Friday, 9 March 2012

The Gloves Are Off And So Are The Maids

With the Formula One season fast approaching the call has gone out for volunteers in Singapore. Although the race itself is some off, in late September, these hardy souls are expected to undertake at least 32 hours of training if they hope to qualify as marshals on the big day. For newbies there is an additional 10 hours of theory.

No doubt this will appeal to 'petrol heads'; those who cannot afford their own Ferrari or Lamborghini. It has to be said that there quite a few owners of vehicles such as these and it sure beats travelling in a battered Comfort diesel cab around town.

Part of the training is learning to decipher the various track and flag signals. No excuses for stepping on to the track at the wrong time.

Formula One has been a mixed blessing for Singaporeans but is part of a broader strategy of using key events to attract tourists and sports fans to the country. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Singapore's desire to be the hub of everything is greeted as "a source of amusement to many residents of the tiny city-state".

The latest 'hub' to be promoted is Boxing, a very popular sport in many parts of South East Asia. A Championship Boxing Event Night is to be held at Marina Bay Sands with regional fighters. According to the Australian promoter his ambition is to "combine Singapore’s world-class hospitality facilities with the region’s world-class fighters, and wait for the rest of the boxing world to respond."

Of course one the most famous pugilists to emerge from these parts is the Philippine's boxer, Manny Pacquiao. Fortunately for him, and any other boxer from that country, they will now be guaranteed a good deal of local crowd support as the Singaporean Maids have at last been granted a statutory day off in the week.

There are some 200,000 maids working in the Republic although not all of them are Filipinos.  The move to provide the maid with a a day off was of concern for some employees who fear that "their domestic workers will socialize or use their time off to develop relationships and become pregnant, and have to be sent home".

Such an event can have quite major consequences for Singaporean families who frequently have both partners working to make ends meet and rely on their maids for care-taking, cleaning and cooking, amongst other duties.

With the prospect of boxing looming on the horizon it will be interesting to see what effect this has on the pregnancy rate of domestic servants (if you follow the misguided belief that all domestics have loose morals); if you are busy cheering on your champion in the ring, you can't be doing the same in the bedroom!
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1 comment:

KAM said...

It is good to have a humane act to allow maids a day off.

However, I believe it is unfair to ask the maid-employers to continue to place a deposit or be subjected to unfair penalties when these maids get into "trouble".