24 May 2015

so many Bruises on my girl

How do we, the employers show that we really paid a lot for FDWs but not fairly protected by law? How do we get MOM and activists to recognise the fact that foreign domestic workers (FDW) are a necessity in some households? 
Employers in Spore, I suggest you email MOM or write in to Ministry of Manpower with your real name and ID. It will be better if you've proof/evidence to submit.   Many people felt maids are vulnerable.  We should get together by informing MOM, FDWs can be bullies, capable of giving us tough lives and are not stupid.  Show the maid protectors kindness doesn't begets kindness.  Don't just keep quiet and suffer in silence.  
Also, MOM may tweak its policy if more voices are received from employers.  
It takes time and great effort to convince the maid protectors to spare a thought for us and be fair to us!

Content page - All topics
Special Needs.2
New maid capable of doing ....

Winter: I am posting this article here due to similarities - special needs child, in the hands of underaged Indonesian maid. 

Mar 2013 - M was sent back to her agency after she worked exactly four months for me.  To train M, I took more than one week leave, burnt all by annual leave, so wasted!  I was only entitled to 14 days annual leave each year!  Also, not forgetting the extra costs incurred due to M's negligence, hiring a FDW's babysitter to supervise her, non-refundable agency fee, 70% insurance fee gone to the drain, etc.  Thus, I tried my best to retain her .... for money sake.... stingy!??!

M was a super slow person.  A normal person, be it me or my current FDW, we used about 10 to 15mins to hang the wet laundry from the washing machine onto the bamboos to dry.  M took more than half hour.  A normal person need about 45mins to mop my floors but M took almost 2 hours.  M can do housework at a slow pace, definitely can't handle children, doubt her agency at Katong Shopping Centre would be so honest to tell her new employer.  I didn't blacklist M because there's outstanding maid loan... I still want my balance money back.  All these flaws are 'not as important' as hearing my girl's heart twitching cries and see the never ending bruises.  Is it worth giving your maid another chance? Sometimes, your sixth sense tell you, that maid is not right, something bad may happen.... lucky my girl is 'safe and sound'.  During some bad times, I wish my FDW could help me to relieve my burden .... be the murderer.  Readers probably think I'm mad and should go to hell.  Hey, how come FDW can breakdown due to stress whereas I can't?  Am I not human?

While tolerating M, the fear of the next FDW could be worse made me hesitate.... wasting my time and money to re-train were also points to ponder.  I am not that rich to go agencies and kept trying my luck.  The day to fire M had to come, JA joined my household, she and my 2nd maid were the liar Filipino FDWs that I've employed.

I think in Spore, out of 30 FDWs, only one will put her heart to work well instead of play hard.... become Employer's good helper.  I hope to have a long term FDW .... a real helper classified as trainable, submissive/cooperative and understanding towards my family's needs.  Based on current market trend, this means the other 29 employers are having bad times, tolerating their FDWs and living in stress/miseries.  This is not a good sign but MOM doesn't care, what can we do?  Once you've signed the agency papers, MOM assumed you have willingly agreed to be their ATM machines cum FDWs' guardian.  

MOM and our PAP felt most employers have been given better options, such as childcare centres, babysitters, thus, employing FDW is certainly not employed as "no better option".  They don't care about special needs families like us, dependant on FDWs in order to work full-time.  We need an income but no special needs daycare centre available.  AWWA - SMILES, the only childcare centre is far and has requirements that are hard to meet.  It doesn't have any subsidy and gives its students priority .... my friend waited one year for a vacancy after transferring to AWWA school from another special school.  

Tell me how to have an income and cast FDW far away?
How to sustain live with one miserable income?  Can't afford lustrum vacation, no car, no condo or loaded with cash.... Do you want to try my 'shoes'?

