What maids did? Part 5
FDW Source country - Philippines
Finding a suitable transfer maid
OEC - Filipino FDW home leave
My 5th Filipino maid
17 Mar 2019
JA's contract was due so when JA said she didn't want to renew 2 years but interested to work for another 3 months, I said ok, thinking the fee for insurance would be pro-rated. One month before work permit expired, I browsed for maid insurance and found cost was more than $100.
My company has been sold so during that "critical merger period" which is around May 2019, I don't know whether I'll still hold my job (retrenched) or being "scrutinized" under new management, that means I can't take Leave to stay home and train my new FDW. I don't want to disappear during the initial transition period.
After much consideration.... despite hubby's strong objection, I released JA based on her work permit date + one month special WP extension (February was Chinese New Year so it wasn't a good time to hunt for replacement).
JA left two weeks ago. I was not pleased with her performance but for a person who has worked six years for me and didn't ill-treat my teen, I was grateful to her. When the cab arrived, I was almost in tears.
When JA got home, she Whatapps me few days later that she regretted going home. She is now quarrelling with husband over money ... jobless! Her husband is like a stay-home man who doesn't hold any full-time job. I said it was her choice. I did suggest to her to stay till Oct or Nov but she said her husband wanted her back in May. Hearing my suggestion, she was fierce and agitated, she said her husband was very angry. May was her son's graduation, something like finished army so she didn't want to miss that special moment. Last year, JA went home because her daughter has graduated. October this year, her daughter is getting married!
JA is so free and has been calling my new helper to "exchange tips and kill time". There was one day she rang around 6pm which was supposed to be my new FDW's busiest time ... dinner. JA didn't know or purposely? My FDW GR is new, unlike JA who has worked a few years in Spore before joining me. GR is 36 years old but as a newbie, she has a lot to learn from scratch, not forgetting getting herself adapt to our culture, a working life cum stay in with Employer, learning to take care of a special needs teen, carrying out household tasks properly, etc.
Hubby liked JA a lot and has been picking on GR.... he denied his favoritism. Reminded hubby to give GR more time because she's a newbie not a seasoned domestic worker. When JA was with me, there were cases of tension (due to her carelessness, bad performance, "childish/insensible request" etc), hubby had always been the one to cushion/cajole JA. He was always the one to jump out to protect JA and accused me of being hot tempered, unreasonable and harsh. He would do his very best to make me keep JA and disregarded what JA did to ignite me. JA couldn't cook well nor do good housekeeping. GR had to clear a lot of shaggy housework performed by JA. She couldn't get herself hooked onto Facebook or YouTube... full of ME time, similar to JA after 7pm, each day.
Told hubby and GR, I don't want JA back. I've already paid a lot of agency fee and GR's upfront loan so there's no way I'll take JA back.
I can't say GR is a good catch but my teen really liked her, it's like Love at First Sight". She likes to hug GR from Day One.
JA worked 6 years for me doesn't mean JA is doing a fantastic job. Her yearly increment wasn't high. When JA did some avoidable mistakes, eg keeping long nails that scratched my girl's forehead repeatedly, I would ask her to write down so that she knows the reason why her next increment is not rocket high. Each time a contract is renewed, I'll tell her to compare and think properly. If other people want to employ her and offering a higher salary, by all means Go, I won't stop her. During JA's employment, I had to brainwash myself not to focus on her performance, shut my eyes so that I don't get angry. Kind of amazed with my tolerance 自欺欺人!
6 May 2017
I renewed JA's second contract. One month before I received MOM's letter to do renewal, I typed out the renewal terms, salary increment ... not forgetting to remind her that OEC home leave is her own responsibility. I can help by signing her embassy forms but I'll adhere to MOM/standard agency contract terms. This is Spore, the law here should be respected and employers should not be threatened/blackmailed by source country. If source country has a problem with this, it should settle with MOM, make their law become a Spore law.
JA was paid 15 days leave and a returned ticket upon completion of her 24-month contract in March. She has been reminded that when she decides to go home, she has to foot all the costs required by her embassy, including air ticket, days of absence, etc..... which is this coming home vacation.
JA is taking her 3rd home leave at the end of May. If you think she will give me a kind life by not pretending to be forgetful or give up a chance to take advantage of me... you're wrong! I guessed she felt 4 years with me, she has some bargaining power, standing on upper hand or think I really liked her service, can't survive without her. Once bitten twice shy, I've been bitten so many times so obviously I've to be wary of her.... I need a lot of evidences to back me up when she accused me or pretended to be forgetful.
OEC home leave application is a requirement for filipino FDWs, does not apply to other nationalities. For this coming home leave, she accused me of not paying her when she did her 1st contract renewal, 2 years ago. Then she angrily said if I do not want to pay for her OEC home leave, why employ filipino maid? She also demanded that I foot her coming 15 days absence, stating her embassy told her I'm responsible.... her friends' employer paid fully and gave more days of absence.
JA forgot I paid her a lump sum after she completed her 24-month contract not long ago. Also, I reminded her (before buying insurance and doing WP renewal) if she wants better/generous employer she shouldn't renew contract and work for me. She is free to go and try her luck elsewhere. Not adhering to the renewal terms is a form of cheating. JA was given one month to think over. Reminded her to find new employer thru her agency if I'm a lousy employer. She was quick to claim she wanted to stay, no intention to leave, liked my girl. Knowing I do not pay OEC yet constantly threatening or comparing. JA said she's not comparing, just telling me "I owe her her entitlement".
I dug out the notebook and took picture of what she wrote 2 years ago - how much she received in her own handwriting as contract renewal benefits. I know it is better to type out but for JA, it is best to get her to write so that she can't deny. I said if I didn't pay you, why did you renew contract? She answered me, she's just checking, I was too quick to misunderstand her.... claimed she didn't say I didn't pay her.
Was really angry with such a frickle-mind and dishonest person so I decided to make her write she received a lump sum as contract renewal benefit recently and she has to bear her own OEC costs, each time she wants to go home. If she felt employing a filipino FDW means I'm willing to become an ATM machine, then I had to prove her wrong. I told her to write that for the next home leave, if she demands that I pay for her, she has to find another employer. I am not going to tolerate. I seriously felt I gave in too many times, too lenient and soft to her. JA scribbled really badly (she hates to write), stated 2 years later (2019) employer has full rights of not to renewing JA and save money (renewal benefits) if she continues to be forgetful and demanding payment of OEC.
I took leave and allowed her to do OEC home leave application during 3 weekdays (the first visit was fruitless due to insufficient documents). She took my mrt card without permission. When I found out, she didn't apologise. I didn't make her pay for the costs (6 trips). Instead of being thankful, she accused me of making her pay for the use of MY MRT card. Again, I had to prove that she lied.... and I had been kind to her but she's not opening her eyes to see. I made her write down, taking my things without my permission means stealing. JA has a bad habit of taking my bags, especially those big recycled bags or tote bags. ... new ones! When I found out, she said she's borrowing! I said you didn't ask for permission is not a form of borrowing. That's stealing! Her borrow is always a no return. She enjoyed taking my trolley without permission whenever she wants to send things home (shared a big carton with her friends). She'll wheel a big bag using MY trolley and didn't allow me to check her items, before shipment. JA took MY 2" tape to seal her bag and zip area. There are many missing things from my house, if I'm nasty, I have the rights to go thru her bags and put her in jail for STEALING. It maybe small items (+used my rice to cook on off days, etc) but taking MY things without permission is a form of stealing.... thief in the house, has never apologize when I caught her.
I'm quite sick of this adult-big baby.... have a special needs child and this big headache, life can be so miserable.... we're living under the same roof! With my age and a company that is cutting people (shrinking), life is quite tough and daunting.
Sometimes, I really hate Spore govt for not offering a special needs daycentre and forced me to employ FDWs. When can I be free from the clutches of FDWs, agencies and source country?? Will my girl outlive me and suffer in the hands of FDW who is suppose to care for her? If govt allows foreign nurses to carry out household chores and care for my teen but LIVE OUT, that would be nice but MOM/PAP has no such plan for us. We're the minority who do not deserve better help and care form our govt. It would be a heavy investment (burden) to care for us!
1 Dec 2015
JA is now in comfort zone, work deteriorated and not keen to get corrected. Doesn't look worried or fear that I will fire her. First week of year end school holidays, she took my girl to playground and came home with a huge bruise on her forehead. Bruise just cleared and today, she was 'out of her safety/careful mind' so my girl fell. Also noticed bruises on her inner thigh... sigh. Is it time to change maid? I know my rough girl could have hit/knock herself but sometimes, I worry it is JA's deliberate fault.
I have CCTV but not in every corner and not hidden so maid can hide from my view. I am aware JA has been frequently napping behind my back. One day, I caught her when I did an earlier home spot check. She shouted 'once a month also cannot?'. Have typed in house rules no naps because I have given her at least 8 hours rest each day. JA wants to 'overwork' herself on her mobile phone every night is not my problem. I do believe I have been nice by not overloading her. Too much free time = naps? I am sure there is something that requires her attention.
