Making merry

Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Articles, Stories

Merry Maids from NJCPW075 on Vimeo.

By KS

Touched by the plight of foreign domestic helpers, a group of teenagers from the National Junior College decided to produce an animation video related to this issue.

“Merry maids”, a two-minute video, was an idea suggested by group mate, Serena Khoo, who is half-Indonesian. Hearing stories from her Indonesian mother about the difficulty of being away from home and adapting to a new culture, she empathizes with these foreign domestic helpers.

Group leader Chua Gin Kuan said, “My family employs a foreign domestic helper too, and we treat her like part of the family. So, I would feel extremely upset whenever I read about the abuses these workers endure. I simply cannot understand why some employers abuse them.”

Group mates Shermain, Yin Ting and Jing Wen, do not have a domestic helper at home, but they all feel strongly that everyone is equal and nobody should be subjected to psychological abuse because of their social status.

The group hopes that the video will encourage employers to treat foreign domestic helpers more compassionately. They hope that it will also reduce the number of foreign domestic helpers seeking help from organisations because of abuses they’ve suffered.

The project was not without its difficult moments for these full time students. They had difficulty while doing research as it was not easy reaching out to the foreign domestic helpers. Additionally, some organisations were less willing to share information.

Not being professional video producers or animators, the group also had to grapple with deciding how much content to share in the video. Many ideas were tossed around, and most had to be discarded.

“We wanted something succinct and impactful. Yet we do not want Singaporeans to feel that we are biased against them,” said Gin Kuan.

As they had to juggle between school work and the project, they learnt the value of time management. But, the group is deeply satisfied that their effort and time has paid off.

“The project has definitely widened our perspective on foreign domestic helpers. Our group members who did not have such helpers, took for granted that all domestic helpers had enough days off and sufficient sleep. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed the process of interacting with the domestic helpers who made time for us and received us warmly.

We hope that our project will help them enjoy their working experience in Singapore.”

TWC2 is an organization that is dedicated to assisting low-wage migrant workers when they are in difficulty. We are motivated by a sense of fairness and humanity, though our caseload often exceeds our
means.

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