Did you know that as of last year, there are about 250,000 foreign domestic workers working in Singapore?1 That works out to be about 1 domestic worker for every 5 households!
It is true — domestic helpers (or as many of our older generations still call them, maids) are an increasingly indispensable part of Singaporean life. Many of us lead extremely busy lives and need help to keep our home in order.
But as tough as our modern lives are, being a full-time homemaker can be even tougher sometimes. Are you cut out to do what your domestic helper is currently doing? Take our quiz to find out!
Rise and shine! What time do you get up for work daily?
A: I like to get up bright and early! I get more done before most even wake up.
B: I get up at a comfortable time - a few hours before work so that I have time to get ready.
C: I wake up at the very last moment and I’m always rushing to get ready.
Who do you think you get along best with?
A: Young, old and everyone in-between!
B: I get along with everyone pretty well, although I sometimes have trouble understanding children and the elderly.
C: I get along with my close friends only!
Alright Martha Stewart wannabe, what is the best way to get a stain out from your favorite shirt?
A: Is this is a trick question? There are different ways to get different stains out!
B: Wet the stain with a bit of water and dab a bit of liquid detergent on the stain before throwing it into the washing machine.
C: Just throw it in the washing machine with some bleach, it’ll come right out!
You just found a plate of cooked broccoli from last night that you’ve not eaten. How do you make a new meal with it?
A: I’ll work it into a stew with other veggies.
B: Refry it with some other vegetables and chili!
C: To be honest, I would probably just reheat it in the microwave.
After working so hard, how many rest days do you need each week?
A: Just a day to recharge is enough, I’m always ready to go!
B: A two-day weekend is what I look forward to each week.
C: I never ever have enough rest! Can we work for two days and rest for five days?
Tally up your answers, here are the results!
Mostly As: You are a tough domestic god yourself and can definitely take over your domestic helper’s job! Are you sure you need a helper?
Mostly Bs: You are pretty tough but you do need a bit of help sometimes. You are just like most of us!
Mostly Cs: Let’s just say your domestic helper is an essential part of your life that you should treasure!
How tough is a domestic helper’s day really?
It comes as no surprise, but being a domestic helper is really tough most of the time. We spoke to Narra, a 26 year-old Filipino domestic helper in Singapore, to find out what her challenging day is like, starting from the moment she wakes up.
“I wake up at 5am to cook breakfast and help Jordan (her employer’s 7 year-old son) get ready for school. Then I walk him to school at 7am and come back home to continue cleaning the house,” says Narra. “I’m always so sleepy!”
She then finishes her numerous tasks in the day and makes dinner by 6pm before her employers return home. It is a daily race against the clock for Narra to complete the many tasks she has quickly.
“I have to iron the clothes, climb up to wipe the windows and walls as well as cook many dishes every day. There is not enough time and I often rush. Sometimes I get into accidents because of this. My employers help me pay the medical bills, but I feel bad for troubling them.”
She leads this fast-paced and physically-demanding routine day in, day out for six days a week.
“It is sometimes very tiring to have only one rest day a week. Sometimes I don’t even have a rest day because my employer needs extra help. This makes me fall sick easily, which is troublesome for my employer because they have to find someone to help for the day,” Narra admits sheepishly.
Narra is not unique in her situation; many domestic helpers in Singapore lead the same, intense lifestyle depending on their employer’s family’s needs.
But as an employer, what can we do?
The wise Sun Tzu once said, “treat your men as you would your own beloved sons, and they will follow you into the deepest valley”. Similarly, you should care for your domestic helper’s welfare to enable them to do their job efficiently and without fear of accidents or falling sick. This way, they will feel valued and more motivated to do their best for you.
MSIG’s MaidPlus is a great first step in making both your domestic helper’s and your life easier and less stressful. MaidPlus has an enhanced medical coverage (which even covers dengue fever and TCM treatments!), and includes personal accident cover of $60,000, hospitalisation and surgical cover of up to $15,000 and reimburses your fees for finding a temporary replacement helper when your domestic helper is hospitalised. It even has coverage for your domestic helper’s personal belongings should something untoward (such as a fire) happen at home.
Find out more about MaidPlus today and make life a little easier for yourself and your domestic helper!