do expats typically have live-in maids?

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 6:39 pm

Zeenit wrote: I wonder how expats would like to live in the "maids space" Nice but small......I would not keep my pets in them and in Eurpore it would be illegal for yoru animals.
Zeenit,

You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. I've had this discussion time and time again both here and on the Angry Board. Due some searching of the thread to see what I mean.....

[begin rant]

A windowless room IS NOT "A MAIDS ROOM". It might have been marketed by the local real estate agent that was in order to make a commission, but no developer that I've ever met nor any set of architect's plans I've ever seen in 26 years here have ever shown a blueprint with a windowless "maid" quarters/bedroom. Matter of fact I've never seen one with a "maid's room" at all. They're all either Bedrooms or Master Bedrooms. EOS.

What these "so-called" maids rooms are usually found out to be are "Storage cum Bomb Shelters" or the Utility room usually found just off the kitchen. This is why it's sooooo hard to find a "maids" bed to fit in the spaces. This lead to custom build bed frames and cheap foam mattresses as "real" mattresses aren't made that short.

Anybody who thinks otherwise, I would advise them to live a month in the space before making someone else live there.

Of course the retort is "my maid is happy there". Of course she is, she still has a job and isn't going to do anything to rock the boat unless she is otherwise physically manhandled or starved. Some here in Singapore used to make them sleep on a pallet on the kitchen floor. (true enough!). That's not so common anymore, but to shove them in an airless closet (and that is what the utility room and bomb shelter are) is inhumane. But as I said, they won't complain because they understand the mentality of the majority here before they get here. Not all here are like that fortunately, but a heavy majority still are. The suffering they undergo in their quest to support their families back home allows them to withstand more base treatment than most of us will ever have to endure. I salute them.

[end rant]

Zeenit, at least we are on the same wavelength.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by QRM » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 6:42 pm

No need to apologies it's your views and that's what the forum is all about.

When I first arrived here I had problems with having a caddy follow me around the golf course carrying my bag, especially if she is a 50kg granny, let alone someone living with me in the same house.

But once you get the hang of it you realize you cant live without it.

Same with our driver, I used to think only fat cat knobs would turn up with a driver, but having done the sums it works out cheaper to have a driver for a few years here then buying a second car.

Now we question how we will ever be able to return to the UK, where we have to drive and find parking, wash our own dishes, and even pack our own bags at the supermarket.

When in Rome do as the Romans do.. its a rare opportunity to be able to have a life like this so get the most of it, with the current financial crisis who knows how long it will last. :cry:

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 20 Sep 2008 11:26 pm

QRM,

I was okay with your post until the last paragraph.

So if the Romans mistreat other human beings, then it's okay to do the same? Nah. But I do agree with you inasmuch as it's only my morals & my opinion. I'd never make someone live somewhere that I wouldn't live myself. :wink:

Affording a maid, a driver, a caddie? Different set of circumstances I'd say. All three are Singaporeans who probably already have a home & family to return to every night. Bit different I think.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by road.not.taken » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 7:17 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Zeenit wrote: I wonder how expats would like to live in the "maids space" Nice but small......I would not keep my pets in them and in Eurpore it would be illegal for yoru animals.
Zeenit,

You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. I've had this discussion time and time again both here and on the Angry Board. Due some searching of the thread to see what I mean.....

[begin rant]

A windowless room IS NOT "A MAIDS ROOM". It might have been marketed by the local real estate agent that was in order to make a commission, but no developer that I've ever met nor any set of architect's plans I've ever seen in 26 years here have ever shown a blueprint with a windowless "maid" quarters/bedroom. Matter of fact I've never seen one with a "maid's room" at all. They're all either Bedrooms or Master Bedrooms. EOS.

What these "so-called" maids rooms are usually found out to be are "Storage cum Bomb Shelters" or the Utility room usually found just off the kitchen. This is why it's sooooo hard to find a "maids" bed to fit in the spaces. This lead to custom build bed frames and cheap foam mattresses as "real" mattresses aren't made that short.

Anybody who thinks otherwise, I would advise them to live a month in the space before making someone else live there.

Of course the retort is "my maid is happy there". Of course she is, she still has a job and isn't going to do anything to rock the boat unless she is otherwise physically manhandled or starved. Some here in Singapore used to make them sleep on a pallet on the kitchen floor. (true enough!). That's not so common anymore, but to shove them in an airless closet (and that is what the utility room and bomb shelter are) is inhumane. But as I said, they won't complain because they understand the mentality of the majority here before they get here. Not all here are like that fortunately, but a heavy majority still are. The suffering they undergo in their quest to support their families back home allows them to withstand more base treatment than most of us will ever have to endure. I salute them.

