Date: Aug 4, 2012
1. On Aug 7, after my son was balloted out of Nan Hua Primary School Phase 2C. We went to pick up our new Domestic Helper, version 4.0. Code name Racquel (I think). But the kids quickly pick it up and call her "Auntie Rack-Kell". That is the good sign as both kids has accepted her on day 1.
2. She is very hard working, although we ask her to take a rest, but she kept doing work. We were both busy on that day, and still on our computer until late night. She knock my door at around 11:30pm and ask "Sir, can I go to sleep now?" I was like "Huh?" "Of course, you can, you don't have to ask! Go sleep, you can sleep any time you want after the kids are in bed… blah blah blah."
3. The third day of work, at 6:30am, she already juicing my daily vegetable juice. Wow.
4. On Aug 7 itself, that afternoon, the whole house looks clean and shinny. Bed sheets are all done. Wow.
5. I gave her my Logitech Boombox the first day. I taught her how to use it, by connecting to my home WiFi, she is now able to listen to Philippines radio channels in her room.
6. I got a glimps on how she taught my son, Kay to brush teeth. I think it is very nice feeling. I feel like having a Kindergarden teacher at home as my domestic helper. Well, she was a elementary teacher back in Philippines for almost 5-6 years before she took up this job.
7. On the second day, my supply of clean shirts and pants are back in place.
8. We asked her to cook "Curry Chicken" to see how is her cooking skills. I had a chance to take a few look. At first, I saw her friend the onions, and put the chicken in, and the potato, and slow fire stir fry. I was like "HUH?" but I let her continue. Then, the next thing she did is put in the Santan/Coconut milk. bring it to boil. I asked her "how come never fry the curry powder?" She said "Yes sir, yes sir." At that moment, I have no eyes to see this… as the order or steps of cooking curry were reversed. Then, after me finishing some work at my study room, I go and check her out again. I look at the Chicken curry, it looks like Chicken Rendang. So, I taste it, and …… WOW. It is good taste. You know, in my house, there is only a self reclaimed good cook, that is me. If I can say the curry chicken is good taste. Well, I will eat the curry chicken. HaHaHaHa… I text my wife… "She is good cook." Why? A good cook can always deliver the good food even without following the menu, and deliver the correct taste.
9. Jay is up early today, and he is in the kitchen watching Auntie Racquel preparing the juice. And from what I heard the conversations, I think Jay enjoys it.
10. So, On second day, I gave her my Kindle. I downloaded some 500 books for her. I asked her what kind of books she wanted to read… she said "story about Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, and US. History is fine". This is a reply that is a good reply. So, I downloaded some books, children psychologies, history, story books, novels, cook book, etc and gave her my Kindle. She can read and learn more at home.
11. I also told her, when the kids are at school, when we are at work, it tends to get bored at home. Feel free to watch TV. So, I show her how to turn on the philippines channel. and Yes, I have a philippino channel. The only conditions is … don't watch it while we especially the kids are around. She understood.
12. Lastly, what happen to version 3.0 brings me to an idea. I usually give 13th months to my maid, also Christmas bonus, as well as CNY bonus. Also, if I hit 4D and Toto, I usually will give too. I told her on first day, that I am not going to give her the bonuses. Will give some, but not full amount. However, I will keep some fixed amount of money per month for her. And she can only get this after fully serving 2 years. This is the incentives I will give and I am willing to give her if and only if she does not make any huge mistake, such as get pregnant la, honesty issue la, attitude issue la, etc. hahahaha
13. I have a very good eyes and usually, I can tell a person whether he or she can make it or not make it. I think we made a very good choice and wise choice. Although friends says "hiring an intelligent domestic helper may not be a good thing", but I think otherwise. I think if you treat them correctly, and on the first day onwards and they will learn how to appreciate you in returns. Treat them like friends, and they will treat you like wise.
Wish me good luck in this version 4.0. I hope she can stay as long as she could. She told me at most 4 years. This is to gathered enough money to let his boy who is going into secondary school next year to have a good education when he grown up.
[End of Update]
Here is the the original story...
I am going to have new Maid ver 4.0 next Wednesday. And this is my story with all the previous versions.