Even today, 56-year-old Mr Lee Kai Yam still takes the lift from his fourth-floor home to the 16th floor nearly every night.  He would stand for hours at the spot where his 12-year-old daughter Linda was flung to her death by the family's 16-year- old Indonesian maid in 2010. One thought would repeat in his head: How much fear did his daughter feel at that moment?

In 2012, the maid, Nurhayati, was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to 20 years in jail. But Mr Lee always maintained that the agency that supplied the underage maid should bear its share of responsibility.  Yesterday, he and his 50-year-old wife finally got the apology they were fighting for.  Mr Ong Kian Wah, a consultant of the now-defunct Maid Link agency, stood up in court and said: "We sincerely apologise for the loss of your daughter. We are also saddened by this incident. We hope you can forgive us and have peace in your heart." Beside him was his daughter Charmaine Ong Meiyi, who was sole proprietor of the firm.

The apology was part of the settlement agreed on by both parties. The Ongs will also pay the couple $50,000 over nine monthly instalments.  But for Mr Lee, it was never about the money. "There are many families here who rely on maids to take care of their children," he told The Straits Times.  "Agents must exercise due diligence in checking the age of maids and ensure they are capable enough to meet the needs of their employers."

Linda had scoliosis - a curved spine - and was slow in her speech and movement. Two weeks after Nurhayati started working for the family in October 2010, Mr Lee found that she did not have the maturity needed to care for Linda, despite documents listing her as being 24 years old.  He went back to the agency to ask for her to be replaced.  But Mr Ong told him she came from a poor family and needed the job. He pleaded with Mr Lee to give her a chance.

Out of sympathy, Mr Lee took her home again.  Less than a week later, on the morning of Nov 24, when Mr Lee had left for work and while his wife was sleeping, Nurhayati carried Linda to the 16th floor of their block in Hougang.  After Linda's death, he wrote to more than 20 lawyers. He wanted the agency to answer how a 16-year-old girl could have been passed off as a 24-year-old maid. Only one lawyer, Mr Chia Boon Teck, replied.

Mr Chia told The Straits Times he remembered reading about Mr Lee and called him down for an interview. When he decided to take on the case on a pro bono basis, he said Mr Lee broke down and cried.  Yesterday, District Judge Koh Juay Kherng asked Mr Ong and his daughter if either was still running a maid agency, then reminded them about guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower.  "I hope that the guidelines are adhered to strictly in future. You might have no control over what happened, but if you had done what needed to be done, this incident may not have happened," he said.

Maids have to be at least 23 before they can work here.  The Straits Times found that after Maid Link's licence was revoked in January 2011, Mr Ong moved to Maids and Manpower Agency in Katong Shopping Centre. He is now a shareholder of Pertama Employment Agency at the same mall.  After addressing the Ongs, the judge turned to the couple and said: "The court offers its condolences as well, and hope that with this, you can move on to the next stage of your life."

It will not be easy.  Mr Lee, a crane driver, told The Straits Times that Linda had brought him and his wife, a store cashier, so much joy when she was born. Their first child died of asthma when he was 15 months old.  With their income of less than $3,000 a month, they lived a frugal life in order to give as much as they could to Linda. For instance, they bought a large LCD TV on hire purchase as she loved watching the children's show Hi-5.  Said Mr Lee: "We can't bear to switch on the TV as it would remind us of Linda.  "My wife still hides and cries in our bedroom."

Related links:  She flung girl to her death to get back at employer 
Maid jailed 20 years for killing disabled girl

July 2014
Winter: If you are a vigilant parent, you know your child best and his/her traits.  If you don't know and everything relied on what your FDW tells you ... you are wrong to relinquish your role.  It is unwise to leave your child to the maid 100%.  She is just a paid short-term helper, not the parent of your child nor your trusted family member.  My opinion is, no matter how tired you are, try to spend time with your children when you are back after a hard day work.. while your child is still awake (not sleeping). 

