Archive for Domestic Help

What rights do we have as an employer towards our maid?


 Maids are contracted staff. Before they arrive to work for all the Singapore employers, they should fully understand that their job scope is to do house work, and they should also be aware of the size and type of the house, looking after the elderly, what age the elderly is, looking after the baby, how old the baby is, if there are children, how many of them and of what age…etc, they also know they have 1 off day per month. If they choose not to have an off day, they will be paid $20 per day as compensation. If they willingly accepted these terms and condition, then they sign and agree to come here to work.  They did not come here to discover all these, so this is a totally fair deal.

There is no free meal in this world. Why would maids choose to come to Singapore to work when they know Hong Kong and Taiwan’s pay is much higher?  It is very simple, because they do not have money to pay for all the expenses to get out of their country; therefore they come to Singapore because Singapore employers will help them repay their loan first.

Recently, Singapore’s government has wanted to follow countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan to give maids 1 off day per week.  This adds more stress to the employer in Singapore. 

In Hong Kong and Taiwan the maids are treated like any other employees, they get to go home after working hours; they pay for their own lodging and transportation.  The employer is not responsible for their well being.debt

 Maids in Singapore are different. When they arrive, they come with a debt which they await their employer to help them pay off. The employer has to pay levy to the government. This money could have been from their salary. If the maid wants to change employers or commits a crime, the employer has to pay for their daily lodging till the case is settled. The employer is also responsible for a security bond of $5,000. If the maid gets pregnant, or runs away, the security bond will be activated. Therefore, if you want Singapore employers to be responsible for the maid’s well being, of course the employer have to watch the maid closely so that they do not do silly thing that can cost them a bomb.

 Because we all believe we need to have an off day, the Singapore Government has come into the picture to force all the employers to give 1 off day per week to their maids starting from Jan 2013 but this is totally unfair to the employer because they are being made responsible to the maid’s well being.  The more off days the maid has; the higher risk it is to the employer.  

 If the government wants to impose that, I think it is fair that the employers are not made responsible for the maid’s well being. Then it lowers the stress on the employer.stress

 For those who do not hire maids, please be nice to your fellow citizen, not all maid employers are bullies. If you talk to the maid employer, most of time you hear them complaining about being abused by their maid but they cannot do anything about it because they need the maid. Therefore, they choose to suffer in silence.    

 Recently, I sent my maid back home. She came to Singapore with a tooth ache. Right after she get her tooth fixed and learn that her family back home do not need her to bring money home anymore, she started to make life difficult for the employer’s family, so that she could break contract and get to go home early, and of course she has succeeded.  

So these are the story you have never heard from a maid employer. What rights do the we have as a maid employer?  Who will fight for our rights?  We pay taxes every month to our government but the money is used to feed people who talk about making others foreigner’s life better, it is very sad right?  Sigh…..


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What are the things we cannot assume that our maid knows?

They do not know that they hold the responsibility of safety to your kid. I have a maid who got my daughter’s finger burned by the iron, I asked her what happened and was told that my daughter saw her ironing and was curious, so she went to touch the iron. This was not surprising as all children are curious.  I asked the maid why she didn’t stop her, her reply was because my daughter wanted to touch, so she let her touch. She did not know that it was her job to stop my daughter and ensure that she is not hurt when satisfying her curiosity.

Mop floor

They do not know that they are not supposed to use one bucket of water to mop the whole house as they do not know the real purpose of mopping the floor.  Most of them mop the floor because you want them to mop but they do not know it is because the floor must be clean.

They do not know the sequence of tidying and cleaning.  They should first wipe the painting/picture, clock, then the tables & chairs, paintings… etc before they start to sweep the floor.Cup

They do not know that they should switch off the fan before they sweep the floor or else the dust will fly all over the house.

They do not know that when there is a cover on the cup, the cover also has to be washed together with the cup.  Most of them only wash the cup and simply placing the cover back into the cupboard.  The next time, when they serve you the drink, the un-washed cover will be used to cover your cup.

They do not know that when they clean the house, if they spot an unusual insect in the house, like a termite, they should inform you.

They do not know how to hand wash your clothes.  Back home, my maid used a stick to hit on the clothes.  If you don’t have a stick for her to use, she will not know how to hand wash your clothes.  Please ask her to demonstrate to you first before you let her do it using her metDish washer spongehod.

They do not know when tidying the garden, they should wear a glove to protect themselves.

They do not know how to use the dish washing sponge correctly and which type of sponge to clean what type of utensil.  Usually your non-stick rice cooker will lose its non-stick ability after they wash it.


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Unnecessary conflict due to strange behaviours of maids

I have come across maids that understand Mandarin but pretended to not understand. During my early days of hiring maids, it was a learning process for me as I lived with my mom , I depends on her to coach the maid because she is at home all the time.Pretend not ot understand

At first it was the language problem. She only knows single English words plus a bit of Malay, so we figured that an Indonesia maid would be a better option for our situation.

Unfortunately we employed an Indonesian maid that understood Mandarin but kept it as a secret.

Mom struggle to communicating with her.  She pretend not to understand and escape to do things and when I came back from work at night, mom will tell me about her frustrations and I would try my best to be the translator.

The funny things is, every time when mom talk to me about her in the room, she will seat near the staircase to listen to our conversation instead of going to bed even when it is already her bed time.

The next day before I have talk to her about it, I will find things that my mom complains about being done the exact way mom want it to be; and that gave me no room to talk to her as well as a false impression that my mom was just unreasonable and always like to complain about the maid.   The person that needs counciling is my mom and not the maid.

conflict between mom and daughter

After many such situations, I noticed something was not right.  I started to observe her carefully and noticed that when we talked in Mandarin during dinner, when someone tells a joke, she actually laughs with us. 

After many such tests, we confirmed that she really did understand but just did not want to admit it.  

It is very sad that she did not make good use of her skill in her work but rather used it to create conflict in the family unnecessarily.  If unfortunately you hire such a maid, the only advice I can give you is to believe what your family tells you as family will always stand by each other no-matter what happens.


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Culture shock on methods used by Indonesian maid to settle down my kid for a nap

When I first employed a maid, like all first time employers, IMaid Agency did not prepare a work schedule for her.  I trusted that the Maid Agency would have already given her the training she needed, so I briefed her on what was her tasks and left her to do the job.

Later, I found out that the training they have in the agency was not enough and due to the culture difference, some of the things they do can be very shocking to us, e.g. this happened particularly with an Indonesian maid I had.

My daughter was 2 years old when my first maid arrived, the maid was told to ensure that my daughter was to take an afternoon nap every day, as most children will take a while to settle down for a nap.  What the maid did was to stroke the lower body of the child.  We consider this as sexual harassment to the kid but this is a common way they use to calm the kid down. 


 One of my relatative’s daughter experienced the same and she grew up addicted to it.  Few other friends of mine with Indonesian maids have had the same experience too.  Over the exchange of conversation, my mom came to be aware of it and she secretly observed the maid and spotted the same way was being used by my maid.  I was told and I had to stop my maid from doing the same to my daughter. 

