My maid coughed blood but my agent won't send her home.

Dear BigCora,

Yes, an experienced maid who had to go home for one reason or another would be a good hire because unlike first-timers, she has already adjusted to life in Singapore and is quite familiar with the work. She thus takes a shorter time to break in, unlike the first-timer who may test your patience and/or your skills as a "trainer" for a couple of months. And of course, unlike the transfer maids who are still in Singapore, she does not drive a hard bargain. She does not need to go to "computer class" every Sunday and public holiday. And she is grateful to get what a first-timer would get. In other words, you have the best of both worlds.

You are quite savvy and seem to know what you want. You are quite a veteran and seem to have a good nose for a bargain. However, it is surprising that after all these years, you still do not know how to manage your maid. Apparently you are afraid to be kind, you have no confidence in yourself and fear that if you are kind your maid will take advantage of you. So you put on a mask so that your maid will not see you for what you are - all heart. But be careful not to go too far for she cannot tell the difference between acting and the real thing.

Of course, since you are an educated woman yourself, you should know that T.B. is not hereditary and Pikola's grandfather dying of T.B. should not concern you since she was separated from him by the South China Sea. She fooled you, didn't she, a lowly maid!

And unless your maid actually has T.B., you would usually not be entitled to a free replacement. Otherwise whether you get a free replacement or not depends on the agreement you made with your agent when you hired Pikola. However, it is highly unlikely that you would get a free replacement. Even air is not always free. At least not if it is chilled and filtered.

Do you know some maids will deliberately injure themselves so that they can get out of a stressful environment, one in which the employer shouts at the maid, calls her an idiot, insults her and her mother, threatens to cancel her work permit and send her home. I am sure that if you do shout at her, call her an idiot, insult her and her mother or threaten to send her home, you do so so that she will not dare to take advantage of you. You are probably not sadistic but fearful. Fear makes us cruel. Pikola of course does not wish to be sent home especially if she has been very bored and very broke for a whole year as you yourself have observed. Therefore being sent home can be considered rather extreme and undeserved unless she has done something so terrible that her continued presence is hazardous to your health - mental or physical.

If you want Pikola to serve you well and not find an excuse to get out, treat her with a little kindness. Remember, when you go to church to pray for the people you love, especially your two wonderful daughters, that Pikola is someone's daughter. When you are praying, think of that mother somewhere in the Philippines, who is praying for her daughter too, the one who works for you. This mother is probably praying that the woman her daughter works for is kind and not affected by fear that makes people cruel.

Will her prayer be answered?

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