My ver 3.0 got some issue and I need to terminate it 2 weeks ago. And we have survive 2 weeks without it. It is still pretty OK. I just have to wash dishes, change bed sheets, etc etc.
As what my good friend always tell me … "You live in Singapore and it is a privilege to hire a domestic helper, so, you might as well use this privilege. You look at other countries such as US, Australia, etc, there is no such thing about domestic helper over there. You want one also don't have!"
This is very true. Especially for PR (Malaysian) like me, starting new family in Singapore, it is almost impossible to have a single income in the family. So, both me and my wife have to work, and work hard to enjoy a certain life style. And when there are kids born, we need a domestic helper to help us.
When I have Maid ver. 1.0. I have put down the rules. "Domestic Helpers" are not a slaves. They are perfect human being but their salary is not high. So, treat them well!
I must said, Maid ver 1.0 (code name Jennifer) is fantastic. She is a clean freak. Make my home so clean every day. And she is very hard working, and she loves to cook. Very high learning capability. I teach him how to cook a few dishes, and she end up cook better than me. So, my wife gave her Mrs. Lee Nonya recipes as her birthday presents. And me every day share with him some business ideas, teach him how to do business. Jay Jay likes her a lot, and she is very caring to my son.
So, one day, after she striked ToTo 2nd or 3rd price. She come and tell me, "Sir. I want to leave after 2 months later." I asked her why? She said "I thank you for teaching me every thing, treat me so nice, I wanted to go back to open a restaurant, and start doing a business of my own." What can I say, she becomes ambitious and wanted to become a business woman in Philippines. So, It is not common for domestic helper think like that, so, we granted her this. We let her go, and we thank her looking after my wife during her pregnancy, and looking after Jay Jay during his first and a half year as a baby.
So, my wife got angry with me. She start to set the rules. "I cannot teach Maid ver2.0 anything about business!"
Maid ver 2.0 came. She has a lot to learn especially my wife have been served by one of the best of the best version 1.0. There is a high standard that version 2.0 need to meet. Maid ver 2.0 is just an average ordinary version. To me, not too bad la. To my wive, "cham". Version is a clean freak, but version 2.0 is not that high standard. So, some times the dishes are not washed so clean, wife not happy lor. I told my wife, think about where they come from, the environment where they stay, it must be 20 times worse then here. But there, their standard of cleanliness may be different. HaHaHa
All my domestic helper does not require to wash any of my cars. I have two cars at home. We always sent the car to car wash at Shell or Caltex. The domestic helper got only 2 tasks. Look after the kids and look after the house. I was band to teach version 2 any business idea, nor teach her how to cook.
But I did something different this time. I pay for her to go learn Computer in American school in Woodland. It is I think a 6 weeks course, to learn every thing about computer. I told her, sometimes when you have off day, you can go to Internet cafe to surf and learn more things. I think it is a cool benefit to give your domestic helper.
Version 2 is quite OK, a very justice lady. She has a lot of cousins and sisters here, and she always looks after them. Like a 大家姐. She stay in this house a bit longer. When Kay Kay was born, she help looks after Kay Kay until almost 18 months.
And then, one fine day, version 2 (code name Agnes) came to see me. "Sir! I am getting married." I was surprise, and like "huh? who are you marry with?" She said "He is a very nice person like you, a Malaysian assistant chef in a Japanese restaurant in Fullerton Hotel." I was like, huh? Did I hear wrongly? She thank me for sending her to computer course, to learn about computer. She met her future husband on some match making web site. And she has been seeing this guy for almost 2 years, and seems pretty steady, and he wanted to marry her.
Of course, my wife is angry again! She said "Next one, you don't teach her business, don't teach her computer, don't sent her to computer course, and no computer for her at home!"
Maid ver 3 (code name Lorna) is purposely chosen, as she has much lower education level. She is OK. My wife likes her more than ver 2.0 as she clean the house much cleaner than ver 2.0.