During school holidays, I am aware that when I am in office, JA is still in bed.... had been doing this for more than two years. To unappreciative maids, I don't think they will feel grateful on such 'tiny matters'. I am not the kind of employer who will check every time her chores are done, nor am I the kind who go into details, ensure everything Sparkling Clean... I did my best to close one eye or some times close two eyes, what more our pro-maid govt and activist-doofus expect me to do? Give FDW the role of master of the house? Human rights means 'vulnerable princess-maid' can push their fault (flew over as FDWs) to somebody else legitimately?
Employers are now paying more yet getting 'discounted FDW quality'. I may be strict but certainly not unreasonable like what activist-jerks claimed ....am I that bad, just because I have house rules? I know the market is full of poor working attitude FDWs .... if it concerns my girl's well being then I shouldn't give further chance.... got to go thru the ordeal of recruitment and FDW training.... gambling my life and emptying my pocket!
FDWs are paid to work, not going to stay with me thru thick and thin. Maids are not slaves who are purchased and constantly at your mercy. A high salary or good employer do not guarantee you a good helper.... all due to unfair policies created by MOM and the 'Yes' man attitude towards source countries as well as maid agencies. If MOM can be tougher, be more understanding, our lives won't be that bad. PAP is creating the impression we need big countries as good friends so we must please them, even if Sporeans are suffering/stranded and offering 'poor' foreigners a salary that their countries can't even offer at 50%, based on a live-in FDW's monthly cost of S$1500. FDWs have been given employment terms as per Spore MOM regulations and standard contract but they kept demanding something their own country cannot even match! FDWs want good life and high salary .... if another country can offer you what you want, by all means GO if you're qualified and they want to employ! Otherwise, rot in your own country, don't pollute Spore. If Spore FDW market is "sanitized", my fear of getting a lousy FDW will be greatly reduced.
FDWs, the only employee who enjoy live-in benefits yet giving more and more burdensome issues... brainwashed to think employers are responsible for their 'miseries' or failure to enjoy life. All employee are responsible for their own accommodation, meals, transport, insurance, etc but FDWs need not. I am sure readers (except FDWs) of this blog are not spoon fed by employers. I am also very sure, you're responsible for your own living costs ... minus off from your monthly salary. Many people tend to ignore these 'invisible costs', they take for granted and keep badgering for higher maid's starting pay.
Compared to below, are FDWs really having tough ... inhuman lives in Spore? Shouldn't FDWs be grateful, less demanding and be appreciative towards law-abiding/nice employers .... don't be lead astray by activists? We are helping one another, am I not right? Salaries kept going up, Employers have been dutifully paying for FDWs' services yet we didn't get better helpers, is that fair/justifiable?
I hope my future FDWs can be real helpers, don't give me problems, let me concentrate on my work and not her man-made issues/princess attitude. I am not asking to make each and every of my cents worth (nobody is perfect) but at least, don't make me feel like my luck matters when the need to have a new maid arises. Maid agencies and MOM ought to ensure FDWs are truly here to work and willingly carry out their duties as per individual household requirements. Work scope must be clearly outlined to avoid misunderstanding. It is agent's duty to exercise due diligence, ensure the best job match and don't just pocket our money without providing customer satisfaction .... both FDW and Employer are agencies' customer!
"The work was really, really hard. I worked long hours and carried heavy sacks of rice and timber pieces from the mountains," the boy said. "But I couldn't give up. I had to work so my younger siblings could go to school."
Millions of children in the Philippines are forced to work at young ages. Child labour is one of the Philippines' most urgent problems and stems from a range of social factors. According to the International Labor Organization, as many as 3 million children work in environments that are considered hazardous and an additional 2.5 million children are forced to work in slightly better but still substandard conditions.
Some children have jobs that place them in immediate physical danger. These risks include exposure to potentially harmful chemicals or sharp tools, and other dangers that may be less obvious but no less risky. Children are often forced to work long hours with few breaks, which takes a toll on their physical development. Others are abused by their employers, both physically and psychologically.
More than 45 percent of people in the Eastern Visayas are poor compared with 25 percent nationwide, according to the World Bank. "Poverty is the main reason why many children leave school," said Donabelle Abalo. "But it's also part of the culture. Many parents don't value education because they didn't finish school themselves." Even though education is free, many children do not attend school because the cost of books, uniforms, meals and transport is prohibitive for their families.
This afternoon, went Bt Timah Shopping Centre (maid hub) shop for transfer maid. I was really surprised that the Myanmar maids' English was above my expectation. One of them, worked 2 months in Spore, surprised me with her English. She told me they attended classes before coming to Spore. Went online did English-Burmese-Bahasa translation.... end up not required.
The agencies I went allowed me to bring the maids home to have a better understanding of her prospective job. If both employer (my parent-in-law) and maid are happy with each other, paperwork can be done. In total, 5 FDWs (Filipino, 2 Myanmeses and 2 Indonesians) will be screened tomorrow, take care of elderly. Out of 5 maids, 2 agencies were listed in MOM website, showed demerit points. Guess they (GreatLink and United Channel) received lots of complaints, thus, offering employers with special needs a 'error-free' job placement.
Felt the urge to fire my inconsiderate and take-for-granted maid. Let me observe JA, if she disappoints me again, off she goes.... will try Myanmar maid, at least I have another option, not limited to Filipinos!
This morning, from CCTV, I saw J mumbling but I couldn't hear her 'curses' (I presumed). Nobody was near her, maid was making milk for my girl.
Hubby spoke to J and I was told J intend to lodge a complaint to MOM so I sent below email to MOM and my current maid's agency so that I don't get shot and bleed for something clearly not my fault. MOM is well-known to protect foreigners.
I am very sad, frustrated and disappointed that my FDW is so unappreciative and unreasonable.
J wants to go home every year and I tried my best to let her go away for two weeks, knowing it will place my job at risk. Each time, before she goes home, I’ll remind J that her money is hers, how she wants to use it, she decides but don’t come and tell me she has no money.
Last night, J came back from her usual off day and said her son has no money to pay school fee (not the first time). I was angry that she is using such tactic again and last night was so last minute. I asked her “You expect me to draw money for you now”. “Tomorrow (22 Jun) is your official pay day but not your off day. All the while, you get paid on the Saturday before your Sunday off so that you can send money home. If you need money, you should tell me at least one week in advance”. J told me she forgot about her son’s fee but refused to acknowledge it was her oversight. She pushed the blame to me, stating I wasn’t understanding enough, claiming she’s a maid, maids are poor and I must be very understanding to her needs. Before renewing her, J said she will go home if I don’t want her. After she created her drama, she was chatting with her agency which made me suspect did she cheated me and used me.
I am really disappointed and angry that I have just renewed her, paid 2-year insurance, given J her home leave entitlement and put my job at risk… all to please her for taking care of my girl with special needs. J (last night, she kept telling me she is a very good maid) isn’t doing a great job but I tried to tolerate and close my eyes. Kept reminding J, I’m just a full-time employee who need a job, I can’t let her go home for one month like other tai-tai employers. If I have no job, I don’t need her. J simply refused to be a considerate and understanding FDW.
J has decided to leave and now I am in trouble because I need to find a replacement but I can’t simply apply leave again to hunt for maid and re-train. How come such maid is not penalized? Why encourage maid agency to do transfer maid business, recycling bad/irresponsible maids? Who is there to protect employers like me?
Now I am working but worried what she'll do to my girl who is non-verbal. Why there's no special needs daycare centre in the West so that I don't need to employ maid?
J sms after lunch that she's sorry. Her hubby 'suddenly' has high blood pressure and told me she doesn't want to leave, she wants this job because she needed money. Her mobile phone is kept by me so how J got the news of her 'ailing' hubby? J's mobile is given to her around 7pm each day so besides cooking a story, tell lies, what could be the real case? How to trust a liar? I have given J many chances. I treated her better than any of my ex-maids.
Last night, I said if J wants to leave, she has to return me the home leave benefit which is equivalent to one month's salary so I am holding her salary. I have a feeling once I pass her the above mentioned June salary, she'll not give me any good treatment/face. Worse scenario, she may runaway and leave my poor girl somewhere. I really don't know what's best for me and my girl.
This morning, I have emailed a few maid agencies to look out for suitable replacement. Nowadays, no source country is good, all about luck and how ethical is your maid agency. MOM won't pity me or 'really help' me .... I'm left in the lurch.
Hubby doesn't want to take the risk of having a bad maid. I said J is now using my girl as her trump card .... J said she is very good to my girl, no other maid can tolerate or willing to care for a special needs child who spites. J is fully aware my girl can't communicate verbally and her bad behaviour... unfortunately is her way of showing happiness, excitement and anger. She doesn't know the right way to express. School physiologist is tackling this since last year and J is aware since she's the one to take my girl to school, interact with teachers. I can't spank my girl because she doesn't know she is doing something wrong. If I beat her, to her, she has achieved her goal to get attention.
