Are you an Employer or a Slave Driver?

Problems with abuse of maid continue in Singapore. There is not very many days where one can go by without reading news of a maid who has died of abuse in many terrifying ways, such as being scalded or starved to death.

What is the root cause of all that? They could be many answers to that question. However, one simple way to see things is as follows – maid owners do not understand that they are supposed to be employees. Instead, they see them more of a tool and property.

Indeed, some people labour under the impression that if they aren’t squeezing 120% out of their maid, they are not “getting their money’s worth.” This is a gross misinterpretation of the entire reason of hiring maids. They are intended to be assistance, not complete replacements.

Because they are unable to see them as employers, instead they give them overly tough tasks to accomplish, such as cleaning an entire house in one day, and then making them sleep on the Kitchen floor.

Can you imagine working at a job if it treated you like that? We imagine that there are not many jobs in the world that is as tough as that except one: the life of a slave. And of course, there are many stories of slaves rebelling against their cruel masters, often in very violent ways.

Therefore, always remember: the Maids are not your slaves, they are assisted help, employees and sometimes if they’re lucky, they can eventually become as close as a family member. This relationship is a two-way street: if you mistreat your maid, karma will return to punish you, but if you treat them well they will be motivated to work harder for you.

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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Maid Insurance – a Must Have

As of 2010, Employers are required by law to purchase insurance for their maids. He or she must purchase Personal Accident Insurance of at least S$40,000 and maintain a medical insurance with coverage of at least $15,000. If you are lucky, sometimes insurance will already be included in the agency fees for hiring a maid, but this is not always the case.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself “why must I do so? It is too expensive. Insurance is such a waste of money.” However, that is the wrong way to think about things.

One of the big factors behind reasons to purchase insurance for your maids is that the employer is legally required and responsible to foot any medical bills that their maid may incur. As foreign workers, they are not covered by many of Singapore’s concessions to its own citizens.

Therefore, if they run into an unfortunate accident, for example a traffic incident that leaves that hospitalized, the hospital bills can rack up to an alarming rate very quickly. Most people feel the pains when they are paying hospital bills for even their own injuries or injuries of their family. How would it make you feel if you had to fork out an even bigger sum of money because of your maid’s injuries?

There are other advantages to getting maid insurance. For example, you can reclaim most of your $5000 security deposit from the insurance company so long as the accident is not caused by your own negligence. You may also be reimbursed for productivity lost while your maid is recovering or while you find a replacement for the one you just lost.

So don’t take the risk and try to “do without it”, not only is that illegal, life is not unpredictable and nothing is for certain. If you’re caught off-guard by a tragedy without proper preparations in place, you only have yourself to blame as you are the one who has to bear the brunt of the financial burden on you!

We hope these will help you to enabling your maid to clean more efficiently. Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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Cleaning – The Tools of the Trade

A carpenter cannot work without his hammer, his saw and nails. In the same way, a maid cannot clean properly if she does not have the right tools. Not all tools are created equally, of course. You will not use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, and just the same you will not ask your maid to clean the entire house with just some used up rags.

So what are some cleaning tools you should go for in order to maximize efficiency in cleaning? Here are some things you should have in your house:

Vacuum – Noisy they may be but a very convenient tool for sucking up dirt and dust that makes your floor unclean and unhealthy.

Broom and Dustpan – Used for mostly the same reasons as vacuums, however, they offer finer control over the way you sweep the floor as it is not just a full-blown suction of air.

Sponges – If there’s one thing that’s best at soaking up unsightly liquids, it’s sponges. Most useful for soaking up everything from water to spilled soups and sauces, sponges are a tool that’s a must-have in the household.

Towel – For when you need to wet or soak up a huge area of water, there’s no better tool to use than a towel. Best of all, you do not need to specifically buy towels for cleaning – you can easily convert old, unused and unwanted towels for such a purpose!

Toothbrush – When you really need tough, scrubbing of a specific area, sometimes a toothbrush is what you need to do the job. Just like Towels, you can reuse old toothbrush for this purpose, though make sure to separate them from your other toothbrushes that you use for hygiene!