When your child has bruises or suspicious scratches, starts clinging to you, avoiding FDW's touches, your sixth sense tell you it is not really a separation anxiety, something is not right so maybe it is time you install CCTV to gather evidence.  I have installed 3 IP cameras in my house.  One in the kitchen, one in the living room, another in between kitchen and living room.  These IP cameras can be rotated left, right, up and down.  It has night vision and you can buy those that have SD card recording or the cheapest with viewing and photo capture only (means while viewing online, you can take a photo using your mobile phone).  

Wonder why nowadays Traditional CCTV cameras are so cheap, only $699!

 IP cam

Personally, I felt that CCTV with a huge hard disk is better than IP cameras but hubby doesn't like wires.

Before I decide to hire my first maid, I went to Sim Lim to search for CCTVs.  There's no way I could leave my girl with a maid unmonitored.  That's not the way trust should be used.  Trust is not built the day you hired a FDW ... a complete stranger, it is progressive ... based on the maid's performance and rapport with kids.  If you argue that you don't trust your FDW then don't hire... Wait till you are faced with this predicament of to work to sustain life in Spore or not to work and whose child is that ... yours, your enemy or others?  人心难测 人不可貌像.

The cost for CCTVs (a DVR hard disk for 24/7 recording with 4 fixed night vision/infra cameras and able to view online via ex-office internet).  The total cost was more than my one month's salary.  Two years ago, my DVR 'wanted to retire' so I have to search for replacement.  The costs has dropped tremendously (including wired installation was about S$1000) but eventually, we decided to install IP cameras because I can move it to anywhere I want... as long as there's a power point (plug).  Unlike hard disk (DVR) cameras, the wires were hidden in my false ceiling ... fixed location, it was a tedious and expensive wiring work.  The life span for DVR is about 2 to 3 years.  The supplier for my current IP cameras was friendly and helpful.  There was once I accidentally deleted my mobile phone setting, thus couldn't view my house ... panicked!  The service guy was good.  We Whatsapp and got the settings back.  He can choose not to reply me or ask for extra fees (consultation charges) but he didn't.  IP cameras cost from $79 to $400 per piece.  Singtel has such "child protection" service but the charges are as per data viewing. I was told it is not very advisable to use those plug and play IP cameras .... easy to install and easy to be tapped by others... not sure true or not.  I had a 32GB SD card IP camera but noticed I have to retrieve the recordings (motion detect to save memory) almost everyday otherwise, it will be memory full and can't record for the next day... quite a chore for lazy people like me.  My previous DVR was able to record for weeks, set as motion detect.  I can retrieve the recordings one week or one month later ... no urgency to clear memory space.

Note:  There's nothing wrong in installing CCTV in your own house.... as long as not in the toilet.  If govt office can install CCTV to deter 'monkey business' why can't you?  You are the owner of your house, not MOM or activists!  What's wrong in protecting our family members and our possessions?  If MOM or activist says no, in what grounds?  If MOM says no, it is telling all Employers, MOM/PAP will protect the FDWs at all costs and encouraging the maids to abuse, steal or do monkey business in our premises... which means blindly pro-maid.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) will use Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at 10 more locations to enforce against illegal parking
NEA installs CCTV Surveillance to deter high-rise litterbugs

I know a lot of the FDW's employers work full-time and are not housewives or rich tai tai 'sitting at home' with 2 maids but for the sake of your child ...you know what's the meaning of sacrificing your 'rest'.  Some couples will have to share the duties of parenthood.  Some men just thought they worked harder than women or are male chauvinists so when at home, behaved like kings ..don't help out with childcare or housework... had the mindset childcare and household chores are women's job.  Yes, you've a maid, so the master of the house assumed you are definitely fine, you can survive very well but only you know the best.  Maid should be tasked to do house chores when you're home.... spend some time bathing your child or feed her/him isn't an ordeal!  I do noticed there are parents who worked longer hours than their FDWs. When the maid is sleeping, employer is still struggling to clear work.  Some even have to work during weekends and were really denied a proper rest.... once a week, just like the FDWs.  That's life in Spore, Sporeans got to make ends meet yet activists thought we don't take care or 'pity our FDWs'..... who pity you?  MOM? PAP?  Where's our work-life balance?  I am pleased to say, with my current employer, I was able to achieve work-life balance.  When I attend interviews, I hinted about working regular overtime.  Having a high salary or work up the corporate ladder isn't what I am willing to undertake ... I'm not a career-minded woman and I'm no longer young to 'burn midnight oil'.  A job that is 5-day work week, no OT, not too far and pays reasonable is perfect.

