Should Maids Be Housed In Dormitories?


By: B Goode

Indonesia has just announced that starting from next year new maids will have to be housed in dormitories. It’s not something new though.

In some Scandinavian countries, maids are not allowed to live-in with their employers. And yes, unlike in Singapore where maids are called by other terms such as helpers, housekeepers etc because it makes us feel better, maids in Europe are simply called maids, because Europeans do not attached any negative meaning to the word `maid’. In fact, maids are considered respectable and highly paid.

The reasons why live-in maids were made illegal were many, but basically they boiled down to:

  1. Preventing maids from being over-worked. Let’s face it. If your infant cried in the middle of the night, most probably your maid would have to tend to the child whilst you continued sleeping. In short, your maids are not your slaves.
  2. Maids are not supposed to assume the responsibilities of parents, wives, husbands, daughters or sons. They are supposed to assist you in taking care of your household, not to be the parents to your children, or the child of your parents. In the evenings and on the weekends when you are home, you are supposed to assume those duties.
  3. To prevent the acculturation of your children. If your child spent most of his childhood with say a Filipina maid, chances are, your child would grow up having the world-view of a Filipina.

So should maids in Singapore be housed in dormitories? You decide. But in order for you to make an informed decision, I have made a list of the things that would happen should your maids be housed in dormitories:

  1. When your infant cried in the middle of the night, you’d either kick your partner or be kicked by your partner to tend to the rascal,
  2. you’d sleep more peacefully knowing that your husband would not sleepwalk into the maid’s room,
  3. on weekends, you could no longer ask your maid to bring your children to the playground because you wanted to have some afternoon delight with your partner,
  4. or your husband asking you to bring the children to the playground so he could have an afternoon delight with your maid,
  5. you could no longer bring your maid to dinner just to look after your children so that you could eat in peace,
  6. you could no longer go on overseas family holidays leaving your maids to take care of your pets and plants, and your old parents,
  7. you’d have to eat your wife’s cooking on weekends,
  8. you’d have to listen to you mom-in-law’s nagging on weekends,
  9. after a hard day’s work, you could no longer vent your anger at your maid,
  10. which would be a good thing because you’d no longer drink your maid’s spittle in your coffee the next morning, or
  11. afraid that your maid would murder you in your sleep,
  12. your maid would be free to meet her boyfriend every night,
  13. instead of having to wait for you to sleep before she sneaked out for some tlc at the staircase landing
  14. which would be a good thing because she’d be smiling when she saw you in the morning,
  15. or vomiting because of morning sickness.
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