I could not believe it when I first heard this from my mom but then my maid admitted that she does it and it is very normal for them. 

So do pay attention to this special method they use to settle down your kid for a nap. It is my experience and lucky I had discovered this early before my daughter became addicted to it.


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How to be a good employer to your maid?Up set maid

– Do not mentally torture your maid, if you are not happy with her performance, tell her nicely.  It is not necessary to scold her, harass her or beat her up, all these only results in your maid to become first scared of you and later turn upset or angry.  Soon she will either fight back or run away.  Although it helps to release your anger against her but it does not help to improve her performance, learn to master the art of: 忍無可忍, 從新再忍

– Brush up your communication skills, carefully choose the words you use when talking to her.  Give more encouragement than criticism.  

– Never be stingy on praising when they do things with their initiative and it was done correctly.

– Do not keep valuable jewellery and lot of cash at home, don’t tempt your maid to do the wrong thing.Jewellery

– Be patient when you are teaching your maid, make her repeat to you the instruction to ensure that there is no miscommunication and always remind her it is ok that she make mistake.  The key is to learn from her mistake and not make the same again

– Always remind her that it is ok to admit if she does not understand the instruction, rather than pretend to understand and do everything wrongly.

– If she is not able to learn, perhaps it is your teaching method that is not effective, try to find another way to explain to her

– Be consistent in the instructions you give to her, so that she does not get confuse

– Keep to your instructions. Should there be changes due to situation, spend time to explain to her, so that she is not under the impression that you cannot keep to your word

– Always ensure that she has enough food and rest

– Be aware of her mood. If she is upset, spend time to understand why and try to council or comfort her

– Take care of her safety; don’t make her do something you won’t do yourself

– When she is sick or injured, bring her to the doctor.  Don’t try to save money on this, it is true their medical fee is much higher but this cannot be the reason for not bringing her to seek medical attention when she needs itDental visit

– If she has a tooth ache, bring her to the dentist, if she is constantly in pain, her performance will not be good, it will cost you a lot of money.  Perhaps you can get her to share the cost if you really has problem financially

– If she lies to you, just point it out in a calm and cool way with proof to convince her you are fully aware of the situation

– If she is good, when you go for holiday, bring back a gift for her as a token of appreciation

– Do not forget her birthdays, buy her a birthday gift

– Pay her salary punctually

– Never ask her to pay on your behalf for your home expenses and forget to pay her back.  It is her hard earned money and she deserves to spend it on herself, not on you or your home

 Always have positive thinking, believe that in this world everybody wants to do a good job as much as they can, if they cannot, perhaps is due to some reason.  Find the solution for it.

If you maid is un-trainable, be a good citizen and return them back to where they come from, do not push them to another employer just because you want to save her air ticket fees.  Be nice to your fellow Singaporean.


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 Will I consider hiring an IND maid if their starting salary has been increased to $450 & they are not staying with me?Salary increase

Sometime ago, there were a few maid agencies that gathered to decide among themselves to raise the Indonesian maid’s salary from $350 to $450 for the reason that they are not able to convince an Indonesian maid to come to Singapore to work. As compared to Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Middle East, the salary Singaporean employers are paying to the Indonesian maids are relatively low, therefore it is very hard for them to get Indonesian maid to come to Singapore to work.

Indonesian government also mentioned that they want to set a rule/law to make Singaporean employers allow the domestic maids to not stay in the employer’s home as their ideal working life style for their domestic maid are to be able to go to work in the morning and go back to their own rented place to stay for the night like all the other working class.

I can understand the difficulty those maid agencies are facing. I am not sure if the agency has considered perhaps the reason why those Indonesian maids who continue to come to Singapore to work is because they do not have the start up fee to allow them to work in other countries and only Singaporean employers will help them pay off those start up fees once they are hired by Singaporeans.  We also allow them to pay back by instalments in 6 to 9 months so Singaporean employer are not lost in this point.  The maid agency has to focus on getting new sources of maid supply from Indonesian maid agencies that have maids that do not have the start up fee for the Singaporean employer.

I can Trainalso understand Indonesia government point of view to fight for better benefit for their citizen but with the salary the maids are getting in Singapore and with the high cost of living here, it is impossible for the maids to pay for their own accommodations plus transportation fee, it is just not feasible in my opinion. 

From a Singaporean employer point of view, if the Indonesia maids come with the above 2 condition, I will think twice before I consider hiring an Indonesian maid because of the following reason:

1) Their education level is lower, this has affected their learning ability so they are mostly not fast learners and they do not have the basic training, so the training we have to go through with them has to start from very basic and has to be very detailed. It will take a whole 2 years to get them up to standard and by the time their performance is up to standard, it is properly the end of their service contract and they are due to go home.  That is why the Hong Kong employers love to hire ex-Singapore maids because we train them up to standard and these ex-Singapore maid are hassle free for them.

2) Due to their religion, they have to fast 2 months in a year, therefore they are not fully productive for 2 months, during those 2 months, we have to specially cater for their needs and timing.

3) Due to their religion, when we bring them out for meals, we have to specially dine only in Halal restaurants; this is an inconvenience to most of us.

4) If I am a working mother and need to travel to other countries to work for few days in a month, or if I have elderly at home, I will really need a maid that can stay with me to help look after them.

5) If I have to wait for my maid to come to work before I can go off to work every day, and perhaps some days I may have to work late… etc. this is really very inconveniencing and I would rather not hire a maid that does not help me much.

Good maid


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Compare Filipino to Indonesian maid

Filipino maids:Christian

– Most of them are Christian.  If you happen to be one, you have a common god and you can bring her to church on the weekends.  No fasting month for them.

– They eat almost everything so when you bring her out for dinner, there are more choices of food.  You don’t have to look for Halal food restaurant.

– Most of them use toilet paper.  But I have noticed some from very poor villages do not use toilet paper to wipe after they pass motion because they cannot afford toilet paper.  If their task is to prepare your food, you have to train them to use toilet paper and explain to them why it is important to do so.  

Education is compulsory in their country so most of them have minimum secondary education.  Some of them went to university for 1 or 2 years but they had to stop because they are too poor to continue.   They learn faster and are able to follow rules well.  Those that went to university may have a bit of an attitude problem and are a bit arrogant towards the our elderly at home.  

– They are more expensive to hire, their starting pay is $420, Indonesian maid only cost $380.

– They are not willing to learn our local language, if they don’t speak English well, this will be a problem for you, not like the Indonesian maid, they usually can master our local language in 6 to 12 months.

– They are not willing to accept a no off day contract, even if they did at the beginning. They will ask for time off to go to church after 6 months of service (if you are not a Christian yourself to bring her to church weekly).   Indonesia do not bring you such problem.

