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What's with the live-in maids?!

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marc.favroo
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What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby marc.favroo » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 5:28 am

Hello guys,

I moved to SIngapore a little more than a month ago from Europe (UK in particular)...I find it shocking how difficult it is to get someone to clean your home every now and again...I noticed that I need to hire someone to live in my apartment - I find this to be such a strange thing coming from Europe? Does anyone else feel like this is strange (it has such a slave-y vibe to it)? Is it just me being European and not used to the Singaporean ways?

The alternative of hiring an agency and paying fees is just silly...If anyone can recommend a part-time cleaner please do via private message...Needless to say I dont want to work with anyone who can't be working inthe country....

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 7:29 am

You have two choices. Employ a part time person who is legal to work in Singapore, ie, a citizen or PR, or you employ a full time foreign maid... must live in your house, and you must meet minimum requirements regarding salary, insurance, repatriation, and payments to the government.

Nothing 'silly'... it's the way foreign maids work here and in many other places.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 10:23 am

marc.favroo wrote:Hello guys,

I moved to SIngapore a little more than a month ago from Europe (UK in particular)...I find it shocking how difficult it is to get someone to clean your home every now and again...I noticed that I need to hire someone to live in my apartment - I find this to be such a strange thing coming from Europe? Does anyone else feel like this is strange (it has such a slave-y vibe to it)? Is it just me being European and not used to the Singaporean ways?


Finding a part time maid is the easy part. Finding one that properly and reliably cleans your place is close to impossible.

As of the enslaved-living-in vibe, to give you a better idea what Singapore is about, just consider this: comparing to Europe, the market for dishwashers (the machines) practically doesn't exist.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 11:33 am

marc.favroo wrote: Is it just me being European and not used to the Singaporean ways?



This Singaporean way is a relatively new phenomenon, which started about two decades ago. Before that, only the wealthy can afford domestic maids and the maids were locals who only work during the day and go back to their families at the end of the day. My mom had worked as a maid before her marriage. It was with a wealthy family who treated her very well. It was not a lived-in position and she would go back home each day after work. I grew up with huge extended families and some chores were outsourced due to sheer volume of work because of the large households involved e.g. ironing, laundary, cooking. All done by three different helpers. The former two were part time whereas cooking for large group of people was a full time job. None of the helpers were lived-in. They were locals.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:11 pm

I doubt this is a 20yo phenomenon and also I doubt it has anything to do with the chores in a sense of working so hard some extra help is needed. It is because Singapore is a wealthy society and the maids are cheap. That's about it. All what came later is a consequence of this so the society adapted (mentally and logistically) to the fact that the maids are an integrated part of the society.

For example, kindergartens and such have impossible (as of European standards) working hours because the maids are here to bring the children in and out at any time while the parents are working. For that reason there are also not that many any good quality pt-maids - they are just too expensive for what their offer and this the pt-maids' market.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:21 pm

20 year old phenomenon referring to lived-in foreign maids. Before there it was mostly locals who do that job and they are not lived-ins. I also wonder when did the govt start putting in place the legal framework to make it possible to monitor the large group of FDW? When did it hit critical mass?

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:28 pm

During my time, many of us take the school bus home in elementary school. And then come Secondary school, we would take the public bus (now SG has trains). Not that common to have family members pick up the kids from school. And I am not sure about the percentage of latchkey kids. I would imagine there would be more stay-home moms in those days.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:40 pm

I arrived here ca 15y ago and the l-in maids were already at that time a standard. A bit hard to believe this whole revolution happened over the preceding 5ys? Don't know.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:51 pm

x9200 wrote:It is because Singapore is a wealthy society and the maids are cheap.


People have this view that SG is a wealthy country, including my hubby. But if you live within the heartlands, you will find that many are trying to make ends meet. SG has one of the lowest wage amongst developed / developing countries. Recently, president Tony Tan remarked that he was surprised at the high level of poverty rate in SG. It is hard to arrive at a number. Around 30 %? Added to the fact there is not much of social net provided by the govt. One has to save hard on their CPF. And set aside additional savings to ensure a decent retirement. In the news, I constantly read about the elderly poor who had to struggle just to have food. One would see many elderly cleaners at the hawker centers, karang kuni, peddlars selling magazines and such, or people looking for scrape materials.......

So for me, Singapore is not a rosily wealthy country. All that glitz and glamour in downtown and affluent areas camoflage the poverty that is not uncommon.

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singa ... xtor=CS1-2

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 1:27 pm

You took it out of context. It is a wealthy country for the cost of the maid. If it was not the case why there are so many maids around? And how many, maybe you could provide that number?

Please, I am an European living already long time in SG and I am with a kid with no l-in maid and where all the adult members of the family work full time so please reconsider if you want again use the daily chore as an argument. In Europe all the adults working full time and with kids is a standard and often they even don't have a part time maid. Why it is possible there while not on Singapore? Convenience and willingness to accept trade-off with your privacy and again ability to effort.

