Activist - fighters for migrant workers
Maids (FDWs) finding LOVE in Spore
so many Bruises on my girl
Hired as a private nurse, treated as a maid, Straits Times, 22 Oct 2017
When private nurses enter their clients' homes, some find themselves treated like domestic helpers instead. Others face physical and verbal abuse, or are caught in the middle of their clients' domestic squabbles.
According to some agencies, a nurse got slapped and another was barred from using the toilet at certain hours. These issues surface even as the Health Ministry works to increase home care places so that Singapore's ageing population can be cared for in familiar surroundings.
In 2011, there were just 3,800 home care places available. As of April this year, the figure has doubled, with the ministry planning to provide 10,000 places by 2020.
Singapore has more than 40,000 nurses as of last year, of which about 10,000 work in the private sector, including private clinics and hospitals. It is unclear how many private nurses are involved in home care. This group of nurses was cast in the spotlight when a businessman was sentenced to jail and caning earlier this month for molesting a private nurse he had employed to take care of his cancer-stricken wife.
Although sexual assaults are few and far between, the expectation that nurses should perform duties outside their job scope often leads to problems, according to four industry operators interviewed by The Sunday Times. These agencies manage around 1,000 nurses altogether.
It is not uncommon to hear of home care nurses asked to clean, cook or even look after their employers' children, said Mr Julian Koo, co-founder of home care agency Jaga-Me.
A nurse employed by Active Global Specialised Caregivers was told not to use the toilet between 7pm and 8am the next day. It prompted the agency's chief executive Yorelle Kalika to step in.
And in yet another incident, a nurse from ezCare was instructed to prevent one relative from visiting her elderly client - only for that relative to argue for the opposite arrangement. "The nurse was stuck in between," said Mr John Chen, who is ezCare's chief operating officer. "No matter what we do in this kind of situation, the family will not be happy." He added that stressful situations can also make clients' family members act inappropriately, recounting how one adult slapped a nurse when the person she was caring for had a fall. The nurse was immediately taken out of that threatening environment, Mr Chen said.
Other instances of harassment or abuse can come from clients themselves. These can be trickier to deal with as such patients may not be of sound mind.
Those with dementia, for instance, often undergo behavioural changes as the disease progresses, which make them more irritable or easily agitated. One caregiver was constantly pummelled and railed at by a patient when they were in the shower, recounted Ms Kalika. "It's an involuntary automatic behaviour. We gave the patient a toothbrush and it stopped," she said.
When such distraction techniques do not work to calm an aggressive client, drugs may be prescribed by a doctor to help improve their mood, added Ms Kalika, who manages more than 680 caregivers. All of them are trained as nurses or nursing aides in their home countries, which include the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
While providing care at home is a boon for families, the home setting may well be a factor contributing to these negative incidents. "Worldwide, the challenge is that caregivers are in the home, and the home is not a professional environment," noted Ms Kalika. "Being in the home can mean that they don't get the same amount of respect as they would in the hospital, for example."
Some steps that agencies take to help their staff minimise unpleasant situations include meeting potential clients beforehand. Comfort Keepers business development executive Sally Benjamin said that its in-home caregivers typically meet patients and their family members for an assessment before taking up the jobs. These home visits, which can last from 30 minutes to an hour, would allow them to assess if both parties are compatible.
This has helped the agency avoid placing caregivers in potentially dangerous situations, she said. "If a dementia patient is too violent with the caregiver around, then it may not be beneficial for us to come in and we wouldn't take it up."
The meetings also let them lay down ground rules and address any expectations. Ms Benjamin acknowledged that over time, employers could cross certain boundaries as they become familiar with the caregivers. But her staff are trained to be firm in their response.
Added Mr Chen: "Before we start the cases, we already tell clients the scope of our nurses' services. Anything else that nurses do for them comes from goodwill." He feels that establishing a common set of guidelines for employers could help nip these problems in the bud.
Mr Koo added that all of Jaga-Me's nurses are trained to watch out for red flags that signal potentially problematic situations, and to defuse them if possible. They are also taught how to seek help if things get out of hand.
"We can't do anything to stop criminal intent, but we are committed to support our valued nurses and mitigate the risk of an incident," he said. "We assure our nurses of their rights to reject a case."
Maid jailed four months for hurting employer's wheelchair-bound mum, TNP, 12 Jul 2017
An Indonesian maid pushed her employer's elderly wheelchair-bound mother in the face and hit her on the back of her head. Her actions were caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV), which her employer had installed in the home.
