do expats typically have live-in maids?

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 4:51 pm

boffenl wrote:Sorry, meant to say "like QRM and RNT have pointed out, (some) Expats...."


I don't think I made that point, because I don't feel that way.
boffenl wrote:Please don't tell me you'd have the same situation like you enjoy in Singapore in the US.
Why do you keep bringing that up? What difference does it make? I wouldn't have funny plugs, crappy cable or a mold problem if I was in the US either. Look outside, you're in Singapore now -- somethings actually are a bit different. Please include 'my circumstances' on that list.
It would not be possible to have someone work 24/7 with one day off per month.
Really?? Because I didn't know that. :roll: Why would I want someone to work 24/7 with one day off a month in the US when they work 5/5.5 here? Am I suddenly going to become an ogre when I repatriate?
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.


So we expats have some kind of superior moral compass? That's dangerous water you're treading there. Some expats just want an employee they can treat fairly, with respect & kindness. I see no harm in that.

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Post by boffenl » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 4:56 pm

You crack me up RNT! Glad your moral compass is working these days. I do actually think it's relevant how we live here. For some we are the first and only Americans (outside of those on TV and movies) that they will ever "know". I'd just like to take home the knowledge that I didn't perpetuate the Ugly American routine in how I run my household.

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 5:06 pm

boffenl wrote:You crack me up RNT! Glad your moral compass is working these days. I do actually think it's relevant how we live here. For some we are the first and only Americans (outside of those on TV and movies) that they will ever "know". I'd just like to take home the knowledge that I didn't perpetuate the Ugly American routine in how I run my household.
Good for you but your view is so narrow, it's laughable. You didn't address any of the points I made, perhaps your high horse bolted or has thrown you? It should be relevant how we live everywhere, every day, all the time. Only an ugly American would move here and think they have the whole thing sussed out in 6 months.

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Post by aussiemeg » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 5:52 pm

Hmmm been away for a few days and seems my maid comments started a few rants.

Just for the record. My maid has her own quarters in the back of the garden (yes we live in a b&W) with 2 rooms a bathroom and separate toilet. She has a super kingsize bed, a table and chairs, a working kitchen (for her sole use) and cable tv with the indonesian channel, freedom to go out on saturday night, every sunday and every public holiday. Needless to say one of my expat friends commented how unfair it was that my helper did not have a dedicated sink to wash up!

This friend also came a stayed for 6 days ate my wonderful helpers cooking and my food and did not feel it appropriate to give a gift or word of thanks to my helper ..also offered to go halves when we went out for dinner whilst wondering if my children were safe asleep at home forgetting I had a babysitter who they new and loved listening more attentively than I ever do!!!!!

So to the question everyone has to make their own decisions. We will never please everyone it is just important to make sure that our employees are happy and valued and in so doing we should feel ok about ourselves.

My $2 worth

Megan

PS my husband grew up in Northern Ireland and shared a flat in central belfast during the troubles. It was a one bedder that he shared with a guy an they had no heating and an oven that touched the ends of the beds when it was opened so maybe lets not forget a little of where we have come from too.

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Post by QRM » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 6:45 pm

Thats a good point no one has ever mentioned, when we go over to the in laws and cause no end of grief for everyone, extra meals, washing etc, when we leave I always zip over to the "back of house" and give the helpers and drivers a small token of appreciation for the extra work.

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 7:01 pm

QRM wrote:Thats a good point no one has ever mentioned, when we go over to the in laws and cause no end of grief for everyone, extra meals, washing etc, when we leave I always zip over to the "back of house" and give the helpers and drivers a small token of appreciation for the extra work.
Always. Thanksgiving is especially costly.

Meg -- inflation has hit hard at your house, no? :D
aussiemeg wrote:My $2 worth
We too have a separate house for our helpers and I wonder if they prefer all that space. I know to a western sensibility it seems great, but it is a foreign concept to a lot of these girls, especially when everyone knows B&Ws are haunted. :o To be out there by themselves would rattle a few for sure. Ours seem OK (they have each other, but that arrangement is temporary) but it must be daunting to have to keep your own (big) space clean when you do that for a living. In the end, each helper/employer situation is different.

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Post by aussiemeg » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 7:08 pm

Good point RNT as I had at 2 ladies tell me that they would prefer a condo when I was employing and had not thought that may be because of the quarters (and ghosts) rather than the company.

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 7:24 pm

B&Ws are a tremendous amount of work. The house alone would be enough to scare off most maids, never mind the house guests, dead or alive. Apparently we have some Japanese officers wandering around our neighborhood.