We hope these will help you to enabling your maid to clean more efficiently. Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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Windows – the Deadly Trap

Every year, many maids lose their lives by falling out of the window while cleaning. Indeed, counting from 2010 over 75 maids have lost their lives in such a manner. Such tragedies should not and has not gone unnoticed by people.

Why is this the case? There are many answers. In our modern environment, our living areas are high-rise buildings that are built tall in order to make up for the limited space of Singapore. This means that falls from a window are more lethal – someone could potentially survive a floor from a 2nd story window with serious yet recoverable injuries such as some broken bones, but a fall from the 18th floor is quite likely to kill instead.

And of course, the inexperience of the workers also plays a part. Most of them are unaware of the danger of cleaning windows. Even something like simply standing on your tip-toes while trying to clean the outside may cause you to lose your balance and fall off. Some photographs have been taken of maids literally squatting on the ledge while cleaning like they were Spider-man!

The government has taken some steps to fix the problem. Now, window cleaning is required by law to be overseen by another person (usually the maid’s employer) who will sound out if something is wrong. In addition, windows must have grills installed so as to prevent falling out.

Here are some extra tips we offer you to teach your maid when cleaning windows
- Do not stand on tiptoes, lean out or stand on unstable footing!
- Do not ever exit through the window for any reason.
- Keep a firm foothold on the ground, and use an extendable tool to reach out to clean hard to reach areas on the outside of the window, rather than reaching out.

Remember that as an employer, the responsibility of your maid’s life is on your hands! If your maid loses her life from falling out of the window, you will be charged with criminal neglect with fines of up to $50k and jail time. And of course, you will have a guilty conscience for causing someone to lose their life due to your inattentiveness. Therefore, do not fall into such a trap! A clean window is not worth the loss of a life.

We hope this tips have been useful in keeping your maid safe and sound. Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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The Invisible People – Our domestic workers

Singaporeans have had a history with its foreign, domestic population. In the past, Singapore were made up of many brave folks who took the first leap and set off from their home countries – China, Malaysia, India and so on in order to create a better home. Over time, they decided to settle in the country instead of going home, and thus they become the Singaporeans of today.

So too can you claim that foreign domestic workers of today are just trying to do the same things that our ancestors did. However, it appears that Singaporeans may have forgotten their roots – there is a general strong sense of hostility towards such people. Why is this the case?

Traditionally, our foreign domestic workers have been mostly treated like ‘Invisible People” – we only vaguely realize that they exist through very infrequent contact. Perhaps it is only when we pass a construction site being worked on, when we pass by one of their favoured gathering spots on a weekend or when we go home to order our maids to cook and clean do we realize that they do in fact exist in the country. However, all is forgotten as we retire to our air-conditioned bedrooms to rest and relax with our TVs and computers.

However, times are changing. The “Invisible People” are now appearing to us more and more. Today, more than 40% of Singaporeans are foreign workers, which means that running into one is no longer a significant, “once in a life-time” event. In fact, even people who do not have maids will probably run into one on many days of their lives. This is how common they have become.

Unfortunately, this has triggered a xenophobic reaction in many Singaporean who feel that they are being “squeezed” out of their own countries. However, as you may realize, they are key to our survival. Just on the topic of maids themselves, as most Singaporean households are dual-income, who will remain behind to take care of the kids, clean the house and do such other menial tasks? It is clear that maids have a crucial part to play in our society, allowing us instead to use our education to achieve greater things as we are freed from such tasks.

Therefore, it is time to treat these “invisible people” with the respect they deserve. We are certain this will lead to a better future for all involved.

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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SIP – Settling In Programme – what is it?

Foreign domestic workers (a.k.a Maids) have much to learn when they come to Singapore. It is not simply a matter of whether they are qualified for their job of housekeeping. “Cultural Shock” is a big issue too that can cause severe issues down the road if the maid is unable to cope with the stress of being dropped into a new environment and life that is living in Singapore. What can be done to tackle this issue?

