I can feel my blog drying up like an old disused well as the days slip past. I haven’t been blogging much lately – I have not had any ‘inspiring’ events happening and the day by day routine takes up all my time and concentration.
So, today is deadline day! My loyal visitors to my blog still keep coming despite the dry-ness of the well – thank you!
Fortunately for me, a topic for discussion did unceremoniously crop up today – regarding the topic of the ‘hired help’ – also known as the Foreign Domestic Helper a.k.a. Maid.
I cannot at any time view foreign maid agencies as very helpful institutions – the quality of the hired help available these days seem to be deteriorating (or was it always bad?). Many times we are fooled by the happy, wholesome, smiling, uniformed pictures shoved in front of us for ‘biodata’ selection and often time seem to be always a game of roulette and chance. After all, having a foreign stranger live with you, under the same roof, in your home is not for everyone and certainly not for the weak hearted.
This post is not about complaining about the unlucky employer’s unfortunate and sometimes downright shocking and nasty behaviour or maids, rather the opposite.
So far we’ve been pretty fortunate with the hired help some being Cambodian, Indonesian and Filipina. None have run away before although 1 or 2 have been ‘sent home’ due to a medical issue or bad work performance. Occasionally, we have the odd ‘reading newspaper, hiding in the corner’ during the day or ‘falling asleep in a corner during the day’ but inasmuch as causing actual problems such as stealing – so far we have been rather blessed.
I believe in treating the hired help as well as possible – as deserved in any employer-employee relationship. You don’t want any unhappy jans working for you at anytime or place, do you? However, this is often time frowned upon as it is seen as ‘spoiling’ them. And as for presents and gifts or angpaus (as gestures of appreciation) – are they appreciated by the maid? Or is it a green neon light to them, saying “I have my employer round my little finger”????
A very thin line, as you can see. Many times, we have heard employers lamenting “I treated my maid very well, gave her presents each year as gestures of appreciation, and she has been with us loyally for 7 years!” but finally, the dutiful and loyal maid still ran away one night – leaving the 3 small kids at home alone. And the faithful maid who served well for the length of her 2 year contract had ‘taken’ some of the employer’s jewelry and valuables with her as a souvenir at the end of her contract to boot.
There are sorry stories about maids who have been used and abused etc. However this post is not about that. Its about the good faith we have placed in them – the fair treatment they received – but disappointment still surfaces at the end of the day. So the morale of the story is – learn from experience. You should treat the maids well, but not cross that very thin line.
Have you got a ‘maid’ story to share? It could be a charming story or a nasty one. Pray tell and share your experiences.