Imas Masripah's employer reviewed the CCTV footage on May 17 last year, when her mother, Madam Ng Poh Lin, 94, was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital after she said she was feeling weak. Madam Ng was later warded for observation. The footage showed that on May 12 last year, at 6.59pm, Imas, 28, pushed Madam Ng in the face, and forcefully hit her with her hand on the back of her head, when they were in the kitchen. Madam Ng was diagnosed with lethargy, and was found to have bed sores and a bruise on her lower lip.
In her statements to the police, Imas said she hit Madam Ng because she was feeling frustrated that the victim spat out the food she was feeding her, and made the floor dirty. Two other charges of using criminal force and causing hurt to Madam Ng were taken into consideration. Madam Ng died on June 10 last year due to unrelated causes.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low asked for Imas to be given at least four months' jail because she had abused her employer's trust, and hurt a vulnerable victim. Imas pleaded for a lighter sentence, saying she was sorry, felt regret for what she did, and that she will not make the same mistake again.
District Judge Terence Tay sentenced her to four months' jail on Tuesday (July 11), to send a strong deterrent message. As more families rely on maids to take care of the old and young, there is a greater exposure to the risk of abuse by these helpers, the judge said. He added that vulnerable victims are not in a position to alert family members, and the crime can go undetected until there are more dire consequences.
The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.
Maid jailed for ill-treating bedridden boy has sentence doubled to 8 months, Channel News Asia, 25 Apr 2017
The Indonesian maid who was convicted of ill-treating her employers' son, who was then four years old, has had her jail sentence doubled from four months to eight months.
Kusrini Caslan Arja, 37, had been sentenced to four months' jail last month for ill-treating the boy, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and is bedridden. She admitted that she left a suction cap lodged in the boy's throat for about 12 hours after trying and failing to pull it out.
Though she had been taught by the boy's parents to place the suction cap on the boy's lips - he relies on a suction machine to remove phlegm and mucus from his nose and mouth - she thought it would be more efficient to place the cap in the boy's mouth as she noticed the boy had more phlegm than usual on that particular day.
When the boy's parents called to check if anything was wrong after seeing via a CCTV camera next to the boy's bed that Kusrini was giving the boy oxygen, she assured them that everything was under control.
The cap was removed by the boy's mother, a nurse, when she returned home that night about 12 hours after the cap first became lodged. She removed the cap with a pair of tweezers and called an ambulance and the police.
Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang on Tuesday (Apr 25) doubled the initial four-month jail term imposed, saying that District Judge Low Wee Ping had wrongly analysed the case as that of "someone being punished simply because she was not equipped for a particular task".
In his written judgement, Judge Tay said that Kusrini was being punished not for being ignorant or unskilled, but for her "cold disregard of the child's safety and suffering which must have been evident to any ordinary adult in the situation that day".
Referring to this, Judge Tay said that by appearing to have been content to let things be, Kusrini's conduct "could no longer be excused as sheer ignorance or foolishness", instead adding "folly upon folly".
"She did not tell anyone about the incident or call for help for the next 12 hours or so because 'she was trying to hide her mistake'. Therein lies the real blameworthiness in this sad incident."
However, he added that Kusrini's case was different from others in which adults wilfully inflicted pain and suffering on child victims, saying that he did not agree with the prosecution's call for a sentence of at least 18 months' imprisonment.
This is one reason why employers should install CCTV if you're out to work, not at home to supervise your loved ones, whether abused by maid. FDWs have been doing lots of bad and intolerable things but activists and the Spore law chose to side and support them.
With this video (click), do you still think maids should be trusted without question? Some activists like to brainwash others that to employ FDW, they have to trust them and make them feel welcome to the house! Obviously this case wasn't in limelight to shame that maid. Bad employers get to "walk and live with shame" but FDWs have the best of life, protected and have the cheek to ask for leniency stating stress, unsound, etc. Was FDW's recent picture shown? Her life exposed?
Winter: "placed the interests of her employer's family above herself" this is the kind of FDW we call Gems, so rare! Too bad, Spore is filled with pebbles and sharp stones. Most FDWs won't go the extra mile nor will they stop placing their pleasures above the Agreed Requirements of their job scope.
My current FDW has no automatic button, what can I do? JA doesn't look at me when I talk to her nor response when I gave out instructions. I had to repeat the second time and then ask "can you hear me" ... only then she would unwilling mumble "yes". When she need a favour, eg salary advance, she Demands, not request. She'll say "I Want advance on Saturday", not "May I have a salary advance" If she has taken my things, I spotted and asked, she'll say "I Take" not "Can I have it". She took my girl's nice hair bands for herself, when spotted, I asked and she said I anyhow placed them or said "going to spoil". She tied my teen's hair, she was the one who placed things everywhere, a pair of hair band would usually become single then she'll say "don't know where".