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Post by aussiemeg » Mon, 22 Sep 2008 7:38 pm

well if you see one of them with a samurai sword then they are the ghosts that stole the one from our house..Thankfully blunted but went missing on the 3rd night with no visitors..go figure that one

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Post by QRM » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 7:13 pm

And you thought the maid rooms are small !!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/arti ... article.do

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog ... -is-small/

My wife visited a house in KL where they measure the "internal" size in acres and the maids rooms are bigger than our house in central London :shock:


edited for shocking grammar (been in Singapore too long)
Last edited by QRM on Fri, 17 Oct 2008 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by britexpat » Fri, 17 Oct 2008 1:52 pm

As an expat the thing you don’t realise about maids is that local Singaporeans have grown up with maids and are well used to having a ‘stranger’ living with them 24/7. If you are a westerner, you are not used to it and it can come as a shock.
We took on a maid pretty much without thinking through the implications. After six months with her I can say that no matter how brilliant a maid is at interview, I can guarantee 1/ she won’t be able to cook western food to any degree of competency 2/ her English will never be good enough and you will find yourself repeating over and over again the same things 3/ as a western family you will be viewed as a ‘soft touch’ by the maid who will be looking for an easy life with you compared to one with a local family 4/you will never truly be able to let your hair down in your condo because the maid will always be there somewhere in the background 5/If you have a very young toddler she will try to become a surrogate mother and will not be able to appreciate the difference between ‘caretaker’ and parent replacement (this can lead to bonding issues).
My advice is, if you haven’t got kids you don’t need a maid, period, and you will be happier in your own space without one. If one of you is at home, get a part time housekeeper who lives ‘out’. If you are both working and have kids, you really have no choice but to employ a maid.

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Post by QRM » Fri, 17 Oct 2008 3:10 pm

britexpat wrote:As an expat the thing you don’t realise about maids is that local Singaporeans have grown up with maids and are well used to having a ‘stranger’ living with them 24/7. If you are a westerner, you are not used to it and it can come as a shock.
We took on a maid pretty much without thinking through the implications. After six months with her I can say that no matter how brilliant a maid is at interview, I can guarantee

1/ she won’t be able to cook western food to any degree of competency

DEPENDS ON HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT TEACHING, OURS HAS BECOME VERY GOOD IN FACT SHE NOW WANTS TO OPEN A RESTAURANT WHEN SHE GOES BACK, KEEP IN MIND SHE PROBABLY HAD TO LEARN KOREAN, CHINESE, INDIAN COOKING AS WELL. THERE ARE PLENTY OF COOKING COURSES HERE YOU CAN SEND HER TO

2/ her English will never be good enough and you will find yourself repeating over and over again the same things

UNDERSTANDABLE AS THEY ARE NOT ENGLISH AND PROBABLY DID NOT HAVE THE BENIFIT OF A 1ST WORLD EDUCATION. I SUSPECT THEIR ENGLISH IS BETTER THAN MOST EXPATS BAHASA, TAGALOG ETC.

3/ as a western family you will be viewed as a ‘soft touch’ by the maid who will be looking for an easy life with you compared to one with a local family


WHY WHATS WRONG WITH THAT ? WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR A LOCAL SWEAT SHOP OR A LARGE MNC? AND YOU CAN PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK FOR GIVING THEM A SLIGHTLY BETTER LIFE, I COULDN'T TREAT THEM LIKE SOME OF THE LOCALS, SHE HAS UNLIMTED CALLS HOME, LCD TV CABLE, DVD, AND WE SEND HER HOME FOR HOLIDAYS WHEN WE CAN


4/you will never truly be able to let your hair down in your condo because the maid will always be there somewhere in the background

THERE ARE LOCKS ON THE DOORS AND I AM SURE THE MAID WILL TRY AND KEEP OUT OF YOUR WAY, UNLESS YOU ARE HAVING RAVING WIFE SWAPPING PARTIES EVERY DAY ITS NOT A BIG PROBLEM. DEPENDS HOW PRUDISH YOU ARE I WALK AROUND IN MY UNDERWEAR WITH OUT WORRYING ABOUT IT.

5/If you have a very young toddler she will try to become a surrogate mother and will not be able to appreciate the difference between ‘caretaker’ and parent replacement (this can lead to bonding issues).

ITS HOW YOU RUN THE HOUSE WE HAVE A MAID AND YOUNG 2 YEAR OLD, THE MAID JUST DOES THE HOUSE CHORES BUT DOES NOT GET INVOLVED WITH THE KID, I DO ALL THE BATHING, SCHOOLING, NAPPY CHANGING, DRESSING ETC. IN MY OPINION HAVING A MAID WORKED OUT GREAT, IT MEANS EVERY WAKING HOUR IS SPENT PLAYING AND NURTURING YOUR KID RATHER THAN STICKING THEM IN A COT OR DAYCARE WHILE I DO CHORES.


