest level in Singaporean society and parents teach children to do not respect them. This create another, new generation of arrogant Singaporeans and as they even less respect the Maids, the connection to the children and employers from imprisoned and socially lowered poor girl getting colder. It's actually miracle that those Maids still love the kids. 

Singaporean woman should remember their past when majority of Singaporean woman were employed as maid for British soldiers based in Singapore in the near past time. Many or those Singaporean Maids are still here, almost every old woman in Singapore was maid when young. I don't believe the British treated them so badly. Looks like they using the me do to prove themself that they raised up in the social statement but real civilised culture is measured differently. And most funny is that today maids are asked to address the employer Sir and Madam. It's funniest Sir and Madam I ever seen

Dimple Anne:  your absolutely right..only 10% Singaporian employer are good and treat their helper as a part of the family,,the rest are so called arrogant.

Marivic D. Chan:  Roman Franta ur right..it depend inly how they treat thier helper but mostly employer treat their helper as a slave,no enough sleep,rest not following MOM rules and regulations salary dont pay the right amount.Some also they dont allow to take off dont pay the remaining sunday off that they dont go out.correct me if im wrong.alot of employers violation right? Now tell me if you treat ur helper good you follow as what we ask.simply i dont think helper will dis obey you..any way helper always say yes mam yes sir.dating during off day is not your business already .they have the right to do what they want outside employers house.but bringing inside the house is not good u should send her home.so problem is solve.but mostly try also to do ur obligation us an employer coz mostly we are always down by singaporeans.DONT HIRE HELPER ,STAY AT HOME AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN IS BETTER.....

Reynald Ganancial: If you don't trust your helper so you don't have to employe.just stay at home and do what the helper need to do..

Ravichandran Sahngitha: Wat's the point? The Employer are the one whom loses their money at end. They should bring a new rules refund should apply to all agencies if this sort problem is with proof coz if we return the maid we still need to pay for the next replacement. Which is a lost to all employers only. Coz maids will be transferred, agency will get us replacement with a fee. This should change then, there will be a stop to it. As then agencies will filter their maids before distributing out to employers.

Jambu Ang:  The sole winner in these cases is the Maid Agencies.... making money out of the maids and the employers....

Activists said this during the International Domestic Workers' Day, 15 June 2014, held in Spore.

"All too many employers and employment agents subject domestic workers to verbal and psychological abuse to instill fear in them and to make them subservient. They also do so because of prejudices," said TWC2 president Russell Heng. "We all have a responsibility to help realise domestic workers' rights." 

Over 150 Filipino and Indonesian local domestic workers took part in the celebration of the International Domestic Workers’ Day (IDWD) organized by local non-government organisation (NGO) , Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) yesterday.

The International Domestic Workers’ Day is celebrated each year on 16th June  after the International Labour Organisation ‘s Convention on Domestic Workers also known as C189 was passed in the International Labour Conference on 16th June 2011.

Russell Heng:  Why is C189 important? It seeks to extend basic labour rights to domestic workers round the globe and lays down the principles of employment. This convention reminds us that domestic workers are also employees, should be accorded fair wages, a weekly rest day, safe work environment, prospects for personal development and social integration and freedom to express their concerns. These are principles that have been so easily neglected.

C189 provides a comprehensive set of employment standards for domestic workers and ensures that like all workers they should be employed in conditions of freedom and dignity. Only 14 countries have so far ratified the convention.

Unfortunately though not surprisingly, Singapore is not among them. Among countries that are significant source countries for migrant domestic workers in Singapore, only the Philippines has ratified the convention.   (Winter:  Philippines has so many demands from Spore, of course they will endorse so that they can make more money from its own citizens and us.  Philippines is a source country, not a country that hires domestic maids ... ridiculous!)

Domestic worker from the Filipino Family Network (FFN),  Angie Jerez said that apart from providing an event where they are able to mingle with their fellow domestic workers, it is very beneficial and informative for the domestic workers they were educated about the labour laws stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower and what to do when confronted with situations such as pregnancy.  (Winter:  FDW Pregnant is a violation of work permit conditions yet wants to know what to do.... at employers' expense?  Two things I can confirm, you'll get a free ticket home and your Employer will be made to absorb your irresponsible actions. Maid should compensate employer for breaking contract and purposely doing what you are not suppose to do as per MOM employment terms. You want a FDW job, this is one of the working conditions.  Accept it wholeheartedly or Don't come!  Don't tell me you don't know the terms ... liars and loafers!  Activists/FDWs just want to find more ways to take advantage of FDW's employers.  You knew FDW can't carry out a good job as a pregnant maid. You expect employer to let go of her/his job, sit at home/hire somebody to take good care of FDW and then allow maid to enjoy maternity leave as well as give the child citizenship?  Aren't you too much?  It is not a right and ethical way for you to use human rights/treated as human being as an excuse to be bad.  Seemed like encouraging FDWs to be bad legally at employers' expense, no need to bear any losses or consequences, you felt this is fair to another human being?  Aren't you selfish and disgusting?)

