Boon Keng MRT station on Serangoon Road in Singapore, an area where maids gather on their day off. Photo: Google Maps

The number of foreign maids in Singapore should be cut and women in the city-state should learn to be more self-sufficient. A Singaporean man wrote to the newspaper Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) last week and urged the government to cap or even cut the number of domestic workers in the country.

He complained that foreign maids occupied public spaces such as the lawns outside the Boon Keng MRT station, or streets on Orchard Road, on Sundays during their day off.

He also pointed out that since permission was granted to bring in domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia in the late 1970s, the number of maids has climbed to 240,000 from 5,000, which translates into 6,000 new maids arriving each year.

The man questioned whether maids were necessary for Singaporean families. While he found it justifiable to hire domestic workers to look after elderly people and young children, he said it was “odd” that employers retain their workers after their children had grown up or their elderly parents had died.

The reason for this, he claimed, was that modern Singaporean families lacked the ability to take care of themselves when it came to domestic chores.

The man argued that working parents were not a new phenomenon. Back in the 1970s, he said, there were no maids, and that most people returned home from work and looked after their own children and took care of the families.

He added that the Foreign Maid Levy Relief Fund should be canceled, or at least be restricted to families with children aged 12 or below instead of 16. He also insisted that secondary school children should be able to take care of themselves and not depend on maids.

Families with no elderly members, or young children, should only be allowed to hire part-time cleaners or maids, not live-in foreign domestic workers, he pointed out.

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