Slave Labour Still Legal In Singapore: Another Mint Julep?

Once again E@L is disgusted by the attitude shown by the Singaporean Gahmen concerning foreign maids. And no doubt those in the heartland are cheering...

No days off. Ever. 365 days a year. Well, this is true for Indonesian or Malaysian maids. Philippino maids, more well educated and aware of their rights (as humans), usually get at least a day off a month, but in their contract, not by Singaporean law. Hours of work typically from 5am to 9pm and often later. Far away from home. No family, no church, no community. Just work, work, work, all day, every day.

This is a civilized society? You can read the maid agency sites to find out what the maids are actually saying about why they are looking another job.

Why is this slave labour allowed to continue?

Purported Answer: Because SOME families might have people with special needs.

Real Answer: Because my wife is a lazy, mean bitch who needs someone to lord it over.

Real Answer: Because I am a tight-fisted bastard with a big flash car who doesn't have enough humanity to SEE someone near me suffering, let alone the compassion to actually CARE.

Real Answer: I am Singaporean, I do what I like with my foreign maid. You bleeding heart foreigners and/or democrats can take a flying leap (like my maids often do.) After all, she's just a maid. And she's from another country. It's not like she's a human being or anything.

OK. Well, how's this for an answer from someone from a more civilised... um, civilisation?

Those SOME families with special needs can hire ANOTHER maid when the first one has her days off... Never thought of that did you?

Or they can pay their maid DOUBLE TIME for working on her rest day, but they cannot threaten or force her to work on her rest day against her will.

Or they could act like nice people and look after their grandmother themselves for once in their mean selfish lives.

Or they could continue to act like so many Singaporeans I read about. Like total arseholes.

But this arsehole attitude is now enshrined in the non-legislation of this 2-bit imitation of pre-civil war Southern United States. "Pick all dat cotton, slave-woman, and then y'all c'n fetch me anothuh Mint Julep..."

(This maid-as-slave attitude is also very common in Hong Kong, particularly amongst those of a Chinese cultural background. OK, I'm getting old, no time left for beating around the bush... ONLY in those of a Chinese cultural background. But far be it from me to be racist. Cultural imperialist, maybe.)


To quote from the diary of a sexually molested maid who committed suicide (7th floor window, open, chair, climb, leap...) in Singapore last year:

"A boss can never do wrong. His wrongdoings can be exchanged with money, but God will punish him for his wicked conduct." Quoted in TheStraitsTimes, Mar 9 2006.

The problem with that is a) there is no God to exact the punishment and b) there is usually not enough concern in the governement or in the police to pursue such matters (that this case is being pursued is "rare") and exact any punishment either.

I guess that religion often/usually does act as an opiate to dull the pain of the maids' situation.* This belief in the divine hereafter enables them to tolerate some terrible privations in the physical rightnow under the assumption that there is retribution coming for those who mistreated them and salvation coming for themselves in the next life.

Convenient for the bosses whose only concern is maximising their own comfort and riches in this life and one way of ensuring that is by paying a pittance for their 24/7 maid.

Unfortunately for those maids who rely on such religious optimism, there being neither heaven, hell nor God, it is up to a secular government, controlled by the power of the people to vote them out if they fuck up, and with its powers seperated from church, army and business, to enact legislation that makes exploitative situations untenable HERE and NOW, in this life.

But once again Singapore lets them down in order to further support the already well off. The rich get rich and the poor of the adjacent nations get to send their daughters to Singapore to get abused and to jump out of a HDB window.

(*BTW Marx didn't say "religion is the opium of the masses" - opium will drug people into a blissful stupor. He said it is "the opiate of the masses" - opiates such as laudanum were merely common pain killers, as aspirin or panadol are today, albeit more addictive and dangerous. They are meant to make life's painful hardships more bearable.)


Mind you, at least the locals here don't call their grandmothers witches and send them off into the desert to die... Mainly because there is no desert in Singapore, I guess. Though there is Jurong.

E@L (sits back and waits for the shit to hit the fan...)


Posted by: expat@large on Mar 09, 06 | 11:11 am | Profile


sometimes I try to explain to my colleagues here what my understanding of "a hard time" is.

I tell them how I was once so broke that I did a spell as an undertaker, manhandling bodies out of homes where everyone is crying. And other edifying experiences like delivering second hand furniture to public housing where everyone is half dead with heroin and children run around smeared with their own faeces just like in Trainspotting.

I tell them our lives are pretty easy here but they don't believe me. Everything is done for them. The gahmen protect them from the consequences of their incompetence whilst their slaves pick up after them and do the dishes.

Posted by: TheOriginalTrousersnake on Mar 09, 06 | 5:23 pm

I used to do a lot of radiography for coroner's cases. Great fun.

"Could you xray this guy's spine? " "Sure, where is the patient?" "Um, well, his spine is here in this tupperware container."

Posted by: expat@large on Mar 09, 06 | 10:52 pm

quite! and totally wasted on our slave driving friends, sometimes they look at me as though I was describing a scene from saving ryan's privates. What is so hard about picking up your own pants anyway??? be cheerful, this much stupidity takes energy, energy = money.....I pick up my own pants...sometimes

Posted by: TheOriginalTrousersnake on Mar 10, 06 | 12:11 am

It's very interesting the way things work around here. My maid gets most of Saturday and all of Sunday off every week now, since I really don't have much for her to do.

But the maid agency actually told me when I first got her that I'm not *allowed* to give her any days off for the first 6 months. They said they would check on me to see if I was spoiling her since it would make her difficult to place out should she ever leave my employment.

Do I have to invent things for her to do, I wondered. Like smear poop on the floor or something. Do I have to lie to the agency then.

Turns out I was working myself up for nothing. They never called, never checked. And to even things out, my uncle has had his maid for a year and she has never gotten even a single day off.

Posted by: Smootie on Mar 10, 06 | 10:14 am

Yes, there is this "don't spoil the market for the rest of us" attitude.

Not just with maids either.

Posted by: expat@large on Mar 10, 06 | 1:24 pm


Notify me when someone replies to this post?
Submit the word you see below:

Powered by pMachine