Although Singapore has legislated a mandatory weekly day off for domestic workers in 2013, a survey by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reveals that only one third of newly arrived domestic workers receive a weekly day off. There are some domestic workers who choose to work in exchange for cash. However, many are coerced by employers to work on their rest days and are not given a choice to take a day off.   (Winter:  Are you sure no choice? FDW can say she doesn't want the job and stay in her country, don't fly to Spore.  Once FDW agreed to the terms, stepped foot into Spore, you owe Employer - she/he paid for your services and fees.  You cannot lie, purposely break the contract or claim you were not given off days after she/he paid for your services.  No employer is able to force FDW board the plane to Spore.  You made the choice when you were in home country so don't be a wolf in disguise, cheating is not a virtue.  If maid agencies misinterpreted or mislead you, bite them, leave employers alone)

Ummairoh, representative from The Indonesia Family Network (IFN): Since 2013 1st Jan, saying that all domestic workers in Singapore, we have to (be given) day off every week. But unfortunately, some of them, employers give alternately… Most of them are fine… most of them not giving day off, they prefer giving a lump sum (of) money to the domestic worker not a day off. And I am really disappointed with that because its a human being… as a domestic worker. We need a rest. We need a day off from the six days working in the house. We need rest, we need to freshen up, we need to meet fellow friends, say hello.. Its not about having fun but to release our stress. 

Despite a law to control fees paid by domestic workers to secure employment, many employment agencies still get away with charging workers more than the terms allowed under the law through underhand methods. Domestic workers who are still servicing their loan are coerced to continue to work even though employers mistreat them so that employment agencies do not lose out on their profits.   (Winter: Agree for both Employers and FDWs.  Maid agencies are the middlemen and should ensure we didn't pay fees to get into a wrong relationship.  If maid must have off days and 24/7 mobile phone usage, find her employer who is willing to take in a person like her.  If she can't find any employer to employ her, let her rot in her home country.  Spore doesn't owe source country and its citizens a good life.  Don't think you have the rights to bully or fleece us!)


The woman is said to have forced one of her two maids to eat her own vomit, and taken photos of the maid naked after making her strip.  The woman's husband apparently hit both domestic workers repeatedly and tried to shove an incense bottle down the throat of one.

Yesterday, the couple - IT manager and sales manager were hauled to court to face 32 charges, mainly of maid abuse.  Man faces 21 charges, allegedly hit Indonesian maid Fitriyah and Myanmar maid Moe Moe Than with canes, a metal clothing hook and a bamboo stick at his flat in Yishun Avenue 6 in 2012.

Woman faced 11 charges, allegedly slapped both maids and caned one of them. Her most serious charge was for allegedly using a funnel to force sugar into Than's mouth and making her swallow her own vomit.

I've removed the names of above abusers.
There have been many cases of bad employers, all in big fonts and pictures 图文并茂,how come these bad employers still 'don't learn' 不怕死 不怕被制裁?These employers must be very rich, can afford to have 2 FDWs and not afraid of being fined or legal actions taken against them. Because of all these bad employers, activists are almost everywhere.  Pick 20 strangers from the road, ask them to do they have a maid.  Then ask them to made a stand, will they back the FDW's employers or fight for the maids?  I believe ... if I'm not a FDW's employer, I would back the FDWs without hesitation.

If I get to see news such as this, I will also pity the maids. Employers punished the maids and made them fight/cane/slap each other.   Just one abuser such as above will lead to a tidal wave of supporters 同情 for FDWs.  Ironically, if the maid is the abuser/murderer, employers and victims didn't get sympathy.   Activists/Law makers tend to think FDW was forced to take revenge, retaliate for her own protection, nothing wrong because Employers "were at fault"!  Above abusers are crazy, spoilt the market, no wonder I tried so hard but not many people believe, sympathize and stop being so harsh on me... the MOM law is not in our favour for so many years!  It will continue because we are wearing the "Employer" hat, very hard to get activists/law makers to understand and help us.

Treat maids with dignity, April 2014, TODAY
Maids are part of many families here, especially young working adults with needs such as eldercare and childcare for family members. Without helpers, these families would have to cope with attending to household chores and their family members’ needs.

By filling these roles, maids have been crucial to building up fully functioning families. That a maid’s job is a noble one must be recognised, and they must be treated with dignity.