Philippines Food

– Their cooking style is not familiar to most of us as we hardly go to a Filipino restaurant for meals.  My maid has tried cooking her home town food for us on her birthday, but it is a bit of a culture shock to us.  Their food is very dry and very salty and their deserts are too sweet for us.  We have lots of Indonesia restaurant in Singapore, so we can accept Indonesian food better.


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What do I need to know about my Indonesia maid

– In a year there are 2 fasting months for Muslim. During the fasting months, you should expect performance to decrease because the work they are doing requires energy.  If they have no food during the day, they won’t have enough energy to work, so this is the down side. 

Some agents may tell you Indonesian maids can apply to not fast for these 2 years, but I understand from my maid that they have to pay back when they go home. If they don’t fast for 2 years, it means that they have to pay back 4 months of fasting and that is really hard.  So in order not to suffer from it, they would prefer to fast, so even if they promise not to fast at the beginning of their employment, when the time comes, they will request for it and it is hard to say no for some employers. Hala food

– Some of them do not want to touch or cook pork. If you are a non-vegetarian, this is a problem.  You basically can’t eat pork for 2 years if she is doing the cooking.  When you bring her out for dinner, you can only eat Halal food, non-Halal restaurants is no longer an option. 

– They do not use toilet paper to wipe after they pass motion, this is their culture.  When they first arrive, their basic hygiene level is very low and your family is at risk of exposure to a diarrhoea attack if they are preparing your meals.

– Their education level is lower. Some of them are so poor that they only have Primary 2 education.  As their highest education level is secondary school, a lot of thing you assume they know, they don’t e.g. to respect the elderly at home, to greet in the morning or before food, the water container has to be washed before refilling fresh water, to wipe the table before sweeping the floor…. etc

Primary school in Indonesia

– They are more willing to learn your langauge.

– They are cheaper to hire, their starting pay is $350

– They are more willing to accept a no off day contract.

– Their cooking style is similar to Chinese cooking.  We get Indonesia food here all the time, so it is not so much of a culture shock to us. 

– If you can speak Malay, the language barrier is lower.


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What should be included in my house rules?

You may want to consider including the following:

No visitors: Mainly for safety reasons.  You do not want her friends to be too familiar with your home, e.g. which are the days you are not home?  Where you keep your things?  You can trust your maid but you cannot ensure that her friends can be trusted and it is not fair that you make her responsible for them.  Anyway this is the normal practise when we are at work. Our boss will also not welcome our visitors, so you do not have to feel bad about setting this house rule. 

Do not allow them to go out during working days: If she has an off day, she is not allowed to request to leave the house to go nearby to buy phone cards or groceries. It should be done on her off day. If she does not have an off day, you can be more relaxed on this rule. This is also normal practise when we are at work as our boss will also not allow us to go out of the office during normal working hours.  

 No stealing and cheating allowed.

 Do not allow them to send cartons home.  You can refer to mCartony “Should I allow my maid to send cartons of things home?”

Things we trash are not allowed to be picked up from the dust bin; you can refer to my post “Should I allow my maid to send cartons of things home?”

 Do not allow them to bring hand phone, you can refer to my “should I Handphoneallow my maid to bring her own hand phone?”

 No gossiping with other maids about employer’s family. We want to have our privacy.

  Never leave all doors & door grills open when she is away, you can refer to my post “Educate your live in maid”

 Never allow any visitors to come into the house when we are not home, you can refer to my post “Educate your live in maid”



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Should I allow my maid to talk freely at home?

 Maids have been taught to always reply ‘Yes Ma’am’ to their employer. This does not mean they do not have freedom to talk at home.  

no freedom to speak Most people who do not hire a maid have the impression that the maids do not have freedom to talk freely at home. In fact it is the opposite, during the re-training period, they are more vocal than us.  If they are not happy to change, they will show us their black face and will walk away when we are talking half-way. Some even cry and shout at us, after that they run into their rooms and lock themselves up and threaten to quit.  On the other hand as an employer, we are expected to be understanding, we can only blame it on ourselves for not managing them well.

 In order to avoid such incidents from happening, we have to encourage them to express themselves in a proper manner, weekly or monthly we will have meeting sessions.

For the first few meetings, I have to encourage her to speak up as this type of communication practice is not common to them and they may not feel comfortable speaking up.  During the meeting I make it clear to her that if she doesn’t tell me, I will never know what she is thinking about, so it is best that she makes use of the opportunity to voice out as there is no right or wrong and everybody can have their opinion. The important thing is we have to be open to new ideas, to learn, to discover and to use the best practice to do things. 


I will make clear to her the work schedule that I have planned for her may not be perfect and if she find a better way to improve it, I will be more than happy to make necessary changes under one condition, I have to first get the consent from my mom because she is the most experienced in this area and she has her reasons for why and how things have to be done at a particular time and in a particular way, I will have to explain to her slowly and clearly.


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Cost of replacing your maid and hire a transfer maid 

If you want to replace your current maid due to low performance, you will have to pay the following to get a new maid:

– Agent fee: if it is within 6 months it is FOC, after 6 months, full Agent fee will be charged, for my case will be $400+

– Maid’s loan repayment: will be refunded to me and transferred to her new employer. When my new maid arrives, I have to make the repayment $2,000Money fly away+ again.

– Foreign Maid Insurance: non-refundable, I have to buy a whole new policy for the new maid, it will cost around $300+

– Insurance from maid’s home country: Not refundable, I have to pay for the new maid the same amount, $200

– Safety awareness course: Not refundable, I have to pay for the new maid $68 

– Entry test fee: Not refundable, I have to pay for the new maid $7

– Monthly Levy: It will be prorated.  When the new maid comes, I have to continue to pay, normal $265, concession $170 (it is tax deductible).

– Air ticket for maid to go back: If I am sending her back, will cost $300+ depending on which airline and destination

– Medical check: not refundable, I have to pay for the new maid every 6 month and it will cost $25+

– Current maid lodging fee: $20 per day till she found a new employer, I am responsible to pay up to 30 days

 If you want to hire a transfer maid, you will have to incur the following:

– Agent fee: FOC or perhaps 50% discount

– Maid’s loan repayment: Depending on how much your maid has already repay in her past employment, should be less than $2,000

– Foreign Maid Insurance: $300+

– Insurance from maid’s home country: FOC

– Safety awareness course: FOC 

– Entry test fee: FOC

– Monthly Levy: Normal $265, Concession $170 (it is tax deductible)

– Air ticket for maid to go back: $300+ depending on which airline and destination

– Medical check: every 6 month and it will cost $25+


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Cost of hiring a new maid

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Cost of hiring a new maid 

If you plan to hire a maid in Singapore, these are the expenses you will probably incur:

– Agent fee: I paid about $400+. I will never go to an Agency with FOC agent fee. It means your maid is paying for the Agent fee and the Agent is not obligated to provide any service to you because their paying customer is your maid and they will service your maid rather than you. If you are not lucky in hiring, perhaps you need the Agent’s help to counsel your maid; you will be in trouble if there is no help from the Agent.

