Maid Made to Carry Load for Young Man – Just Wrong

I just wish I could stop seeing reports like this. It makes me upset as I wonder what is becoming of our society.

I have seen maids carry the bags of kids and I felt fed up and ashamed. I sure am glad I grew up in an era when we had no domestic help. Even then I don’t recall my parents every carrying my school bags. That would have been so embarrassing for both me and them. I should think that carrying loads like this should be beyond the job description of domestic helpers. Where do we draw the line people? I found this image disturbing when I saw it today at Yahoo Singapore and the Straits Times. It’s deplorable how she is made to lug the bag and trail behind him as he obviously plays with his cell phone.

Some comments from the articles:

25-year-old Kelvin Wong, who completed his army stint in 2006, said, “This photo is just ridiculous. It’s hard to believe that a grown man who is supposed to be serving the nation is making his female domestic help carry his backpack.”

“He’s a disgrace to the army and makes Singaporean men look bad,” he added.

23-year-old Karl Mak, who finished his stint in 2008, said, “He’s probably a spoilt kid who had his bag carried by his maid since he was a child. I guess stuff like that is cultivated from a young age.”

There were several comments on Facebook as well like this one and I too believe that parents should be more discerning. I just feel it’s not fair to the domestic helper:

Loke Yu Ming: Perhaps parents ought to be more discerning about what they expect their maids or themselves to do for their kids. Seemingly innocuous deeds like carrying school kids’ bags, which is common here, might cause them to develop undesirable behaviours unknowingly.

This young man was unfortunately caught red handed and singled out, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are similar cases out there. I guess it’s not just about this one incident, but a reflection of how society is changing for the worse when employers take advantage of domestic helpers.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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12 Responses to Maid Made to Carry Load for Young Man – Just Wrong

  1. sue says:

    singaporean guys are sissies anyway they carry their gf’s handbags so nothing new.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I don’t mind chivalry and some guys can be considerate….but this particular case of the poor domestic helper is a bit too much.

    • Crystal says:

      I’d like to address several things that struck me about the comment above…

      The use of the word “sissies.” This is an incredibly damaging label used to de-masculinize men, and often used in conjunction with gay-bashing. This is a word I wish people would stop and think about before throwing it around. There is no one standard of appropriate “male” or “female” behavior, but using one-size-fits-all standards harm everyone in the long run…the girl who’s good at Math and Science, the boy who likes art and hates sports, and so on. People do not fit into neat little boxes, and continuing to impose gendered expectations and language is just uncalled for.

      The whole “carrying a girlfriend’s bag” thing–it’s cultural. If you don’t like it, don’t ask your significant other to do it for you. But as someone who has a bad back, I’m often grateful that my husband feels no shame in taking my heavy purse (which has my things and our toddler’s in it) from me to lighten my load and decrease my pain. And he’s American, not Singaporean. The world would be a far better place if people didn’t feel some compelled to judge other’s behaviors, especially when it has no impact on them and isn’t harming anyone. Does it REALLY impact your day if a man carries his partner’s bag? No, it doesn’t. Let it go.

      However, when I first saw this image, my jaw did fall open. A snarky comment about how it’s nice to see that we baby our children to the point where maids pick them up from the Army and carry their bags home, too came to mind.

      However, I think the deeper issue is the way our children have learned to see domestic helpers. I am often horrified at the examples I see everyday as I’m out and about with my 2 year old. We had to work with B to get her to give Elanor time outs for inappropriate behavior because with any prior family, B would have gotten in trouble for meting out discipline. I don’t want my daughter to think of B as a servant…she’s a valued member of our household, and an adult to Elanor’s child; one who does many nice things for E every day…and thus deserves her respect and kindness.

      But when you allow your toddler to slap a maid, or to treat her like a beast of burden, is it any surprise that a 20 year old would think nothing of handing her his military pack to play on his phone? Children here are often not taught to value independence. I see it in the 4 and 5 year olds being fed by their helpers at McDonalds and other restaurants. Heck, when we’ve hung out with B’s friends, they’re all SHOCKED to the ground at E’s desire to walk on her own (rather than be carried), her beginning skills at self dressing (shirts end up backwards, shoes on the wrong feet, shorts still half off), her self-feeding, and a million other things that are typical of a child her age in our home culture. When children don’t learn independence, they mature far slower emotionally as well.

      I feel sorry for both of the subjects of the photo. The maid has no business carrying such a heavy load. The boy lacks certain skills like independence and compassion for his home help. Both are worrisome.

      • bookjunkie says:

        you are so right. I don’t like that term either and I don’t see anything wrong if a guy wants to help out his girl or vice versa and I think it’s completely a different situation from what the picture shows us…you hit the nail on the head. I was wondering what it was exactly that made me feel so utterly disturbed. It’s that our domestic helpers are treated like beasts of burden. Almost not human, like a servant or slave and that is what disturbs me to the core. It reminds me of the caste system and that is horrifying.

        I think the parents are at fault if they have raised this kid/young man to not know any better. To not feel any shame in allowing his helper to carry his bag in this manner as he seems able bodied enough. It’s not the domestic help…it’s how some Singaporeans use to the point of abuse and there’s nothing to stop them till something really bad happens and it’s made the headlines.

  2. mitch says:

    I feel sorry for the domestic helper carrying a backpack for this NS man, is this still a chores of a domestic helper??. Hope both military officers & MOM will take appropriate action for this.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am just glad this photo raises awareness and hopefully parents will think twice before encouraging this type of behaviour. I hope it also leads to them treating their domestic employees better.

    • Kim says:

      MOM couldn’t even help those lowly paid singaporeans,let alone these poor foreign maids.

  3. Certain behaviours are cultivated since young, consciously or unconsciously by the parents. I have seen kids coming home from the school bus, with their maids waiting for them by the side of the road. Their school bags got off their back the moment they got off the school bus. And poor Wati or Maria has to pick up that load and trail behind the brat. Likewise when they go to school.
    It’s also appalling to see kids who are in primary schooling age still being fed by their parents when eating out. I seriously wonder if these parents wait for them in the canteen during recess time to feed them as well!???

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am so glad I lived in an era where we had to feed ourselves in primary school and buy our own food from the canteen or starve.

  4. Kim says:

    Well typical singaporeans nowadays,exploiting their maids,workers to the fullest.Sometimes really feel ashamed to tell those foreigners that i’m a singaporean.

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