Two sisters from Myanmar had very different experiences when they moved to Singapore as domestic workers – one was treated well by her employer and recently won an award for her long service, while the other was treated very badly.
The youngest of the two, Naw Wah Wah, 44, was fortunate to find a good employer when she arrived in 2008 and is still working for her. However, her older sister was not so fortunate. Naw Wah Wah still gets angry when she recalled that her sister was abused and mistreated by a family in Pasir Ris, the Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.
Her sister prepared three meals a day for the family, but was not given any food and was sometimes beaten. A month after starting work, her starving sister called for help on her mobile and Naw Wah Wah took her biscuits, Milo powder, instant noodles and two freshly grilled chickens.
Her elder sister and her colleague, also a Myanmar domestic worker, were so hungry they ate one grilled chicken downstairs at their HDB building. The remaining food, however, was confiscated by the employer when the pair returned home. Later her sister was also barred from communicating and had her mobile taken away.
Weeks later Naw Wah Wah said her sister was like a walking skeleton and her weight plummeted to 40 kilograms from 60kg. An employment agent was alerted and rescued her.
Naw Wah Wah was a recipient of the Long Service Awards by the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) at an annual ceremony at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium on February 11. She said she was grateful for being assigned to take care of her elderly employer Yap Guat Eng, who is now 94, for the past 11 years.
Naw Wah Wah had struggled to speak English at first, but Yap, who had been an English teacher before retiring, would correct her grammar and pronunciation. Naw Wah Wah promised her employer she would continue to look after her until Yap goes, or she goes.