Foreign maids have to make the effort to adapt to our culture, languages, food and system on top of doing their job. (Winter:  How many modern FDWs making effort to adapt to us?  If they have good working mentality, we won't be having so much headaches and losses)  As their employers, we have a responsibility to observe and comply with fair and agreed employment terms. Late payment of salary, long working hours with no rest day and non-domestic work demands would be deplorable and should be deterred by law.

The more serious cases of mistreatment are often a combination of causing hurt and degrading verbal abuse. Often, these maids are made to suffer in silence.

We should always send a clear signal that we, as a society, do not condone such behaviour and that the full force of the law would be applied without ambiguity.

What are you teaching child by the way you treat maid? The Straits Times, 20 Mar 2014

The ongoing discussion on the rights of foreign maids to days off and leisure spaces is not just about how the Singapore state should treat its foreign workers who contribute to the economy.  Nor is it only about relations between domestic workers and employers.  Ultimately, it reveals who we are as a society, and what kind of culture and values we hold dear.

Most intimately of all, the way we treat a domestic worker sends strong signals to our children regarding the ethics we live by.  (Winter:  if maid is a mother and chose to sleep around with men, Employer should cheer them ... good ethics, good mother & wife?  More and more FDWs are sex/men deprived 不自爱 淫乱 滥交 不责任  what signals are they sending to employers?  Fright, Financial Losses, Reluctance to give Off days and more Bad Attitude!) The values and beliefs that make up a culture are not passed on through textbooks or formal education alone. Culture is produced through everyday practice. Values are learnt through micro interactions and everyday observations.  This is demonstrated embarrassingly to parents when children parrot kid-inappropriate words, or mimic the anti-social behaviour they observe in adults.

When people resist efforts to improve the dignity of workers, they embody values of injustice. When we protest every little "inconvenience" whenever the maid is on annual leave, or when we are obliged to share space with people from different classes or ethnic backgrounds, we put into practice attitudes of superiority and intolerance.  Sociologist Raka Ray and anthropologist Seemin Qayum argue in their book Cultures Of Servitude that children growing up with servants learn much about inequality, class, gender and ethno-racial differences from experiencing the employer-servant relationship every day.

Too often, children learn that some humans - their needs, opinions and aspirations - are less valued and valuable than others.  In Singapore, some children learn that their caregivers are different from them when they see their "aunties" sleep in spaces with little privacy.  (Winter:  Want privacy?  Give FDW a room?  You thought all Employers live in landed property or have plenty of rooms?  Luckily MOM didn't legislate FDW must be given a room because many Employers cannot offer a room.  You expect Employers or children to sleep in the living room so that the VIP live-in maid can have a room?)  They see this person attend social gatherings only to help with menial tasks.  Most kids also learn that this is the only person in the household doing chores before others are up and long after others have finished work.  (Winter:  Mine gets enough sleep so don't accuse all Employers are slave drivers, denied FDWs with adequate rest.  Yes, I know there are really bad employers and I also know there are extremely bad/abuser/murderer FDWs.  All are humans, aren't they?)

The maid is the only person working every day - often with only one or two days off a month  (Winter:  Some employers worked longer and harder than FDWs, no off days!  You thought everybody have good life like you?), sometimes with none at all.  Many children also hear adults flippantly discussing their "maid problems".  Despite this, many such children love their caregivers and listen when given instructions.

But a fair number can also be heard discussing caregivers among themselves with language like "my maid" and "your maid"; or barking orders and making loud demands.  Many even rely on domestic worker caregivers to do things that non-disabled human beings their age should be able to do themselves.  It is true that the needs of some families cannot be met by family members alone. Many Singaporeans also treat domestic workers decently. The employer-domestic worker relationship can be a positive and fair one.  (Winter:  Agree but just one bad sheep is enough to ruin the rest 老鼠屎)

But it is time to set higher standards. Days off, living wages, access to leisure and public space are basic requirements for human well-being. Last year, when a law to give maids one rest day a week or pay in lieu came into effect, gender equality advocacy group Aware pointed out that this was an important step towards upholding human rights (Winter:  Many demanding FDWs are using this as an excuse or weapon to fight.  This is incorrect and unfair to nice employers, we are affected by activists/pro-maid MOM's harshness and inconsiderate advocates/laws)  that are meaningful only insofar as all people have them.

Two years on, we continue to see resistance to the introduction of this basic human right.

As a society, it is time to set higher standards for ourselves. Singaporeans should stand up for domestic workers' rights because our culture and values are at stake.  (Winter:  Please find an ocean and get drown) Who are we? Who do we want our children to be?  Do we hope our kids will treat people with respect and not take their privileges for granted? Do we want our children to learn that being human is not just about doing well in exams but about performing basic tasks to take care of themselves? Do we want them to see the home as a place of equality and respect rather than injustice and exploitation?