– Maid’s loan repayment: when I pick up my new maid, I have to help her repay her loan, which will cost her $2,000+. This amount will be deducted from her salary monthly in 6 to 7 instalments.

Loan repayment

– Foreign Maid Insurance: I choose the $300+ as it covers the $5.000 Bond, in case my maid runs away, the insurance will pay the penalty on my behalf.  It also covers personal accident medical expenses, repatriation expenses, hospital & surgical expenses, wages compensation, termination expenses, special grant and liability to third party.

– Insurance from maid’s home country: $200

– Safety awareness course: $68 

– Entry test fee: $7

– Monthly Levy: $170(concession, normal will cost you $265) because I am staying with mom and she is above 65, it is tax deductible

– Air ticket for maid to go back: will cost $300+ depending on which airline and destination

– Medical check: every 6 month will cost $25+Money face

 The hidden expenses are:

– Dental: $100+

– Clothes(including Bra): $50+

– Medical fee: $25+

– Foods: most of them eat a lot; therefore it can be very costly.

– Lodging: if her duty is to clean the house, you must have a maid’s room for her, if she is tasked to look after the children or your parent, perhaps she can sleep with your kids or the elderly

– Shampoo, soap, tooth bush, tooth paste, sanitary pad

– Phone card: if she don’t have an off day


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Should I eat with my maid?

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Should I eat with my maid? ‪

Why not is the normal reaction we get from most people?  Yes, they are normal employees just like many of us, but usually we will leave it to her to decide, there are pro and cons if she eat with you or not, read on to find out….

On our new maid’s first day of work, we will invite her to have dinnFood for maider with us in the dining room where we eat the same food on the same dining table.

The good thing about eating together is:

∙ We do not to have put food aside specially for her. If she doesn’t like those dishes, the food will be wasted.‪

∙ We are in control and must ensure we finish everything on the table. It is also easy for Mom to plan how much to cook for each meal

∙ At the same time she can observe our table manners and practice the same so when we bring her out for formal dinner, she is more confident to eat with others

‪. We get to chat and catch up with daily happenings over dinner.

. We get to know what she likes, what she doesn’t, her eating habit and hobbies, etc.Formal Chinese dinner

. We can take our time to finish our meal and stay on to chat a while after dinner, since we do not have to worry about her not getting her dinner early.

. If unfortunately you employed a maid with attitude and she is cooking dinner, by observing what she eats during dinner, you can tell if your food is safe to consume.

One of my maids prefers to eat after us in the kitchen because she has the freedom to decide when she wants to eat and if she wants to finish all the dishes or keep some for breakfast the next day.

She also told us she feels more comfortable eating alone as she can decide how many bowls of rice she wants to eat.


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What I need to do when my maid is due to go home?

If she is a high performance employee, usually we will extend their contract to avoid going through the hassle of re-training a new maid.

First we have to check with her if she wishes to continue to work for us.  In order to attack her to stay, we have to increase her pay and give her more benefits to attract her to stay.

When we have no clue what to offer, we will call the agent and seek their advice on what the current market rate is.  After all, we don’t want to over pay her, if not after this extension, we will not be able to afford her anymore.  At the same time we also don’t want to under pay her because she deserves to be paid better for her hard work.

The side effects of extending the contract is:Maid is due to go home

– They usually want to go home for a month, before they continue to work for us.

–  We have to buy two way air tickets for her to go home and come back in.

‪-  Some of them never come back after they return home.

–  We have to keep increasing their salary

–  We have to give them more and better benefits every contract extension.

‪-  We have to live for one month without a maid and we are not able to get a replacement during this period.

‪-  We also risk the change in their working attitude. They tend to make a lot of assumptions and perhaps make decisions on our behalf without our consent.

–  They are not willing to learn more or perhaps accept minimum changes

If we decided to not extend their contract, we have to start looking for a new maid 3 to 2 months before the maid is due to go back.

The side effect is that we have to start from the beginning and re-train the new maid.

Higher cost and more benefits

To hire a whole new maid, the pros are:

–  We don’t have to live without a maid for 1 month

–  We do not have to pay higher salary to the new maid

–  We don’t need to provide extra benefits 

Usually I make the decision based on whether I can live without a maid for one month as I have no problem re-training a new maid. 


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Should I allow my maid to send cartons of things home?

My experience tells me that it is a big NO. There is no reason that they should buy things here to send back as the cost of living here is much higher than in their home country, buying shampoo, soap, tooth bush, can food, clothes here to send back does not make sense.Send cartons home

Many of my maids who do not send cartons home told me it is totally stupid to do this unless the carton of things that they send home are all free gifts.

Therefore when your maid tries to convince you to allow her to send things home, you have to find out why and what she wants to send home. If it is a birthday present, they can send a small package but never a big carton.

If she tells you it is because all her ex-employers allow her to do so, this does not mean you are obligated to do the same.

Emphasise to her that this is your house rules and it is listed in the house rules guide that was given to her on her first day of work.

Shopping in your home

At the same time it also reduce the risk that your maid will start shopping in your home to try to fill that empty big carton she is trying to send back home.

Do not think by setting a rule to let you check before she seals and sends will work, their way of packing things into the carton will leave you no room to check.

They basically wrap and roll everything up and tie it with many rubber bands as tight as possibwrapping methodle. The reason they give is to save space and you cannot be asking them to unwrap and take out everything in the carton to repack again when the courier man is waiting there to pick it up.

If you do not open each wrapped item to check, it is as good as not checking, things that belong to you are usually wrapped.  This is my experience of being robbed by my maid, therefore never ever allow your maid to send big cartons home.

You may say you can check a day before. Provided after you check and seal it, you keep the carton in your room and lock it up every time you leave. Otherwise, she can always reopen it and put in more items.

If you really have no choice but to allow it, you have to take note of the following:

– Does your shampoo, soap, canned food or etc. that is consumed in the house suddenly running out very quickly?

– Do the home appliances spoil often during this period of time and when you trash them, do you find them being picked up and placed into the carton to ship home?

– Does your clothes suddenly have stains on them so that you cannot wear them anymore and again you trash them and find them in the carton boxes? 

– Does the can food have dents in it which make you think it cannot be consumed anymore and thus, have to trash it, found in the carton boxes?Dented can food

The above are the incidents we encountered when we agreed to let our maid send cartons home. Therefore it is now my house rule to not allow maids to send cartons home and not allow maid to pick up anything we trash.   I will also not give my stained clothes to my maids anymore.

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Hassle free ironing using Laurastar Professional Steam Iron

I am very particular about the clothing we wear. Therefore, to me, ironing is a task that is important. But sadly, not all the maids can do a good job. In order to help them, I decided to buy a very good iron.

10 years ago, I bought a Laurastar Professional Steam Iron. It is a great steam iron and I can say this is one of the things that I have never regreted buying in my life.(The other thing is a lasik to correct my almost 1000 degree short sighted eye)


Let me share with you my experience with this steam iron.