Colleagues advised I should look for a replacement at a slower pace and then sack J. No guarantee the next FDW will be better than J but better than keeping such a FDW. Who knows when is the next time she will strike or will she lay her hands on my poor girl if she 'suddenly loses her mind'? Hubby said giving advice is 'cheap and no strings tied', we are the ones suffering .... faced with maid problems.
In the evening, J passed me her 'appraisal book', wrote she was sorry and wanted to finish her 2-year new contract. I asked her why the sudden change of mind, she preferred to make me face her back. Asked J did she speak to her agency, friends or neighbours who convinced to stay. J said no .... with her back facing me. J refused to face me or look at me so I wasn't happy to continue talking to such a rude/unrespectful woman.... a person whom I can't feel any sincerity or remorseful of what she did. So I said "when Sir has time, he'll talk to you".
Emailed J's agency that morning and in the night (before I got home), agent rang me she has found a 29 years old, unwed person who have read my email about my agony and new maid requirements. I was keen to interview her but hubby wasn't interested. My 2nd Filipino maid was also an unwed mum with a 3 years old toddler. We were worried she may come to Spore to find boyfriends and who knows, get pregnant again. Agent said, unwed mums are common in Philippines. The package that agent offered was really attractive, can interview in person (a fresh maid to-be) and NO maid loan (only placement fee) because that maid flew in as a tourist. Agent (owner of agency) strongly advised me not to give maid 4 weekly off and said that maid agreed. Agent also said, next time, only grant home leave when maid has fully completed her contract and doing a renewal.
8 Mar 2015
Few days ago, my house had a 'drama queen'. JA blamed me for not letting her be connected with her family as and when she felt necessary. Accused me of not allowing her to have rightful access to her phone, screamed and cried that MOM says maids have the rights to use their phones. Yelling that her son has no money to pay school fee and was missing from school .... she appeared panicky. Blamed me for not giving her more money or advance home leave entitlement. Hubby was worried that we might fight so stepped in and told us to calm down. I was furious to be wrongly accused.
When JA looked more calm, I asked JA when did I not give her her mobile phone? She sounded it was my fault for not passing phone back her once I get home. I asked, is it that serious, not even 7 pm and have not finished her washing? Like to ask MOM is it mobile phones have become modern FDW's life or priority and MOM is endorsing this 'policy' ... disregards employers' concerns and employment requirements? Nowadays FDW has the upper hand, able to choose which employer did her best to please her? MOM is now an official excuse ... her strong backer if FDW failed to get what she wants? Also asked JA when did I forbid her to use/delay the return of her phone whenever she tell me? JA claimed she was afraid to ask for her phone. I asked, why should I turn her down if there's a real need? When did I refuse her access to phone during emergency or in need eg find out why remittance not received or her children's birthday? There are times I handed back her mobile at around 6.30 pm but instead of showing a happy face, she felt it is too late because her family is asleep.... you believe? The most common/daily expression is black face, as if I owe her or short changed her! Would you befriend or be close to a person with sour face, everyday?
I highlighted that it is serious to use MOM to press me down. JA said I have mistaken ... but I heard her shouting her friend commented she is stupid, should lodge a complaint to MOM about me!
Reinstated that if JA is unhappy with the employment terms, she can leave, I can't stop her, no need to force herself to stay (made herself looked so poor thing) because I don't need a resentful FDW. All the terms and house rules were printed, I didn't lie or hide anything. JA had plenty of time to consider recontract. I stressed that restricted mobile phone usage was highlighted during the interview and her agent has worked this out with her before employment. Before renewal (this Jan), I've verbally reminded her as well as pointed out my house rules will not change so if she wants to find another employer, just give me ample termination notice. JA came cleaned it is hard to find another employer due to her unglam employment history. Meaning she has no other choice but to work for me .... my fault? My duty to take in her whines, poor job performance and 'bad luck'? Told me she is aware of my requirements and assured me she renewed 'happily'. That night JA apologised and I did too because we both raised our voices!
To make JA happy and prove her drama/threat did frighten me, I offered to give her two weeks' advance salary. I re-emphasized that JA manages her own salary and how she spends or over spend, it has nothing to do with me ... don't blame me! I also suggested JA to do some savings, take the new salary increment (from next month) as the first step to save emergency money. JA is showing me again that she has no money yet wanted to go home every year. Made me feel she wants more benefit at my expense. Not fair, why should I reward a FDW who isn't performing well? Based on standard Sg contract, home leave entitlement is only given upon completion of 2-year contract + a renewal. 我像软柿子， 非常好吃， 好欺负?
I am not an angel employer but am I really that bad? Just because of not having full mobile phone (the most important thing in her life as FDW?) access like her friends and nieces (she's the only odd FDW without such privilege) ... she rated me as bad employer? Since I'm lousy, JA can force herself to renew contract and face me everyday ... for another 24 months? Would you? JA must have compared me with her ex-employers and received wonderful suggestions from her friends/nieces ... you think she's insane or really stupid to work for me? She has a choice! She has off days and plenty of chances to mingle with her maid-Friends in special school, from Mondays to Fridays morning .... plenty of chances to learn how to make my life miserable, how to get the most benefits, how to act, how to make me give in, etc! Modern FDWs are not stupid, don't look down on them or insult their intelligence!
Quite shocked to be told JA remits S$400 home because her son's transport for University and food allowance cost S$10 per day....goodness, one month spends more than S$250 in her home town (not major city). JA said school fee is expensive too. FYI, a cleaner in Philippines earns about 6000 peso/S$187 (low education), Waiter earns around 9000 peso/S$280, General Maintenance Worker earns about 11000 peso/S$343 and Teacher earns about 19000 peso/S$590 per month .... all these salary exclude deduction as living expenses. JA's hubby is doing some odd jobs that earns about S$250 per month. He is basically a houseman while JA works in Spore. Is JA underpaid ... obviously no. In my view, spending S$250 as allowance is a lot for low wage earner in Philippines ... none of my business so don't bother me when JA and family overspent. Not my obligation to give you additional spending money. As long as I have given JA her contracted monthly salary on time, took care of her living expenses ... I've done my part as an employer... I am not JA's financial consultant, banker or EQ counsellor. JA has a lot of friends and some relatives working in Spore... she said her niece, a fresh maid earns S$650 per month ... hard to believe! JA wants to learn how to manage me thru them so if one day I can't tolerate her nonsense/drama, I'll terminate her services.
Everyone has the rights to compare. If greener pasture is somewhere out there, I can't stop JA from leaving. I believe most maid agencies would be happy to polish her unglam employment history so as to earn 2 months transfer fee from JA. Don't make me bear your grievances or bad luck! Can I run after MOM for my bad luck or poor FDW quality in Spore market?
That whole night, my drama queen didn't speak to her son or anyone (didn't hear any phone conversation), only seen her typing on her phone .... so her story is real? I hate people taking advantage of me. Yes, I want to be a reasonable and understanding employer, not a cold blooded person who doesn't sympathize my FDW's plight. The way JA behaved was I have over reacted and frightened by her! The next few days, JA didn't automatically keep me updated about her son ... show time over?
Take note, this is not the first time JA's 18 years old son has gone missing. Last year, he skipped school and went drinking. I don't understand why JA's husband wants to update her in the morning that her son is missing from school. Make JA share the worries by passing on such news thru JA's friend and cause her to panic far far away in Spore? Can't these updates/reporting be communicated after 7 pm? He expects JA to drop all the work, buy a ticket and fly home? Or make IDD calls to all the people who knows her son? Is this really a case of no money to go school?
That drama night, JA fed my girl water, spilled on the floor but didn't wipe it .... waiting for someone to slip and fall? Not the first time she ignored water spillage. You mean the water will evaporate instantly without wiping or I should quietly clean for her? What I am trying to highlight to readers is that I renewed a FDW who isn't that good. Ministry of Manpower is not protecting my interest or spared a thought for employer like me! I am left in the lurch by my own govt! MOM and agencies do not ensure FDWs' quality and our spending match a suitable FDW with good working mentality and adequate performance. MOM is keen to bow down to source countries and protect FDWs at all costs. Our woes are unheard ... MOM and ministers do not care. All I need is a special needs daycare centre in the West so that I can work full-time and get rid of FDW!
2 Mar 2015
I've just renewed JA's work permit. Realised work permit is not based on the day I recruited her or insurance policy date. It expires one month before her employment date. I purchased new 2-year insurance online and then renewed her work permit at a fee of $30... took me only 2 days to compare and sort everything out because JA did her medical check-up which include x-ray, 2 weeks before WP expired. Initially wanted to take up INCOME domestic insurance which includes WP renewal + plus points awarded but realised the policy price has increased. Then I saw another insurance company that provides free FDW medical check-up .... compared a few and finally decided to stick to my FDW's current insurance company. If you intend to buy insurance policy for your FDW, just key in "maid insurance" and google search.
WP was delivered to my house one week later, can't choose a delivery date or time, somebody must be home to wait for it. Searched high and low, rang MOM hotline to speak to customer sercice officer but line was cut off many times.. kept prompting all CS engaged and line went off, can't stay on the line to wait, no choice, had to wait for WP as per MOM/Singpost's delivery time frame. I realised JA doesn't bring her WP out when she takes my girl to school, told me no need. I said that's her ID but she said nobody will check her. My ex-maid said she was checked before ... anyway, JA is old enough and has been in Spore for quite some time, it's her choice.