If so, we have to start here.

These relationships with domestic workers shape many of our homes, and increasingly influence our social ties and interactions beyond the home. As society ages, there will also be a greater need for caregivers in various forms.  All Singaporeans, regardless of whether or not they employ domestic workers, are responsible.

We all live in a society that is cultivating new norms about gender practices, as well as racial and class inequalities. All of us, like it or not, produce "cultures" around domestic labour and the people who perform them.  The attitudes we take and behaviours we model for the children will shape our present and future.

The writer is assistant professor of sociology at the Nanyang Technological University and board member at the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

Educate prospective maid employers, Straits Times Forum, 25 Mar 2014

Problems related to domestic maids have been continually surfacing. A possible way to ameliorate this is to match employers' expectations with what the maids can deliver.

We must understand that when maids come here, especially for the first time, it could be intimidating and a culture shock for them - more so if they hail from villages, where they were never exposed to the trappings and demands of a fast-paced modern city.

For the maid, she has to cope with leaving behind her family, friends and even her children. This, coupled with the daily household chores of cleaning, washing, cooking and tending to children or elderly folk, could subject her to tremendous stress.

Many employers expect their maids to learn fast and to perform tasks up to their expectations. This is often not possible within a short period.

Very few employers are patient. Some resort to verbal or even physical abuse, which only serves to confuse and anger the maids. In order for the employer-maid relationship to flourish, the employer needs to understand the maid's cultural background and emotional state.

The maid has to be treated with dignity. She needs time to learn; she needs to be sufficiently fed and be given adequate rest; and she needs time off to recharge.

Maids undergo training to prepare them for the tasks ahead, and to facilitate their assimilation into their employers' households.

Isn't it time for prospective employers to undergo a course to make them aware of what to expect - to moderate their expectations, if necessary - and their role in forging a good employer-maid relationship?

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

Winter:  Sigh, another person talking creep "understand the maid's cultural background and emotional state"
Why no activist or maid try to understand employer's cultural background and emotional state +the reasons/dilemma ... forced to employ a costly live-in stranger aka maid?  
Think I have money nowhere to spend?  Thought it is a joy to have somebody calling 'mam/sir'?  

Thought giving in (again and again) to meet maid's expectation or so call her needs will result in a better relationship?  Not all maids are appreciative.

All these 'better welfare' will only let maids be more demanding, stop/not keen to improve their performance and think we cannot live without them.  Maid will think she deserves to be treated well regardless how bad her job performance is.  Maid will assume employers will tolerate her due to her 'not too good background' ... including unsound mind or come to work with the intention to cheat ... become playgirls, work little but enjoy life to her fullest.  

All these are facts - treating a FDW nice, too accommdating to her needs will only get more brats!!  You give an inch, she wants more.  Take the case of mandatory off day.  What did employers get in return for giving weekly Sundays off?  Additional headaches and more responsibilities (tied by MOM)!!  You felt all these are fair to employers?  Why we paid more yet getting FDWs with lower quality and working mentality? Why training is = to untrained or not trained to Spore context?  Why MOM allows such bad business practice to happen for so many years?

Just because of the hat 'Employer', we deserve such treatment from our own countryman or govt?  I am a very transparent employer who not only say (during interviews) and recap why I need a FDW,  I even typed out the job requirements (agencies were the ones who got shocked and felt I don't have to be so clear) +showed prospective maids a video of my special needs child walking around the house and house rules but what did I get?  Maid lied to get a job because nobody else wants her.  She felt she is capable of bullying/managing me.  My current filipino maid is thinking of going for home leave again (went back last Dec) but on the other hand told me she has no money!  
Tell me, who is being unrealistic and demanding?

Who has been the one to be understanding and trying to match FDW ... trying to keep her as well as avoid spending money to recruit again?  Told JA about mobile phone restriction but on Day one, she wanted 24/7 usage.  Told me she wants to stay connected to her family but how much time did she really spend with them, certainly not daily!  I can't understand Tagalog but I know whether she has dialled local calls or overseas.

她觉得我很苯,蠢好欺负?太多无聊人士 自以为自己做得对,假仁假义 自以为行侠仗义 对我公平吗?希望这些假仁假义之人会招天遣 ....让你偿偿 无奈与不平的滋味。

Taking advantage of employer
One of the writers for maid's Facebook posted this:
As I was writing this post Eileen Chong kept asking why I sugar coating the truth. Why don't I just take a stand instead of caring about how the truth might shock people. Because maybe, just maybe, the truth can shock people into giving a damn.

No one in their right mind would want to be a maid all their life. At some point, they would want to move on. And as decent human beings, we should support them in that journey. This is how I really feel. I don't think the conversation should be "why help" domestic workers, but how. Because by helping people at the bottom we are helping address what's really wrong in the world.

