Maids – followup

It’s not a coincidence because it happens all the time here. One day after my Maids blog, the news ran an article on yet another maid being physically abused by her employer. This 21 year old Indonesian maid was beaten, scratched, had her head bashed against a wall for a total of 80 incidents over a 10 month period. Her violations were such things as falling asleep on a bus, not putting the right books into the kids backpacks, mixing the chili wrong….

The employer was a 28 year old woman. I continue to wonder how these people end up believing that they have a right to torture their maids. Just who the hell do they think they are? It’s happening all the time and it appears that no one takes it seriously because the courts continue to hand down very lenient sentences. Already the court in this case has taken all but 7 of the offences into “consideration” which means that the bitch employer will only be tried for those 7.

Watch the news. I bet she gets a matter of weeks in jail and a small fine. In other words, it’s not so bad to beat up on your maid in Singapore.

In my mind, anyone convicted of abusing their maid, even once, should not be allowed to employ another maid EVER. If that was the set sentence, perhaps employers would think twice. I also think that caning should apply in these cases, even when the abuser is a woman. (This whole thing of caning only men, and only using corporal punishment with male students is a bunch of crap.) But that ain’t gonna happen. It is no surprise to me that periodically a maid will kill her employer. If THAT happened more often maybe the employers would also think twice.

As much as I admire Singapore’s judicial system, I think they are totally missing the boat in these cases.

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4 Comments on “Maids – followup”

  1. Mickell Says:

    Yeah, i agree with you. Employers who whack their maids should get caned. More maids should murder their their abusive employers too. So that employers would be more wary of abusing them ;p

  2. yojanjan Says:

    just FYI, employers convicted of maid abuse ARE not allowed to employ another FDW permanently

    http://www.mom.gov.sg/FMMD/OtherMeasurestoProtectForeignDomesticWorkers.htm

    “(2) Penal Code

    Enhanced Penalties for Offences Against FDWs

    The government takes a serious view of employers who ill-treat or abuse their foreign workers, especially those in domestic employment. Those who do so are severely dealt with. The Police conducts prompt and thorough investigations into all such cases. Errant employers are prosecuted in the courts and heavy sentences such as jail, fine and/or caning, are meted out to those found guilty of physical abuse or ill-treatment.

    In 1998, the Penal Code was amended to enhance penalties committed by employers against their FDWs by 1.5 times For example, the normal penalty for causing voluntary hurt is imprisonment for up to 1 year or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. However, if the case involves an employer causing voluntary hurt to his FDW, the employer can be imprisoned for up to 1? years or fined up to $1 500 or both. In addition, convicted employers and spouses will also not be allowed to employ another FDW permanently.”

    Does it help? Maybe. But not many employers will be thinking of this when they abuse their FDWs. i suppose the employers dont even think that they ARE abusing their FDWs (just punishing her for mistakes wat?!), others simply believe that they will get away with it.

    Education (but how does one teach human decency?) and heavier punishment are the way to go.

  3. expatbrian Says:

    Thanks yojanjan for the info. I guess the problem is (a)most maids will not report it and (b)even if they do, it only addresses that single case. I think it is the mindset of the employers that has to be worked on. It is no different than the treatment of slaves in the US except one might expect that 150 years later, in a progressive modern country like Singapore, that might have changed. Lastly, the law refers to jail time and fines “up to” a certain level. My experience here so far is that is rarely meted out. That tells me that the mindset problem starts at the top. How can Singapore be so tough on other crimes and so lenient on this issue?

  4. yojanjan Says:

    if a maid was abused just once and she reported it, it was a single case. if a maid was abused over a period, and reported them, they are considered as cases, and the sentencing (and punishment) will take all of them into consideration.

    if the crime exceeds the penal code for offences against FDWs, the perpetrators can be prosecuted in other acts, such as voluntarily causing hurt, and even to 2nd and 1st degree murder if it comes to that.

    yes, horrors of horrors, some one was convicted of abusing his maid and had caused her death. he was convicted and sentenced to death.

    on the other hand, the recent cases of maids who killed their employers and or charges, did not receive the death sentences (which was the “up to certain level” in their crimes), so i guess the law not meting out the max works both ways.

    as for the slave mindset, i dont think that there is such a mindset, least of all from the top.


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