A Day In The Life Of Maids

Domestic workers leave their families and homelands to take care of ours. Oftentimes, they work long hours over many years just to provide for their parents, siblings, children. Because these women put their lives on hold, both their employer’s family and their own can move on.

These are the everyday stories of maids who have made Singapore their home.

1. Searching for a better life, the new domestic worker

IMG_036825 year-old Febbie Ann just started working in Singapore a few months ago.

I just arrived few months ago, this is my first employer. They are a nice Chinese-Italian family. They have 2 children. I cook for the family, take care the babies and clean the house. First child is 7 and then 2 years old.

The work is so difficult because I need time to prepare all the things that I have to do. I need time for the baby and to clean the house.

This is my first job outside of Philippines.  I need to focus first on my family to help them. And then after that, if there is the right time then I can think about a boyfriend. Right now, I have to send money back. My sister needs to go to school and my parents need food and shelter.

The money I bring back is not a lot, but it’s a start.

2. The one who is contemplating love

IMG_0386Ervina, 32 year-old started working as a domestic helper 9 years ago.

I was 23 years old when I left Philippines and started working for a Chinese family. It’s been about 9 years. They are a nice family and we are happy together.

One day I spoilt my phone. My ma’am gave me an iPad because no one at home was using it. So she said that I can just use this.

Sometimes I use it to Skype my boyfriend. He is in the Philippines and we are together for about five years now. It’s difficult to maintain the relationship, but we don’t have a choice. We cannot talk every day, only when i have the time. We already know each other’s family. He wants to get married but I am still making up my mind. I really don’t know yet.

3. The one struggling with her employer

IMG_034537-year-old Virgie Manrique has been working as a maid in Singapore for 7 years.

I come from Philippines’ Region 5 and for the last 6 years I was working for a Chinese employer. When I asked them to release me, they cried.

But I told them I want to try something else. I wanted to try work for expatriates, ang mohs.

So now I am working with a Chinese local lady and an American boss. We stay in a HDB flat. It’s been 5 months and it’s not easy. It’s a tiring life. There’s so much work so we have 2 maids, and we are like sisters in the house. We take turns to take shifts and sleep in a bit longer. Before this, I didn’t have enough sleep.

I am raising 3 children by myself. They are studying in the Philippines. Last month, my employers let me attend my daughter’s high school graduation even when I only worked for them for four months.

I choose as domestic helper because this is what my cousin is doing in Singapore. She has been doing this for 25 years. It’s nice that I have one family member here.

4. The one who is ready for home

IMG_0401Filipino 35-year-old Vergie De Leon has been working in Singapore the past 9 years.

I am here for 9 years in Singapore, 8 years with my second employer. I really like this family. They like it when I cook my Filipino food. On Sundays they give me an off day. Usually I just meet my friends and then sometimes go around Sentosa or Gardens By The Bay. My favourite place is to sit at Lucky Plaza and just talk there. I will leave home at around 10 or 11 and have lunch, tea, and dinner and then go home.

I am not married but I have three children. They are studying in first year college, fourth year high school and first year high school. The money I get is for their food allowance and school. Every 2 years I go back to see them. I can go back after they finish school. I want to just finish work in Singapore and go back, but I cannot yet.

Read Part 1 here: Maids Of Singapore: Domestic Helpers Tell All – Part 1

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