By empowering people with more sustainable choices in life we are helping future generations, we are helping communities. It is possible for every single one of us to use our affluence and influence to not only live comfortably, but to make a difference while doing so. So. we can make a difference by giving the gift of education.

Winter: Maids, your work permit showed FDW. You can upgrade at your own cost and time (eg off days).

Don't assume employers owe you a living, should give you opportunity or chance to become somebody else. In most companies, employee don't get paid training. Employee learn with hands-on or study using their own time and money. Some companies sponsored courses by having bonds. Would those 'keen to upgrade' maids be able to perform a good FDW job and stay till the 'bond' ends, means do not terminate contract or play games to infuriate employers ... get transferred out or repatriation?  

WE PROVIDED MAIDS WITH IN-HOUSE FREE TRAINING AND PAID FOR YOUR LIVE-IN EXPENSES.  Those training your agency charged you at high fee are mostly irrelevant.  We've to train you so that you can do a good job as FDW.  It is not our duty to provide you with irrelevant training or upgrading opportunity.  

Don't assume we are stupid and don't know what you're up to. Come here to work in the name of FDW but wants something else at employer's expense.

Singaporeans have 'duty to be kind to foreign workers', Straits Times, 24 Nov

Singapore has laws to protect foreign workers' rights but citizens also have a responsibility to be kind and humane towards them, said Professor Chan Heng Chee yesterday.

Most people here already have a sense of decency, she said in opening remarks at a migrant workers' group event, and would help strangers in need and not begrudge the Government helping the poor and elderly.

This attribute should be cultivated and extended to how migrant workers are treated, according to Prof Chan, who is Singapore's Representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.  "It should not be the law that forces us to do so. We should treat them well, feed them adequately, allow rest time, and abuse of workers should be ruled out," she said in an opening speech at an event organised by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, or Home.

Winter: Fight harder, do more for FDWs, make them be more pampered, unappreciative and become ungrateful human beings.

Make FDW's employers be frightened of maids and don't dare to dish out extra juicy benefits .... which is to go beyond her entitlement as FDW in Spore.
HOME is a place that takes in bad maid, ill-treated or princess-attitude maids.  My sister's ex-princess Filipino maid was an example.  That maid runaway to seek 'refuge at HOME' and claimed she wasn't treated well.  HOME arranged interviews for her to find better employers and got a shock to find out that she was trying to fly home, 'abandon ship' - make her employer bear her maid loan, repatriation, etc.  She has no intention to remain in Spore and be 'exploited' or treated like a real maid.  She was a mummy's darling in her country but took a job in Spore to run away from family problem 发小姐脾气.  She has land and considered well-off. 

Transient Workers Count 
To many foreign domestic workers’ welfare groups, maids getting into relationships should be accepted, for the very fact that they are human too and have their needs.
Social activists like Mr John Gee, the immediate past president of Transient Workers Count Too, said employers shouldn’t stop their maids from having relationships, but educate their maids on love and sex, and set boundaries for them to abide by.
One maid, Miss Rajbeer Kaur, 26, counts herself lucky that her employers accept her relationship with her fiance, a construction worker here.

“I guess they trust me and I follow their rules and never try to disobey them,” said Miss Kaur.

Winter: When employer's trust is abused, maids ended up with love affairs (read) or become pregnant (read) and tried to 'destroy evidence' of motherhood.

Such 'killer' or persons who violated MOM's work permit T&C should be encouraged?
Maids, you chose a job, nobody forced you to step into local maid agency and pay overseas recruitment fee (maid loan).  You were interviewed and accepted the terms & conditions with open eyes, to work in Spore.  Unhappy, felt your source country treats your better, be a flirt, stay there, don't fly to Spore and take advantage of employers.  Don't blame us for your own decisions!

Don't give excuse for being bad in Spore.  Don't come here to enjoy life like you've just been 性解放 爱的自由 不必承担后果 坐享其人之福

May 2014
This Facebook claimed it is employers' obligation to let them recoup their investment so we are not suppose to send them home without their agreement - repatriation.  

Copied from Maid's Facebook.  Sorry no hyperlink.  Google search yourself and you'll find this 'popular maid' - the Facebook page owner slamming employers, making herself and her 'sisters' looked like weaklings and bullied.

FB Maid: The Employer have so much power, the maid have to stay in their house and face pressure, anger, shouting and screaming. AND the employer can anytime send the maid back to their country without need reasons - so.... you are stupid if you think the contract have any meaning.