First of all, after I made the payment, the salesman will do 2 things: 

1) confirm the delivery date of my new toy(steam iron).

2) arrange for a trainer / consultant to drop by to teach me how to use it in the most effient and correct way.

The training was conducted shortly after the delivery and it really was hassle LauraStar steam ironfree.

Using the new iron the correct way saves ironing time. Before I hire a maid, I used to spend one whole day ironing only 3 people’s clothes. With the new iron, having to iron 5 person’s clothes plus those that are not really required to be ironed items(my maid will iron everything, including our underwear, so be sure to check the ironing basket and do the filtering weekly) becomes simpler and she can complete the task using the same period of time. 

When the water in the steam iron dries up during ironing, and after she refills the water, she can take a short 5 minute break while waiting for the steam iron to heat up the water.   

If I change a new maid and I am too busy to teach her how to use the steam iron, I would call the company and they will send a trainer to my house to conduct the training.  This ad hoc training is not free, they will charge $50 for one session.

LauraStar steam Iron ironing jacket

With this iron, my maids can do a very good job, let me share with you this. I’ve noticed one strange thing about the ironing done by all my maids. Even if a maid loves to iron, it has never crossed their minds that the pants or dress pockets and linings also need to be ironed. We have to specially highlighted these areas to them, but with this iron, it is not a problem anymore, the steam can actually pass through 3 levels to straighten the pocket and the linings. And best of all is that there is protection on the iron that will never cause burns on my clothes.

One tip for you to take note of.  You must always remind your maid during ironing that if she discovers the clothes have been torn due to washing or wear and tear, she is to inform you so that you can decide if you want to repair it before she does the ironing, or trash it. If you decide to trash it, she won’t have to iron it, and it will save her effort, her time and my money on paying the electricity consumption.

Hassle free Ironing


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What should I get my maid to cook for my kinds?

If you are a working mom like me, you must not be lazy and let your maid decide what to feed your kids. Your children are growing and they need to have a balanced diet daily.

You don’t have to do the cooking, but you have to ensure your maid cooks what you have planned for your kids.

I will usually go to the book store to look for cook books in English. The criteria of the cook books are that: 

– it must be easy to understand

– must have pictures

– the ingredients must be available and easy to buy

– cooking method has to be as simple and have as little steps as possible

– I especially prefer if the cooking method is steaming 

Every week before we do grocery shopping, I will ask my kids what they want to eat, then choose from the cook book the cooking methods and do some mixing and match to ensure that they get balanced diets daily and are not eating different ingredient with the same seasoning.

 rice cooker

My mom taught me how to use a rice cooker to cook a complete meal as it is very time saving and effortless,  let me share with you 2 of my kid’s favorite menu:

Beancurd meat balls


300g Minced pork 

150g beancurd

10g ginger

1 eggbeacurt meat ball


3g salt

500cc water

5g fine sugar

10cc soy sauce

10cc rice wine

1.2 tsp pepper

Cooking Method

Mix all the ingredients and seasoning, stir well.

Shape into fish ball sizes and put balls in dish.

Use your rice cooker to cook rice at the bottom and steam your beacurt meat ball on top. When the rice is cooked, so will your beancurd meat balls.

The next dish will be:

Broccoli with Cheese

IngredientsBroccoli with Cheese

broccoli, sliced cheddar cheese 


– Washing the broccoli is critical. Most maids do not know they needs to soak the broccoli into salt water before washing it. (add 1 tsp of salt into the water enough to cover all the broccoli)

– Cut the broccoli in to small pieces.

– Spread the cheddar cheese on top of the broccoli

– Steam it on top of your rice.

Hope your kids enjoy it as much as my kids.


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Teaching your maid progressively

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house workTeaching your maid progressively

When a new maid joins us, for the first three to six months, we will let her familiarise herself with her work area and duties listed on the work schedule. 
After six months of service, we will slowly start to teach her new things. The first will be imposing three basic concepts:

– complete the task on time
– complete the task in the fastest way
– complete the task in the most cost saving way

At the same time, we explain to her she has to learn to remember and be aware of how we put our things.  To help her remember it better, we try to explain to her why it was kept this way.  It is because it is the most convenient & efficient position when we use it or it is because we already had it there for the past ten years.  Even if we close our eyes, we know where the item was placed, so she should not try to change the location for us, and we expect her to put things back in that order.‪

When she has been with us for about a year, we train her on logical thinking, initiative and thinking one step ahead in doing things. For example: 

After we finish a box of chocolate, we place the chocolate box in the kitchen with the thought that she would know that if we wanted to trash it, we would not place the chocolate box in the kitchen. 

She should have the initiative to wash the chocolate box without having us to tell her. And after the box dry up, she should be able to think one step ahead and know that we won’t need the chocolate box now, but we may need it in the future. From six months ago, she should have learnt to remember where we keep our things.  She should know where to keep the box so that when we need it, we are able to find it.

Teach your maid progressively

We have to remember that our maids are normal people like us.  After you teach your maid a new skill, be patient and give her time to digest and put it to practise.  Never expect over night changes.  Thus, it is better to teach progressively so that they won’t be over loaded with too much information and become fearful.  This type of additional stress is not necessary.


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It is my maid’s right to decide if she want an off day

We all believe we need to have an off day. Therefore there is this Chinese phrase: 休息是為了走更遠的路. It means taking a rest is to prepare us for the farthest/longer journey ahead. But no one ask the question “are we able to afford it?”  

Most maids come to work because they needed to find food to feed their family back home. Because there are no jobs back home, therefore they need to travel so far to come here to work.

All the maids have already been informed their contract is for 2 years and whether they have off days or not, before they accept the job offer.   They did not come here to find out, for this reason, I think we should respect their decision.  

Let me share a story with you: 

A small little bird was lost and tired but could not find a place to rest. Suddenly, it spotted a piece of dung on the ground, so it flew down to rest on top of the piece of dung.  

A little boy saw this and thought that the poor bird needs help from him.  So he decided to help the bird.  He gave the bird a good wash up and dried it’s feathers before he let the bird fly off from his palm when he was done.

The poor tired bird had lost it’s resting place and was forced to continue to fly again to look for another piece of dung to land on so that he would not be eaten by another animals while resting. 

We cannot impose what we think is good for others and assume that it is the right thing to do.  If your maid cannot afford to have an off day, but you think she needs it and have forced her to take it, you are not being kind to her, so please do not take away her right to decide what is best for herself.   


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Should my maid be allowed to have an off day?

This is a hot topic that many has voiced their opinion to.  I personally think this depends on your situation. 

Bear in mind, if your maid does not have an off day, you become an errand runner for her. These are the things you have to do for her:

–  Pay her a higher salary, that means normal salary plus off day.

–  Buy for her working clothes that include bras and sanitary pads.