My current Filipino FDW doesn't ask for permission, show no basic courtesy and not a great cook cum helper, yet I'm still keeping her. Why? Because my girl is fine with her. I'm shutting both eyes so that I won't full too miserable and frustrated. Also, no agent/MOM can assure me that the next FDW will be better than JA .... Spore has too little Gems and my luck isn't good.
Extended course for maids gives eldercare a boost, Straits Times, 5 Dec 2016
For Ms Cristina Ganancial Alvarez, having the right skills to care for the elderly couple she affectionately calls "Po Po" and "Gong Gong" is topmost on her mind.
That is why the Filipino domestic worker, 41, volunteered for a 160-hour eldercare course run by the Care Academy and the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) to learn skills to take care of her employer's parents.
"If something happens or they fall down, I now know what to do. If they are breathless I need to ask them to breathe deeply, take their blood pressure, and call for an ambulance if necessary," said Ms Alvarez, one of 44 foreign domestic workers who graduated yesterday from the course.
She was also one of four scholarship recipients for the Specialist Certificate in Home-based Eldercare course. The programme equips foreign domestic workers with skills to care for the elderly, such as wound dressing, feeding, as well as communicating with non-verbal cues such as eye contact and head nods to overcome language problems.
Fast executive director William Chew said Ms Alvarez was awarded the scholarship because she placed the interests of her employer's family above herself. "Her compassion for the family was very touching. Very few would tell the employer they wanted to care for their loved ones," he said.
The course, which started in June and comprised 40 four-hour sessions, is more comprehensive than other eldercare courses available for maids which last a few days at most. It is meant to help address a steadily ageing population here.
The second edition of the course began last month with 30 trainees, and the third run will start next month. The training costs $520, but participants need to pay only $120 after subsidies. The course is free for scholarship recipients.
Faster help at hand for families in need of maids, Straits Times, 24 Oct 2016
A pilot scheme has thrown a lifeline to families in urgent need of a maid, allowing them to get help within days instead of months. Since August, the Advance Placement Scheme, facilitated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), has matched over 30 foreign domestic workers with families here which need help urgently.
The programme is open to employers who are hiring a foreign domestic worker to care for a child, elderly person, or person with disability living at the same registered address as them. "Some households have more urgent need for foreign domestic workers to give care to their elderly or young children," noted an MOM spokesman.
Hence the ministry has decided to facilitate the scheme that was proposed by employment agencies, she said. The spokesman added: "Under this pilot, approved employment agencies are allowed to source for and bring in a specific number of foreign domestic workers with relevant caregiving skills and then match them with households that have urgent caregiving needs, such as for young children and the elderly."
Currently, nine employment agencies are allowed under the scheme to bring foreign domestic helpers to Singapore before they are hired by an employer:
A4 Employment Agency
Active Global Specialised Caregivers
Brilliant Sky Employment Agency
Hon Employment Services
Max Employment Agency
Patience Employment Agency
Skills & Resources Consultancy
The usual practice is for employers to interview potential helpers while they are in their home countries through Skype or phone. Only after an employer decides to hire a helper does the process of bringing the helper to Singapore begin.
Employment agencies said the scheme, which is being tried out for a year, has shortened the wait for a helper from up to two months to just three days. Employers who hire a helper under the scheme pay a premium, typically a few hundred dollars more than the usual fees.
Ms Carene Chin, managing director of employment agency Homekeeper, said that before the initiative was started, the only option for employers in urgent need of help was to seek out transfer maids. "But there aren't many of them to begin with, and they may not have the necessary caregiving skills, so employers are often left feeling helpless," she said.
Ms Yorelle Kalika, chief executive of Active Global Specialised Caregivers, an agency that brings in foreign nurses on work permits, the same pass given to maids, has often come across clients in desperate need of a caregiver for a relative about to be discharged from hospital. "In situations like these, a quick and efficient solution is the most important," she said. Through the scheme, accountant Joey Lee, 38, found a caregiver with medical training for her father, who has cancer, in just six days from Active Global last month.
Hospital staff had told her her father would not be discharged unless he had a full-time caregiver, as they felt her mother needed help. Ms Lee would normally have had to wait for at least two to three weeks. "It would have been very stressful," she said.
Employers added that being able to speak to the maids in person reduced the chances of misunderstandings about the job scope. "A face-to-face interview allows us to access their body language as well, which gives us an idea about whether they are really okay with the job scope or feel obliged to say yes," said Mr Kenny Goh, 34, who is self-employed.