I renewed JA not because she is a wonderful helper. Not that crazy to expect a perfect FDW. JA has rooms for improvement. Eg simple dishes that I have taught, she isn't cooking well.. perfecting that dish, simply something lacking or not right (bland, overcooked, oily or too salty). Taught her how to steam egg, printed on paper yet she can ruin the egg. It was recently (endured her for almost 22 months), I decided to watch her and found what step she missed out. Knowing I stressed on hygiene and cleanliness, she can let my girl go to bed without cleaning her fingers (eg stained with paper ink). After eating, my girl's face isn't cleaned properly, can still see traces of food/sauce. A number of times found vegetables rot or food in original packing not opened but expired (not observant, not keen to cook). 2nd year in my house, fridge found not closed properly. Once, frozen things in freezer has to discard or mass usage (defrost already). When bottom door wasn't close the whole night, I threw margarine, cheese, etc away ... reminded but JA still hack-care/absent minded.
There are too many rotten apples in Spore and I am so afraid of re-training and paying ridiculous recruitment fees. MOM isn't going to help or pity employers in 'unfortunate times'. I must say, I have been very tolerating and giving in to JA... really lowered my standard.... time flies and she is renewing contract. These good treatments were not given to my 3rd FDW, J. If J was showered with these, I guess she'll be thrilled. When comparing or during times of disappointment, I tend to miss J's better eye for details and cooking skill + the willingness to try and fit into my household (performance rating as at the day before she took advance home leave).
One of my relatives just sent back her 2-months old Filipino fresh maid to agent... was transferred out very fast (one feet out, another feet almost in somebody else house), seemed to me agency and FDW in a scam. By the way readers, if your transfer maid comes without existing maid loan (if relatively new in Sg) and no added 1 to 2 months transfer fee, beware. This FDW could be in cahoot with agency to reap heartless profits. Agencies are open for business, not doing charity, objective is to earn easy money from 'itchy backside' FDWs and unlucky/new employers. Don't believe agency saying maid is so pitiful, lowly paid or cost waived.. absorbed by you, of course! Relative's family felt fresh maids are better than transfer maids but with off days, activists advocating 24/7 mobile access, are FDWs going to retain a good inner self and deliver satisfactory jobs? How many will have good working mindset and tell you automatically (willingly) I don't use a phone during the day? How many modern FDWs will tell you I want to earn more money and just need one off day a month? Nowadays, all nationalities have demands, just that Filipinos are the 鼻祖. Indonesian and Myanmese maids aren't easy to work with or manageable, they don't want to lose out to Filipinos. Time has changed where they want equal footing in Spore. Technology teaches FDWs how to fight and manage us.
Relative (already a granny) was extremely disappointed to have an ungrateful and incorrigible maid. Relative received the remaining maid loan refund from agency, didn't browse bio data for new maid replacement and now (1 month maidless) still contemplating whether to hire another maid. Once bitten twice shy, it takes courage and funds to employ another FDW. I suggested employing a part-time cleaner but relative says not ideal because relative prefers a person to take care of the chores on a daily basis.
Relative's fresh maid has no mobile phone restriction and was given off days before completion of maid loans. Maid just need to do some housework, no need to cook (not keen to learn) because my relative can cook, no need to take care of the children because they spent half day in school +relative is around ... light work load BUT maid delivered unsatisfactory job. Maid spent time gazing the sky or stared in blank for one to two hours each day. Maid enjoyed spending time hiding upstairs (no housework completed) or in the toilet. Example, instructed her to make barley water, she poured away the cooked barley water and kept only the barley. One of her daily tasks was to clean the chairs and tables yet she complained to agency why there is such a need, why employer so fussy and demanding.... maid was angry. Hygiene is very important, especially when there are young children. Maid was tasked to wake up in the nights. During web cam interview, was told afternoon naps will be given so that she can attend to the younger child but she slept like a log in the night, despite taking naps. That maid was given 3 main meals and tea breaks upon her request but the reward for employer was bad working attitude and lousy job performance.
I prefer FDW to focus on my girl, not her phone during the day... can't afford risks or accidents due to maid's negligence. 将心比心， 别为难我 不要对我那么苛刻和不公平 Any agent who gives me unfriendly treatment or reprimands me about my 'harsh' employment term, I really hope it will be penalised by MOM. MOM has to be fair to full-time employee cum FDW employer. What's wrong in being frank and telling agencies my requirements before interview? Create misunderstanding and let agency make quick bucks is the market trend ... endorsed by MOM and activists? Employers can't be the ones to be ATM machines, suffering forever losses and risks. If maid agency is too protective about FDW and if something goes wrong, I'm sure the maid and agency will stand as winners.... employer lose big time!
Every company has its criteria and policies. FDW employers also should have a set of their employment terms so MOM/activists shouldn't clamp down or discourage employers for being frank that they prefer maids who can concentrate on day work and don't use personal mobile phones. It should be our basic rights to choose a helper, not engage a person who places fun, mobile phone (connecting with friends) as top priorities. If FDWs are not here to work, don't waste our time and money .... stay in your source country. Don't cook up lame excuses! Get your country or parents to pamper you if those are part of human rights. If maid can't accept our employment terms, don't lie to be employed and bring us miseries.
Again, I hope Ministry of Manpower (MOM) can respect and uphold our basic recruitment rights:
- the rights to find a suitable helper and
- the rights to get agencies to match our requirements honestly.
Be fair to FDWs' employer. Please find more source countries and clamp down on high recruitment fees (both paid by FDWs and employers). Don't keep bowing and giving in to source countries. Please stop making employers pay and pay yet have to give in and 'legally pamper' rotten apples. Spare a thought for full-time employee cum FDW's employer. The only 'fault' I have is giving birth to a special needs child in Spore. If she's born in a western country, the welfare and assistance are much better... we could have lived with dignity with better social and financial assistance.
Kindly don't use human rights as an excuse and ruin our lives or place our jobs at stake. Most Sg employers are nice and reasonable people but in return, get bullied/played on by FDWs, source countries and agencies. It doesn't pay to be a nice and generous employer. We need new policies to show that being a nice and generous employer will be fairly rewarded, as well as appreciated.
Employer: FDW is no longer a help to Spore families. They are a problem.
Activist: we have to accept all the social issues that come along with a maid. Maids are humans and we need to respect them as humans.
Today, we cannot find any such cruel advertisement “Domestic Help Available- No Off Day, No Hand phone, No Problems” – Because it is cruel, it is against human rights and it must be banned!
Working in an environment without freedom to communicate via hand phone is no different from being a prison without freedom. FDW is not a worker anymore but a slave or a prisoner. Every maid wants to have a hand phone. This trend is irreversible, just like MOM's off day policy, like it or not, this is the right way.
Employer: In real life, once FDW has hp, she will spend more and more time - chatting to don't know who, I mean in the sense of wonderment that there are people with whom they can chat with, like no need to work or going online posting nonsense, finding boyfriends, etc. If the FDW can self-control, I don't think employer will complain nor stop the usage. Trust has to be earned but unfortunately, FDWs like to demand the trust before they can earn it.
Once a privilege is given, it becomes a right. Employers are now at the mercy of ill-disciplined & irresponsible maids, as well as unscrupulous maid agencies.
Just to highlight, JA had a happy CNY because I bought her out for visitings. Although I have said no need to give her angbao but some relatives insisted on giving her a token sum, stating that they hope JA can take good care of my girl. I stopped relatives from giving angbaos to maid due to a bad experience. They said the angbao is not a lot so I shouldn't mind. My first maid claimed all the angbaos were meant for her. Ended up her total CNY angbao was much higher that what my girl received. The highest angbao received was $50. Stressed to JA, she had the angbaos because she is employed by me. No Tom Dick and Harry will simply give her angbao if she walks outside.
ST forum writers:
1) Not to forget helpers
Maids do play a substantial role in taking care of dependants while husband and wife work to provide a higher standard of living for themselves and contribute to the total labour power of Singapore. In this sense, maids are foreign workers who contribute directly to the domestic economy. Given that the levy cut in the Budget will reduce the cost of having maids for a sizeable 144,500 households - a good number of which are well-off - this is an opportune time for employers to think about how a part of their savings could help these indispensable workers within their families. Helpers are a vulnerable group who are subject to high fees that maid agents collect from them - which can be as high as $4,000 and lead to the maids going without pay for eight months or more. Mercifully, there are groups looking after their interests, like the Association of Employment Agencies which is calling for a cap on the fees that local agents can collect. Employers should also do their part to assist, wherever possible.
Employers who can afford to do so may choose to give a portion of the savings of $720 a year to their helpers. This gesture of appreciation would reflect generosity encouraged by largesse of spirit, and would be a material way of saying to maids that Singaporeans value their contribution to the domestic health of the nation.