  • You may ask why a bra? For my case, our maids come to Singapore under weight and after two to three months of living with us, they put on weight and the bra that they have been wearing does not fit them well, and since they do not have an off day and you don’t want this to be the reason for underperformance, I have to supply it to her. I usually buy it from Giant as it is cheap and good, but you have to make sure you buy the right size, they do not alow exchange. 

–  Buy for her stationary to write home with. You also have to go to the post office to buy stamps and send the letter out for her regularly. 

– Buy her books to read to pass time.

– Buy her batteries for the radio that you have given to her.

–  Buy for her shampoos, tooth brushes, tooth paste and soaps… etc.

–  You will have to help her send money home regularly, at least once or twice a month.  If your office does not have Western Union Bank or Remittance Company, you will have to do it on your off days. Most will go to Lucky Plaza on Saturday. Be prepared for the crowd and long waiting Q for doing this task.

–  If your maids come with tooth problems, you have to take off to bring her to the dentist.  

–  You have to buy a phone card for her regularly.

–  As for us we are vegetarian. Even if we tell the maid that she has to keep a vegetarian diet for the 2 years of her employment, since she does not have off days to go out to eat non-vegetarian food, we will make an effort to buy her chicken, pork or beef from the supermarket especially for her.

The above are the errands you have to run for her.

If she has off days, she will have to take care of them herself and it will not be your problem anymore.


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Should I allow my maid to bring her own handphone?


My experience tells me that no hand phones save me a lot of trouble.  

I had a maid that talk from morning to night on her hand phones (she has more than one hand phone) with her friends and sometimes, she was so focused on her conversation that, she forgot about what she was doing before and after and it is either most of the tasks were left half done or when mom calls for her help, she cannot hear it.   

When mom want to give her instruction to do things, she has to wait for her to finish her phone conversation with her friends, and the worst thing is she is constantly on the phone, so there is no way mom can do that.   

Image if there is an emergency situation and mom needed her help, this help will never come, this is not good at all.  

There were incidents that she allow workers to come into the house without informing me or my family because she is on the phone talking to her friend, she not only leave the door open, she also let the workers walk in and out of the house without supervision, then she went up to the 3rd floor to clean the toilet, she expect the workers to come looking for her when they are done with their work.  

She give us promises that she will not talk on the phone during her working hours but what she usually will do is only not talk on the phone in front of me, she continue to talk on the phone in front of mom and other family members at home. 

 After many counselling, nothing had changed.  Later we discovered money missing in the house, we suspect she steal it to pay her hand phone bills.  On her off day, she always come home with lots of new purchase, with her salary, she cannot afford all this. 

Since she develops this stealing habit and was no longer helpful to the family, plus her performance hit rock bottom, she was fired and sent back.  We did not want to return her to the agency because she will never change and it will continue to cause lot of problem to her new employer. 

Here I would also urge all employers to not tolerate with such abuse from the maid.

One more important thing is after her departure, money did not go missing anymore, so we are very sure she did it.



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Should I let my maid rest?

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 If you are new to hiring a maid, you may ask the question “my maid has finished what I want her to do. Should I let my maid rest?”
If you find yourself having to ask this question, then it means your work schedule for the maid has to be re-done.
Do not get me wrong, I am not objecting to allowing the maid to rest, in fact I think they should have rests regularly. And it should be stated clearly in their work schedule: 

– At 10am, they should break for tea and have some snack for 15 to 30 minute.
– At 12pm, they should start to cook lunch for themselves and the kids, have a 45minute to 1.5 hours lunch break
– At 3pm, they should take another 15 to 30 minute tea and snacks break
– At 9:00 or 9:30pm, they should be released for bed.

It is never a good idea for your maid to hurry up and finish with all the house work in the morning and leave the whole afternoon with nothing to do. They will start to miss home and want to find people to talk to.  Some even leave the house without permission to meet other maids to gossip.  This type of activities may bring you lots of problems later.


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Many a time we read on the news to find out how some domestic maids are being abuse by their owner, beating with hot iron, booms, flying kicks, cigarette treatment etc. But we have yet hear of owner throwing maid down from a block of flat right? And mine you I am not suggesting you be the first ya!!!! Ha ha ha ha !!!! 

However, you might have see news of maids throwing children off a block of flat and some even jumps off a flat after they committed the murders act, is common here, sad to say, as we do have a few recorded cases. What ever is the reason, there is always two side of the coins you can read, maid abuse by owner and owner being abuse by maid. 

In Singapore, I must say domestic maid here are in fact very well treated, their contract term for them to work here are protected by the law here and the country they are from. There are a numbers of hours they can work in a day, even a day off over the weekend is given if she choose to take it, otherwise she will be compensated too, as her off day as extra earning beside her monthly salary. Which I believe is a very fair system for both party.

But recently, I came across a news from Facebook, that someone has posted on the net regarding domestic maids abusing owners. I read the news in no disbelieve, that such a thing can happen to family with maid, but I applause her initiative to start a site for all to air they frustration and experience they have with their domestic servant. 

Ms Hylda Low, share her a horrible experience her sister has encounter with her maid recently, they found out that her maid cooked their soup with her soiled sanitary pad, not once, but three times, after they discover it. Oh my goodness, i can’t imagine the joy and look of the maid when the family drinking the soup say it was so very yummmy!!!!

Because the incident was serious to Ms Hylda Low, it led her to the creation of a Facebook group called “Dangerous Maids”. She hopes to warn the public that maids are not always the victims and that employers get abused as well. The Facebook become instant participation for many owner to share their experiences.

Others related stories from “Dangerous Maids” facebook includes – Tales of a maid: I’m not a slave, Maid poses in employer’s clothes and posts photos online, Maid staged false break-in and stole employer’s cash … etc.

I personally think this is one billiant idea that Ms Hylda Low came out with. It might eventually end up as a very good site for all to search and see if the maid that they are intending to hire is on the blacklist. For your maid is like a box of chocolates you never know what you be getting and expecting at the end.

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Should I hire a transfer maid?

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Should I hire a transfer maid?
This is a common question many will ask, and the answer is none other than, “it depends” and the fact is, this statement is true.
What I can tell you is that hiring a transfer maid is much cheaper than hiring a new maid, reason being: 
– you do not have to pay for their exam fee
– some maid agency even give you special discount on the agent fees
– you do not have to come up with large amounts of cash to help the  maid to settle her loan. 
I’m not sure if you are aware, but all maids come into the country with a S$2,000 to S$3,000 loan, I was told by my agent this is the amount they need to pay their government in order to get the paper work done in their country to come to Singapore to work. Part of the amount also goes to their country’s employment agency for running this errand.
If you have to hire a transfer maid, do not sign any documents before you are given a chance to talk to the ex-employer. 
To be frank, most people hire a transfer maid due to emergency, e.g. their current maid is going home soon and they cannot wait too long for a new maid to arrive… etc.
Due to this stress, they usually make a mistake by signing all the documents before asking to speak to an ex-employer. 
Once you sign on the documents, there is no obligation for the maid agency to arrange for you to speak to the ex-employer and therefore, the success rate is zero. But never give up without trying, it can save you a lot of trouble later.
If you do get the chance to speak to the ex-employer, these are the questions you may want to ask:
– what is the reason for returning her?
– Does she work fast or slow?
– Level of cleanliness?
– Can she take instructions?
– Is she helpful or will she have the initiative to do things on her own?
– Is she very forgetful?
– Is she willing to learn and change?
– Does she eat a lot or does she not like to eat?  Chances are if a maid do not like to eat, she will usually not able to cook well or dislike cooking.
– Is she stubborn?
– Any stealing habits?
– Is she honest?
– Can she take criticism/advice?  Will she cry easily?
– Does she have special habits, e.g. love to watch TV, must talk on the phone or love to gossip to neighbour about the employer’s family…etc
Since you get to see the maid in person, you may also talk to her to try to find out the reason for her being returned and double check with what the ex-employer was telling you.

