Eating bazhang for breakfast…tasty!

At the children's happy place…

This outlet has a very modest play place! Good for entertaining them for a short while!

On Maids, helpers, domestic workers…

Recently the news reported that Indonesia wanted their maids to stay in dormitories, have fixed working hours and enjoy public holidays. I was quite excited by the idea, because it means I can have help but don't have to have someone staying in my home!

My Husband agreed to, and we were both looking for more details. But when we mentioned it to my MIL, she was quite scornful of the whole idea and said what's the point of having a maid if she can't stay.

So this really set me thinking, how exactly do we view helpers? I think because I come from a lower-income family, I never had a maid so it's like a luxury to me, and there's this moral dilemma about how to treat a helper.

Like yesterday, when I was sending the Princess to ballet, I walked past this maid carrying 2 big bulky bags, and her big strong male employer behind her was toting this small plastic bag. And this evening when I went for a run, I saw a family with 2 kids playing.

The mom was helping the older kid climb the structure, the maid was just standing there holding the baby staring at the brother while the dad was glued to his phone. Then what's the point of the dad coming along?

And when I bring the kids to the playground, most of the time it's the maids bringing the children down. Then they sit there and talk to each other or use their phones, and to be honest I don't blame them cos I want to do so too…

So like outside, I see people really squeezing every ounce from their helpers. And some just look so sian and people keep complaining about their maids but still keep hiring them because it's a catch22 situation, can't live with them but can't live without them.

And sometimes I really want to employ a helper too, but sometimes I don't because I don't know how to justify 24/7 help when I'm a SAHM. And even if I did,

I can't (emotionally) go back to work full time and let someone take care of them the bulk of the day, cos I'm a mom and this is my role for this time of my life.

But I would sure like to get some help with the drudgery of day to day chores though…

And I wonder how come overseas people can survive without helpers, and the short answer is, cos the culture there is different.

How come Sgporeans (or generally Asia) need help?

In Sg, life centers around work. And money. And progress. So everyone is geared towards productivity, being first, being progressive. Even if you don't want to be part of it, having to keep up is exhausting.

And when the children are in school, it's always Go!Go!Go! (homeschooling is NOT for me…) Family is also constantly giving their opinions of what to do, so it's not like we're in a vacuum where we can do what we want.

Plus because of the culture, people are really tethered to work. Even when the Husband is home, he has to reply emails, whatsapps, telegram and other nonsense. I tell him to ignore he just gives me THE LOOK.

Which I can understand lah. If you take pride in your work you want to be on the ball? I dunno. As a teacher I worked crazy hours too. Like mark, go for camps, do lesson plans etc. All jobs are like that.

So, like insurance, you pay a sum and do risk transfer (hahaha) to the insurer; likewise the domestic worker is like drudge work transfer. Pay 800 a month and suddenly you don't have to wash dishes anymore! Laundry? It magically appears washed and folded in your cupboard!

And I dunno, there isn't the taboo of having someone work for you. Like from what I read, in Indonesia they have like chauffeurs, indoor maids, gardeners etc if you are middle class, cos cost of human labour is so cheap. So people are used to the concept/idea already.

That's why some people seem to treat their helpers really badly, like cos you paid for them means you owe them?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, I'm just an observer, not an employer. And I'm sure there are good and bad maids, since they're just ordinary people.
And I hope to have an ideal situation where I can get help and not have to be responsible for the person haha! But wait long long lah.

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