Sunday, January 13, 2008

I am Legend: The Last Maid on Earth/Singapore

While looking at (and for) HDB flats, my girlfriend and I were quite intrigued by the presence of bomb shelters in the newer flats, both by HDB, private and HDB-private (a CHIMERA apartment! *gasp*).

Ok. "Bomb shelter" isn't exactly the right term here. Since I cannot recall what was the original name, let's call it "bomb shelter". Maybe someone can enlighten me. Much appreciated.

What was interesting is that this safety room, to be occupied in times of emergency, has a bed and cabinets in it, at least most of them. "This room can be converted into a room for your maid," said the sales agent.

So imagine if there was one night a biochemical attack on Singapore. All Singaporeans will probably be wiped out instantly and the maids who live in these shelters (with doors closed of course) will have a higher chance of survival. They will wake up to a ghost town and find they're the only inhabitants of this once bustling nation. Just like Will Smith, but no zombies here, just lots of dead Singaporean employers.

What's scarier than this apocalyptic scenario is that there are Singaporeans who put their maids up in bomb shelters. No windows, just a vent. It reminds me of a prison cell (not that I have been to prison, but I have "travelled" into one thanks to the media).

The maid is an integral part of the middle-to-upper family. Maids are to an extent family, for they do some degree of parenting and some degree of household and property maintenance. It is a bit odd to me to think of maids living and sleeping in the shelters. Maybe a room is better than no room. I'll never know.

What's more important is that employers and their children treat maids with respect and dignity. I have seen children talking back and scolding their maids, who carry their bags for them, and probably do a lot of other "picking up after"s. Maids don't get paid to be scolded, nor do they exchange their dignity for wages. They are, like you and me, human.

1 comment:

wei chun said...

hi sam

i came across your blog when googling for 'bennie cheok'. just wondering why ST did not publish your well-written letter... they just ignored it, i suppose?

wei chun