Mr Goh speaks from experience: one such misunderstanding led to disagreements with a previous maid. "My wife wanted her to do light cooking daily, but she said she wanted to cook only once a week. She wasn't good with the baby either," he said. Thanks to the scheme, Mr Goh found a replacement maid to care for his one-year-old daughter within a week instead of a month.
As his new maid was already in Singapore, he could let her try carrying and interacting with his daughter. "My daughter is usually quite fussy and doesn't like strangers, but she didn't cry and instead smiled when my helper carried her, and that assured us that it was a good match," he said.
Erni Poyraz -- Before these maid rush to come to Singapore please ensure they are well ready of singapore rushing and busy lifestyle . Be clear to these maid , long hours and pressure is part and parcel of working so do accept if they willing to otherwise DONT come Singapore and make unnecessary reason to change employer . Practical training to adapt singapore house style not sufficient enough but teach them physcology of working in Busy Singapore lifestyle.
Yuelin Chen -- The training should be done in a proper manner by the agencies before maids are deployed. They should be properly tested to Ensure they have acquired the needed skills. My current maid told me that during the training period she was asked to wash towels for the dorm and provide massage to lady boss.
Indonesian maid jailed two years for assaulting 93-year-old woman suffering from dementia, Straits Times, 13 Jul 2016
Over a period of 24 days early this year, a domestic worker abused an elderly wheelchair-bound woman under her care, a court heard. Sulikah, 27, an Indonesian who goes by one name, was jailed for two years on Wednesday (July 13) after admitting to 10 of 29 charges of hurting 93-year-old Ng Yian Yeo at a flat in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 between Jan 17 and Feb 10 this year.
Madam Ng has advanced dementia, cannot remember recent conversations and events, and is dependent on others for the basic activities of daily living. None of her children lived with her. Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo said Madam Ng's two daughters were visiting her on Feb 10 when they found bruises on her left eye and hand. They reviewed footage from the CCTV installed in the living room where Madam Ng's bed was placed, and saw several instances of physical abuse.
A police report was made the following day. Sulikah, who began taking care of Madam Ng in February 2014, revealed that she started physically abusing the victim early last year. She also admitted that she had previously been told off by Madam Ng's children for treating her roughly, but started abusing her again because she got frustrated when taking care of her.
On Jan 17, after changing Madam Ng's diapers, Sulikah grabbed the woman by the hair and yanked her up to a sitting position on the bed. She then hit the old woman's head several times, lifted her off the bed and dropped her roughly onto a chair beside the bed. She then proceeded to change the sheets during which she shoved the victim's head.
On Jan 29, Sulikah was trying to get Madam Ng onto a rolling shower chair when she grabbed the victim by the hair and yanked her up to a sitting position, kicked her legs before lifting her and dropping her roughly onto the chair. She then slapped her and shoved her head.
On Feb 4, Madam Ng said something to Sulikah who then slapped her on the face. Later, when the helper saw that Madam Ng's leg was not on the footrest of the chair, she kicked her legs repeatedly. After that, she hit the victim on the head.
District Judge Jasvender Kaur said employers who abuse their maids are punished severely and likewise, maids who abuse elderly, disabled people or other such members of the employer's household. (Winter: jailed 2 years isn't a severe punishment. Our laws/govt is simply over protecting FDWs) "The repeated acts of abuse were something of a pattern which shows a contemptible and callous disregard for the welfare of the victim,'' she said. Sulikah could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000 on each charge of causing hurt.
Foreign domestic helper dedicated her life to employer’s children
Would you dedicate your life to caring for someone else's children as though they were your own?
In 1996 when Madam Selvakumari Chelladurai was 45, she gave birth to her son, Ravindran, and it was discovered that he had Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a musculoskeletal disorder.
“Being a newlywed and having a child with special needs, I was overwhelmed, emotional and felt that the world was tumbling”, she shares. But when Madam Selvakumari’s friend recommended domestic helper, Miss Ranpati Dewage Siyanthi Siromani Pushpika, to her, she proved to be a valuable addition to the family for many years to come.
Rare musculoskeletal disorder
Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) is a rare disorder which develops even before birth and is present at birth, which can be recognised by the reduced mobility of many joints. Those affected by AMC find that their range of motion of the joints in their arms and legs is limited or fixed. Affected joints can include Shoulders, Elbows, Wrists, Fingers, Hips, Knees, Ankles, Feet, Virtually any and all joints. Arthrogryposis comes from the Greek words for joint and crooking, and actually means “crooking of the joint”.
Miss Pushpika showed that she was capable of looking after Ravindran all by herself, after only seven months of working for the family. It was then that Madam Selvakumari felt confident enough to return to work as a part-time accountant, which was a great help to her husband, Mr Balan, who was then working as an export manager, with the expensive medical bills.