Just like everything else in Singapore, government of Singapore, you hide behind contracts and pretend that everything is OK. That's lie. You think contract work perfect? Why don't you think of what happens if the contract not respected, if the people who sign the contract is like in prison (Winter: In the first place, you shouldn't have itchy backside, stepped into your home country agency to offer money.  If you haven't been greedy and daydreaming, you won't be here 'suffering and whinning'), cannot even complain or don't know how to complain if the contract is not respected? Can't even understand the contract?

The employer can force the maid to do anything. They have power to beat, scold, scream, cause the maid money loss, and send back the maid to her country and get free replacement maid. (Winter: Really?  Tell me who I can employ and feel the POWER (Master of the Universe) instead of now bullied by FDWs, giving in and giving in to feed her ego)

Time to look at the real humanity, and have some compassion for the weakest members of your country - the maids. Please I beg you, because lives are at stake.  (Winter: at stake?  What's MOM doing?  It has all the while been very pro-maid, how could there be FDWs living/suffering cruelty?)

Frances: If Singapore is such a bad place to come to work, please spread to all your friends and families " Dont come SG to work." Look for a greener pasture.

FB Maid:  Frances, What you say seems logical but I assure you it's not. How do you feel if people tell you - if you don't like your country get a few million foreigners into Singapore, why don't you pack your bags and move to another country like Myanmar or Malaysia or Australia?

You won't right? Not because you are citizen, but because you have invest your money, time or effort in this country.  The maids in Singapore, have invested their money, time and effort to come to Singapore. If they have not invested anything, of course, no problem to move to Hong Kong if they don't like it here.

So frances, next time put on thinking cap and say something more justifiable, that will greatly add value to this discussion. What you say now is the same green stuff which comes out of a baby.

Sharon:  No employer had forced FDW to leave home and fly to SG to work. FDWs came after weighing the pros and cons. If maids felt they are pitiful, worked like slaves, don't stay in SG, go home!! Get your own govt to provide you a good life. There is no need to bad mouthed employer as if Sg own u a living!!

If Sg employer is abusing the FDW, FDW can report to MOM and get her employer severely punished. Those not really abused or ill-treated, can choose to shed some crocodile tears to get their employers into trouble.  The truth is never offensive or too harsh to accept, unless to those that can't face it and wanted excuses to justify their self-righteous, prefer to live in an unrealistic world.

FB Maid:  Sharon, It's hard to reason with people spouting hysterics. Just keep in mind that contracts only work among people with people who have the resources to uphold the contract, and a contract with one who does not have these resources, is an unfair contract. In my country, unfair contracts are dealt with as they should - reasonably and oppressive sentences cannot be upheld.

For those who voice out when they are ill treated, we don't worry too much for them. Who we worry for, are those who keep quiet and suffer, and abused until they have to go to hospital. And as mentioned, those who made an investment to come into Singapore, cannot simply leave without fairly recouping their investment or having compensation for investing in a raw deal. And do some research - the policy of government to put all the power into the hands of employers - especially the power to send maids back without reason required (thus, forcing the maid to forfeit all the investment she has had put into coming to Singapore) - is an extremely lopsided power which should be questioned and reformed.

Vhogz Villarico: Its really true...Very well said...I hope nd pray that one of this day i can take my money back coz my agent deducted me 8 &1/2 months..then i wish my last employer banned so cannot take another helper.coz they send me backhome without my knowledge.we agreed that they send me to my agency but they send me to changi airport..very unfair nd selfish human...!!!

Leah Mallari: Very well said.. Sometimes, those written in the contract are not implemented..helpers were put in the situation that seems they are under at their employers mercy..they cant complain or else theu will be send back to agency or worst repatriated.. Helpers should know their rights.

Jovinz Espiritu: I hope goverment in singapore will do the right action....many fdw really suffer from their employer and agent and its true that our standard contract is never follow...and I wonder why until now the gov. Still blind about this.

Loise Madrid: First thing.. maids are just any other employee around singapore, they've legal contracts to follow throughout their stay with their employers. dear FDw lesson here is before you sign a contract please read it carefully, if you dont fully understand Do clarify, if you need to have translated in your own dialect, please do (coz that what i did, i literally translated it im tagalog, although I am filipino so as not to.let her feel cheated) youre just being cateful cause its for your sake.. i think it's a practice by most agency to deduct 6-8 mos of your salary, if FDW isnt agreeable then don't sign but in most cases because of the need FDW has no choice but to sign that is the 1st challenge, who wants to work without being paid ?!

