Singapore’s Maids and Graciousness

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Thank you Mr. Janadas Devan for speaking your mind. Indeed, Singapore remade into a more gracious society – in addition to one more creative and entrepreneurial – would be nice. It’s about time we take a hard look at what we make our maids go through. It’s about time we try and view life from their point of view.

As for Mdm Elena Yee’s enraged response, I counted more than 15 “my”s. Perhaps that is precisely the point. Having a maid is only a necessity if it’s all about “my” story and “my” life. Hopefully we can go beyond that and think also about the life of the maid. Life is, after all, more than just about money and the economy. It’s also about relationships and people. And no, not just “my” relationships or “my” family members. But also that of the maids.

While the answer may not be to totally eradicate our use of foreign maid labour so soon, our government should think hard about the conditions, job scope and wages that maids receive. There is much that can be done in these areas for our maids, assuming the term ‘graciousness’ still has currency in this globalizing and increasingly competitive world.

I particularly liked John Carter’s suggestion of adding value and skills to maids through training them also. We could thus take advantage (in a valid way) of their present skills, while also helping them develop as people and workers. This will show that we are not concerned about merely making the best use of them, but rather we truly want them to develop and experience some of the blessings we have received as a nation.

Such a change in direction in the way we treat our maids is the kind I wish for a remade Singapore.

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