“Pushpika was my pillar and rock. Here is a young woman, who was only 26 years old when she started working for me and had a whole life in front of her”, says Madam Selvakumari. But the unimagineable happened in 2002 when Madam Selvakumari gave birth to her second son, Arvind, who also had the same rare medical condition as his older brother.
Miss Pushpika then became the primary caregiver for the two young boys and even learnt how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), how to use a special suction machine to remove phlegm from the children’s throats, and how to use the Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, which helped to provide a flow of air into the nasal passages to keep the airway open.
She was so dedicated that she did not take any days off but would only ask for a few hours to go send money back to her family in Sri Lanka. Madam Selvakumari acknowledges that Miss Pushpika made the ultimate sacrifice of love for her boys and decided to put them before herself.
Ravindran passed away in 2007 and Arvind in 2013, due to complications caused by AMC, yet Miss Pushpika still works for Madam Selvakumari until this very day. “Her dedication towards us is beyond words. I cannot imagine how I could have cared for my two boys over the last 18 years without her,” says Madam Selvakumari. Madam Selvakumari is so thankful for her Sri Lankan domestic helper and her many years of service to the family, that she nominated her for the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award.
Miss Pushpika shares, “I’m very happy working here. She (Madam Selvakumari) is not only my madam, but also my best friend.”
Lynn Koh: I hv a great helper that had worked for me for almost 8 years. My 2nd boy had autism and she took extremely gd care of him n knows his needs n wants as he cant express himself verbally. She is not just my helper, she more like a younger sister to me. Her love n care for my boy is unconditional.
Winter: It is not that easy to find a domestic helper who is willing to care for my teen, worry about her safety, kind, patient and want to give her the best in her capacity as FDW. I can't expect FDW to love my girl like what I did. I need a good helper who can accept my girl the way she is, protect her and be understanding to her "special world as well as needs".
Incidents such as carelessness or this bruise on my teen's nose can be avoided or shouldn't have taken place… again, am I right? My current FDW did this twice. Both incidents, she told me she was playing with my girl, denied she pressed her nose too hard, insisted just play play, implying didn't hurt my girl... my girl's nose was too delicate for her "brutal touch"!
When my 3rd Filipino FDW came for house visit cum interview, she was 'greeted by my girl doing her business in bed' (poo). She gladly accepted the 'dirty and special job'. She has touched my heart, gave me a superb impression ... despite her betrayal 1.5 years into her job, I still can't forget that moment of relief to find a nice person. That's why I didn't want to be too hard on her when J lied and shot me from my back.
Nobody is perfect, none of the FDW in Spore are trained before joining a special needs household… correct mentality to learn, willing to take up such a challenge and become a suitable helper is what we want. Employers don't mind sending you for relevant courses or give you in-house training but after the training, do you put what you've learnt into good use? I can't expect you to take pride in your job but at least, be responsible enough to deliver your duties as per job scope agreed before I employed you.... don't lie, don't pretend you don't know what lies ahead.... I can't afford to waste time and money on you. You claimed you tried but was it your best try? Show employers your improvement. We have eyes to see from your body language, work performance and attitude.
The FDW recruited to look after special needs person, is she mentally prepared to work as FDW or just here to play hard, testing new life or intend to enjoy life at employer's expense? We give you time to adapt but are you taking advantage and thinking we should reduce your scope and responsibilities, make your life simple and enjoyable ... push employers to do part of your job with same salary and benefits?
Agent with job ethics and did proper job screening can help to minimize our agony. Having a good agent is important. All my FDWs are from different agencies. There's one good one but the next time I need help, she probably can't help because I don't have time for her to search slowly. I need to cast my net widely, can't rely on only one agency to find 'a good catch in the sea' at a short time frame. Based on past experience, I have only two weeks to hunt and process everything so that one can exit fast and the new FDW can come on board timely. There are definitely better FDWs but timing is not right for me.
FDWs aren't angels God sent, they are paid to work, trained to carry out their jobs well and have their mood swings, attitude issues like any other human beings. They need us, we need them so that couples can hold full time jobs. Nobody can force a FDW to work for us. This is a modern world and slavery doesn't exist in Spore. FDWs have all the rights to cherry pick. Will you force a reluctant/resentful person to work for you? I'm sure you won't because it will bring harm to you and family ... also wasting time and money. What's the point of counselling somebody who isn't keen to work for you or felt she can't meet your "high" expectations?