Therefore, in May 1st 2012, the Ministry of Manpower replaced the old “English Entry Test” and “Safety Awareness Course” with the brand new “Settling in Programme (SIP)” This is a mandatory course that will train maids in the following areas

• Introduction to Singapore
• Conditions of employment
• Safety at home
• Safety in other areas
• Relationship and stress management.

This one day programme will orientate the new maid into her working life in Singapore. It features a combination of both theory and practical lessons – combining both lectures, videos and practical exercises so as to better help them with their working life. For example, an extendable wiper will be provided and training will be conducted to teach maids how to properly clean hard to reach areas. This is most likely in direct responses where maids have fallen out of windows while cleaning, leading to a tragedy and their owners being charged for negligence. With such training in place, we expect to see less of such accidents happening.

At the end of the day, maids will have to fill out a questionnaire as a “test” to see if they are walking away with the right lessons from the programme. After all, like they say, it is not helpful to be “present in body but not in spirit”, going to a lesson is useless if you do not learn from it!

The training will cost a mandatory $75 dollars which the employer has to pay. We believe this is a fantastic bargain and will go a long way in ensuring you get the best experience from your maid.

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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Myanmar Maids – Times are changing

Myanmar Maids are a very popular nationality for the purpose of being a maid. Not only are they soft, undemanding and restrained, they are also considered to be very cheap in terms of hiring price.

However, perhaps that is considered their greatest weakness – because they are not paid that well, the Straits Times has reported a rise on the number of Myanmar Maids running away from their employers. Or at least that’s how the theory goes. Indeed, many Myanmar Maids are heavily in debt and most of their pay while working as a maid goes to repaying their loans, earning them only $10 or $20 for personal use in practice.

Because they typically do not know much English, this can contribute to them not being able to cope in Singapore’s fast-paced society if things do not work out their way and they are paired up with demanding employers. Despite the fact that agents are to check that all Myanmar maids are at least 23 years old, there is still an alarming number of underage Myanmar maids who have to work for their living.

However, all is not lost. Indeed, the Singaporean Government is stepping in to attempt to tackle this delicate issue. Myanmar, who once used to consider their maids an “illicit trade”, has thrown their hat in the ring and are legalizing maids in order to draw up rules to protect them. Some of these new rules include

• Myanmar Maids must receive a pay of at least $450 per month.
• They must receive at least 1 off day monthly
• Their recruitment fees must not exceed 4 months of their salary.

However, these rules are currently not enforced as much as they should be. Most Myanmar Maids are sadly untrained for their job, but a new push towards educating them so as to minimize the “culture shock” of working in a new, different environment is being put into place. Therefore, only time will tell whether the plight of maids will improve in the future…

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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Just Communication – what to do if your maid has weak English skills?

Singaporeans are blessed with the requirements of being educated to understand 2 languages in school. This gives them a good lesson in their daily life – one can understand the fear, the frustration that arises when one is unable to talk, to express their feelings due to language barriers.

So it happens that sometimes, maids may not have the best of English ability. After all, they usually come from less-developed countries with less educational background as opposed to most of us. How can you rectify this issue? Here are some suggestions.

Speak in mother tongue: If you’re lucky enough to share the same language with your maid, it might be easier to just simply speak mother tongue to them. In fact, some elderly Singaporeans speak English just as bad or maybe even not at all, so this is the only choice for them. For those who don’t share the same language, it is still a pretty good idea for YOU to pick up some basic sentences – it will definitely make them and their cultural background feel more appreciated.

Teach them English – the high class way: English language courses, even some targeted for maids, is a quick and efficient way to teach maids English that we consider very value for money. The investment will pay off tenfold with improved communication leading to less misunderstanding or misinterpretation and you will have the knowledge of knowing you did a good deed in broadening your maid’s future career.

Teach them English – the homely method: Do note – while English language courses exist and could be a good investment for the both of you, it is not necessary to send them to one. For example, let your maid join in your TV show watching sessions with subtitles turned on! Or perhaps let them read children books to your child when babysitting. This will allow them to learn English while de-stressing at the same time – a win win for both of you!