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How I hired my live in maid

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Let me share with you how I hired my live in maid


Since my mom will be the trainer for the maid and she has to face the maid daily, it is essential to bring her along when choosing the maid.  She has to like the face and how they talk through watching the interview video in the Maid Agency.  It is also mandatory to let the maid agent know what are the house rules we have.  Since I have a Maid Agent who is very experienced, based on her experiences, she can usually shorten the list of suitable candidates because she has personally met, interviewed and selected the applicants.  


Here are some of the criterias we will inform the Maid Agent on for our expectations:

1) The maid has to focus on house work and cooking.  She has to like to do these activities.

2) The number of floors, rooms & toilet in the house.

3) The number of adults and children living in the house.

4) What type of pets we keep in the house and how many of them. The maid must not be afraid of the pets.

5) Mom is a vegetarian, so the maid will have to keep to the same diet, she has to take vegetarian food for the whole 2 years during her emloyment.  

6) She must know how to cook at least her home town’s food, we will give her training on cooking Chinese and Westen food.  She must be willing to learn.

7) We prefer to have a maid with short hair.

8) Best if she can work without an off day.  We are willing to pay her to work on her off days.

10) She has to be able to speak understandable simple English. 

11) No handphone is allowed, but she can call home with permission using phone card.

12) She must be able to work under supevision and respect the senior at home.

13) She has to be honest and have a no stealing history.

With the above clearly spelled out, it does not mean that everything will work out fine.

To have something to start with and knowing what you want will definetely be helpful for you.


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What I need to know about my maid?

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 Fast FoodWhat I need to know about my maid?

For us, we can have burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches or even KFC chicken as lunch or dinner.  But the foreign maids must eat rice as their lunch or dinner.  It can be replaced by instant noodles, but not in  with fast foods. I discovered this when I brought my maid out for dinner one night and when it was dinner time, all the restaurant were packed or had a long waiting list, so we decided to have a change. Perhaps we can have Pizza for dinner. And to my surprise, throughout the whole dinner, my maid looked very unhappy. We thought that perhaps she was tired. Later, we found out that she did not think that Pizza was a proper meal. She was still expecting to have her dinner with rice…

On the first day of work for the maid, during the orientation, you must make it clear to you maid who she has to directly report to.  All maids assume it is you because your name appears in their work permit pass.  In my case, my mom will be who she directly reports to.  

Mom is in charge of doing the detailed training and she will also check on how she does the work, if it is done the correct way, if it is done in the most time-saving way, if it is done in the most economical way…. Etc.  If this is not correctly spell out, the maid will be upset when mom tries to correct her and thinks that mom is deliberately making her life difficult. This can lead to a conflict and damage the relationship between them.  

This most often happens when you have an experienced maid.  The experienced maid usually assume that what they are doing is acceptable in family A and that they can apply the same method on family B, C or D, but in actual fact, this is a wrong concept, therefore it is good that you highlight this to your maid to let her know she has to learn to make adjustments and apply the correct working style and methods accordingly.


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You must also re-train your maid on how to do tidying

It may seem like a very simple task, but if it is not handled well, it can become a nightmare.  They are taught to pack away things so that the place will look neat and tidy.  The methods they use are to keep things out of sight, so very often, after they finish tidying, you will not be able to find your things anymore.

You may not have discovered it right away, but when you need the things, you will not be able to find them.  By then, it could have been a few days later and your maid may also have forgotten where she had kept it.  This is especially dangerous when the missing item is your kid’s home work that he or she needs to pass up to the teacher.  

Maid tidying

Maids are very “Task Oriented”.

What do I mean by that? For example, if you ask them to clean the fan, they will dismantle the fan and try to clean the whole thing.  They are not aware that if a part takes too much effort to dismantle, it probably means that part is not meant to be dismantled or they are using the wrong method to dismantle it. Most of our home appliances suffer due to this, and after all the cleaning, the maid cannot restore it back to its original condition and we end up having a very clean piece of home appliance but it will never work

Another example is that they like to move the furniture away during cleaning anRe-train your maid how to do tidyingd when they move the furniture too often, it results in a lot of scratch mark on the wooden floor, therefore it is very important to train your maid to be “Result Oriented so that the things will get done in the right way with the right result.  

For a new maid in town, you should give her a quick briefing before the eve of Chinese New Year so they will know what they should and should not do on New Year day, especially when you have senior living with you. E.g. do not sweep the floor on first day of new year, do not trash anything, do not break anything …. etc.

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Educate your live in maid

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Educate your live in maid on what she should do when the door bell rings. She should answer the door but it does not mean she can allow anybody to come into the house without permission.

Consent from the house owner has to be given before any visitor can enter the house.   The basic rule is that she should never allow any stranger/ visitor to come into the house when you are not home, even if it is a friend whom has visited you while you are at home. 

Should there be an exception, you have to pre-alert her to expect that particular guest; or else they will be confused with who to let into the house.  Be consistent when giving your instructions.  You must always remind the maid that “Low crime does not mean no crime”.  It is not ok to leave the door open and walk away to do other things at all times.   


When you have guests in the house, the maid should automatically serve drinks and snacks to both you and your guests, drinks should be replenished every hour.

If you do grocery and stock up all your food in the fridge weekly, you need to specially educate your maid on the sequence of consuming the foods so that they can last for a week. 

For example, most maids do not know which type of vegetables have a longer life span. Thus, you have to educate them to cook those vegetables with a shorter life span first so as to avoid you wasting money on vegetables that you will never get to eat. 

For meat, once you have come back from your grocery shopping, you have to train your maid to cut the meat into smaller servings and pack them separately into plastic bag before you store them into the freezer. If you don’t do this, every time when she cooks, she will have to de-frost the whole piece of meat so that she can cut the portions she wants for the meal and later put the meat back into the freezer.  This is not the right way to handle meat as it will spoil very quickly.