Agents shouldn't persuade reluctant FDWs to work in special needs households. If FDW is hitting the 21 days waiting time and still can't find an employer that she wants, FDW has to buy a one way ticket and get herself repatriated (costs not from employer's pocket). Too picky, can't get herself to fit into a FDW job then she should fly home and rot. Don't lie to extend your stay in Spore and use an unfortunate employer as your stepping stone... slowly find chance to job hop.
Half of the agents I met all these years are understanding and most shortlisted FDWs' agencies allowed me to take the FDWs home to see my girl and prospective work place. This special act gave FDW a clearer understanding ... see my girl in action. This also released the agent from any accusation of coaxing FDW into a job she is clueless... maid saw everything with her own eyes so who to blame? Of course this method is not bullet proof. There could be cunning FDW using your house as a testing ground or probably she has no other better catch, had been sitting in the agency for quite sometime so just anyhow grab a job to remain in Spore.... also you gave maid the feeling of nice and can easily be manipulated/negotiate terms after joining your house.
An agent that appears too kind to FDWs, instilling human rights concept .... if something happens, can agent act in your interest or just welcoming more money coming from you? An agent that tells you a good employer shouldn't have house rules, treat maid like human, respect her (does agent respect maid? Did agent treat FDW as human instead of commodity?) accept her the way she is (eg flaw)... how comfortable are you with that agency? Do you know by being unclear, you could end up with a bad start and hard to tune back? Thus, resulting in a short relationship - send maid back (transfer) so that agent can earn another round of commission.
In my opinion, a good agent will fully support my requirement (house rule) of FDW not using mobile phone during the day. On weekdays, I pass JA her phone to use from about 7pm and Saturdays +public holidays, I left her phone on the kitchen top whereby she kept moving to her phone as well as receiving calls (treated me as transparent) ... totally can't resist temptation! A good agent will automatically convince the FDW that having a mobile phone accessible 24/7 is not part of human rights nor will cause FDW to lose her dignity. Using lame excuses or adopt such work mentality is wrong, irresponsible and selfish.
A good agent will screen overseas maids (Skype) intend to come over to build a wide circle of friends or really needed an income. Your family need you to text or be in constant contact with them... if something drastic can happen any time, you can't wait till evening to touch your phone (concentrate on day duties) then isn't it better for maid to stay in source country so that you won't be separated, be weighted by maid loan and can be reached more easily? One example is JA's friend came over (I kept her phone during the day) to tell her her son has gone missing from university. No matter how urgent, what can you do after receiving the news? Can you fly home instantly to your loved ones? JA was mad at me 无妄之灾 and cooked up a cry show. JA can't help to find her 'missing son', she's in Spore not Philippines! Her hubby was just giving her unnecessary worry. FDW, if you're really here to work, you'll agree I am not mean and treat this as a reasonable job requirement. Nowadays, FDWs aware you flew to work, not become telephone addicts or find a cure to your boredom? I can't deny there are bad employers. Can you deny there are equally bad FDWs and they get protected even though they are in the wrong?
A good agent will play safe, recap my requirements to FDW, highlight important points to FDW as well as informing Employer some useful info about FDW ... in the presence of 3 parties before payment is made. We surely don't want story A to be told to FDW and story B meant for the employer. FDW wants to find a suitable employer so does Employer. Both of us are paying agency commission so we deserve to receive what we paid for. This job market cannot keep putting the payers at losing ends. The source countries have important roles to play but why MOM isn't strict to ensure the FDWs are not conned to come? Can a Spore filmed video, involving native speakers on working in Spore (high rise HDB flats, window cleaning), the common benefits (off day), salary scale, maid loan and Work Permit conditions (pregnancy) be played to FDWs before they come to Spore?
A good agent will explain to FDW the meaning of abuse eg beaten, not given 3 main meals (food similar to employers) and tell the maid where to seek help. FDWs that ran away to NGO, HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics), Employers are in for a tough time. The sickos there protected the FDWs even though maids are in the wrong. Do you know HOME protects home sick maids? HOME asks for donation and this is how they spend kind donors' money ... not getting things right 不辨是非 颠倒事实, doing harm to people 恶意加害他人, acted like bullies, etc. Why are employers responsible for home sick maids or not ready to work as FDWs? I have seen a number of forum posts stating HOME forcefully made employers suffer losses and mental torture. MOM just act like bystander 旁观者 or push you out, make you stranded无头苍蝇 求助无门. My sister was also a victim. If your maid is in HOME, before you get in contact with them, make sure you've proof that your maid is in the wrong and would be good to have police presence (eg due to house thief, runaway to cheat maid loan) because the sickos in HOME are blood suckers/big bullies! HOME will not let employers off without removing a layer of your 'skin'. By the way, HOME felt that employers who keep FDWs' passport are not giving these women dignity. My question, who will compensate employer if FDW runs away? Holding on to the FDW's passport is employer's ONLY WAY to prevent FDW running away without notice. How would you feel if you get home from work and found your children are home alone because your FDW ran off? Also, FDW need her passport to travel frequently? Do you have a better way to protect employers? Where's employers' SOS centre? One interview question that you can find out what sort of mindset (how polluted is the FDW) is your prospective maid, ask her "Can employer keep your passport?".