2) Fairer maid employment contracts, please
3) Give levy sum to maids at end of contract
4) Levy placement fee only on first-time maids
5) Wrong families being squeezed
6) Placement fee should be tied to maids' training
1) JA said the mobile phone I gave her is not working so we got her a second hand Nokia phone to stay connected with us. JA's personal mobile phone will only be used by her at her own 'leisure time'. She knew my girl's water bottle cannot cap tightly, it would leak but she put my Nokia phone with the bottle and spoilt it... used about 2 weeks only. To me, this is common sense. Will she do that to her own mobile phone? Obviously, she won't. She'll take good care of her own things and her brain will not malfunction! When I told JA to write down what she did, she was reluctant and asked "you want me to pay"? Felt like making her pay but I made myself said "I just wanted you to know what you did".
2) The next day, I told her verbally what I wanted for dinner as well as wrote on a piece of paper, very clearly. It was mixed rice 杂菜饭. Told her one chicken and one veg, preferably brocolli. I even told her to go to the two mixed rice stalls and take a look. Mixed rice stalls are her favourite food stall, can choose the dishes. She visits almost everyday. There's no excuse of her to say 'I don't know'.
When JA came home, I asked her where's my dinner. She said she bought chicken rice. I thought I heard wrongly so I asked again. This time, I got it clearly. When I opened the food plastic, she has bought a box of xiaobaicai and a box of chicken meat (styrofoam box). I asked, why no rice? I said I told you to get from mixed rice stall, the same stall that you got your dinner, how come all wrong? Showed her the paper, she played 'shocked and can't believe what was written'. As if I could do magic and the writing appeared out of nowhere. No apology, as usual. She doesn't have the habit to admit her mistake by action or words. JA is my first filipino maid who doesn't apologise, that shows how prideful she is. I am not trying to insist she must apologise in words (understand some people find it hard to say sorry), action 行动证明 is what matters most but her good performance/record is simply too hard to notice. Sometimes, I could notice a bit of good work but then, it will be soon be replaced with some bad performance or attitude.
Not the first time JA is closing her ears when I talked to her and didn't open her eyes to see what was written. Yes, you may say these are minor matters. Yes, trivial issues but can be avoided and shouldn't have even happened. Don't you agree a person who is interested to work for you won't make such silly mistakes? If her heart is at work, how bad will her performance be? How to get her work performance improve? JA deteriorated instead of becoming better. Gave her another advance home leave and instead of doing a better job, show me some form of appreciation (btw, I don't owe her home leave or by law, have to please a person like her), she is now slacking and playing forgetful games. Would there be any possibility when she comes back from home leave, she became a new person, I have to re-train and tolerate her new found bad attitude?
3) JA knew the kitchen gate has to be locked yet she 'forgot' while happily packing her stuff to send home. She knew she shouldn't leave her plastic bags and stuff laying around for my girl to mess with, yet she did it!
Counting down to her next home leave, guess there will be more 'negative' updating on JA, didn't want to 'complain' about JA if I've a choice ...... sigh!
My current FDW is planning to fly home again. She hasn't completed her first 2-year contract with me.
JA has verbally mentioned which month she intended to fly home. One Sunday afternoon, she sms me and expected me to give her instant reply - permission to fly home at her preferred dates. She indicated 20 days! I was shocked and asked her when did I agree to that? Later, she insisted on 12 days although I said it is better to keep to 10 days.
When JA was happily home, showed me the receipt for her plane ticket 2 months later, I was surprised she purchased Jetstar. Her previous trip was Philippines Airline. JA sms me that the travel agent told her the fare offer is only for that day, last day. After seeing Jetstar, a budget carrier, I immediately browsed its website and showed JA the actual costs. One week later, I checked again, the price is still the same and the total fare is maintained as $80 cheaper than what she claimed as promotion fare.
I told JA that's the price she has to pay for not discussing with me in face. The most 'exciting part' is her cousin intended to fly home same time as her but she respected her employer so chose to go home and discuss with them. The bonus is, her cousin gets a ticket that is cheaper than JA and better flight timings, those 9am type, not 6am which means you must leave employer's house around 3am. JA chose flight with taxing flight timings. JA may want to save that $30 but by choosing wee hours, she has to pay taxi surcharge - midnight fare, worth it? She will make herself more tired (I refused to be tortured and get stressed with her flight choices) with such flight timings and have lonely midnight to and fro airport. I told JA to go to and fro airport herself. I will not accompany her and get myself tortured for her wilful pleasure ... also, I don't own a car to pamper her.
You may ask, aren't you afraid she doesn't board the plane home, go missing or leave for better employment eg Hong Kong? Yes, I'm worried but since JA is paying the air ticket and home leave application, the costs is on her. Her reimbursement will come after she has completed her 2 years with me and taking a renewal. If I find out she didn't fly home, that means I need to get a replacement ... some people say this is God's will so I'll accept it.... no choice, right? Since JA has a lot of money (missing family is a point that I allowed her to be away again but how true?), I will most likely deduct her absence as no pay before she leaves. I believe she'll jump up and say she needs the money. Will only reimburse JA after she has completed her 2 years with me and taking a 2-year renewal. If she decides to job hop, no home leave entitlement - both advance home leave, she has to bear her own costs, I am not obliged to give her a cent based on her contract.... I don't owe her anything.
JA has applied for advance home leave last year so she is allowed to go home again within 2 years (it works like a multiple entry visa) by paying about $35 for home leave. Home leave application for Filipino FDW who hasn't completed 2-year contract must be done thru a maid agency, cost about S$250. JA asked me for her embassy contract. I told her firmly I didn't keep. JA doesn't believe, sort of accusing me for taking her contract but not giving back to her. I repeated, I wasn't keen with all the Philippines Embassy nonsense, including its standard OEC contract. I don't know how it looks like because I don't want to get involved with any insane. She said it is a piece of paper. I said I don't have. I showed her the local contract which is several pages ... she insisted that I pass that to her! I said no, that's not her Philippines contract. I reminded her that whatever papers she made me signed earlier (advance home leave last Dec), I signed blindly so that she could go home. I don't care what was stated or imposed by her Embassy, I will only honour the local contract, adhere to MOM's policies .... I made her write a remark in my notebook last year. Showed her that remark when she appeared 'forgetful' and like wanted to 'eat' me.
One day, she sms me, "mam I finally found my contract in my luggage pocket'. I replied, I told you I don't lie, I'm an honest employer. In my heart, the throbbing stopped, it was a relieved, false alarm. I don't want to see JA with black face everyday and thinking I owe her or deliberately stopped her from going home. My advice, whatever agreement you had with your FDW, get her to write down and sign. Although, I have that remark in my notebook, JA doesn't look like the kind who will let me go and place the fault on herself. Now she's busy buying clothes and stuff to send home (sharing a carton with her cousin) as well as bringing home as check-in luggage. Passed her some stuff to make her happy and be Santa Claus.
16 Aug - JA has been giving my family a cold shoulder. Hubby wanted to pacify her because he is very worried what JA will do to our girl during our absence. I told him what kind of person is JA. She is a person who doesn't listen, beyond reasoning and unwilling to try her best to keep a FDW job. She was willing to find other employers, she'll keep paying agency fee till she is lucky enough to find an employer who fully accepts her - the way she is ... her horrible attitude. JA said that's the way she is, her face is like that (black face, no smile), her behaviour is not wrong nor rude.
I don't want to encourage JA keep throwing tantrums so I told hubby if she refused to talk to us, treat us transparent, we'll do the same. I am not going to talk to a liar, a person who shows no respect to employers ... don't want to give in. I'm mentally prepared to quit a great job just to stay home protect my girl and have lousy maids out of my life. It will be a great loss .... not that easy to find good boss and a fixed salary which I'm contented with. Play by ear. This is something not totally within my control. How well my maid willing to perform is up to her, I am unable to convince her to change her working attitude and stop giving excuses to remain underperform.
15 Aug - JA claimed her friend told her Philippines hit by typhoon so she had to run out to top up her phone card without telling me in advance. JA has been using her mobile every night and from Day one has been telling me she must stay communicated with her family.... she miss her husband and teens. If there's something urgent or bad happened, how come she didn't know? My not too clever brain tells me if typhoon really hit her hometown, how is she able to stay connected with her family via phone or Facebook? If she truly loves her family and must SMS, Facebook or talk to them daily ... why she didn't get first hand 'juicy update'?? JA claimed it is her habit to stay communicated with her family at 12pm and 5pm daily .... since her previous employments so she expects me to give in to her preference.... something like her entitlement and I have no rights to object. Stated before employment that it is impossible yet she did such thing to me .... lied!
Day one, I turned down her wilful demand and restated my condition to employ her was JA can only use her mobile in the night (about 7pm) and full day access on Off Days. JA said cannot because her family sleeps very early. Once again, she let me realised lying is her incorrigible bad habit, used her family as excuse to chat with others and didn't know there was typhoon 2 days ago, I told her, she is a great liar. Made my stand, I don't care who she spent her Facebook/sms time with, she must deliver a proper job. If she did something bad like slept with man but her husband and children willing to forgive her, I have nothing to say. She Cried!! She sat in the kitchen and purposely cried very long, as well as loud and refused to do any chores or look at me. She gave my whole family black face. Made it appeared like I am at fault.... fantastic actress!