My advice is, if you haven’t got kids you don’t need a maid, period, and you will be happier in your own space without one. If one of you is at home, get a part time housekeeper who lives ‘out’. If you are both working and have kids, you really have no choice but to employ a maid.

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Post by road.not.taken » Fri, 17 Oct 2008 4:27 pm

QRM wrote:
britexpat wrote:As an expat the thing you don’t realise about maids is that local Singaporeans have grown up with maids and are well used to having a ‘stranger’ living with them 24/7. If you are a westerner, you are not used to it and it can come as a shock.
We took on a maid pretty much without thinking through the implications. After six months with her I can say that no matter how brilliant a maid is at interview, I can guarantee

1/ she won’t be able to cook western food to any degree of competency

DEPENDS ON HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT TEACHING, OURS HAS BECOME VERY GOOD IN FACT SHE NOW WANTS TO OPEN A RESTAURANT WHEN SHE GOES BACK, KEEP IN MIND SHE PROBABLY HAD TO LEARN KOREAN, CHINESE, INDIAN COOKING AS WELL. THERE ARE PLENTY OF COOKING COURSES HERE YOU CAN SEND HER TO

2/ her English will never be good enough and you will find yourself repeating over and over again the same things

UNDERSTANDABLE AS THEY ARE NOT ENGLISH AND PROBABLY DID NOT HAVE THE BENIFIT OF A 1ST WORLD EDUCATION. I SUSPECT THEIR ENGLISH IS BETTER THAN MOST EXPATS BAHASA, TAGALOG ETC.

3/ as a western family you will be viewed as a ‘soft touch’ by the maid who will be looking for an easy life with you compared to one with a local family


WHY WHATS WRONG WITH THAT ? WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR A LOCAL SWEAT SHOP OR A LARGE MNC? AND YOU CAN PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK FOR GIVING THEM A SLIGHTLY BETTER LIFE, I COULDN'T TREAT THEM LIKE SOME OF THE LOCALS, SHE HAS UNLIMTED CALLS HOME, LCD TV CABLE, DVD, AND WE SEND HER HOME FOR HOLIDAYS WHEN WE CAN


4/you will never truly be able to let your hair down in your condo because the maid will always be there somewhere in the background

THERE ARE LOCKS ON THE DOORS AND I AM SURE THE MAID WILL TRY AND KEEP OUT OF YOUR WAY, UNLESS YOU ARE HAVING RAVING WIFE SWAPPING PARTIES EVERY DAY ITS NOT A BIG PROBLEM. DEPENDS HOW PRUDISH YOU ARE I WALK AROUND IN MY UNDERWEAR WITH OUT WORRYING ABOUT IT.

5/If you have a very young toddler she will try to become a surrogate mother and will not be able to appreciate the difference between ‘caretaker’ and parent replacement (this can lead to bonding issues).

ITS HOW YOU RUN THE HOUSE WE HAVE A MAID AND YOUNG 2 YEAR OLD, THE MAID JUST DOES THE HOUSE CHORES BUT DOES NOT GET INVOLVED WITH THE KID, I DO ALL THE BATHING, SCHOOLING, NAPPY CHANGING, DRESSING ETC. IN MY OPINION HAVING A MAID WORKED OUT GREAT, IT MEANS EVERY WAKING HOUR IS SPENT PLAYING AND NURTURING YOUR KID RATHER THAN STICKING THEM IN A COT OR DAYCARE WHILE I DO CHORES.


My advice is, if you haven’t got kids you don’t need a maid, period, and you will be happier in your own space without one. If one of you is at home, get a part time housekeeper who lives ‘out’. If you are both working and have kids, you really have no choice but to employ a maid.
QRM,

You were good to address britexpat's points so thoroughly and I agree with everything you say. There's so muchmore to add, but somehow I dont think they are listening...

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Post by boffenl » Mon, 20 Oct 2008 5:51 pm

Hi britexpat,

Glad your observations (which are personal OBSERVATIONS and EXPERIENCES) took the heat off me! You've obviously had a rough experience with your FDW and I know there are many MANY exactly like you out in Expat-land. The choice if you're both working and have kids is exactly what it would be in your home country--put the ankle biters in a great nursery program!

It'll be a hell of a lot less headache and you'll be assured (as well as you can be by MM and the gahmen) that your child's caretaker is up to the task. No need to worry about a maid who cook or can't figure out how to wash the toilet seat--Pizza Hut delivers and so do great Singaporean cleaning ladies!

Good luck!

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Post by road.not.taken » Mon, 20 Oct 2008 5:59 pm

Different strokes and all that. I just think having a maid in Singapore is one of the few lifestyle perks this place offers. It's a win-win in my book, good for her and good for us.

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