Monday, August 29, 2011

Alternative Maid Solution

Today's headline HERE screamed at all families who depend on maids to solve their child and parent care problem. Many families who need maids have come to this conclusion: maids are a necessary pain and must be sent home as soon as they are no longer needed. The dilemma is there are so many problematic maids that questions are raised if it is worth spending so much money and still face the same problems and more. A report from Singapore that a maid mixed her menstrual blood in a soup she cooked for her employer because she was angry for being disallowed to use the telephone raises the question of why we allow total strangers to put our health and safety at risk. How can anyone tolerate having such mentally sick people in his own home and worrying over the harm she can cause? No wonder so many homes are fitted with CCTVs not so much as to record burglaries but to catch their maids doing mischief or abusing the babies or bedridden patient. Some even put charm amulets or burn incense to cast spells on the family members. Or use wash water from their panties to make beverage drinks for their male bosses and cook food. This is sooo sickening! It is definitely advisable to stop depending on maids and consider alternative solutions.

If we look abroad at how many developed countries manage similar problems we find an established child care and senior care institutions in place, run both by the governments and private enterprises to cater to such needs. Children are sent to the daycare and disabled parents to senior or nursing homes. They don't employ maids. Asian cultures still want families to stay intact and at home rather than be cared away. Asians must move away from the mindset that putting their old parents who cannot care for themselves in a senior home is unloving or unfilial. It is worst to leave them at home at risk to themselves. But such parents themselves must cooperate and understand such options are for their overall good. My 86 year old mother insisted on living alone with a live-in caregiver. Maid is out of question as she can steal and bolt when opportunity arises. She will surely bully the old lady. My mother was fortunate she found an 80 year old companion who just provide paid companionship but not the housecleaning. However this may just be a temporary solution. She is adamant that she wont live in a senior home and this makes it difficult for us children who live far away. Senior home is the best answer if well managed and hygienic as it provide everything from security, meals, medicare, social life and laundry service! Maids who work there are under 24 hours supervision and unlikely to hurt the residents.

Likewise babies and toddlers in a well managed nursery grow up in a healthy social environment. In Malaysia we do not have enough such care centers in place that are professionally run and trusted for families to turn to. Surely they have been proven to work elsewhere so can also work here. It is up to both the government and private sectors to grow this essential service industry to full bloom so that we can stop bringing in dubious foreign maids who generate more problems than solve them. Plus Malaysian houses are designed without rooms for maids who are usually boarded inside utility or store rooms.

It is time property developers be required to set aside land and space for mandatory creches and nursing homes. We need them as much as places for worship and for burials.

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