Bernard commented in my previous post – “Think global, act local.”
Conveniently, just as I was reading that, I received a message from a friend regarding the organization TWC2 – Transient Workers Count Too.
They look like a very positive organization. I’ve always been shocked at the terrible treatment that many overseas domestic workers get while in Singapore.
You can help immediately – they have started The Cuff Road Project to assist migrant workers in distress (basically by feeding them). The Straits Times ran an article about about the 50 Indian workers who are living on Cuff Road after being duped by agents that brought them to Singapore.
TWC2 is also campaigning for a weekly day off for migrant domestic helpers. To the overseas folks back home in the US (or perhaps to even people here in Singapore), this might sound silly at first glance but it’s actually something I’ve had a lot of discussion about.
I remember one of my colleagues hiring a domestic helper (for those back in US – domestic helper is like a maid but not only do they clean, they are tasked with all kinds of responsibilities such as cooking, grocery shopping, taking care of the children, etc.) and mentioned that in the contract the domestic helper has NO DAYS OFF for at least the first year of employment.
I asked why he didn’t just give her a day off of his own accord, but his “argument” (if you can really call it that) was that it was in the contract, so why would he do something different than what the contract has stipulated?
Imagine how tough that must be. Already in our relatively cushy jobs we quest for the weekend, complain about stress, grumble when we disagree with our boss, etc. Think about if you had to live at your workplace and from your waking hours until bedtime, you were always “on the job.” And then to never have a day off… no socializing with friends, no getting away for free time, almost no life.
I think I’ll look into TWC2.