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Monday, December 5, 2011

Lonely maids turn to foreign workers for romance and sex

Sulaiman Kamal | 10:30 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The Straits Times today has got a piece on the relationship between maids and FWs.
They claim they hook up because they are lonely over here and sometimes they bring these maids bring their bfs to their bosses' houses.
Finding love in a foreign land
More romances between work-permit holders bloom here
By Lin Wenjian
Man sees girl. He scribbles his contact number on a piece of paper and throws it to her. If she is interested, she will SMS him.

Or he flashes a winsome smile at a prospect. A conversation follows if she responds and phone numbers are exchanged.
This is how foreign workers here - mostly those who are on work permits - pair off for possible romance in popular hangout spots such as Lucky Plaza and Little India.
Apparently, many do hit it off.

Over the past two Sundays, when The Sunday Times visited the two areas, foreign men and women holding hands were a common sight.

Ms Remy B., 28, a Filipino maid, said Lucky Plaza is favoured by foreign men - mostly from India or Bangladesh - on the prowl for Filipina or Indonesian maids.
The slim-built Ms Remy, who is single, has had men coming up to her to ask her for her number. 'But I don't want a boyfriend. I'm here to work.'
The recent case of a Sri Lankan maid being tried at the High Court for culpable homicide has thrown the spotlight on intimate relationships between foreigners here.
Puwaneswary Tharmalingam, 33, is accused of killing her lover, Mr Murugaiyan Selvam, 32, an Indian national who worked here as a project supervisor.
If convicted, she could be jailed for life.
While there are no official figures on the number of such relationships, Mr Emil Dewantara, third secretary of consular affairs at the Indonesian Embassy, said it sees about 20 to 30 cases a year of employers complaining about their maids' poor work performance after getting boyfriends.
It is not known where they met the men or whether these grouses resulted in any losing their jobs.
But some employment agencies said more employers are returning their maids after finding out about their boyfriends.
'In the last two years, there were about four or five cases per year, which is double what it used to be,' said Ms Shirley Ng, owner of Orange Employment.
She noted that the issue of maids having boyfriends has grown in the last two years because more of them have regular days off now.
'It started with the liberation of the day off for maids about one or two years ago,' she added.
Other maid agency owners said while they do not keep track of the numbers, isolated cases of dissatisfied employers returning their domestic helpers are common.
Ms Sumen Rai, owner of Status Employment, said, on average, she has to send home three maids a year.
'I don't redeploy them to other homes as they are usually sent back by the employers because they brought their boyfriends into the houses. The moment they do that, they have crossed the line,' she added.
Mr Gary Chin, managing director of Nation Employment, one of the biggest maid agencies, said most employers are not comfortable with the idea of their maids having boyfriends 'as they don't feel safe'.
Mr Peter Chan, manager of Javamaids, said the employers are not at home during the day and worry about the safety of other family members if the maids let their boyfriends into the home.
Many employers are also worried that the foreign men might steal from their homes.
In Puwaneswary's case, it was revealed in court that she had stolen her employers' chequebook and her lover pocketed $5,000 from forging the signature.
Ms K. Jayaprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), said maid agencies are looking at educating maids, 'to get them to use their days off in a better way, like to rest and recharge themselves'.
She said: 'We are not being judgmental... We are seeing more of them becoming pregnant, and their employers have to send them home.
'Then what is going to happen to their families back home?'
There are no records available on how many maids are found to be pregnant during their bi-annual medical check-ups, but Mr Dewantara said he sees an average of three to five cases a year at the embassy where employers suspect their maids of having sex with boyfriends after bringing them home.
Previously, employers could lose their $5,000 security bond if their maids got pregnant but the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revised the bond conditions in January last year.
Now, employers are required to inform maids only of the work-permit conditions and contact the authorities should the maid get pregnant.
MOM's regulations state that a maid cannot get pregnant during the duration of her contract. Work-permit holders have to seek its approval if they wish to marry a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.
However, there are no restrictions on work-permit holders marrying each other, as seen in the case of a couple from Myanmar who wed here in August.
Mr Jolovan Wham, executive director of non-governmental group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), said employers should not refrain from giving their maid days off because of fears that she might get pregnant.
'If there is concern about pregnancies, then sex education is the answer. I doubt parents of teenage children ban them from socialising because they are afraid their kids will get pregnant,' he added.
Ms Bridget Tan, Home's founder- ***-president, said it is natural for foreign workers to be attracted to the opposite sex. 'The prejudices of the employers and the employment agents make these healthy relationships clandestine and unnatural,' she said.
But it is not all sweet kisses and blue skies for these couples.
Ms Amelia Mante, 41, a Filipino maid, said some foreign men are extremely possessive and will think nothing of getting into jealousy-fuelled fights.
'I have seen some who fight with other men over their girlfriends when they are drunk,' she said.
Ms Remy said: 'The men also have less money to send home because they have to help their girlfriends to top up their phone cards.'

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