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Maid cries because she didn’t have any privacy, rest day, and enough sleep, says she had to ‘surrender all personal belongings except watch’

Coming to Singapore to work presents its own set of unique challenges and struggles. We spoke to two foreign domestic helpers about some of the difficulties they have faced.

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Coming to Singapore to work presents its own set of unique challenges and struggles. We spoke to two foreign domestic helpers about some of the difficulties they have faced.

The two women, Robina Navato or Bhing, 49, and Jo Ann Dumlao, 49, shared their lives working as domestic workers in Singapore.

 

Bhing, who has been working in Singapore for 27 years, is a single mother with three children. As the sole breadwinner of her family, she crossed borders to earn money to send home.

Jo Ann has been working for over 15 years here. She too came to Singapore to work for the future of her children and her family. She tells TISG that homesickness was one of the hardest challenges she faced, and continues to struggle with every day.

Additionally, she struggled with poor work conditions. “I don’t have day off, and I don’t have my privacy. The moment I stepped into the house, I surrendered all my belongings – personal belongings – except my watch”. She would be given her mobile phone on Saturday mornings to talk to her family, but it would have to be returned to her employer on Monday mornings.

The work she was tasked with was no easier. In cleaning the house, she would have to mop the entire place by hand while kneeling. She added that she had no privacy and had to sleep with an elderly woman in the house.

“Most of the time, because the ahma (mandarin for grandmother) is quite old, I must be alert”. She added that there was a dog as well that always barked in the house, which she had to manage and often put away in its cage.

“I don’t have enough sleep, no privacy”, Jo Ann said.  /TISG

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