Hubby was worried that I scolded JA because I was being unreasonable .... no compassion and afraid she'll vent her frustration on our darling due to my 'bad heart'. What to do, I have to say something otherwise, JA kept thinking whatever she felt like doing is right. If employer didn't given in to her, employer doing the wrong thing ... according to her weird standard. JA simply felt there's nothing wrong with her working attitude or her 'follow her feeling' style is a pain in the neck in most employers' eyes.
Sigh, why can't I get a helper who really comes to work? Why I have to go thru such things? Why JA cannot be sensible, use brain to work and adopt good working attitude????
7 Jul - Last night had a fright because I accidently found an overdue MOM letter, Notice of half yearly FDW medical examination. It was 9.30pm and there’s only one clinic operating at such late hours. I ‘frantically’ shouted to JA to end her mobile teleconversation, get changed so that we could make a dash to the only clinic.
Upon arrival, told the nurse I forgot to bring my FDW for half yearly medical check-up – urine test (for pregnancy) and blood test. She said it is alright, I sighed a big relief.I remembered I’ve recently seen a comment posted by somebody who said the maid’s work permit was revoked because no GIRO arrangement was made to pay FDW’s levy promptly. Click
Then I started to wonder would MOM give me a final reminder to do this half yearly test or will JA’s work permit be simply revoked. After hearing what the nurse said, I think it could be because I’ve used GIRO to pay levy promptly so MOM is not that strict about receiving test results as indicated in the letter. I don’t advise anybody to deliberately forget. Who knows MOM really cancel your maid’s work permit and you end up with inconveniences as well as extra costs to reapply.
Note, JA worked for me for less than half a year but MOM’s FDW medical check-up is based on the day she re-entered Spore to work as FDW, not the day she was transferred to me. In early March, I brought my ex-maid M to the same clinic for medical check-up and the bill was about $23. This time, the cost rose to $26.70 …. think I need to find another GP that charges lesser. Last Sep, my ex-fil maid, I paid about $21.50, excluding X-ray for FDW who is finishing 2-year contract.
MOM wants to let FDW have weekly rest but made employers bear all the liabilities, including never ending worry about maids getting pregnant or contract HIV.MOM insisted employers must send their FDWs for half yearly medical check-up and update MOM the FDW’s ‘health status’. It is unfair that we are made responsible for a maid who is pregnant or contracted HIV. MOM hasn’t come up with any policy that is fair to employers. Since MOM so interested to monitor FDW’s ‘health status’, it should setup a special clinic so that all FDWs can go there by themselves at MOM or FDW’s costs, during their off days.
14 Jun - JA blamed on bad luck that she couldn't get an employer who will give her lots of benefits ... enough to let her boast and feel more superior than her friends or cousin. I told her it is not about bad luck. After working with her, I realised she has serious attitude problem, stubborn and likes to compare. Highlighted to her, I didn't expect a perfect helper, nobody is perfect in this world. I need a real helper who will do her job according to my pre-employment requirements and have a kind heart to take care of my precious girl. My requirements didn't change, the benefits we have discussed remain unchanged (have no intention to change), it is still the same as per the day I interviewed her. Her agent was asked to summarize to JA my requests, my worries in getting a job hopper, job requirements and double confirmed JA willingly accepted the job ... full transparancy and no gimmicks.
sms JA, what kind of person she wants to become, she decides. She is the only person who can determine whether she wants to be a good, satisfactory or bad FDW. I can advise, remind her what I want but nobody can make her change if she kept feeling she did nothing wrong, what she asked for were what she should be entitled to... she deserved them!
JA thanked me for not sending her back to agent. She said she likes her current job and wants to complete a 2-year contract. She agreed she was being a bit emotional, claimed due to her unable to use her mobile 24/7 to ease the distance from her family (sorry, I don't believe this reason. The fact that she intends to spend most of her time on Facebook, listen to music and watch Youtube makes these distractions as RISKs). Looks like my fault for not loading her with tonnes of work, be a clean freak by asking her to scrub and clean daily (no visible dirt also get her to clean). The reason is, I hope she can spend more time to play with my girl, not too tired so I didn't want to load her with lots of household chores.
Ended my ordeal by asking JA to remember what she has committed during interviews and don't blame others or push her faults as part of bad luck. I hope JA will put an end to comparison and don't make me go thru unnecessary stress or problems, eg issue on her mobile phone usage. I know humans tend to compare. I do but I don't make my company change to meet my demands. I have also compared my life to a normal Sporean family, feedback and gave suggestions to PAP a few times but if Govt refused to look at us, do something effective, there's nothing I can do. That's why, I said the worse case would be to let go, don't cling to this hopeless world. I don't want to make my child die alone and I'm left in this world, alive but in jail and be always looked upon as a heartless murderer.
Yes, I blame my case on bad luck. I believe my case is part of bad luck, I didn't get attentive Gynaecologists at KK Hospital during pregnancy. C class patients cannot have a dedicated gynae. Every visit, I see different faces. I have raised my worries but it was heard by different gynaes, not one who is assigned to my case. If there was only one gynae or maximum two gynae/Medical Officers, after hearing my requests or worries about that foetus, they would have ordered detailed lab tests. If I was a private patient, paying full medical costs, I doubt KK Hospital would reject extra money stuff into its pocket. KKH would not have given excuse to say unnecessary (I was only aware after my girl was diagnosed) because I have no medical history and the chore to run the lab tests is a hassle to them. It is a case of patient's trust misplaced. I paid C class rate so cannot expect KK Hosptial to conduct many lab tests, no shortcut for them to pinpoint .... zoom in to just one medical problem. Before my girl, I had a foetus without heartbeat so I went thru a misabortion. Due to this, polyclinic referred me to KKH when my girl (that foetus) was in first trimester. I thought I looked like having a very good reason to be given detailed lab tests, sadly and to my astonishment, I wasn't! From the day my girl was diagnosed, KKH has no responsibility to bear... no MO will feel guilty towards my case.... they won't even remember they had a patient like me. My girl is my burden for life because I'm her mother, the person who conceived her and gave birth to her after 43 weeks.
13 Jun - JA left me a note on the desk. She said she is not being rude by not responding to me, she just doesn't want any arguement.... is this the right way to treat her boss? If my boss tried to talk to me about my mistake and I just stormed off, what will happen? Either get a warning letter or be fired from the company. So she thought I can be stepped as and when she likes? Is she trying to show off how well protected she is in Spore and her bargaining power?
JA has agreed to my terms during two face-to-face interviews, including must accept NO using of personal mobile phone during the day. I know she has secretly been using her mobile phone during the day and she didn't deny when I pointed out. She felt it is alright to use her phone, I shouldn't make a big hoo-ha. If fresh maids can have free access to their mobile phones, she asked me why she can't. She has agreed to my employment terms but has the rights to turn the table now that she has made her way into my house? Why nobody helping me to stop FDW from giving me mental abuse? In Spore, if out of 20 employers, I'm the only one that do not feel comfortable to let FDW use her mobile phone 24/7, why she doesn't ask the other 19 nice employers to hire her? She has a choice, nobody forced her. There are so many maid agencies waiting to service and earn her money, why she must be glued to me? 我看起来非常好欺负？
In her note, she wrote she wants her mobile 24/7 to stay contactable with her family and friends whenever she wants, listen to music, use Facebook and view Youtube when she 'has time during the day', night time is too short and 'late'. The reason why I don't want to let FDW has her mobile 24/7 is to avoid distraction, why can't she understand and just do whatever she has agreed during interview. Simple things such as this, she cannot do to show me she respects her boss, needs a job and therefore, will do her best to meet my requirements. If the terms of this job is not agreeable, why force her way into my house? Nobody can force her if she is not keen. Do I really look like a soft target and can be managed by her?
She said it is up to me whether to keep her or send her back home. I wrote on her note, the choice was all along hers! She made her decision to work in my house, she has to deliver her promises and shouldn't lie again and again. I wrote she has to prove that she really likes (claimed she likes to work in my house) to work in my house by action, not kept giving me empty promises. I want an 'OK' that really means 'OK', not white lies.
12 Jun - JA ignored me COMPLETELY. Told her to look at me when I talk to her but she insisted on showing me her back. When I repeated, she walked off! I said she was very rude but she continued to ignore me! You must be asking why I am tolerating a maid who shows me no respect and doesn't honour her promises.... read my earlier posts to find out why I am caught in the web.
I wish I can fire JA instantly and have a life without any FDW! If she was my first maid, I wouldn't hesitate to scream at her and call her agent to counsel her. JA is an experience maid, spent a few years in Spore, it is no use scolding her at the top of my voice or ring her agent. It is her working attitude, nobody can change her if she refused to see clearly. There's nothing I can do if JA doesn't willingly wake up and understand she is my employee (not my daughter), a person who needs to send money home so should do her BEST to be a good helper and prove that the chances I gave her were registered in her CPU.
