Recently, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, an Indonesian maid has had the honor of appearing in Time’s Magazine Top 100 Influential People. As Time Magazine is a prestigious magazine well respected by many, she joins the ranks of other influential people like Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Gandhi.
What has such a humble maid done to receive such an esteemed acknowledgement, you may ask? She has shown the bravery and courage of speaking out against her abuse at the hands of her Hong Kong employees who attacked her with objects like Mops and Brooms and is constantly pushing towards better laws to regulate against maid abuse.
In a sense, it is quite similar to what Gandhi did for Indians under the rule of colonial British of the time. Instead of striking back with violence, such as with maids who decide to murder their employees or their children due to abuse, Erwiana has kept the peaceful route – using the law and educating people to know of the plight of the average maid.
Despite her abusive employers being Hong Kong, let us not be complacent and think that this does not happen in our country. In fact, Singapore has historically had a very high rate of maid abuse cases. Abuse is never justified regardless of the “reasons.”
Because of Erwiana’s work, perhaps one day Maids will might have a safe, working environment and have an avenue to channel any dissatisfaction they may have in productive ways. This is much preferred compared to a cycle of violence and we are certain both employers and employees will benefit from such a set-up.
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