Singapore Expats Forum

Training a maid

Discuss everything about domestic helper and babysitter issues here
Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Training a maid

Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 12:37 pm

Is it just me or is training a maid a tough job? Our new maid, who has been working in Singapore for 6 months before joining us, astounds me sometimes!

Yesterday I found her standing in a pool of water ironing. I have no idea how she managed to empty the water from the steam iron all over the floor. We have shown her how to fill it and use it several times.

It took me 30 minutes to clean the iron plate too and we still don't know what she burnt onto it. We are looking for missing clothing in case she threw something in the trash without telling us!

We have two strollers. Whist trying to stand them both up at the same time she dropped one and put a nice set of marks down the white wall. Surely it would have made sense to stand one at a time?

We have an aggressive steel wool cleaner and showed her how to use it on the oven and baking tray and ONLY those items. She has been using it on the cutlery and rice cooker bowl and has scored them all with many scratches.

Five times in the last three weeks my wife has had to remind her to use washing powder in the washing machine as she has washed the clothes without.

I am speechless. I mean how can she master the electronic washing machine easily yet forget constantly to put washing powder inside?

Uuugghhhhh

:x

PNGMK
Director
Director
Posts: 4852
Joined: Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 4:40 pm

Where is she from? We 'poached' a flip FDW who we knew was not a complete noob rather than risk this. Sometimes though even she seems to slip a cog mentally. Nothing like what you've said tho.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 6:38 am

I have similar stories about the local (Singapore) part time maids so would not expect anything better from FDWs. For example, for all of them we had it seemed extremely difficult to comprehend the idea to use a different cleaning rag for the toilets and different for the kitchen.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 10:59 am

Oh my. My wife is pushing hard for a part-time (SGn) cleaner - it looks like we have this joy to come.

Girl_Next_Door
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu, 28 Aug 2008

Postby Girl_Next_Door » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 11:30 am

Most of the FDW are from rural areas, and uses wood fire in their village (no joke). They have not seen rice cooker, let alone vacuum cleaner and washing machine. The cheapest FDW tend to be completely ignorance on the most basic household chores because they do it very differently back home. They also don't have any concept of hygiene (yes, the same cloth to clean the floor is used to clean your infant's mouth). Those with a little common sense (like responding to a fire) would try to convince you that they are highly sought commodity because they have "experienced". It doesn't matter that their quality of work is complete rubbish.

That's why I treat my part-time help very well. I reward her with good bonuses at the end of the year plus a nice hong bao during chinese new year. Good and reliable help is tough to find, but they do exist. You just need to keep your eyes open.

User avatar
ecureilx
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 9279
Joined: Fri, 20 Aug 2010

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 11:55 am

PNGMK wrote:Where is she from? We 'poached' a flip FDW who we knew was not a complete noob rather than risk this. Sometimes though even she seems to slip a cog mentally. Nothing like what you've said tho.


:eek: Flip ???

Steve1960: well, now you know why many employers prefer experienced maids ?

Well, the thing is a lot are not exposed to common luxuries we take for granted, a relative had a maid, she used to take offence when I tell her not to heat any liquid without a lid on .. she used to give the 'look' and then a while later look wonderstruck when the hot liquid has splashed all over.

and also to test hot iron on the side of any cloth before going full force, as she burnt a few dresses ..

gave up .. as she felt she was being ridiculed for her lack of world wiseness

earthfriendly
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat, 20 Aug 2005

Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:12 pm

All I can say is good luck OP. I have houskeepers come clean our house and have learnt to shut it out...........to whatever they are doing :P . Climbing onto the vanity with sneakers to clean tall mirrors and fixture. Using 409 cleaners (grease buster) on wood shutters......promptly stopping me on my track :shock: . I have gone thru enough housekeepers to realize there will always be something. And I only hire those with experience. Common sense is not that common.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 1:08 pm

Girl_Next_Door wrote:That's why I treat my part-time help very well. I reward her with good bonuses at the end of the year plus a nice hong bao during chinese new year. Good and reliable help is tough to find, but they do exist. You just need to keep your eyes open.

Sorry for a very direct question, but how much do you pay her? There is an obvious link between the quality (in general) and the pay so I am trying to figure out how impactful is this factor.

Girl_Next_Door
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu, 28 Aug 2008

Postby Girl_Next_Door » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 2:55 pm

Currently, I pay $48 each time, which is supposed to break down to $12/hour. She comes around weekly. Sometimes, she spend less than 4 hours (usually when we are travelling) and sometimes, she spend more than 4 hours (and she never request for more monies). This is the same rate I have been paying for the past 4 years. I am tempted to give her an increment, but she is also cleaning a few of my friends' place. I don't want to "spoil" the market by increasing her rates as she might request the same from my friends. Plus, all payments goes to the agency, which means they simply take a bigger cut.

During Xmas, I started giving her 1 month bonus for every year she worked for me, cap at max 3 months bonus. During CNY, I give her another $200 as red packet. These are in cash, because I want her to get the monies, and not the agency.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 3:59 pm

Wow, this is very low. This is what I paid earlier taking the maids from some agencies, also roughly on weekly bases for 4h. All of them were basically pretty bad to catastrophic. Now I have one, a sister of our nanny and I pay her $20/h. She is slightly better than an average when it comes to cleaning/ironing and much better in terms of reliability (practically no problems with punctuality, no missing appointments etc.) but it is still what I consider below a good level.
But we are extremely happy with her sister - the nanny who is a true gem and we do exactly what you do to your maid: gifts, money and already raised her pay twice. I guess one just have to be lucky.

Girl_Next_Door
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu, 28 Aug 2008

Postby Girl_Next_Door » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 5:35 pm

I know I got really lucky with her. She is as good as it gets, for someone who comes once a week. She has a key to my place, so she comes over based on her schedule and availability. In the past 4 years, I have not miss any jewellery that are lying around in the apartment. We used to laundry the husband's work outfit but she is so good, we managed to save a lot of laundry money. I also have allergy problems, so I just need to brief her once on the new vacuum cleaner and specific areas she must clean.

When she goes on leave, I just clean the place myself. She tried to recommend a few friends but they are not reliable. One of them even ask for cab fare to & fro my place (which is accessible by public transport).

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9165
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 6:31 pm

At least our can arrange for tolerable replacement (still the same family - probably a factor). Not worth $20 but showing up roughly on time and appreciating the money.
I remember how naive I was at the beginning installing a TV in the room where our first PTM was ironing our cloths. She looked at me like I was a half idiot half alien or something. Had to fire her after 2 months. It was a classic. I always ask to tell me if something gets broken and if this is an accident ten no worry. We discovered one day that the iron did not work and after closer examination we found the tip bent and an indentation on the floor close to where the board was placed. Next time she came over I just said to her I wanted to ask her about something and she immediately responded "I did not drop this iron Sir". How stupid it can get?

Steve1960
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1106
Joined: Mon, 13 Aug 2012
Location: Singapore

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 8:18 am

The FDW is from Myanmar. Her English is surprisingly good. She worked for a Chinese family for 6 months before joining us. That was her first FDW job.

The previous employer returned her to the agency as she was not able to maintain and run two apartments. The extended family were sharing her services.

I have a 23 year old daughter in the UK so I know common sense is not so common :wink:

Sigh................................


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Domestic Helper & Babysitter Issues”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest