The Maid Trade

Here’s a video that I recently found on youtube definitely worth watching especially if you grew up with a maid in your household. 

A friend once described his impression of Singapore to me as a first-world country with a third-world mentality. Old values and mentalities still persist stubbornly despite rapid modernization in many aspects of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in many Singaporeans’ perception of foreign workers from poorer neighboring countries. 

Apart from deaths from high rise apartment buildings, we share eerily similar issues with foreign workers in Brunei. I’m sure most of us are guilty of a less than dignified opinion of the numerous foreign workers in Brunei. It’s a mentality deeply engrained from young, reinforced in almost all aspects of life, from the amah that prepares all your meals and cleans up after all your mess, to the kulikangs that built your house, school and shopping mall employed at rock-bottom wages. And in my opinion, it’s a mentality that will continue to persist indefinitely. 


Indonesian maids in 'training camp

Indonesian maids in 'training camp' prior to being sent to work for their employers.


I particularly liked that the documentary interviewed the maids though it is a pity that no one bothered to translate the Indonesian maids’ interview to English for the wider audience. The scene in the training house for maids was disturbing to watch, and I am amazed that the maid agency did not object to it being filmed. Perhaps they too find the employer’s demand appalling (particularly locking them up in the house!) and allowing a glimpse into the harsh lives that these maids have is a small way of helping to raise awareness on an issue that is so often swept under the rug.


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