[end rant]

Zeenit, at least we are on the same wavelength.
While I do think there should basic minimum requirements for housing a maid (their own room with a window, own bathroom, etc...) a lot of it really does come down to the situation at hand, how you treat them and open communication.

When we lived in a brand new high rise right at Orchard years ago, we were shocked by the size of the maid's room (it was our first place in Singapore, looking back it wasn't so bad....) We hired someone part-time, who later became available full-time. We really liked her, but apologized about the size of the room, explaining that we never intended to have a live-in maid, the rooms were just too small. It too required a specially made bed (most of her storage was underneath) but she was all of 5ft and she signed on with us and stayed until we moved.

She loved her air/conned, cable ready room, so did her friends, who came over all the time. Some even slept over between jobs with different employers. She also had the second maid's room for her dressing area, storage, plus her own entrance, bath, privacy and she was as far from the noisy kids as possible. She told me many times: it's better to have a little room right downtown where I can walk everywhere, that's all mine -- then a big room in a bigger place out in the sticks somewhere. She had more time off than her friends, was better paid, hot water in her bathroom, a TV with cable -- so it balanced out. It was the right situation for that maid, she was very happy there.

Like those horrible people on Long Island, US that were convicted for abusing their maids this year -- it's not just about the accommodations, they lived in a gigantic mansion and their maids had a suite or rooms, it's all about fair treatment and mutual respect, once basic minimums have been met that is.

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Post by QRM » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 9:46 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:QRM,

I was okay with your post until the last paragraph.

So if the Romans mistreat other human beings, then it's okay to do the same? Nah. But I do agree with you inasmuch as it's only my morals & my opinion. I'd never make someone live somewhere that I wouldn't live myself. :wink:.
When you say mistreatment, in my books that would be pouring hot wax, beating, teeth pulling and all the other local tactics. When I say do as Romans do, it is having someone around to help you.

As to living in her room, its actually quiet cosy, more room than the average Japanese capsule hotel. I have lived in a lot worse during my student house sharing days, an under stairs cupboard where you cant stand. You should have seen my room at boarding school, half the size of the current maids room and no on-suite bathroom, while it did have a window that faces the outside world, in winter a 200 year old window is not good, there was more ice on the inside then outside.

I agree with RNT its not so much the room its how you feel about your whole life generally, if i was stuck in some windowless cubical, and my employer was treating me well it would be a lot more preferable to having a mansion and being treated badly.

Put it this way the new to Singapore maid just came back from her first church meeting where she met fellow Filipinos and discussed "work and living conditions" and she thanked us saying she felt truly blessed that she was here with us.

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Post by QRM » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 10:21 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
A windowless room IS NOT "A MAIDS ROOM". It might have been marketed by the local real estate agent that was in order to make a commission, but no developer that I've ever met nor any set of architect's plans I've ever seen in 26 years here have ever shown a blueprint with a windowless "maid" quarters/bedroom. Matter of fact I've never seen one with a "maid's room" at all.
Below is the cad drawing by a well known Singapore architect showing a windowless maids room in a unit we just purchased. While it does have a glass insert in the wall, it does not open and it faces an internal area, in the UK this room would not be classed as a habitable space with no widow/vent to the outside. Its pretty much the same set up here in our current condo except she has an ensuite bathroom. We have just changed the proposed layout so she can enter her bathroom via her room, installed aircon, and hotwater all of which was not provided.

Image

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Post by Callalily » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 12:12 pm

Hello

When you arrive, get in touch with an agency that specialises in part-time staff and explain to them your requirements. Part-time staff are more expensive per hour that a live-in worker but if you have a nanny at the mo, it shouldn't be more expensive. One of the main advantages of having a live-in helper is the flexibility of going out in the evenings. With regards to accomodation, most condos come with a helper's room. If you don't feel it is of an acceptable standard, you can always give her your guest room as some do, it is up to you. As someone mentioned it previously, there are obviously different types of expats, some have helpers, some don't. I have expat friends with helpers and some without, many have part-timers. Do whatever works for you and your family. There isn't only one way of doing things.
Best of luck with your big move.

Lily :)

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 8:19 pm

QRM wrote:Below is the cad drawing by a well known Singapore architect
Guess that says it all. Along with the fact that, as you said yourself, it wouldn't be allowed as a habitable space in the UK (probably not in the US either I'd warrant). Granted it would appear that the room was at least big enough to have a proper sized bed and possibly a wardrobe as well. So I stand corrected. Now I've seen a blueprint with a purpose designed albeit badly (no ventilation, etc, etc) maids quarters "with" a utility room as well.

