Saturday, June 27, 2009

Do we really need maid?

Title: Do we really need maid?
Of course we do, majority of us would say so, to do our household chores that we loath and too lazy to do ourselves, and free our precious time so that we can go shopping and do other things.

When we were young, we loath to do housework, be it making up bed in the morning, doing dishes after breakfast, and dinner or cleaning up around the house. Our parent indulged us, on the excuse that we need our precious time to study. We never change, when we are adult, we continue to loath housework, preferring instead to work and earn more money, or going out with friends etc.
These are just a few excuses; of course we could find a thousand other excuses under the stars. There are some legitimate excuses too, especially if we have many young children and some invalids in the household. But do we have to call our home helper as “maid”? The word maid give an image of someone of lower social status, whose presence is at the “beck and call” of the master and mistress of the house, and whose purpose is to serve “someone above” her.
This description reminds me of the old days when rich American households in the South have slaves, and rich gentry in the old Europe employ maids. We have read about rich Arabs in the Gulf countries mistreating their maids, not that we are any better.
I applaud the government for legislating a law that requires the maids be allowed one day off a week. But that is hardly enough, we should treat home helper “maid” just like any other workers in the country. They should get fair treatment in other aspects as well, hourly wages, SOCSO, contribution to EPF and insurance among others.
Above all, workers should get at least a livable minimum wages. It’s a shame that Malaysian Government has been dragging its feet on minimum wages. We still don’t have minimum wages law, recession and competitiveness has always been the excuse.

Treat the maids fairly, ie like any other Malaysian workers with full entitlement to minimum wages, insurance, SOCSO and EPF then we would eliminate the need to import foreign maids.

Indonesia acts in maid abuse row
By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta

Some Indonesian workers have fled to a shelter at their embassy in Malaysia
Indonesia says it will temporarily stop sending domestic workers to Malaysia, after a meeting with Malaysian officials in Jakarta.
It is the latest move in a long-running row between the two countries over the treatment of Indonesia's migrant workers by Malaysian employers.
Labour groups have been pressing for better treatment of Indonesia's maids and other workers in Malaysia.
More than a million Indonesians work in Malaysia, most as maids or labourers.
Indonesia has been debating whether to temporarily halt the flow of its domestic helpers to Malaysia ever since pictures of abused Indonesian maids started appearing in newspapers here.
One case in particular has repeatedly made the headlines - that of Indonesian domestic worker Siti Hajar.
Photos of her scarred body have been broadcast on TV channels recently, after she was reportedly tortured by her Malaysian female employer for three years.
Little protection
Hers is not an isolated case. There have been a number of high-profile cases of Indonesian maids reportedly abused in Malaysia over the last few years.
Indonesia's labour minister Erman Suparno says that from Friday, Indonesia will temporarily suspend sending domestic workers to Malaysia to work, until a meeting takes place between the two nations next month.
Malaysia is home to over one million documented Indonesian workers. Most of them are employed as maids or construction workers and often receive meagre wages for their long hours.

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