In recent years, cases of abuse or ill-treatment towards domestic servant have been on a rapid rise. As such, a concerned citizen named Neo Poh Goon penned a letter to the Straits Times (ST) highlighting how kids are badly treating their maids because they observed and earned it from their parents.
He started his letter by referring to a previous article by ST titled “Does boss’ son have the right to scold the maid?” which reveals that kids are imitating their parents by uttering offensive words to their maids.
“The hurtful and heart-wrenching words that were used by the six-year-old toddler – “Aunty stupid, aunty bad, aunty die” – were probable not understood by him. Those words were clearly uttered by some adults in the house regularly enough for the child to pick up and use them,” he stated.
Hence, Mr. Neo feels that the blame for the child’s behaviour should solely fall on the mother or other adults in the household.
He went on further to explain that most maids that work in Singapore come from poorer countries, where they have to leave their families behind in order to earn a few hundred dollars each month so that their family back in their home countries may have a better life.
As such, he feels that they don’t deserve to be treated this way.
As someone whose family has had a maid for the past two decades, Mr. Neo’s family always give her hongboa on her birthday and Hari Raya. If that is not enough, the maid also receives hongbao from them and their relatives during Chinese New Year.
“For us, that is just one way of showing our appreciation to her. A maid may come from a poorer country and less educated that us, but that does not make her any less of a human being,” he concluded.
Upon reading his letter, many netizens couldn’t agree more with Mr. Neo’s point deel that maids should be treated equally like any of us.
Facebook user Yono Bino opined that there is a bigger socio-economic issue that should be addressed.
On the other hand, J SP Filmer shared how his maid knows a domestic worker who wasn’t given her salary so she can send back the money to her son. He also heard stories of maids being under fed and even his maid was told by her agent back home that “not to expect much food as Singaporeans are very uptight/stingy about it”. He further noted that maids are mentally prepared before they’re sent to Singapore. “I feel sad when I hear this because this is the impression they have of us, and surely they feel fear when coming to work here, but have to do so because of their own circumstances. It appears that we are a cruel people, and our humanity needs to be assessed. So beneath the veneer of a beautiful country built from nothing, public institutions that work, wealth in business, we have a lot to ponder about,” he concluded.