As what I said, domestic helper work at my home is a good job. No need to wash car 6am in the morning, no need to looks after kids from 8am to 6pm. because by the time ver 3 comes in, Kay Kay is already 18 months. So, we put both kids FULL DAY at the Lorna Whiston pre-school. And most of the time, me and my wife cook… So, her job is only look after the house, wash cloth, iron cloth, and clean the house. Oh, they also enjoy 13th month paid and Christmas and CNY bonuses.
I don't expect she carry bags for my son. :)
My son at home are trained to pick up their mess after dinner. If there are rice at the floor, my son will be told to picked them up themselves. They are trained to feed themselves. So, they are quite independent I must say and I am proud of it.
So, maid 3.0 is also living a good life here under my roof. The first 6 months according to contract, no off day. Then, we let her go out every week. Please remember, they are humans too. They need to make friends. So, I printed the bus route to get to tagalog church servicing in a few church for her. She got a son back in Philippines. Always send things back for her son.
And she watch Korean drama at home (although I have the philippines channels at home). Every afternoon, she tends to follow the Korean TV-series.
Two weeks ago… we have to sent her to see Doctor for medical check up, for the MOM requirement. It is just a plain six months thingy. Very standard procedures. Doctor called my wife, and ask her to bring along our domestic helper. The doctor told my wife, "The blood test report shows that your domestic helper seems to be pregnant. The report is 95% accurate, I will only submit this report 3 days later, you decide what you want to do".
Of course, I am a bit angry. So, I asked who is the father? She told me her husband is in town.
And yes, 3 weeks ago, they are together. She kept saying "This is impossible!"
I told her "don't you dare to go Lucky Plaza to get those pills (for abortion). You have to keep this child. The child is innocent. Can your husband income support the family?"
She told me husband is a welder worker and work in Singapore. She says yes.
So, I told her our decisions "We are not going to submit the medical report. We going to terminate you immediately. I have bought the ticket for you to go home 2 days later, 6am flight".
Like that we terminated ver 3.0.
Well… Story did not end here...
Few days later, her auntie call our home line. What happen to Lorna? Why she have to go back to Philippines so sudden.
"She not careful, pregnant"
Her auntie, "Again? What? with who?"
"Her husband was in town". Of course we knew about the first case, as we asked her what happen to the previous one. She told us frankly.
Her auntie, "No mom, that's not her husband, its a foreign worker"
Her auntie, "She is so lucky, every time get very nice employer, and she has to be pregnant, so stupid"
we are speechless.
Her auntie, "She disgrace our country, Mom, you should go MOM and black list her, must teach her a lesson."
we are even more speechless. We don't do such thing la. But it is disappointed some how to learn that it is not with her husband.
Few days later… her friend within the estate come up and ding dong.
Her friend, "Hi Mom, can I ask, what happen to Lorna?"
we told her the story.
Her friend, "oh, that boy friend…"
"You also know about the boy friend? From where?"
Her friend, "he is from Myanmar."
Her friend, "she always says you guys are good family treat her well, aiya, she very unlucky…"
Lorna did SMS my wife… ask if she went to MOM to black list her?
Of course my wife says no. But home she can learn the lesson.
Maid 4.0 is an Elementary teacher in Philippines. Who is earning only US$100 per month. She has a son 14 years old and wanted to go to good university. Her husband is also a teacher in Philippines. She works 3 years in Hong Kong after she graduate from her university. After that, she works 5-6 years as a teacher. She taught History, Science and art work in Philippines.
OK, let's upgrade Maid 4.0 since Jay Jay is going into P1 next year. And Kay Kay is going to be N2. So, I have decided to hire version 4.0 (code name Jacquail… very hard to spell and pronounce… hahaha)… and give her a try.
As long as you don't mis-treat your domestic helper, treat them like human, treat them nice… I am sure they will treat you nice too. I must say all my previous three versions are OK. Except the misbehaviour from ver 3. In general, they did not harm the family, they really look after the kids, and the house and my cat. Kids likes them.
In our lives, there will be story here and there, so, that is life, you see… we have to move on and face these challenges… Always remember to compare yourself with US or Australian citizens who does not have the privilege to hire a maid. We are so lucky to live in this part of the world that we can have maid support. Don't waste it. Don't abuse it.
Let's hope that ver 4.0 is OK. We shall see. :)