Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Unending Maid Problems

The last time I blogged about maids was just over a year ago. We were maid less until November when we employed a middle age Cambodian maid after tossing between getting an Indonesian or a Cambodian (an interesting comparison HERE). We were then in a period when maids were in short supply with the Indonesian government temporarily suspending their maids from leaving for Malaysia until certain contentious issues are settled between the two governments. Huge demands for Cambodian maids resulted in many unsuitable maids arriving our shore. The biggest headache was communication, followed by inability to carry out fundamental household chores. Our maid unfortunately suffered from both shortcomings and the six probation months were unhappy period for both sides. She eventually opted to leave as the working relationship fail to work out. In hindsight I feel the maid was unaware of her responsibilities and the agency failed to warn her of the expectations. She needed the job and we needed house help. It was a simple demand and supply situation that was mismatched. Early May when she left there was relief although we had to adjust to life without maid which we agree was better. I observe less tension at home without harsh words spoken to the maid for badly done work.

Today the grandchildren are more manageable and in time they will be more independent. Our responsibilities will change with time. Instead of making sure they are safe, eat their food and are properly bathed, our future roles will be to teach and guide them as home teachers. There is no need for live-in maids unless there is an invalid family member. I believe we should wean ourselves off over dependence on maids and look for alternative solutions. We never had maids before when I was growing up, family members chipped in to do their share of house work.

In THIS report some 18,000 maids ran away from homes last year. This represents an average of 50 daily and to where did they disappear to? Probably as illegal house cleaners as there were growing demands for them. Many of them may even marry locals of the same religion and get assimilated.

Runaway maids, underperforming maids, abusive maids, lying, stealing and cheating maids will continue to frustrate and haunt young families who genuinely need maid helps. These problem require more than just changing them. Unless we are willing to make sacrifices and think creatively to solve our maids problems they will become bigger thorns in our homes and society. What baffles me is the developed nations are less dependent on domestic maids. What can we learn from them? Are we willing to adjust and accommodate?

Posted from Regalodge, Ipoh.


Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,yes its a headache the problems with maids,but you are right as i wondered how our parents coped when we were young,my parents never had a maid and we got along just fine,but i realised times have change but still we can adjust and accomodate to the situation.God Bless and regards fr AL MAL.

Peter Yew said...

Al, perhaps they were not wealthy enough, or it wasn't in fashion, or maids were hard to come by, especially foreign ones. But for sure the rich have servants and nannies. Malaysians discovered they can enjoy local orang putih status and went all out or it. We must have the highest per capita maid per family ratio in the world!

Have a good start to the week. Best regards, Peter.


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