I believe nobody would dare to employ her in Spore. Who wants to be her 9th employer? A FDW who couldn't finish a proper 2-year contract? Can you believe her reasons for service termination and kindly give her a benefit of doubt?
I wanted to make JA understand she was doing things her ways which I have said many times I don't feel happy with that kind of working pattern. I need a real helper, not a person who is so stubborn. I am really offended by a person who shows me no respect, repeatedly breaks her promises, whatever she agreed, she'll just let them slip pass, as if those promises were not made by her or written by her. She kept thinking 'her employer-mother' will accept her like a whining child 无限量 慷慨的包容 .... 34 years old, a mother of 2 colleage teenagers, still so immatured!
Was quite mad, shouted to her (she was hiding in the room) if you don't want to work, just go back to your agent. Don't tell me you want this job but insisted on making the person paying you a salary to be angry, on purpose! JA knew I have set very low expectations, very lenient so repeatedly took advantage of me..... I hear sobbing. Ok, she wins, now I have to see what kind of show she intends to put up. I really hope I can keep my job.... cross fingers. Was wondering should I get my sis to babysit her ...... now school holidays .... felt insecure to leave her alone with my girl. What if she runs off and leave my girl all alone in the house? I'm tying my hands and my rights to speak freely for the sake of my girl ... all thanks to MOM's pro-maid and pro-agency policy.... strangling me. Our govt really should thank me if I cannot stand the stress, the financial burden and decide to please them by living this ugly place with my girl.
I hope JA is my last maid. The thought of paying for another FDW of poor quality .... no, spare me!
11 May - JA has seen me blogging. She may not know the website name but being Facebook savvy, I don't think it is hard to browse the net and find this blog. She has data plan so it is up to JA to search. If she sees this, it is fine with me, nothing wrong to tell the truth. Let her re-fresh her memory to know what she did, how I feel, what I've said to her and my expectations - definitions of being my good helper.
15 Apr - Yesterday was JA's off day.
She showed me her cash, didn't spend a single cent because her friends paid!
I have no problem giving off days because I want my FDW to know that I can survive without her, on weekends. If I want to cook but lazy to wash the dishes, do a takeaway. No point insist I must have home cook food and make myself tied in the kitchen. I rather sit in the living room, hug my girl, watch lousy Mediacorp shows (repeated) or browse the net while my girl keeps bothering me to click YouTube shows then to be stucked in the kitchen. Otherwise, I can take my girl out for shopping cum meal time.
The reason why I want my FDW to go on weekly off days is that I don't want my girl to be her bargaining power, a trump card. I don't want my maid to think she knows my girl better than me, can take care of her better than her mother or we're totally helpless without a maid! This is my way of positive thinking, trying to forget what kind of liabilities or risks the FDW may bring back after each off day.
My previous filipino showed she could take care of my girl, protected her but she used my girl to her trump card. When she failed, she wrote a letter to MOM, claimed I forced her to renew contract, implied to work for a low salary. Luckily I have evidence to prove she made her choices, used me to get an interest-free loan and ran off for higher salary.
JA's off day, she came home early but I didn't request her to do any chores, don't want anybody to shoot me for making FDW work on rest day. She voluntarily wanted to feed my girl her daily medicine. Caught JA feeding medicine with the wrong dosage. She has been reminded to give exactly 4ml but she poured 5ml or more. 3 weeks with me, not sure how many times she is giving extra dosage. I saw it, stopped her but she argued she was right. That's how JA works, insisted she's correct but she's obviously in the wrong! Sometimes, she replied 'OK' but her actions showed she is unwilling to follow instructions. To JA, it seemed like no big deal to give more than the doctor's prescribed medicine dosage. JA may just assume I'm demanding. I told JA from now on, I want to see the dosage before it is being fed.
I will be emphasing my hiring terms today. If she cannot carry out instructions, respect her employers as the parents of the child, the house owners, she can pay me back her 2 months loan by working with no salary, no special loan (spending money) and leave. I am not going to please somebody like her, too tired to give in to her nonsense. All these tiny issues just snow balling. My tolerance level increased every time I hired a new maid but none of them appreciate an employer who doesn't load them with tonnes of 'unnecessary' housework. Worse scenario, I'll stay home be a no off day maid.... as long as govt willing to release monthly financial assistance. I have already tried very hard to stay employable by hiring FDWs, feedback to ministers, hang on long enough in this FDW mess .... I want to keep JA as my last maid. No more energy to re-train, take on more stress or can afford to waste money.
When requested JA to tie her hair, she claimed tying her hair will give her headaches.
When requested JA to iron the clothes after dinner, she said cannot, it will spoil her eyesight.
When asked her why don't write down instructions (since can't remember clearly), she changed topic or just looked at the floor. When newly joined, she replied 'ok'.
Told JA don't walk into my bedroom without permission, she is still doing it like she owns my bedroom.
Told JA she doesn't need to tidy my bed .... my privacy but she continued doing if I left my bedroom door open. Leaving it open doesn't mean I'm inviting her to go in. Sigh x2.
6 Apr - This afternoon went Far East maid agency to collect JA's passport and work permit. Thought it would be a take and go, won't spend too much time in the agency …. I was wrong!
JA knew I was going up to her agency and said she wanted to speak to her agent. In my mind I was thinking, let her go and give some updates, I didn't do anything wrong, didn't ill-treat her, had tried my best to be an accommodating boss so nothing to be afraid. The moment she was able to speak to her agent, she started using Tagalog to talk. The agent listened and then asked her to speak in English. She looked at me in a peculiar way then continued with Tagalog. The agent translated and said JA wanted more money. Normally, any maid with loan will have to pay her loan fully before taking off days. No money how to enjoy off days, simple logic! Why I must give loan for FDW to enjoy her off days? Feel I am being blackmailed. I am trapped because JA is now in my employment. If I'm piss off, I need to fire her, pay agency fee again, find another maid ….. sigh, why must I go thru these. JA is suppose to be my last maid, does it mean my career is ending soon? I like my current job, who can help me to stay employed?
JA wanted to strike a deal with the agent to make me pay her $300 as salary and use five months to pay off her 2 months transfer fee, which I've paid on her behalf, in advance to agency. JA thought she could have a Tagalog conversation, get the agent to agree to her request … just give me the final conclusion – What I Must Do, cannot refuse because her agent said so! JA didn't tell me in advance, I wasn't mentally prepared to give her loan. What kind of person is JA? How to trust and work with such a person? Will I be able to knock some senses into JA? No confident, really don't know how to handle her. Guess her previous employers gave up on educating her, including that filipino employer (6th employer) who had her for 19 months. The 7th employer was a Chinese family who had her for only 2.5 months.
This is the first time I meet an agent who remembered my requirements, my fears to hire a job hopper and what JA promised before employment. This agent stood on my side and reminded JA what was agreed, eg mobile phone, loan (transfer fee), must work according to my instructions, take good care of my girl and treat me like a boss, not the other way round.
JA insisted she wanted her weekly off days, more salary and longer repayment mode, the agent and I had a hard time telling her to think wisely and don't behave so childish. How to make JA knows she is in Spore to work, should do a proper job as per contract and interview? She seemed like can afford to act 'no big deal', can find another employer. She hasn't realise her reason to come to Spore, leaving her family behind is to work and support her family? JA is here to find boyfriends or engaged in some forbidden businesses?
One thing which I don't agree with the agent is that she said off day is 24 hours. When I asked does it mean FDW can stay outside overnight, she said no, just give her 8 hours rest. I said, as per MOM's employer's handbook, the recommended hours to stay outside on rest day is at least 8 hours. I let my FDW stay outside, enjoy her off for 12 hours, I felt I'm quite generous. Told her I showed JA that handbook. Anybody can go to MOM website to view that pdf file but she looked unconvinced. Anyway, JA wanted to be off only on Sundays so on Saturday nights or any other weekday nights, about 8pm, it is JA's private time till the next day. Thus, on her official rest day, JA returns home from outside, hit 24 hours complete break, no disturbance by the employer. Her official duties starts the next day, Monday, from 5.30am so that would mean she had a continuous break of 33 hours, definitely more than 24 hours if JA or any activist bothers to use brain to calculate.
MOM's handbook on rest day.
MOM's handbook on rest day.
Don't judge an employer on appearance. Other employer may have given lesser rest hours but that FDW could be drawing a higher salary as compensation or given yearly home leave instead of every 2 years. When any FDW tries to compare or complain she hasn't been well treated, didn't get her 'entitlement', please be truthful by doing a self evaluation, find out how much are you worth, do you deliver all the chores well and do you really deserve to be given expat terms in a local house? If you are not a good worker (doubt FDW would be so honest to admit) but your employer had been nice to provide you with the basic necessities, kept you in her employment, pay your salary on time, do show some appreciation and don't take kindness for granted. You worked for a salary, most of your employers did the same, they are not tai-tai or born with golden spoon.
