Who are you?
I am Filipina, 43 years old. I describe myself as a simple woman. I can tell funny jokes sometimes. I love cooking. After my high school graduation, I met a special guy in my life and got married. My hubby and I had 3 sweet children who are now 17, 21 and 22 years old. Life doesn’t go as we wish all the time. My husband passed away last April. Luckily, I have my mother and 4 siblings, they are my rock.
Why did you decide to become a migrant domestic worker?
I have been working in Singapore for ten years. I decided to go abroad because I wanted to support my family and pay my children’s education fees. I wish to have my own business in the future.
Can you please tell us about your life as a domestic worker? How difficult was it to adjust to your new life?
I am so blessed with all my previous and present employers. They are kind and understanding. It motivates me to do my best at work.
How did your financial situation evolve over time?
I am lucky. Since my relatives hired me, I did not have to pay any agency fees for coming to Singapore. Before they moved to the US, my employers recommended me to another family, so I did not have to pay an agency as well.
My remittance is usually spent on my children’s education, daily expenses and insurance. I save SGD $300 each month.
Can you give some advice to all employers? What do you like/not like about your employers? Is there something you secretly think but don’t dare ask or say to your employer?
I am blessed I can work for nice employers. They treated and treat me like their family. They respect my privacy too. So, I do not have problems with my employers. Even if I did, I would be candid and open with them. I would like to say thanks to all employers in the world. Thank you very much for employing us (me and other fellow helpers)! At the same time, I would like to say do treat us like a person and be kind to helpers. We are here to help and build trust.
What do you do when you make a mistake at work (e.g. breaking something)? And how would you like your employer to react when you make a mistake?
Handling housework, no one can make zero mistakes. As a domestic helper I think if I make a mistake then I should tell the truth and make an apology, making sure this mistake will not be repeated. It’s easier than hiding it from the employers or giving excuses. This is how we build trust with our employers.
For you, happiness is….
My happiness comes from Jesus. On my off days my favorite activities are to serve my church and volunteer in children ministry.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
I know I will not be working as a domestic helper for the rest of my life. One day, I would love to have an agricultural farm and poultry for my retirement job.
Interviewed in October 2017 by Marie Kretz Di Meglio
Edited by Caroline Nan