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10 October, 2008

The Maid's Tale

A domestic worker in Dubai, "Jane", has given a testimony of her job and life. It's republished below, slightly edited for punctuation:

"Hi.. I worked in JUMEIRA as a DH.. for 4 years and 5 months.. to a good arab family.. I dont have any comments for them because they are so good to me. They don't look at me as a maid but as a sister to them.. but some of the agencies are taking for granted about the salary.. they get some extra.. which is.. that extra is a big help for our family.

"The problem is... some of the employers.. same my employer are abusing me, like they don't even tell me, if I eat or no? Because they want me to stay all the time with the kids, or tell me to go and sleep just for 30 minutes. You know 5 minutes closing my eyes it's like 1 day of sleeping for me, or I can't even go to the bathroom leaving the children because they are just very busy of talking the phone from morning until evening. Instead, I would find way, how to go and make a release.

"Or I went to some places which is so class or social places without changing my clothes for the reason that she forget to tell me, while I'm so shy and felt embarassed with my kabayan. You know, just uttering those simple words without action is very hard for them while they're doing nothing. Working from 6:00am to 11:pm, sometimes 2:00am or 3:00am is optional when have parties or weddings. Tell me, who is not tired of working and can't have even a nap just for a minutes.

"They know that I am good and I do all the works and taking care of children is really important which is the big factor for them. And they don't even want to find another until I become old. I'm talking about my efforts, they took out from me because they think I'm always ok even they saw me with their eyes that I'm tired everytime.

"They don't mind me because they think they gave me good salaries which is 700Dhs. for 4 years and 5 months without day-off. And I spent with my own money buying those necessary things even they knew that it is their obligations to buy for us. What you expect from it? How much is left from my salary? As long as they can get benefits from me.. they don't mind me at all.. just because I'm so good to them while they are taking for granted.

"Mostly, the problem with arab people are being a LAZY. Machines will sometimes not function or shutdown reading all the datas, how much more the human?"




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well at least she did not get sexually mollested.

10 October, 2008 19:07  
Blogger Unknown said...

We all know how dose Locals most of them i mean treating the Servants with out any respect to the human beings .

but still its disgusting me to think about , that the labor with low income are always under this conditions in their life in UAE !!

i feel so sorry for them.

God Help you

11 October, 2008 12:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are talking about illiterate rich animals who know nothing other than buying the world and people with their money.and they act and claim like they are the only ones going to heaven.

11 October, 2008 15:05  
Blogger Foreigner at home said...

It's an age old practice... You allow them to exploit you and then complain about it?

I am not with the oppressors... but the workers need to understand that it is they who allow themselves to be exploited.

I lost a job because I did not agree to be exploited. A new co-worker was brought on board in our company with almost same qualification and experience as me but at a very low package. They wanted to reduce mine to the same level and I said I cannot accept it and I left. To my astonishment 3 more were hired at the same package. I have moved on to a better job and position. I still have my dignity and did not get exploited.

Only you can save yourself no one can help you!

11 October, 2008 18:26  
Blogger CG said...

and the point to this is?

They know what they are coming to, and yet they still come. My maid worked in Doha under similar conditions before coming to me. I asked her why she took the chance and accepted when the agency told her Dubai. She said it was still better than staying without work, except she got lucky with me, and gets 9 hours sleep every night here (compared to 3 in Doha) and she has the house all to herself all day without kids around (compared to looking after 7 all day in Doha).

Anyway, I have had plenty of maids over the years, and the one thing I am sure about, is the old saying 'give them an inch and they will take a yard' holds true.

11 October, 2008 18:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we can conclude from cg and other expected responses that:

1) The maids know what they are coming into, so anything's fair game

2) At least its better than being without a job (i mean, come on, most maids would rather be molested and have a job rather than be unemployed with dignity)

3) Such things have been going on since time immemorial, so they are automatically justified.

12 October, 2008 08:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12 October, 2008 12:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called mutually assured destruction. The employer works the maid into the ground like a slave and abdicates all parental responsibility. In return the maid raises children that are complete morons and cannot even speak their own language.Just look around the mall of Dubai-QED.

12 October, 2008 18:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called mutually assured destruction.

Therefore, we need to encourage it..