My apologies, but again, to me, it would be akin to being incarcerated. Although I have lived 6 to a room in not much bigger space that that for 2 months at a time. But I have to admit, that on the dive boats & drill ships the money was considerably different as well. :P
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Sun, 21 Sep 2008 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Callalily » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 9:31 pm

ooops, have the feeling I answered the wrong post, apologies if my previous post doesn't make a lot of sense!!!

Right, here is my answer to your post: I can only talk for myself and personal circumstances. We knew we wanted to have a helper as we had one in the UK (3 small children and busy working lives). When my husband viewed apartments, we had in mind the fact that there would be an extra person living with us. We live in a condo now and the helper's room is spacious, normal size single bed, small wardrobe and other small furniture and a large window. She also has her own bathroom. The windowless bomb shelters were out of the question. I grew up in a family where we had helpers and we always offered a decent-sized bedroom so things won't change on that front now.

As for meals, salaries, etc, do some research as there is a wealth of very informative posts on this site.

Lily :)
(really hope I am replying to the right post this time!!! )

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Sep 2008 11:35 pm

Lily,

No worries. We all do that occasionally. Even moreso with the advent of FF with multiple open tabs! :oops: :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by boffenl » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 1:13 pm

Had to jump in although I keep getting all the maid topics mixed up too!

The maid situation is different in the Expat community than in the local community--thank god! Many of us have come from countries where it would be illegal to house someone in an unventilated room--or have them sleep at the foot of your kids bed. But I do worry that, like QRM and RNT, Expats have become too accustomed to the idea of maids who are quite happy to live like they're in jail. Yikes--really worries me about their children who see it as O.K. and will (probably) take that sentiment back to their "home" country. We've all read about the difficulties the children of Expats have trying to reintegrate back into reality--and I don't mean another parallel reality like Thailand or HK.

Wah, I could go on all day. PLEASE just take care and treat your maid as you would like to be treated or at least how you'd like your children to be treated by their employers. Maybe I've just got to stop being so observent--keeps me up at night some of the things I see here.

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Post by Zeenit » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 1:28 pm

boffenl wrote:Had to jump in although I keep getting all the maid topics mixed up too!

The maid situation is different in the Expat community than in the local community--thank god! Many of us have come from countries where it would be illegal to house someone in an unventilated room--or have them sleep at the foot of your kids bed. But I do worry that, like QRM and RNT, Expats have become too accustomed to the idea of maids who are quite happy to live like they're in jail. Yikes--really worries me about their children who see it as O.K. and will (probably) take that sentiment back to their "home" country. We've all read about the difficulties the children of Expats have trying to reintegrate back into reality--and I don't mean another parallel reality like Thailand or HK.

Wah, I could go on all day. PLEASE just take care and treat your maid as you would like to be treated or at least how you'd like your children to be treated by their employers. Maybe I've just got to stop being so observent--keeps me up at night some of the things I see here.
Well done for this point. I AGREE with all you said. I will Rant no more. :D
Zeenit

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Post by boffenl » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 1:47 pm

Me either--besides, if I can't really say anything enlightening or helpful to the topic it is just me venting. Plus, I couldn't accost the couple with their maid last night, so it does feel good to write about it!

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 4:18 pm

boffenl wrote:But I do worry that, like QRM and RNT, Expats have become too accustomed to the idea of maids who are quite happy to live like they're in jail. Yikes--really worries me about their children who see it as O.K. and will (probably) take that sentiment back to their "home" country. We've all read about the difficulties the children of Expats have trying to reintegrate back into reality--and I don't mean another parallel reality like Thailand or HK.
Why are you referencing me here? I don't worry for a minute that expats have grown too accustomed to 'the idea of maids who are quite happy to live like they're in jail'. I have rarely been saddened or disappointed at the treatment a fellow expat has shown their maid. Just the opposite really, I am reminded time and time again at the generosity shown toward those less fortunate.

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Post by boffenl » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 4:27 pm

Sorry, meant to say "like QRM and RNT have pointed out, (some) Expats....". Please don't tell me you'd have the same situation like you enjoy in Singapore in the US. It would not be possible to have someone work 24/7 with one day off per month. And while I agree that "While in Rome" it shouldn't extend to how we (Expats) treat maids. It's wonderful to know many Expats do try to engage and create relationships with their maids, but this is a frightfully small proportion of those who have maids here.

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