SINGAPORE: A woman took to social media to ask employers not to bring helpers to restaurants unless they were dining with them.

“Dear employer… If you can’t buy some food and drink for your helper… Please don’t bring your helper to an expensive restaurant, if only to watch you eat,” the woman wrote on the Facebook Group ‘Complaint Singapore’ on Sunday (Feb 11).

Many Singaporeans on social media supported the woman and agreed that it was somewhat painful to witness this situation.

One user, who said she just saw this scenario at a restaurant yesterday, said, “She looks pitiful. I agree with you.”

One user, who revealed herself as a helper, chimed in on the conversation and said the case was very normal in Singapore, and she does not know why some employers do this, adding:

“Helpers are human beings like you all. Helpers need money, and employers need them for help. Please respect them. Don’t just treat them like small dusty. Very sad Lucky my two employer is still take me like they are family and bless to them.”

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Another helper also revealed in the comments section that her ex-employer also treated her like this. She stated that there were times when the husband would buy her food, but the wife would “make eyeside” and make snide remarks such as “wow so good ah you buy for her expensive food.”

The wife would then inform her that she could only eat once everyone else had finished eating.

A few others also slammed the employers for doing this. Some said that they couldn’t imagine eating while their helper wasn’t.

Others said it was downright inhumane and that these types of employers do not deserve to have a helper because they cannot even treat one with respect.

Employers: “Sometimes it’s the helper’s preference”

One employer stated that people should not make assumptions so easily because her helper, who has been with her for ten years, has eaten sometimes when they go to restaurants, adding, “So she just sits down lor.”

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Meanwhile, other employers said their helpers were welcome to eat with them at any time.

One employer explained, “All my helpers are welcome to what I eat in restaurants. However sometimes it’s the helper’s preference too. Some may not like it due to taste, some are particular due to dietary requirements.

I would not judge unless you know exactly what is going on. Plus as long as the helper is treated reasonably well I do not see an obligation for the employer to provide high end food.”

Another said, “I always treated well all of my maids in the past. We were like family. What we ate, she ate. Unless special occasions. Like we went out and she stayed home.”

In the past, mistreatment of foreign helpers has been a common occurrence, not only in Singapore but all over the world. Fortunately, there are now laws and measures in place to safeguard the rights of these helpers and treat them like human beings. 

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In Singapore, there are laws in place that will penalize employers if they abuse their foreign helpers physically or verbally. However, there are still a few cases that still occur here. 

For example, in December 2023, a 41-year-old woman pleaded guilty in court to mistreating her maid.