Jun 28, 2009

What a maid-ful of problems

The ban by the Indonesian government to ‘export’ its maids to work in Malaysia seems to have put many families in a quandary as if they cannot live without them. The ban which is being triggered by the many reports of maid abuses by the employers has lased out a cry for justice by our Indonesian counterpart.

While we cannot deny that there are indeed cases of maid abuses, there are also many cases whereby the maids are causing havoc to the employers’ families with some in the brink of breaking-up. There have been many reported cases of thefts, violent abuses against children and the elderly which are equally inhumane committed by the maids. And the most shocking is the resorting to the use of hocus-pocus by some maids to cast spells on the employers by cooking foods with panties that are tainted with menstrual blood!

Despite these incidents, why then are some people seemed so helpless without them? How can the parents go to work with a piece of mind by leaving the children under the care of a total ‘stranger’ in the house? Can’t they talk to the in-laws, sisters, relatives or friends to look after the children (with salary of course)? Why can’t they seek the services of the many local babysitters or daycare centers in their vicinity?

The main reason given by the working families is the essence of time. Because they are working, they do not have the luxury of time to do household chores and by the time they got home, most probably they would be sapped of energy. Although I do agree this reasoning in general, my concern is still the well-being and safety of the children, which should be of paramount importance above all else. As for the household work, I suggest they get a local who can be engaged on a one or two day per week work basis.

Another reason which is not usually revealed is the fundamental use of economic: ROI (return of investment).

With the same amount of money paid to the local babysitter, one can use the maid to baby-sit and do all the household chores like washing clothes, car and cooking. And once the maid has finished the house work, she will be taken to the shop for further work which most probably will save the employer another worker’s salary. In some instances, the maid is even 'loaned' to the employer's siblings or relatives. With such a wonderful ‘product’ that is of multiple uses, reusable and transferable, it is any wonder why they are in great demand?

When one is confronted with constraints, where options are limited and pushed to a corner, then one needs to change and adapt to survive either in politics or business.

And in this case, adapt and change to solve this maid-ful of problems.

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