A good agent will not encourage FDW to runaway because she couldn't cope with her work due to maid's own problem - not "programmed" to work. Take for example, my ex Indo maid took ages to do chores eg mop the floor. She spent double to triple time of any of my Filipino maids. To get home from special school (by mrt), she used longer time (15-45 mins difference) compared to any of my Filipino maids. These are the maid's ability or willingness to do a better job, not employer expecting too much and purposely giving maid stress. You are slow, there's some 'malfunction' in you, shouldn't you buck up after you've been pinpointed? All the tasks that I delegated to FDW were previously done by me. If I can do, why can't FDW? I am not born with a golden spoon nor am I so lucky to be a rich tai-tai. I had been doing housework and cooking when I was a young girl... about 11 years old because I am the eldest in the family.
A good agent will eliminate home sick candidates. Miss your family then the best cure is settle all the money issues/loan and fly home at your own costs. Play "poor thing" and expect employer to foot your costs to go home, you felt employer owe you a good life or have money nowhere to spend? If FDW is not prepared to be away, not mentally geared to work at least two years in a foreign country, it will bring miseries to herself as well as employer. You are lonely, you need friends but be selective. Don't get yourself hooked onto your mobile or window/outdoor chit-chat and forget about your core FDW duties. FDW should know taking up a FDW job means you'll be parted from your family for at least two years. Home sick FDW deserves unconditional sympathy and kindness? Such emotional or self-made problems aren't the result of employer. FDWs caused all these. She has to cross her own hurdles and manage her own stress well. MOM should ensure agencies do not submit WP for such 'prone to breakdown' applicants ... don't approve their work permits. Employers aren't your therapists, psychologists or counsellors. We employ you and should take up the problems of a big baby?? How much understanding and leeway do you expect from your employers? Special needs households have their own problems and stress, your addition to the house is not an added value but a strain.... fair, reasonable?
Employers, especially special needs households need a tool which would give them a deep understanding of what drives a person's behaviour, FDW's sustainable value, mental acceptance of a FDW job, etc. Any proven effective tool - psychometric assessment of the values and motivators of an individual which drive FDW's behaviour and ability to handle tasks?
FDWs and activists forgot most FDWs have weekly off days to unwind and be "alive" ... mingle with friends. There are FDWs who chose to accept no off compensation. Example my parent-in-law's ex-Indonesian maid. My in law preferred a weekly off FDW so that they have some privacy once a week but that ex-sin maid wanted a higher salary so insisted on no off days. This Indo maid has worked for about 9 months and is currently in the agency waiting to be transferred. Some special needs households prefer to hire maid with no off days. It can be taxing but if you agreed to work then don't test grounds by pestering for off days.... it is irritating and causing employer to feel cheated by you. Either you tolerate for 2 years or ask for a transfer after trying to work for one year. Don't just switch to your wilful princess mode after working merely 2 or 3 months. I know it is hard to work without off days and you felt trapped as well as no chance to release your steam. Please be honest to your agency, stick to your weekly off day preference or check with your employer, the likelihood of taking monthly off instead of weekly before employment. Don't be tempted by extra salary. You want higher salary then you'll have to fulfil the agreement. No such thing as given a higher salary +off days. Don't accuse employers of not being understanding or not treating you like human eg caged you! You got yourself to be blamed if employer has been clear about the hiring terms. Don't accuse your employer as bad, inhuman due to something you chose. Do some soul searching, aren't you at fault?
Maids are clever so they chose not to show their true selves in the agencies. Pretend to be obedient, submissive and everything 'yes' to deceive their agents into finding them better employers, as well as benefits. They caused jobs to be mismatched. FDW lied because employers are easier to be bullied/taken advantage. Although FDWs have paid agents a huge sum and should be classified as customers but being their marketeers, most smart FDWs know what's best to do 识时务者为俊杰.
