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[Webmaster: This story first appeared on the Facebook page “A maid’s-eye view of Singapore employers“. It is a distressing story, but it shows how some domestic workers suffer terribly. The story is said to be from a woman pseudonymed Soe Soe who has since left Singapore. Soe Soe told her story to the webmaster of the Facebook page.]
I worked for employer for one year. No children, no old people, just husband and wife. They stay in HDB flat. Every day, when the employer go to work, they will lock me in my room. They put a packet of food in the room for me, and bottle of water.
They go to work at 7.30am and sometimes they return at 6 to 8pm. The water is always finished, and the food is not enough. There is nothing in the room. I don’t have handphone and they always check me for handphone.
I am so scared that the house will fire, I will die. After a while, I just scared. I scared when they lock the door every day. Sometimes I just want to call for help. It is like jail. I cannot do anything. In the afternoon I am so thirsty, but I don’t have anything to drink. They give me a small pot for toilet, there is no joined toilet. I don’t want to shit inside, because I don’t want to stay in a room with shit inside the pot I cannot wash. When I have my woman time every month, I cannot wash.
When they come home, I have to start to work. They will give me short time to eat, and the food is little. I will drink so much. I have to clean everything shining. Clean the toilet every day even when nobody use. Wipe everything again, and clean windows again, clean their car downstairs everything. I can start work only after they come back, and until after midnight I have to work. Even for small HDB flat, there is so much work.
Everything I do, they will find problem, then I have to do it again. How clean I do, also no use, if they are unhappy, they will find problem, and I have to do it again. And then after midnight I sleep, and I cannot sleep, so scared that tomorrow they will lock the door again.
I dare not complain to agent because the agent cut my pay for 7 months. If I complain and don’t have job, the agent will charge me money every day I stay. I try to stand it, for one year. I never send any money back to my mother.
I have no off day.
After one year, I cry and beg to stop working. I do it every day for many weeks. They tell me, you cannot stop working here, cannot, cannot. And they lock me up every day.
One day my agent come to take me. I want to go back already. I spend one month salary to pay agent for the aeroplane ticket, and I go back.
I will never go back Singapore again. Maybe the employer is good, but if I have another employer like this, I cannot take it. Even if I have nothing to eat and die hungry in my country, I will not come back to 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