Domestic helpers have been making the news in Singapore. But for the wrong reasons. In June 2016, a domestic helper was arrested after her employer was found dead in their house at Telok Kurau.
This follows a string of other high profile cases of maid violence in recent years:
- In May 2016, a 30 year old Indonesian maid was arrested after her employer’s 1 year old daughter was found strangled
- In Mar 2014, socialite Nancy Gan Wan Geok was murdered by her 20 year old Indonesian maid
- In Mar 2014, 87 year old Madam Yong Wan Lan was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors by her 25 year old maid from Myanmar
- In Jan 2014, 77 year old Madam Aandi Abdul Rahman Rasheeda Begam was smothered in her sleep by her 24 year old Indonesian helper
- In Nov 2013, 16 year old Shameera Basha Noor Basha was strangled to death by the family’s 30 year old Indonesian maid
There seems to be an increase in the number of violent incidents involving domestic helpers. We took to the streets to ask people if they’d still hire maids in future.
“Yes. It’s scary, a maid just strangled a child and now, murder. But I’ll still hire them because both my husband and I work and we have young children. We need the help, but I’ll try to be extra nice to them.”
Valerie Teo, Businesswoman – Household employs 2 maids
“No. The maid these days are just so different and unpredictable. You hardly find good ones who are willing to work for you for a long time anymore. My husband and I are retired and our children are all working. So we might consider getting a part time maid.”
Maureen Ho, retiree
“Yes. Just don’t mistreat your helper and everything will be fine.”
Chua Ching, Banker – Household employs 1 maid
“No. We’ve changed 3 maids within the span of a year. They either complain the workload is too heavy or are unhappy if we teach them how to do things our way. Then they’ll ask to leave or ask for a transfer. It’s too frustrating. Since we’re semi retired I think we’ll handle it on our own.”
Francis Bay, Businessman
“No, if my current maid leaves. I have young children and it really scares me what they might do to our children. You don’t know who you’re inviting into your home. I’ll ask my in-laws to help or apply for flexible work arrangement.”
Jasmine Tan, Manager – Household employs 1 maid
“Yes. Only the bad ones make the news. If you treat them well you have nothing to fear.”
Chen Bao Ling, Sales Executive – Household employs 1 maid
Sentiments seem mixed. Perhaps there should be some form of orientation to educate domestic helpers about the help available to them (like Centre for Domestic Employees and Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics) so if they do face difficulties and stress, they have somewhere to turn to instead of cracking under pressure and committing a heinous crime.