During weekends, we feel it is time to rest ... some parents get annoyed by their children crying or messing up the house when the maid is away (off days).  When FDW is off, it is the best time you bond with your child and find out how well your maid has been treating them.  Yes, I know you're tired but is your children important to you?  Maid going to stay with you forever?  Can you afford the risk of losing your children or see them get abused/hurt by FDWs?  Maids are not angels.  FDWs are human beings who have temper, can be bad or good and are not going to 'serve you' forever.  Trust somebody but please open your eyes.  If childcare centres are nearby, it is actually better for children to be placed there.  

Having a maid doesn't allow us to work and live with a peace of mind.  Modern maids are not efficient and responsible helpers but are becoming 绊脚石, 撤后腿 'hindrance to a rosy life' ... due to pro-maid and pro-source country policies!  If you've not been back stabbed by your FDWs, that's good, you're really lucky!

At the hands of a maid, The Asian Parent

The local scene is flooded with images of maids lugging heavy schoolbags and holding the hands of their wards. These children, while seemingly fussed over, are sometimes unfortunately abused by their care takers.

Is your maid treating your kid right?

Children tend to hide abuse marks, or not talk about verbal abuse. However, what’s not being said does not necessarily mean it’s not happening. On the contrary, there are also children who tend to inflict pain on themselves, which cause scars that they use to gain attention from their parents. These children usually push the blame on the easiest scapegoat in the house – the maid. How do you know which is real and which isn’t?

Know Your Child
Is your child clumsy or will easily whine about the slightest bump? If so then you know then little black and blue mark on his thigh could be from accidentally hitting an object while falling down. If he’s kicking up a racket about a little knock from the table’s edge then you know your little one is the kind to write home about the smallest injury.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to his whines. Still, you should only do so if the crying continues for a long period of time. Such children are usually subdued when they realise they are not getting the attention they crave. However, if a certain part hurts, then the crying does not stop, not even when a reassuring hug is issued.

The Signs
Looks for signs of physical abuse on your kid. No, we don’t mean strip the kid down each night and inspect. But try to give your child his bath every evening. Besides strengthening the bond between parent and child, this enables you to see if there are any telltale black and blue or red marks.

SBS usually occurs when babies are shaken in anger. If you have a baby in the house, never treat Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) as a slight thing. Look for signs of it. A baby with SBS may seem glassy-eyed, appear rigid, lethargic, and irritable, have a decreased appetite, difficulty feeding, or vomiting. He may be unable to focus his eyes on an object or lift his head. In cases of SBS, whether accidental or impulsive, a child’s life lost is extremely devastating especially to those closest to the child. How to prevent something that can certainly be stopped? Small preventive measures can go a long way.

The Hidden Camera
Every parent is curious about what goes on at home while they are at work. Wire up a camera in your home to your work computer and you can track what’s happening at every moment in the house. It is best to put the cameras in the living room, the children’s rooms and the kitchen. This way you’ll be able to track most of the movements going on in the house. Many startling discoveries of child abuse have been caught with this highly competent piece of equipment.

Surprise Visits
From time to time, you and your spouse should try to pop in unannounced. This way, your maid or child’s caregiver will be going about her usual activities with the children and you would be able to get a real feel of what is happening.

