The Merlion in Singapore. Photo: Google Maps
The Merlion in Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A Singaporean woman has shared her experiences as the employer of foreign maids, encouraging others to show understanding and spiritual support for domestic workers who have moved away from their homelands in order to improve the lives of their loved ones far away.

The woman surnamed Lee wrote in the newspaper Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) that since 2012 she and her husband had hired a total of four foreign domestic workers to look after her mother-in-law, now 86.

Their first maid came from Indonesia, and had to start from scratch to learn how to communicate with the elderly woman in her dialect. The couple put a lot of effort into teaching the maid, who was a diligent and quick learner, and was soon able to chat with Lee’s mother-in-law with ease. However, at the end of her contract after two years, she returned home and got married.

Their second maid, who came from Myanmar. was more or less the same as their first worker, except she was less talented in terms of picking up a new language.

However, the family’s third encounter, who was also a Myanmar national, was far less pleasant, even getting physical when she lost her temper. She was fired after less than seven months.

Right now, the couple have their fourth helper, another Myanmar national, who now is in her third year with them. Back on her second day of employment three years ago, Lee found her crying by the bed, as she was worried she could not master the job, as she was burned out from little sleep after preparing meals for the elderly woman every two hours, plus the language barrier was seemingly too difficult to overcome.

Lee reassured the maid that she could take a rest even in the daytime when her mother-in-law was sleeping. But as for the language, it would have to take time and effort.

Given her determination and good work attitude, it did not take long for the helper to get along well with the family and communicate with the elderly woman happily with no fuss.

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