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 2:28 pm

In lot of case , both parents need to work to pay for this and that, and most local mummies save just over 1,000+ $, after maid salary, levy svc expenses.

But for a lot, 1,000+ $ is a lot of money, money they will lose if there is no maid to take care of kids and do house work.

Don't forget the cpf contribution that also builds, plus the minimum sum etc and most middle class Singaporeans are on a never ending rat race.

And I know enough local friends who are in that bracket.

Are most Singaporeans wealthy to have a maid ? Nope, it's a necessity. And it's not due to "cheap labour " ...

If the source dries up, most working mothers will give up their job.

If you know how much most admin, reception and the likes of staff earn you will know what I wrote

And the few exceptions I know of no maids are when kids are grown up or elder kids taking care of younger ones ..or ... when the husband earns enough.

Even for the last case, a lot of local women don't want to be stay home mother,.and become unemployable when there is a big gap in employment, and larger the gap, fewer the responses when looking for jobs.

And in the last 20 years, admin, sales and such jobs pay hasn't gone up much. Just browse the offered salary for sales assistants, admin and waiters, most don't even reach 2,000 $.

Lastly, even for high earning husbands the threat of termination minus gratuity is a constant worry. And Singapore has no dole and such ... plus employers just need to give a month salary to fire staff, regardless of duration of employment.. I am sure you know all this ....

Ps, statistics to support what I wrote ? Make more local middle class friends, you will agree with me. Or as I said browse local ads for low level jobs....

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Re: RE: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 3:59 pm

marc.favroo wrote:Does anyone else feel like this is strange (it has such a slave-y vibe to it)? Is it just me being European and not used to the Singaporean ways?


Feels strange, because, minus the strict laws, if Singapore allowed freelance maids or didn't enforce strict monitoring, just from Malaysia alone, a 100,000 + will bus in to do part time work and run back by evening, sans paperwork or legal obligations, never mind the millions who come here as tourist, from poorer ASEAN countries ... will find visiting Singapore as a tourist is very profitable.....

Singapore has rules in place to prevent abuse. Though some laws may seem drastic like using a sledge hammer to kill an ant....

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 4:23 pm

The maid industry was already in full swing when I arrived here 33 years ago. It's not a new thing but it has gotten more widespread among the locals not so much as they really need them but more a case of keeping up with the Lee's much like the "keeping up with the Jones'" in my country. It's also why cars are traded in every couple of years or so, not because the cars are worn out by any means. Depends on the familly size and the face value of the car/maid (or combination of both - maid out washing the merc at 6:30 am EVERY morning but still living in an HDB flat. My wife & I had a maid once when my daughter was an infant because I worked offshore and she was an entertainer so work every night till 2 or 3 in the morning by the time she reached home. Therefore it was necessary to have somebody there (mother couldn't as she also was taking care of a G.Daughter in her home as well. As so as we could we got rid of her and have never had one since (although we are debating on it now as both my wife and her mother are in poor health).

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Re: RE: Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 4:47 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The maid industry was already in full swing when I arrived here 33 years ago. It's not a new thing but it has gotten more widespread among the locals ...


Back home, in the 80s maids rarely came to SG,mostly it was to middle east or Cyprus

But I do agree that the main thing isn't new

As for having a maid as status symbol... no comments ;)

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Re: What's with the live-in maids?!

Postby x9200 » Sun, 26 Jul 2015 4:57 pm

ecureilx wrote:In lot of case , both parents need to work to pay for this and that, and most local mummies save just over 1,000+ $, after maid salary, levy svc expenses.

But for a lot, 1,000+ $ is a lot of money, money they will lose if there is no maid to take care of kids and do house work.

Don't forget the cpf contribution that also builds, plus the minimum sum etc and most middle class Singaporeans are on a never ending rat race.

And I know enough local friends who are in that bracket.

Are most Singaporeans wealthy to have a maid ? Nope, it's a necessity. And it's not due to "cheap labour " ...

If the source dries up, most working mothers will give up their job.

If you know how much most admin, reception and the likes of staff earn you will know what I wrote

And the few exceptions I know of no maids are when kids are grown up or elder kids taking care of younger ones ..or ... when the husband earns enough.

Even for the last case, a lot of local women don't want to be stay home mother,.and become unemployable when there is a big gap in employment, and larger the gap, fewer the responses when looking for jobs.

And in the last 20 years, admin, sales and such jobs pay hasn't gone up much. Just browse the offered salary for sales assistants, admin and waiters, most don't even reach 2,000 $.

Lastly, even for high earning husbands the threat of termination minus gratuity is a constant worry. And Singapore has no dole and such ... plus employers just need to give a month salary to fire staff, regardless of duration of employment.. I am sure you know all this ....

Ps, statistics to support what I wrote ? Make more local middle class friends, you will agree with me. Or as I said browse local ads for low level jobs....

Please, read my post, I said, in Europe, both parents very often work full time and they don't need maid. Why oh why Singaporeans do need one?


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