The 2nd challenge whether u'll end up with a.reasonable employer.. if you're not lucky an FDW will be abused by their boss.. no day off, a sleeping quarters which is very uncomfortable, salary not on time & )lot more. It takes 2 to tango , FDw is good then employer is satisfied HARMONY.. maybe the 2.  locals who vented their frustration here experienced the con maid thats why their like that but my comment to them is don't generalized all FDW there are better ones too.

if employer is putting cctv in their houses to watch what your doing then itll be wise to do the same thru a logbook cause FDW is not high tech.. Youre in a foreign land and you have to.be wise too on how you can protect your self..Bring the matter to MOM if employer break any part of the.contract.

Winter: Activists have spolit FDWs.  Modern FDWs just know how to blame Employers for not getting the 'sweets' they desired.  They are at fault but refused to point fingers on themselves.

These Facebook maids still didn't understand what employers are trying to emphasize.  Claimed they cannot leave Spore because they have invested.  Our fault?  In the first place, who forced FDWs to fly over?  They had itchy backsides, stepped into their home country agencies to offer money ... of course no agent will turn them away so they became merchandises, meat on the chopping board.  Once in Spore, FDWs pretend cheated, underpaid, treated like slaves, act clueless or can't accept the local contract terms ....turned the table and claimed employers no good, terror, sent them home without allowing them to 'recoup' (repatriation), didn't give them human rights, etc.  If Spore is so bad, the thought of coming to Spore shouldn't have exist.  If you didn't come, you would have saved your investment and need not take up unglam FDW jobs .... complaining, shredding crocodile tears and pushing the blame to your ill-fated employers, aren't you despicable?   If you had been a good worker, who would want to make you leave?  It is not free nor cheap to employ FDW!  We are not expatriates who can easily earn S$10,000 each month.  My salary is only about 2% of Prime Minister Lee.  

Life is harsh, the truth is there but you people (haven't gone thru harsh life/born with golden spoon) like to think I've exaggerated, don't believe what I'm going thru.  Why not you come to my house and replace my role for 6 months?  Pretend you're the mother (no need to be wife lah) of a special needs child, no maid, just housework, the house, special school education, caring the child, facing uncaring or lip service grassroots/ministers/social workers ... bring you to those days when I was a full-time homemaker with tight budget (the 'working hours' will be longer than my FDW, no off day, no spare spending money), then tell me how many days you can survive, am I telling the truth, have you been blinded/cheated by wolves in disguise .... etc.

Most ridiculous is FB maid saying Citizens should leave our country so that foreigners can come over and dig gold - recover their losses/investment.  Make way, get lost, let FDWs' 'investment' be multiplied easily, give FDWs an easy path so as to make quick bucks and vacate (foreigners will leave Spore after earning enough)... return to enjoy good life in home country.... did I get your message correct?  Spore is a safe haven and gives good money so foreigners want to rob our lives, our jobs, our country ... our birth place!  It is not about investment.  We were born here, educated and grew up here, our parents, family, friends and relatives are here in this tiny red dot.  Those rich or cream of crop (able to get overseas appointment) can leave Spore.  There's nowhere people like me can migrate... we're stuck here!  

You think I don't want to live in a country like yours, low costs of living, plenty of cheap land, kampong lifestyle (carefree life) ...even if you don't work for 1 or 2 months, you won't die!  In Spore, you can't survive.  Everything needs money.  You leave the house you need to spend.  You stay in your own HDB unit (house) not working  for 1 or 2 months, who is going to provide/pay your food, electricity, water, housing loan, insurance, education, children/your transport & others, medical, toiletries, etc?  Can you Grow your own crops or Rear your own chicken, pigs and cows in a HDB flat?  Crazy, posting nonsense, mislead people and still think you are right!

Reader, if you are really a Sporean, can you accept such remarks?  If you had all the while been a FDW's activist, if maid says this (leave your country) to you, do you smile and encourage more FDWs to be like her?  

Foreigners, the so-call vulnerable/submissive/pathetic/poor FDWs are suggesting citizens to get lost!  You're protecting and finding excuses for them to fleece employers.  Such human deserves your unconditional protection and compassion?  FDWs want everything (be it an entitlement as per MOM or rewards for being our FDWs), still think not enough, underpaid... we owe them a good living? They blame Employers for their plights.  They like to accuse Employers for not giving them good lives (high pay, little work, plenty pleasure time, constant attention on their mobile phones) at our expense.... fair, makes sense?  MOM said FDWs can sponge on us? Agencies painted such juicy pictures to FDWs? 

This is how an activist thinks .... "Only when domestic workers are treated with fairness, respect and decency by agents and employers should we ask that they be properly selected and trained.  Domestic workers are employees, yet have virtually no rights in Singapore."

After reading my blog throughly or you, as an "ill-fated" FDW's employer, do you feel like crying?

Do you feel like punching this activist?  

