My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Thursday, 26th May 2016.
Every country has a right to protect its citizens from mistreatment.
However, the proposal by the Indonesian government for maids to live separately from their employers will pose challenges (“Indonesia plans to stop sending new live-in maids abroad”; May 18).
For instance, if maids live outside the employers’ homes, such as in a dormitory, they are likely to be exhausted from travelling almost every day.
Given that they will already be tired from the daily household chores, do we want to add further physical strain on them?
On top of that, costs will be sure to go up.
With Myanmar discouraging its citizens from working as maids here, and the new proposal from Indonesia, surely this is a wake-up call for employers here to ensure that their helpers are not overworked and that their welfare is given priority.
A feedback mechanism can be put in place to check whether the maids are happy or unhappy with their employers.
While some employers do not consider the physical and emotional needs of their maids, there are also families that treat their helpers very well – taking them out for meals and giving them a day off on Sundays.
There should be an option for domestic workers who are satisfied with their employers to live in their employers’ homes (“Living with employer cuts costs” by Miss Dumiyati Sidup; yesterday).
In addition, perhaps female retirees here who are considering a second career could be trained as domestic helpers to support families, since the Government is trying to encourage women to get back into the workforce.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
Footnote: During the early days in Singapore when the Kampung spirit was very much alive, couples who procreate could depend on their parents or grandparents to take care of their children. Today that era is gone - with both husband & wife having to work to meet the rising costs of living. We have to see the storm coming ahead and plan proactively for what will happen if on day maids whom parents are heavy dependent on to care for their kids, will one day not want to come and work here? Then, career mothers will have to give up their jobs and mind the children. That means we are back to square one, where instead of women joining the workforce, they will leave it.
As an active citizen who loves my country, I will continue to come up with pragmatic solutions to help the government coz they will not be able to solve all problems. Whether it is marriage, mental health issues, the elderly, political and other social problems, I have given practical ideas/solutions for the love of my countrymen. So I hope my efforts will be appreciated.
In one of my press letters, I suggested that to prevent more MRT train breakdowns, the MOT, LTA and the SMRT should trim down the number of services at certain periods at different locations in anticipation that over usage will cripple the whole MRT systems one day. It has now been implemented as I had the courage & conviction to speak out. At least, if suggestions by the ordinary citizens are workable, credit them.
"Trains need a break too, as humans do"- Press letter to MediaCorp's TODAY Newspaper
by Raymond Anthony Fernando