Amidst the shiny condos, fancy cars, lush green parks, and super-sized swimming pools,; she roams alone. She is the maid in
The government, as with everything else, stipulates working conditions like days of leave. Occasionally, one does hear about abuse stories which can sometimes be quite bizarre (One employer had dipped her maid’s finger in boiling oil); but life may have been much harsher (physically) back home.
The maids are usually hired through agencies. The agencies publish the profiles of their women, sometimes grading them under various skill categories. In the agent’s showroom (office); the maids seeking employment are made to wear badges and sometimes uniform. The prospective employers come to the agency, inspect the catalogue and after a few words take home one of them.
I wonder how the Singapore maid feel; a poor among all the wealth around; living in the house of an alien employer; with most of the time spent among dogs and babies, neither of which can talk her language. How does she feel when she has to turn off the AC when only she is in the house? How does it feel to serve food on that expensive Gautier dining table while herself crouching, has to finish her dinner with shame? How does it feel to iron the expensive clothes of the employer's child while her own child wears rags back home? Maids worldwide have similar fates. But in places like Mumbai, they live in a community of people of similar profile and there is some consolation. In places like Singapore, she has to live in a small room dirtier than the room that houses the washing machine. But then of course, time heals.