Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What is the ideal way to treat a working maid in the house?

Quite recently I was staying in my second son's home for a week. Because both him and his wife were working, they employed a foreign maid to take care of the house. While I was staying there, I noticed the maid didn't look happy and seldom had a chance to speak her mind. Though she has a tiny room for herself, she wasn't given a radio or a TV for listening or viewing. There is no off day and she has to work from early morning till the late evening. The only time when she could see the outer world, was when she accompanied the family out during the weekends. Under such working conditions, I doubt she would have the heart to work sincerely and willingly. Not forgetting her working contract is for two years, when she could not see her family back home.

There was that day when we were having a dinner in the house, I saw the maid wasn't eating together with us. I asked my son why the maid wasn't joining us on the table. Immediately my brother in law who happened to be around chipped into my question. He explained maid should not be eating together with the family. He claimed maid would not be comfortable eating side by side with us. She has her own place to eat behind. I was so saddened by these remarks. Without the master of the house permission, I invited their maid to come and join us over the table. I spoke gently with a friendly gesture towards the timid maid who took my invitation happily. Over the meal I joked and made her feel comfortable. She was given the chance to speak and share her thought to all of us. I could see her smiling the first time. No one should be denial a chance to have a happy meal.

On the final day before I left my son's house, I was fully satisfied with the maid's assistance rendered to me. She cleaned my bed, washed my clothing and packed my belongings. Before I left, I gave her a small tip of 50 dollars which she reluctantly took. I could see her smiling again. However my in law wasn't happy with my action, she complained that I was spoiling and pampering the maid too much. To her she said employer has to be firm and strict to all working maids. Otherwise they would take advantage on their employers in the long run.

Whether she is right or wrong and as far as I'm concerned, I prefer to use my heart to touch another person's heart for a better understanding and feeling for each other. This special feeling include working maids too because after all they are human beings just like us. Would appreciate, if someone out there reading this article could enlighten me a bit more!

Food for thought -
"Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can." ~ Unknown


Wan said...

Hi Robert,
I totally agree with you.
I always believe that our maid will treat us, just like how we treat them.
For your info, we have 3 maids here for our BIG family.
It is very disheartening to see how my in-laws treat them.
I can't say much since I don't employ them.
All I can do is to smile to them, hoping to brighten up their day and buy them special food occasionally.
KFC, nasi lemak, ice-cream are all special to them as they don't get to have them so often...
Did you notice yesterday's article on how a maid resscue her employer? I believe the employer must be treating her as part of her family, otherwise sshe wouldd not had sacrifice herself in the attack.
Anyway, lets work for a better world....
Best Regards,

Robert Foo said...

Hi Wan,

I'm too pleased to read your comment, knowing friends out there who think and feel like me.

Yes! I read from our local news how a maid who saved her lady's boss from a naked man who was trying to attack her. The maid almost got herself kill. I'm sure the boss must had treated her like a friend while on employment.

Yes! Lets work for a better world.
Thank you once again for your kind words.

雅雅和茶媽媽 said...

Hi, Robert. I can't agree more with you.
You are right, we should treat maid indifferent as they are human as us.
Sometimes when I see the way some of the "master" treat their maid, make me feel uncomfortable.
One of my friend insisted her maid must acknowledge her properly "Madam" and shouldn't be given any freedom, as she said, they are maid so must treat them in the "maid" way. Personally I think she is "mad" instead. I figure that's the reason she could not keep her maid long -- all terminated before contracts end.

Another friend of mine treat her maid like a friend. She let her maid listen to radio, watch TV if she finishes her work. Whenever she has a new hobby, she got her maid to join in - baking, sewing, etc. Her maid is a very smart girl, and now her baking and cooking skill is much better than my friend, and she sew a few pants and dress for my friend too. Because my friend's maid willing to learn, my friend brought a sewing machine for her! Can you imagine? I like to talk to her maid when I went to her house, as she is always cheerful and happy. The maid has been following her for 7 years now.

Another ex-colleague (Malay in Singapore) even sent her maid to computer class when she expressed her interest. And this graduated maid wrote very good Malay poem and she got a prize in a radio station -- all these were with help of her employer, my ex-colleague.

The word "maid" itself is not fair. No one should be called "maid". It sounds like "slave" to me. There is no "maid“ concept in Australia. If you need a hand, the person is called "domestic manager” or "domestic helper".

Robert Foo said...

Hi Princess Yaya,

Didn't know a young Princess could comment so well. Your photo posting seems like a little girl but the writing is definitely a much mature lady. Your face shows intelligence and brightness with sweetness all round. I'm sure you are a loving person with a warm heart. Too glad to see you visiting my site here. Thank you for the comment.

Alvin said...

Hi Robert,

God is so good to me. I found your blog just a week ago and found it very interesting and useful. I appreciate your blog as I learned from a wiser man.

I believe the best way to treat a maid is to treat them with respect & love. I agree with you for I know you have a kind heart. We use to have a maid to help us in our daily chores. We eat together and explain further what we need and expectations of her. We talk to her like a friend and shares stories.We told her if she has problem, she can tell us and we are willing to help her as we treated her as a family. We discuss her in the way she will not be offended the things that we do not like with her and advice the things we want her to improve. We easily give good remarks to motivate and inspire her. Any human has a kindness in his heart so they will show it you the way you show it to them. I still do believe in the saying, " Do unto others what you would want them to do to you." regards, Alvin

Robert Foo said...

Hi Alvin,

My elderest son is also called Alvin who is kind and warm hearted. Perhaps all Alvins are the same. BUT... he is cheeky and naughty like his dad.

Too glad to read your comment with such heartful thoughts for others. Not many think like us. Thank you for visiting my blog son.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you for reading my post