Food preparation


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Teach your maid

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Cut fruite

It is essential to teach your maid how to cut fruits too. Even common fruits like oranges might be cut too big or too small, which make it very hard to eat.  They are also not aware that after cutting apples, they can put it into salt water to prevent apples from turning yellow.  Most of the melons & papaya should be cut into cube for easy consumption.  For watermelons, they should sprinkle a little bit of salt to sweeten it. 

There are some fruits that they might not know about, such as dragon fruit, strawberry, kiwi, jack fruit, pomelo, guava, mandarin oranges, etc. They need to be educated on how to cut or peel them.

One of my maids has been working in Lebanon for 3 years before I hired her. She was taught to add Dettol to the dish washer to wash dishes. If you do not like the strong smell of Dettol, this is something you need to clarify with her.


I learned from my mom that one of the maids uses floor cleaner to wash our clothes. Not to worry since it was not on intentional. 

Back home, they only use water to mop their floor. Here we add “Clorox” floor cleaner to the water before we mop the floor. The tricky part here is “Clorox” is used as detergent to wash clothes in their country.

They do not know that “Clorox” has a floor cleaner product as well. Therefore, when my maid saw “Clorox”, which is a familiar brand to her, she automatically assumes it is the “Clorox” they use back home to wash clothes. So our clothes have been washed using floor cleaner for a few days until we found out the mistake.   Ha ha ha!

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Language barrier with your live in maid

Language barrier Even if I speak English, it does not mean that a language barrier does not exist.  To overcome this obstacle, during explanations, I will make use of drawings or bring her to the actual location to demonstrate to her what I want her to do. 

We have to understand that maids are trained by their agencies to agree with their employers, so if you ask them if they understand, their answer is always “Yes, Ma’am”.  You have to know how to tell by their body language or facial expressions.

Some maids love to clean windows and very often, they forget to take care of their own safety while doing so. Therefore it is important that you educate them on safety and perhaps only allow them to clean when you are at home to watch over her.Chinese food table setting

Teaching them when to use what kitchen utensil is also important, or else your food will be served to you with either no utensils or the wrong utensils.  

Back home, the maid usually only use forks and spoons. For Indonesia, they use their hands to pick up food, being Chinese, we not only use forks and spoons, but we also use chop sticks and the Chinese soup spoon.

Since we share the dishes, we have a common spoon on each dish. So when we pick up the food, we use the common spoon to transfer the food into our bowl and we do not dip our chop stick into the dishes for hygiene purposes.  We also have different plates to contain different food based on the way they are being cooked.

As none of the maids acquire such knowledge, training in this area has to be done.


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Re-train your live in maid

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Re-train your live in maid

Based on experience, we are aware that when we employ a maid, even if she is an experienced maid, it does not mean you can leave her to do all the household chores without supervision. 

Very often, wRe-train your live in maide have to re-train her, e.g. we have few rooms and few toilets in the house.  Normally, the maid will start with wiping all the tables in the rooms and toilets, than she proceeds to sweep the floor, followed by mopping.  This means while she is doing the cleaning, everybody has to stay away from their rooms and cannot use the toilets until she has finished all the cleaning a few hours later.  We have to re-train her to do all the above 3 task in each room before she move on to perform the same task in another room, so that her cleaning does not affect our daily living.

 The washing of clothes is also another topic we need to re-train or else your clothes,Washing of clothes your washing machine & your dryer will have a very short life span.  She will learn to wash clothes by color.  Every time she washes, it is one of these colors: white clothes, black clothes or color clothes, so that we can use the correct washing method. E.g. washing white clothes with bleach to ensure that it stays white, washing color clothes with color care to prevent the color from running.  Wash clothes with washing machines when we have a load of 4 to 5 kg. Do not over or under-load the washing machine.  Dryers can only handle a maximum of 2.5 kg of clothes.  The rest of the clothes have to go in the second round or under the sun.  Clothes that we sun have to be completely dry before keeping them in the cupboard.  If not, they will give off a terrible smell. 

I hope the details and description did not bore you but this is important issue that you have to look into to avoid wastage and damage to household appliances.

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Work schedule for your live in maid

Yesterday, we stopped during the official briefing session of the maid.

Maid work schedule

I am not sure if you prepare a work schedule for your live in maid prior to her arrival, but  I do because I believe it is very important that she knows what is her job scope.

I will prepare the following items for the briefing session. A copy of her daily work schedule, where house rules will also be printed, an alarm clock and a pen. 

I will go through with her item by item so as to explain to her what she needs to do at which time and why she needs to do it, highlight the important task …. etc.

On her first week, I will sit down with her every night before she goes to bed to brief her on her schedule for the next day.

My mom will do the detailed training when she gets down to do the work during the day when I am at work. On my off days or weekends, I will act as the translator to bridge any language gap.

The first 3 months are usually the hardest months for the maid because she needs to adjust to the new environment, as well as coping with work. Not to mention trying to understand my mom.  We usually try not to give her too much stress and give her more time to adapt. 

Monthly, I will gather feedback from my mom (both good and bad) and sit down with the maid to go through with her item by item what she is doing wrong, and what she needs to keep up.   She get a note book from us to record them down to remind herself.   We will continue to monitor her performance for another 6 months. If she performs well, she can stay, if not, we will re-evaluate if she is suitable to continue to stay in Singapore to work for other employers. If not, we will send her back home.  

After six months of service, the meeting with her lessens because she already knows her job well enough to do it without supervision.   Thus, I can have more time to myself.  I agree managing a live in maid can be lots of hard work and time consuming.

Lot of hard work


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Managing a live in maid

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Hello all,

This is my first post.  I set up this blog to share with you my experiences.  Perhaps the information is helpful to you.   For a start, I would like to share with you the following topic:

Managing A Live In Maid

I have been employing maids to help out since 13 years ago.  My mom has always been the maid trainer.  By talking to her daily, I learn about the common problems she faces with all the maids:  Managing a live in maid

1) Language:  We have employed both Indonesian and Filipino maids.  My mom speaks very little Malay and English, but she tries to learn daily.  Today, most of our maids can understand what she says.  Isn’t she great?  At age 70+, she still has not stop learning. 

2) Hygiene: The maids come from small villages.  They do not have proper toilets back home.  They don’t use toilet paper and the method they use to wash dishes are very different.  If you do not pay attention, the cloth that they use to wipe the toilet seat, will also be used to wipe all the tables in the house too.  They sweep the floor first, then they wipe the dust on the table down to the floor again…. etc

It takes a lot of patience and work to educate them.   

The first day of work is always an introduction day.  She will be introduced to the family members, followed by a short tour around the house where she will be told some of the basic things she needs to know (e.g. who lives in which room).  House tour

The tour ends when she gets to her room so she can unpack her luggage and change into her working clothes.  My mom will start to instruct her on how to help in household chores.  The first day will be a messy day because she would be very new to the environment, regardless of how experience she is.  There will be hiccups here and there.  Anyway, after dinner, there will be an official briefing session for her.

It is getting late and I am tired, let us will continue tomorrow….., click here for more coming post.

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