My Filipino maid is a nice girl, good with my daughter, but I have to her go.

Dear Frustrated,

Your relationship with your Filipino maid is a business relationship. You give her a salary at the end of each month and provide her food, accomodation and health insurance - not out of love or compassion but because you want her to make your life a little more comfortable, so that you will have more time to enjoy activities that you have been putting off. Likewise she gives up her freedom and time, minds your children, cooks, cleans and washes for you not out of love but in return for pay.

This relationship is akin to that between a buyer and a seller. You are buying your Filipino maid's services. In a typical buyer-seller relationship, if the buyer feels that she is not getting what she pays for, she takes her business elsewhere, patronises another shop or supermarket. Similarly if your maid is not doing what you pay her to do, you can always replace her with someone more competent and/or willing.

But the domestic situation is even more demanding. You expect more from your maid than from a check out clerk at the supermarket. If the clerk is not rude that's good enough. And if she is occasionally grumpy, you may not even notice it and soon you forget about it. If your maid is grumpy or rude, you cannot put up with her because you are in close contact with her most of the day, everyday.

However, ultimately it is not how agreeable the maid is but how well she does her work. Indola places too much store in her relationship with your child. She is probably thinking that as long as your child takes to her, her job is safe, no matter how incompetent she is or how badly she behaves.

It is just as well that she did not greet you or apologise when she came home at 4 a.m. How would you have reacted if her breath reeked of tobacco and liquor when she opened her mouth?

There is probably little you can do to salvage the relationship now, even if you wanted to. Do you? You should not feel guilty about terminating the relationship and, if she cannot find another job, it is just too bad. You do not owe her a living.

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