The slave-like life of one maid – according to a schedule given to her in writing by employer

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By: Jolovan Wham (Republished from Facebook)

She worked for months without a single day off and ran away because she was exhausted and traumatised by the verbal abuse. When she returned to the employer to collect her belongings, he locked her up and refused to let her leave the house. When we learnt of it, Damien Chng who spent a few weeks volunteering with HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics) went down to the house and called the police.

At first, she was not allowed to come with us. The police took the employer’s side and insisted that if she wanted to leave the house, they would have to put her in a lock up at the police station. But finally they relented after Damien argued with them for close to an hour and she was brought back to the shelter. Below is her schedule given to her in writing by the employer, who lives in a flat in Sengkang West.

She told us it was hard to keep to the timings and could only rest close to midnight. She decided to go home rather than file a complaint at MOM. In our experience, even if she did, she would still be repatriated anyway and not allowed to seek an alternative employer if the current employer does not consent. Overwork is not considered a serious offence .

530am: Wake up and bath

540am-630am: Keep kitchen ware and utensils back into respective cabinets. Prepare children’s water bottle, milk bottle, milk powder, handkerchief into school bags. Place school bags on dining table and sir’s bag on dining chair. Prepare Sir’s water bottle, take out one packet of tissue. Eat your breakfast. Take out previous day newspaper and write down notebook. Collect newspaper from door. Dust floor if timing allows Change diapers and uniform for children

650 to 725: Send children to school

730am to 12pm: Clean up bedrooms, 3 step cleaning (sweep, dust, mop) all rooms plus living room. Set up bathroom for Lucas bath and master bedroom. Wipe all children’s toys. Can proceed to carry out additional tasks. Marinate meat for dinner (if any)

12pm Lunch

1230pm -2pm: hand wash children’s clothes and sir and mam’s clothes. Wash laundry and clean up according to additional tasks in table (continued)

3pm-5pm: Prepare dinner. Remove all clothes in service yard to study room. Cook dinner

5pm to 530pm: Mop kitchen floor, prepare bathroom for children’s bath. Set up dinner on dining table. Set up high chairs. On TV switch. Close windows. Make sure all electrical appliances in kitchen (fridge door closed, stove off) is off. Sweep and dust floor again. Check children’s room for insects.

545pm: Meet sir at bus stop (sir will call you for exact timing). Make sure door and gate locked.

615pm: Bring leron to room, let him drink water

630pm: Clean up bathrooms after children’s baths. Unpack school bags, remove school paper announcements wash toy in bag.

645pm: Prepare dinner for children–feed Lucas/Leron dinner.

7pm-730pm: Prepare dinner for sir/madam. Mind the children while sir and madam eat. prepare fruits for sir/madam and children.

830pm: Prepare milk for Leron.

840pm: Eat your dinner

9pm: Prepare milk for Lucas

9 to 1030pm: Place standby milk and hot flask in respective rooms. Wash utensils, milk bottles, clean sink. Clean and wipe rice cooker parts. Clean kitchen stove and table surfaces. Sterilise milk bottles. Take out soybeans to soak and remove meal for tomorrow’s meal to thaw in fridge. Throw rubbish and lock door and gate. Mop kitchen floor. Mop living room. Wipe sofa and play mat. Wipe toys (Saturday nights and when kids are unwell). Shut windows and door blinds.

1030pm: Bath and rest time.