Maid agency made fast money and has no risks nor liabilities to bear, even if a bad maid or maid with poor working mentality was recruited, maid agencies are still smiling and keeping the sweet money they easily took from employers.  
Our fault to hire FDW?  Blame our bad luck?  Employers didn't try their best to please the maids and make FDWs feel 'human', have lots of privacy, feel well reward with only 30-50% work done, etc?  If maids are really of good quality, how much of bad luck would there be in the market?  There won't be so many transfer maids if all the three parties (agency, FDW, employer) are clear and honest - transparent about MOM contract terms, FDW's job scope, maid's expectation, off day needed, mobile phone restriction (house rules), etc.

If agencies insisted maids and employers must pay at least S$800 to $3000 to establish a relationship, why the middlemen (agencies) have no assurance to offer us?  MOM has been allowing maid agencies to earn heartless money from us.  We are at the losing ends, have you spared a thought for us?  We merely wanted a good helping hand.  For people who hired maids due to real neccessity, we would want the maid to be happy so that she can stay long and be able delighted to lighten my loads, take good care of my girl so that we could work peacefully.  Is it really too much to get maid agencies to do quality control and ensure good job matching?  

Is it right for activists to keep pinning down the employers?
Note:  This writer's name doesn't look local.


I agree with the comments in the letters “Maid agencies must ensure maids are fit to work here” (April 15) and “Employment agencies must do more to improve quality of maids, training” (April 16).  However, the letters were a little one-sided.

While employers are right in worrying about their workers, let us pay a little more consideration to the quality of employers too.  Domestic workers are employees, yet have virtually no rights in Singapore.

They are brought here by agencies whose objective is to make quick money. The workers must pay hefty placement fees; in most other jobs, the employers pay such fees.  If employers want to ensure agencies work for them, they should be required to pay these placement fees.

Is it fair to ask someone making barely S$500 a month to pay S$3,000 for finding the job? 

Let us continue by informing workers properly about the duties they will need to perform and ensuring they agree in writing.  Agencies must be careful in selecting employers, as many in Singapore are not fit to employ domestic workers.

These agencies, which are well rewarded, should be fully responsible for ensuring both employers and employees respect the terms of the contract in writing and for providing avenues of redress in cases where either party is unsatisfied.  Only when domestic workers are treated with fairness, respect and decency by agents and employers should we ask that they be properly selected and trained.

Somebody posted this and he/she felt we (or ME??) is a disgrace.
How true, if you're not blinded and stubbornly sided the FDWs, you should know!

I believe it your rights to overpay the maid but most local employers felt FDWs DON'T deserve a salary of S$950 and we have not short-changed our FDWs. We are law abiding citizens and all FDWs are well protected by the Ministry of Manpower, at Employers' expenses.

I wonder whether you have looked at the mirror and see how hideous you look. Yes, you've paid your FDW very well, about 2 times more than the usual FDWs. You are making the market to be unbalanced and bringing unnecessary problems to the employers. We've a standard contract to follow, no FDWs were cheated or short-changed. If you have plenty of money to offer your FDW, go ahead but you shouldn't say we're in the wrong or a disgrace.

You've disgraced yourself by not looking at our costs of living, our salary and sparing a thought for others. You didn't compare apples to apples. I believe you're educated to do proper comparison ... just a matter of whether you want or not.

Every country has different culture and LIVING COSTS. You or spouse's monthly salary could be 10 times of mine, you think this is normal? You felt it is right to make remarks that doesn't fit into our context. Your maid could be eating only 1 to 5% of your salary. It really isn't much if you look in the form of percentage. But if using my salary, it is a a lot of difference! Be an asshole somewhere else. Don't pollute Spore.

You're a devil so don't make yourself look like an angel and cause pain to others. We're already suffering in the hands of bad maids and facing lots of unfairness ie MOM's pro-maid policies.

When you're bitten by your highly paid maid, Iet me know so that I can be joyful or be less jealous... let me know God is fair in some way.
Let me know I'm also a human deserving equal protection and rights.  Currently, we're like ATM machines

Another activist ... appeared like posting in my blog for fun.

You posted here for what? Is it a joy to land your feet on others? What you commented showed you didn't read well. I posted with facts and not hearsay.

You didn't live here nor know the locals' living costs and salary. Don't show your wilful and obstinate ignorance ... stop acting like you are a nice person or life saviour. As I always say, only those who have been bullied by bad maids (both mentally and financially) will know the taste. No activist will understand without going thru the ordeal.

We are law abiding citizens and all foreign domestic maids are well protected by the Ministry of Manpower, at Employers' expenses.... even if the maid is a bad worker. If maids are ill-treated and not well taken care of, MOM won't hesitate to fine or punish the employers SEVERELY. Maids don't get punished severely for being bad, including killing somebody vulnerable.... did you open your eyes to read the real facts that took place?