Hi, I am a new to this forum. I was looking for some insight on recommended agencies for domestic help when I chanced upon this discussion. Just to be clear, I am a Singaporean (don't hate me
) and while I disagree with some view points of Singaporeans there are many that I agree on. I do actually agree that many Singaporeans lack common courtesy and have questionable mannerisms. And I have been the brunt of this many a times despite my nationality. It could very well be a cultural difference but to treat people (any person) with a lack of courtesy, I feel is not acceptable especially if it is completely uncalled for. Growing up I always remembered the vastly advertised Courtesy Campaigns I saw on TVs (even the Green Frog) and I remember how papers used to parade about what a courteous country Singapore is but I have seen this come to cease over the years.
Singaporeans (not all) seem to have this notion that their behavior is socially acceptable when in actuality it's not. There are so many social issues in this country, I do not even know where to begin.
Usually I see rudeness a lot from the older generation. There are though a couple of people in their early 20s who display the same level of rudeness. Pushing people around in a crowded train, I even came across a lady who decided she should sit in the middle of the train cabin on the floor despite the fact that she was sort of in the way of people getting into the train (it was during Rush hour to Raffles Place in the morning) and she yelled at the person (presumably another local) that it was her business to sit wherever she liked. And I have had taxi drivers who refused to accept payment through cab charge (my company's) simply because he didn't want to and started hurling rude remarks about my race (I am indian). And I have had people calling me black on numerous occasions both growing up and at work. I used to get a little hurt by that remark as it actually is very insensitive now I just smile laugh and say "And yes you are yellow and that makes us even". When I was 8 months pregnant I have had people on the train who instantly went to sleep when I boarded the train.
I think the influx on Foreign Talent is the least of our problems. Standards of living changes all the time, yes it may have been a huge leap in recent years but some Singaporeans as disgruntled as they maybe, still continue to buy ridiculously expensive cars or HDB flats.
In fact I think this country at times is so driven by social status that they do not stop to think of situations in other countries. At 16, I was very fortunate to have worked with some of the homes founded by the late Mother Theresa. And I daresay that experience changed my perspective on many things. For starters, some Singaporeans do not know how good we have it. To be able to have roof over our heads even the poor is something we should be thankful for that every day. In calcutta there were so many people who slept in tents at the side of the road. In East Timor, there were so many children who were deprived of basic necessities such as food and healthcare.
I do not expect anyone to agree with me, but personally I think the locals are threatened by Foreign Talents for fear that they may lose the edge over a promotion. I see this work every day for the last 4 years with this Chinese Lady at work. My supervisor who happens to be a Brit, I empathize with him at times because he has to deal with a bunch of kindergarten kids who see everything as a threat and cannot see beyond what they want. It even got to the extent of them yelling at a fellow colleague from the Philippines. Here's what I do not understand even as a Singaporean, if you want to climb the corporate ladder then why not just make your skill set be worthy of your promotion and take the bull by the horn when the job opens up rather then whine about how unfair it is to hire a foreigner instead of promoting from within. I for one if I feel I am suitable for a position I would present my case to my superiors.
In the case of domestic workers, I feel that it's perfectly fine to award your helper a day of rest every week. I mean put yourself in the worker's shoes, how would you feel if you worked everyday slept and ate in your office cubicle without a day to yourself for 2 years straight? Probably get yourself admitted in the asylum at the end of that 2 years probably. Yes some employers have a huge concern with what if the helper got pregnant or ran away. But I have had colleagues who had advised me against hiring a fillipina maid on the pretext that they are "wild" and have a tendency to go wayward. But I feel that having a domestic helper is really all about the "fit" and mutual understanding and respect. She is your employee not your slave. And she is going to be with you for a minimum 2 years so whilst there should be boundaries you cannot deny the fact that she is going to be a part of your family and it's important that she is properly integrated into your household.
I had a wonderful helper who joined my household a month before I gave birth. As a first time mother, I was anxious and nervous about being prepared before I gave birth and she literally helped me pick out everything from the sort of crib to buy, the kind of baby detergent to get, which diaper brand is agreeable to a baby's skin and what size cotton buds to buy to clean the baby's ears. When I went into labour she made sure she prepared the crib and came by to the hospital after I gave birth bearing a romper that said "Welcome to the world". She was dream come true. I gave her a $200 salary increment from her previous employer and from 0 days off I gave her 4 days a month simply because I feel with the right "fit" you can trust them. And they are entitled to a personal life.
I think what lacks in some Singaporeans is plain out maturity. At 40 they do have a tendency to behave like 12 year olds. They expect everything to be handed over to them on a silver platter. Selfish maybe.
But I would also add that this is not the case with many Singaporeans, just a certain group of them.
I am sorry for everything all of your have gone through with our lot.
It's just a bunch of ingrates that comes with every society. We just got to adapt at times.