13 October, 2008 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

until this antiquated sponsorship system ends and we no longer have sponsors holding passports, this modern day slavery will continue. It's in everyone's interest, as delegating your children to a maid will not set them the examples they need to learn from their parents.

14 October, 2008 16:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed with graham!
Its not gonna change any time soon!

George Hunt

14 October, 2008 22:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just becuz someone is illiterate or desperate for money doesn't mean yu should cheat them or treat them like they're not human.
Some people are just wicked...

15 October, 2008 22:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maids are not the victims always. Regardless the sponsorship rules, which is controversial.
Sponsors and their families are the victims sometimes, especially, when the sponsor and his family respect their maid and maintain her dignity.
The matter is similar to that of the patient who visits a psychiatrist to help him get rid of the feeling that he is wheat and thus he fears the chickens; by time, the therapist finds that his patient recovers and then they should stop the therapy sessions. And so he told his patient, to which, the patient agrees with the therapist the he feels he is a human and not wheat, but asks his therapist to make the chicken believes that as well!!

17 October, 2008 20:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how every poster misses the real point...

In UAE there are no genuinely enforceable rights - particularly for the poor etc.

For example - let's say there was a maids union. Any maid was free to join and the union could represent them if their rights were abused. That would wipe out a large percentage of exploitation at a stroke.

Then lets say it became a criminal offence (they have such laws in certain states in the USA) for any employer to break employment law with state appointed officials with powers of arrests having a free hand to investigate abuses.

Again another huge percentage of exploitative practices wiped out.

Looking at the conditions of exploitation - poverty of workers original countries; workers agreeing to exploitative conditions; immorality of employers - is no solution.

The only solution is the enforcement of inalienable and universal rights.

18 October, 2008 11:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know a dutch woman who lives in Dubai, she fired her housemaid cause she fell asleep on her own bed, instead of cleaning the bedroom. She called her boss immediately to fire the housemaid!!

I told her: you just should have thought twice, maybe, just maybe, your housemaid was tired, very very tired.
Damn you spoiled fckn rich people, do you ever think before you do something???

22 October, 2008 04:59  
Blogger daliaalshehhi said...

It's too sad and I feel shay for what they did..

i hope you will find another job or work with another family who really care and be leave in what are doing for them...

23 October, 2008 02:18  
Blogger Shula B said...

I personally know an unmarried woman in her mid 30's, can’t clean up her own room or prepare her own breakfast. She can stay in her room for two weeks in a mess. She snaps at the domestic maids without reasons, it just to show she can boss around.

When her parents decide if the maid is not fit to work or they aren’t their loyal Dogs, they ship them of to their country in less then four hours notice without warning the rest of the family.

04 November, 2008 21:27  
Blogger Shula B said...

I also happens around the world not only in ME.

04 November, 2008 21:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our last maid told us some horror stories about her stint in Saudi, how they kept 6months salary and made her work inhumane hours. We felt so bad, we doubled her salary and gave her a place to stay outside the house so she wouldn't be obliged to work in the evenings. Then she stole money and ran away with a boyfriend (she called us a few weeks later apologising and wanting to come back but we gave her a one-way ticket to Manila instead).

I have seen people mistreat their maids before, and it shocks me still. But I've also learnt it does no good to generalise. Stop with the Arab bashing, not all of us are lazy maid-abusers and not all maids are beaten and overworked.

06 November, 2008 11:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen the many locals (not all) treating them like 2nd rate human beings... you see them in the mall...

The boss is walking ahead while the maid is in distress attending the kids...

The boss and family dines while the maid is distantly seated in the corner. Or let's say, they are all eating but the maid is eating on a separate table...

Racism you normally see in every mall...

Sad isn't it...

From: A Filipino-American boy

11 November, 2008 01:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my my...such big and harsh words to the fellow comrades of the UAE. Cud it be that with all the wealth the UAE nationals have gained, they have lost popularity amongst the dear residents ????

regardless, there are a number of disturbing incidents in regards to the domestic helpers in the UAE, but not all through nationals. Besides, it seems with all that she gets internet access which i can only dream of at work. SO dear kabayan, care 2 share ur sponsors number for future vacancies ?

18 November, 2008 15:12  

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