Nguyen Van Tuong
Yesterday, Caleb departed this horrible place we call Earth, for a better place. No doubt his actions committed 3 years ago was wrong, so wrong, and as much as his intentions was for the love of his brother, it was still wrong.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and fight they will, those against the death penalty for drug carriers, but as I’ve said before for Shanmugam, I say it again for Nguyen:
The law dictates that he be hung for his actions. Emotions aside, the Government will not waiver on this issue, because this will set a precedence for all future cases to come.
Because clemency, mercy, or whatever you call it will be twisted at the arms of drug lords in the future, used for their advantage. Because at the end of the day, if Nguyen is pardoned, indirectly, more people will suffer.
What has been brought to my attention recently, is the treatment of maids in Singapore. We have become a maid-dependent society, when merely one generation before, most of our parents were living in kampungs, totally independent of maids. Some may argue that ‘ah-mas’ existed then. Yet somehow, it seems that ah-mas then were treated a lot more like family then maids are treated these days.
Employing a maid is no easy task. It may have been made simpler by the numerous maid agencies in Singapore, but what is astounding, is that these agencies usually charge the maids close to $2k to get placed in a Singaporean home. Based on the average Indonesian maid’s pay, $2k is about 7 months salary! That’s about 1/3 the amount that she would have earned in the total contract of 2 years! I’m clueless when it comes to laws governing these areas, but is that even legal? Definitely no Singaporean would agree to work on terms like that! On top of that, employers usually have to fork out $200-$300 themselves for the agency’s services.
Another concern is the high levy the government has placed on this industry. A maid’s pay might be about $280 and over, but to the employer, they’ve to fork out more then twice that amount, plus provide food and lodging. All together, it costs close to $1k, if not more, a month, to have a maid in the house. When you’re spending that much money on a maid, the Singaporean tendency is to ‘get your money’s worth‘. This leads to maids being treated as servants, rather than helpers, and in some cases, even abuse.
I’m quite appalled at the way this industry has turned out to be. With Singapore outsourcing all these ‘lowly’ jobs to foreigners, our young are starting to be taught of a class system, which might not be that distinct amongst Singaporeans, but is growing more and more distinct, between ourselves, and our foreignly employed workers.
Although it seems like these people are being paid peanuts, when converted to their own currency, it is a small fortune. It is for this reason that most are willing to leave their countries, to work in jobs which we ourselves do not want to take up. But with time spent in this country, it’s only a matter of time before they realize that they aren’t really getting the better end of the stick. Because of that, some resort to other means of getting money, and fear and distrust grows between employer and employee.
Have I mention that some maids have no off days? I know that work is being done about that in that area, but laws aren’t enough. Somehow, it seems like we have successfully legalized slavery, by adding ‘pay’ to it. I’m not sure where this industry is heading, but it’s definitely here to stay. Hopefully, our country will mature as a society, and start treating our helps as respectable human beings.
Something has to give.
“First S’pore employer convicted of pimping maid speaks” by Maureen Koh at The Electric Newpaper (Dec 05, 2005)
“Servants no more” by Caleb in A Gonzo Diary (Dec 06, 2005)
Employment Act need not be extended to cover foreign maids: MOM” by Margaret Perry at Channel NewsAsia (Dec 06, 2005)
“Singapore: Domestic Workers Suffer Grave Abuses” by Human Rights News (Dec 07, 2005)
“Human Right Watch report an exaggeration: Manpower Minister” by Hasnita A Majid at Channel NewsAsia (Dec 07, 2005)
“A maid-to-order society won’t do” by Ong Soh Chin at The Straits Times (Dec 09, 2005)
4 thoughts on “Ethical Concerns”
Maid-employer relations are an interesting aspect in Spore society. Abuse of maids, retaliation by maids like poisoning the kids in the family and worse, bilateral relations affected because of crime-punishment related to the treatment of maids, maids becoming a relatively necessary intruder in the Spore family.
Nevertheless, the microscopic study of maids in Spore aside, it is horrendously shocking that maid abuse can happen in Spore. Your point on this modern slavery is scary because it is true. Somehow some Sporeans crazily believe that just because they pay a salary to a foreigner staying and working in their home almost 24/7, that foreigner transforms into a slave.
If anyone is to be executed then it must be Lee Hsien Loong and his cronies.
Lee Hsien Loong’s government has significant investments in Burma with the junta and the drug lords. So they resort to executing a drug mule while protecting and trading with the drug suppliers -what hypocrisy!
Please read this article:
Well you are entitled to your own views but accusing the government of “protecting and trading with the drug suppliers” is a little too far.
Yes we’re aware of these allegations but this is not the point of our discussion, so let’s not go there. The law is the law, so let’s not blow this matter out of proportion.