The Abuse
If you suspect abuse is happening, what should you do? Let her go. Even if you may be wrong, it’s easier to live with the thought that it might have or it might not have happened then to not trust a gut feeling that could be true.

9 Apr 
Stumbled upon a website to post bad maids. This website is not owned by the government so I guess any employer who wants to warn others of any bad maid but couldn't do so in the official way (via MOM) can try this: Click You can show your concerns, avoid a lousy maid from being employed by others and still save your maid loan.  There are forums to post bad maids but the moderator disallows poster from indicating the FDW's work permit and full name.  Serves no purpose, who can guess which FDW is being reported as unworthy to work.  Just the activists' way to give FDWs chance to be transferred and transferred again and again, MOM not keen to cap the number of transfer allowed per year per maid.  The benefit of doubt, kindness are set on FDWs' side, our interest is not important, we are treated worse than maids!  No organisation wants to help us or protect us from the bullies, except ourselves! We are alone to defend our interest and protect our beloved family.

Employers can blacklist a FDW if there's evidence eg CCTV footage, medical report  (injuries) or police report via the official way.  It is up to MOM to take action to blacklist that bad maid or stop an abuser from coming back to Spore.  MOM will not blacklist any FDW who is unwilling to perform her duties as a domestic worker, incompetent, rude, lazy or sneak out of employer's house without permission ... these are not life threatening issues or something that are looked as important, in the eyes of MOM.

Copied from MOM's website:
A Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) is expected to comply with Singapore's rules and regulations. The Government takes a serious view of FDWs who break the law or misbehave themselves.

For Penal Code-related Offences

If a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) is suspected of committing an offence (e.g. theft, child-abuse/elderly-abuse, threatening/harassing employer/family members, bringing strangers into her employer’s house without her employer’s consent) under the Penal Code, the employer should:
  • Make a police report immediately; and
  • Email a scanned copy of the police report to mom_wpd@mom.gov.sg.  Attention the email to Controller of Work Passes.

10 to 19 Feb 2013
It made my heartaches, I don't have any unusual habit to capture such pictures.  I'm uploading solely to prove I didn't have a good FDW to take good care of my girl.  A person whom I've paid for her services but bringing me miseries without realising I need a responsible, caring and a helper with a kind heart.  M is a person who knew during interview and house visit, what are her responsibilities and core duty.  I don't believe transfer maid cannot choose employers since they are paying agency fee too, suppose to do commit and do a proper job for at least 2 years.  If she doesn't voice out, lie to get a job, it is maid's fault!  She should behave like an adult to be responsible for her actions and decisions.  MOM wants FDW to be at least 23 years old is partly to get maids who can behave like a working adult, not child.

When will Spore govt look at employers' suffering and give us some fairness - regulate and control the maid agencies and FDWs recruited?  Who can educate or regulate the FDWs not to lie, ie to cheat to get a job?
  inner thigh bruises

29 Jan - bruises and a swollen lower lip 

27 Jan 2013 - this happened 2 days ago, in school.  Teacher saw my girl's finger bleeding and asked M what happened, she kept quiet.  M sms me claimed my girl bite herself. 

I tried to take many shots but my girl kept moving so the pictures I've are not that sharp.

23 Jan - a cut on my girl's neck and bruises... as usual.  M said "don't know" when I asked about the cut.

18 Jan - never ending bruises ... heartache! 
How come my helper doesn't feel guilty for causing these?  When will I see my girl's skin be flawless and fair, without all these 'imprints'?

bruises that
looked serious

9 Jan 2013 - bruises

27 Dec - bruises

20 Dec - Today I saw new 5 cents and 50 cents-size bruises.  It is still new so not too obvious to take picture.  Below are just example of bruises on my girl's leg.  I didn't take any on her arms, buttock and upper thigh area. 

I don't know why the bruises on my girl are getting more and more.

Asked M what happened, why so many bruises?  As usual, 'don't know' is her standard reply.