It may take years for MOM or PAP to realise Sg employers have been short-changed and treated unfairly. If that day comes, Sg employers might be able to act like HK employers, choose the finest FDW, fire you (the lousy ones) home at your own costs, no more maid loan, no transfer allowed, no free training and giving you (FDW) chances to drive employers to their limits. The FDW demand for Filipinos or Indonesians will decrease if more source countries are allowed or more affordable daycare/childcare centres are being set up. ... your good days to sponge on employers will soon end so I suggest those who really need a salary to pull up your socks, 垫高枕头想清楚 deliver what you've promised and work well as per contract/requirements.
It may take years for MOM or PAP to realise Sg employers have been short-changed and treated unfairly. If that day comes, Sg employers might be able to act like HK employers, choose the finest FDW, fire you (the lousy ones) home at your own costs, no more maid loan, no transfer allowed, no free training and giving you (FDW) chances to drive employers to their limits. The FDW demand for Filipinos or Indonesians will decrease if more source countries are allowed or more affordable daycare/childcare centres are being set up. ... your good days to sponge on employers will soon end so I suggest those who really need a salary to pull up your socks, 垫高枕头想清楚 deliver what you've promised and work well as per contract/requirements.
2 Apr - Yesterday, reminded JA to go thru the house rules because she has forgotten she is not supposed to beat my girl, even if it is just a light tap on her leg.
JA asked me if she decides not to go for her weekly Sunday off day, will she be compensated with $20. I said No. I hired JA based on her requirement of a must have weekly off + monthly salary. I am unwilling to part with $20 per off day + meals which is an additional cost to me. Told her I need her on weekdays when I need to work full time. She is encouraged to spend her time and money outside on her weekly off days .... she insisted weekly off during interviews which I'm happy to match. She was the one who wanted to meet her friends and nieces with weekly off and claimed most times, they paid for her food so she didn't really had to use her money.
By the way, JA's agency made her signed a form that stated she cannot step into Spore Casino, I wonder is she a gambler. Anyway, I told her she decides how she wants to spend her salary but she cannot take any loan or salary advance from me. The usual practice is for FDW to complete her loan fully before granting off days because they have no money to use. I told JA I'm quite generous and lenient to allow partial loan repayment (her 2 months transfer fee), stretch the term to 4 months so that she has some money to spend. I let JA started taking her 12 hours off day after working only one week for me, on Easter day (not Sunday), as per her request. On her off days, I said I will not ask her to do any chores, she has her complete rest and do whatever she likes but don't bring back problems to me. If she moonlights, MOM will fine or put her in jail. I showed her the MOM Rest Day handbook (click) to illustrate I followed 'law-by-law', didn't short change her. Example, on the handbook, MOM recommended at least 8 hours rest. Told JA I didn't give her 14 hours nor all public holidays off as per her friend's but 12 hours is considered very fair and reasonable. I also reminded her to be punctual and not to come home late. As an experience FDW, I can't believe she can lose her way, it is all about putting an effort for good time management, also a form of respect to the employers.
I hope JA can so some soul searching, don't keep comparing with others and thought she didn't get what she deserved in Spore and willing be my good helper for at least two years .... crossing my fingers. During interview, she requested for advance home leave. I said I am willing to apply no pay leave in Dec (from my company) since she hasn't gone home for 3 years but she must bear her own costs. I will only reimburse her 15 days leave and air ticket after she has fully completed 2 years with me. She said she is aware she need to pay first but after joining my house, she seemed trying her luck to get me pay for her expenses. 希望老天和幸运之神不要对我太残忍.
1 Apr - I have sent M back to agency and will get back a small miserable amount. M worked 4 months for me and I only managed to get 30% of her insurance, out of S$300. This is bad! I am unwilling to bear any more losses or feed the parasites!! It is cheaper and makes more sense to be a stay home mum!
My 4th filipino maid and the last FDW which I am hiring is not perfect, expected that based on her scary employment history. I hope by magnifying how much she has wasted on her agency fees to get numerous transfer, she could soon see a clearer picture and work hard for her family and self.
One week with me, I told her based on my observation, she is not a person who will deliver promises. One clear example was her mobile phone. Told her very clearly during interviews if she chose to work for me, she can only use on her weekly off and in the evenings. Another instance was during interviews, said will write down instructions and take down points but she did nothing. When asked her to write, she said "mum, you write". I called out my old house rules file and amended some points to suit an experience maid. Looking at the house rules, my expectations have lower a lot but to JA, she felt she deserves something better. JA said she has read and understood the printout. All the points, I have mentioned during her employment but I just did a printout as a form of reminder. She signed the paper and requested a copy to keep.
Many people felt I should find somebody better, at least without such shocking employment history. I said those with above 3 years experience in Spore, if they are really so good, they would have flown to Hong Kong or Taiwan. Those still in Spore, likely to be unwanted, have problem ... only Spore has the grounds for bad maids and MOM encourages bad maids to remain in Spore at the expense of employers. If they fly to Hong Kong or Taiwan, they might be kicked out and the repatriation/maid costs on FDW's end.
If one day Spore govt start to compare apple to apple, then we, Sg employers won't be suffering and will get FDWs of better quality. Spore govt/MOM are made up of highly educated people, should have brains to calculate the liabilities and costs we paid are higher then HK or Taiwan employers. Spore govt/MOM are just unwilling to help citizens seek justice.
24 Mar - JA has been pestering me to let her use her mobile during the day. I decided I can't be too soft so reminded her during interviews, I have indicated very clearly, my initial plan was for FDW to use her mobile during weekly off days but I gave in to her, that is allowing her to use in the night, after finishing her chores. I have made a firm stand to say that she has to consider my employment if mobile is a 24/7 thing. I have also told the agent and JA that I am not willing to take risk by allowing FDW to use mobile during the day.
JA said she promise she will not use her mobile unless emergency. If she didn't touch her phone all the time, how would she know when is urgent? Added she promised she will not be a heavy phone user if I allow her to use her mobile during the day. My wake up call to her was I said, by pestering me to use mobile during the day instead of just night time after finishing her chores, she has already broken her promise and that was only Day 1 of new employment!
According to agency, JA could only start taking weekly off day after finishing one week with me so her first no-off Sunday, I purposely left her mobile on the desk and I could see her smsing and making calls. Confirm, she can't keep her hands off her mobile. Trust is by seeing with your own eyes!
Any way, I told JA I needed a good helper. I am a honest and straight forward employer who will tell things/rules in advance to avoid any misunderstanding. If she fails me, untrainable or dishonest, I will resign and stay home take care of my girl ... my going-to-be sole breadwinner doesn't earn much so I am 'entitled' to low income subsidy. If government is going to watch me suffer in the hands of agencies and FDWs, I'll just do as per their wish, stretch my hands for financial support. I will be able to support with plenty of emails and let those social workers know how stranded I was, I was left with no better choice! I wanted to keep my full-time job, wanted to be independant and earn my own income but the living conditions and policies in Spore are simply not friendly to me.
22 Mar - I have just sent M back to her agency. M can handle housework at her own pace so there may be some employers who wants her just for housework or any homemaker who doesn't mind everyday supervise her, thus, didn't send her back to kampong or blacklist her. Just in case, I cc MOM about what M did in my house but MOM didn't comment anything.
I hope my new transfer maid, an experience filipino who is already in Spore for 3 years will stay committed and doesn't job hop because I have finally gave in on cellphone issue. She wanted to hold her cellphone 24/7 but I feedback to agency, if she's (JA) really keen to work for me, she can only use her cellphone in the evening, after work. It is her call to accept or reject, I don't want any sudden demands from her, after she joined. I wanted a honest relationship, everything clearly stated, don't test water.
My new FDW JA has scary employment history, I'm her 8th employer. Her agency guaranteed this filipino is sincere and has patience, she's really keen to work for me. In my mind, I had this big question, was she left on the shelf because of her scary employment history? Frankly speaking, I don't believe her reasons but I hope this time, she really knows what she wanted and complete a full 2-year employment. At the age of 35 and with 2 teens at home, I hope her agency and her didn't gang up for some dirty business.
This is likely to be my last time hiring FDW. If I've no luck to get a good helper, I'll resign and stay home to look after my princess. I don't want to keep feeding agency high fees. MOM is not helpful so even though government kept telling women to return to workforce but judging on the current situation, if the policies remain so pro-maid/pro-agency and not pro-family, more women would rather stay home than hire maids, a waste of time and money! Govt has to wake up and realise full time working women-employers are not keen to throw money away, parting with S$600 to $2000 is not a little money!
When I signed the agency papers, the agency staff made me signed my 4th filipino FDW's transfer paper in advance, giving reasons like it is a common practice, part of MOM regulation. I signed but later cancelled and told her that was not right. The last Indonesian agency only made me signed transfer form when I returned the maid, not in advance. A few agencies that I visited who had good transfer maids' bio data told me most of their maids have no transfer forms so unable to commit. They walked into agencies looking for employers without their employers' knowledge. This new agency at Far East makes me felt uneasy but no choice .... really.... I don't call the shots, Spore is an agency and maid's heaven. Of course I can spend more time searching and waiting for someone who really has obtained release paper but I thought of having a new FDW who can start a new school term next week so JA happened to fall into my requirements.