Age catching up (became wiser?).... realised it is important to have a FDW fully recharged. Therefore, I allowed my current FDW to be away for yearly home leave. Her first home leave started 9 months into the job. No doubt I encountered inconveniences as well as my job at stake during her long absence ... not forgetting JA's yearly irritating efforts - want more than 15 days leave, want me to pay for her non-entitled home leave, pretend no money (spent on additional home leave) ...yes, I am tired of repeating my stand, frustrated to explain the same thing so many times each home leave (she's not stupid just trying her luck), I am also furious of being taken advantage but I tried to convince myself to believe JA needed a break so that she can come back to do a better job. Although I see slacken work but I am trying my best not to magnify her flaws, hoping that she can improve before I get annoyed and release her.
If FDW die-die must have weekly off, why can't you be frank to your agent? How come you boldly demand things from your employer yet appeared super timid towards your agency? Agents are man-eating monsters, Employers are your easy preys? You're paying your agent to get you a job so why can't you be matched with your preferred employers? A correctly matched job means a stronger and happier relationship with the employer. Frankly speaking, are there really a lot of overworked FDWs? Spending time on mobile phone, Facebook and shabbily delivering duties ... concurrently rushing personal work and actual FDW work = overworked? Getting FDW to focus on her day job, pointing out her mistakes/shabby work due to misuse of mobile phones = employers too demanding? Unable to manage time well, cannot handle chores and your circle of friends concurrently = stressful, employer not understanding? Spent too much money on phone calls and data plan, thus, expect to be given employer's wifi = reasonable request? Miss your family and friends, home sick = employer's problem? Employer and ex-FDW have no problem completing household tasks at certain time but you, only you can't, you spent more than usual time and ended with lesser rest time = employer overloaded you, didn't give you enough rest? I hope there's an evaluation centre to find out how long FDW takes to mop floor, make formula milk, change diaper, walk to the market to buy meal, etc.
Agent shouldn't give me a lecture or show me sickening/displeasing looks when I state my house rules. What's wrong with being honest? What's wrong in being clear to avoid misunderstanding or monetary losses (getting a wrong FDW)? This is a reasonable job requirement, just like any company policy. A mobile phone is not a tool for you to measure or gauge how bad is the employer. FDW is not working for a rich tai-tai but to be employed by a special needs household so Employer has to be extra careful, do additional screening and hopefully with the requirements stated, get the right person to train and work. Please don't purposely make life difficult for us. Be truthful and responsible.
Advice to employers: FDW is not the best choice if the special needs person can go to daycare or childcare centre. Do not employ FDWs who have worked for expatriates because they are harder to co-operate and carry out chores the way you want. Expat deliberately spoilt the market and gave FDWs lots of 'absurd' privileges... over splurge. Expats do not follow the Spore norm and felt they are doing something benevolent or humanly. Their mindset is having a FDW is a form of luxury (meant for the rich in their countries)). To expats, employing a FDW is a must-try experience ...dirt cheap and can show off status. Extracted from forum: I) As I stay in an estate with a couple of ang mo families, the influence is really bad. People who do not have maids will never understand. You know how lenient those ang mos are. Their maids can do anything and everything! They are also allow to go out on all public holidays. Everyday at around 2pm to 5pm, their maids will gather at the pool side, chit chatting and playing with their phones. Now, my helper also ask me if she can also go out on public holidays? She also told me those maids are getting $1000 pay per month with weekly and public holidays off. I told her that her pay is also above market rate. I really do not think I shortchanged her at $750 per month + 2 days off. 2) My first maid was also a Pinoy and we paid her $700 and she is off every Sunday and entitled to public holidays, and similarly $50 if she work on these days. She has over 10 years of experience here and all are expat families. She was quite daring and during her 1.5 mths stay with us, we spent so much money on her, namely medical bills, supplement pills, food especially rice, and our utility bills shook up 2 times. I nearly fainted when I received the bill. She has far more requests including wanting aircon to be installed in her quarter. She was also rude to my husband and confinement lady.
Check FDW's employment history online: MOM
New "Eldercarer" pilot to train maids, Straits Times, 13 Apr 2016
MOH will pilot a number of new initiatives under a new Home and Community Care Masterplan this year to better support seniors to age at home.
One initiative is to train and assess a new "corps" of domestic elder carers so that they can anchor good care for seniors at home. MOH will launch a new "Eldercarer" pilot to provide comprehensive training to domestic helpers before they are deployed to families' homes. The new training programme, developed in consultation with experienced nurses from nursing homes and community hospitals, includes four days of classroom learning and on-the-job training.
Trainers will go to homes to observe the domestic helpers at work and check that they can perform the required eldercare tasks competently. These pre-trained elder carers can then be deployed to families in need.
Existing employers who want to send their domestic helpers for this in-depth training can also contact the Agency of Integrated Care.
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).
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.
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.
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.
By Amelia Tan, The Straits Times, 28 Jan 2013
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
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?