flat·u·lence 1) The presence of excessive gas in the digestive tract. 2) Self-importance; pomposity.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Maid Abuse?

On Nov 15, at about 4pm, I saw a maid climbed out of her 4-storey building, stood on a stool, on a narrow ledge, to wash & wipe the windows.
Amazed by her courage, I observed the maid for a few minutes.

Imagine my horror, when I noticed there was no safety harness attached nor was she secured by any rope!!!

Photos (click to enlarge) & video (hosted via Youtube) below:

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Maid wiping windows, 4 storeys high

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Maid on stool, wiping window, no safety harness

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Job done, Maid climbing back into room

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Ledge, about 1m wide

The ledge is about 1 metre in width. While this might be wide enough for a person to maneuver; at 4 storeys high, nobody in his or her right mind would have wipe windows on that ledge. To make matters worse, the maid climbed onto the stool... All it takes is a strong gust of wind to knock her off-balance...

I also noticed that there was nobody in the room when the maid was cleaning the windows outside. What if she fell? Who is going call for help? Will it be too late?

Here's the video:

We've read about it in the papers. We've seen the news-reports & talk-shows. Case after case, abuse after abuse...

You would think ppl will wake up and start treating their maids better... afterall, they are humans, just like you and me...

Have we allowed ourselves to think foreign domestic helpers are an inferior species; undeserving of our respect & care? We don't grant them the same standard of humanity that we do to others. Even our pets are treated better than maids. What the fuck?!?!

Foreign Domestic Help. Foreign. Domestic. HELP. They are employed to HELP. To help you do the domestic chores that you are supposed to do in the first place!!!

Sigh... dunno wat else to say... I'll leave y'all with 2 selected articles about maids dying from falls:

BBC article
"In Singapore, an official at the Indonesian embassy, Chalief Akbar, said almost a hundred Indonesian maids had died falling from tall buildings in the island republic in the previous three years. Some of those cases were of maids slipping when they hung out washing, but others are thought to have been suicide, perhaps in response to abuse."

Thinkcentre.org article
"Since 1996, at least 27 maids have died from falls

Jan -June 2001 has seen at least three accidents of maids falling from a high building while cleaning windows resulting in the deaths of maids. 27-Jun-2001, a 21-year-old Indonesian domestic worker was in critical condition in hospital after falling seven storeys from her employers' flat.

April 2000, Ms Winarti, 23, a Indonesian maid who was staying with her agent, fell from a kitchen window from 11 storeys, apparently trying to take in a clothes pole. She died from injuries. In 1999, six foreign maids died this way and in 1998, there were eight similar cases. According to the police reports, nine maids fell in 2000 while performing household chores, while eight fell in 1999. Of the eight, six died while two were seriously injured. Since 1996, 27 maids have died from falls. The employers were investigated but none have been given a police warning.

In the past 30 months, 43 Indonesian maids had fallen to their deaths while attempting to clean windows and other fixtures in high-rise buildings. Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) says that 21 maids had fallen from high-rise buildings since 1999 and it did not have a breakdown by nationality. Indonesian Embassy spokesman said 12 Indonesian maids had died in falls from Jan to July 2001.

December 1999, the Manpower Ministry issued an information kit suitable for each foreign domestic worker in her own language, on safety precautions when cleaning windows and doing other chores.

The ministry also wrote to all employers, telling them to keep safety in when asking maids to do hazardous household chores. There is also a video highlighting potential hazards in the home, especially the cleaning of windows in high-rise blocks. Among the tips given: Lock window grilles before cleaning windows, do not stand on chairs, and do not take unnecessary risks by climbing out of windows to retrieve fallen items. The video, which is available in English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Sinhalese, is available at employment agencies and embassies.

Source: Straits Times 17 April 2000, 13-Apr-2001, 26 June 2001, 27 June 2001, 19-20 July 01"


Mum of the 2 C's said...

Crazy man. Crazy. Singaporeans think their money is damn big.

And you have a very powerful camera, I must say.

Anonymous said...

So will you report this case to the authority, not to punish but to educate the likely ignorant neighbours?