Go to the Basics: Avoid Singaporean slang or complicated sayings. Sometimes we forget that Singlish is not a universal language, so if your maid is staring at you with a blank look at your face when you told someone to “go fly a kite”, perhaps it is a sign that you might need to return back to basic English for communication.

Looking for the perfect maid to help out with your household chores? Come browse our website today! We’re certain you can find what you need.

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The necessity of Maids in Singapore – privilege or requirement?

There has been a lot of debate over the decision to import 100k maids into Singapore and more recently, people have questioned the necessity of having a maid in Singapore at all. This hot debate will continue to be a talking point for a foreseeable distance: are Maids truly a necessity in this country, or is it a privilege?

The main issue, is of course, the somewhat paradoxical orders handed down by our leaders. As Singapore is suffering from an under/aging population, more people are needed to have children or eventually the population will shrink down to unsustainability. However, cost of living in Singapore is too high! Because of this, both members of a household will usually work for income. But if both parents are working, then who is left to take care of the kids and do household chores?

So this is where maids come in. However, Singapore is not the only country with this problem: as an example, Japan too has similar issues with childbirth and high cost of living. But yet Singapore’s maids are in abundance and even low-mid income families can afford to have them while in Japan and other countries, maids and domestic help are more like Alfred the Butler from Batman: very rare and considered a social symbol of only the wealthy.

So what is it that we think? Maybe you should not look at it as whether it’s a “need” or “privilege”, if you think about it, in life we don’t really “need” a lot of things, just food, water and shelter to live. But some would say a bare minimum life is not one worth living, that’s why we have things like entertainment and leisure.

Instead, think of it as cost-effectiveness: what do you gain with a maid vs what do you lose? Mostly, you lose some of your hard earned pay, but in return you are freed up to pursue a wide variety of hobbies, follow your dreams and tackle what you really want to do, rather than the menial labour of housework. With that in mind, some would consider having a household maid to be a good decision to make.

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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IloIlo – A touching movie about a family and their maid

Recently, we have learned about an interesting movie that we feel captures an important aspect of our lives and tells an interesting story. That movie is named “IloIlo” (Original Chinese name: “Mom and Dad are not at home”), made by Anthony Chen in 2013. The movie was so good it actually won an award during its premiere!

The scenario will seem very familiar to many Singaporean families: in the middle of a financial crisis, the middle-class Lim family, concerning of two parents and their son, hire a new Filipino maid. Because of the crisis, both parents have to leave their rebellious, undisciplined child in the hands of their maid and go to work. Thus this reference the original Chinese name of the movie: both the father and mother are not at home due to work.

At first, Jia Le, the boy is resentful of this and dislikes the new maid Teresa, always making fun of her and being disrespectful. However, eventually they bond together and as it turns out, she becomes like a mother to him. But the story is not yet over! While it was a necessary choice to make due to the nature of the economy, Jia Le’s mother becomes jealous and angry over her son’s stronger bond to the maid than to her – how could he like the maid over his own mother who gave birth to her? This causes a great deal of tension in the family that coupled with the financial crisis, makes things in the house come to a boiling point!
The interesting part is that even as the family is in conflict, none of them are portrayed as “evil” – the kid is not “evil” for being a huge rascal and spoiled brat at the start, he was just not taught properly, and the mother is not evil for getting jealous, it is only natural as the truth that she has neglected her child in favor of money, even though it cannot be helped in the financial crisis. They are all just people with their own unique set of circumstances.

By the end of the movie, the family have developed a strong bond with the maid, she is almost like the 4th member of the family by then, even though she started as a complete stranger! But all good things must come to an end – the maid eventually finishes her contract and goes home, breaking the boy’s heart. We cannot imagine anyone who will not cry at such a heart-rending scene!

We hope that many more people will have this sort of experience with their maid, where they are not a slave or just a worker, but instead become part of the family instead. It is truly happy when instead of simply being a job, the maid and their families are connected through a stronger bond and will stand together in times of trouble!

Looking for qualified, hardworking maids for all your housekeeping needs? Browse our website today to find out more.

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