Thursday, 11 September 2008

Serangoon Garden residents, you have my sympathy

When the maid and foreign workers give you problems, 4 police cars and 8 policemen cannot help you.
That's what happened to me.

*************************** ooOoo **************************

I have only sympathy for the residents of Serangoon Garden estate, most people are quick to condemn them. It's uncalled for to label them as "bigots", "xenophobic", "prejudiced" and "snobbish".

The government's plan to house around 1,500 foreign workers in the abandoned Serangoon Gardens Technical School has led to the residents protesting.

For 6 years I endured having construction sites behind my backyard, opposite and at the side of my two residences, both in East Coast. I'm so unlucky. I moved to my present house after enduring 3 years of noise and troubles from the construction site in my backyard, only to discover that I have to endure another 3 years of Hell when the old condominium behind my house was en bloc! *bang head on wall*

Let me share what happened when we have foreigner construction workers living within our neighbourhood. In case the Government decided not to cave in to the residents' demand, they can prepare for these problems. In my case, there were only scores. I cannot imagine 1,500 of them!!

At my first house, my open wet kitchen faced the construction site. The workers purposely built a bathroom right next to it. For the first few weeks, I have to endure the sights of bare-chested men dressed in shorts or wrapped in sarongs, bathing whenever my maid or I were cooking meals. When I couldn't take it anymore, I charged right up to the contractor to complain. They then covered up the fence dividing us.

Then the foreigner workers befriended the maids in the neighbourhood. The workers whistled and threw nails onto our balconies to attract our maids' attention. There is a small mini supermarket which residents and maids frequent. Every day, groups of foreigners workers would patronise it and make friends with maids. Come evening, there would be small groups of them drinking alcohol, some getting drunk and into fights.

I told my maid and kids to avoid the mini-mart. I didn't allow my maid to go out without anyone accompanying her.

Things had been fine until these workers came to stay. Then my kids started complaining that our home-cooked meals were not as tasty and portions were small. I used to buy in bulk at the wholesale centre, supermarket and the wet market .

For grocery and food every month, I bought 2 dozen bottles of peanut butter, a carton (2 dozen cans) of Spam, 1.5kg tin of Milo, a dozen tins of condensed milk...etc. In my freezer, there would be packets of frozen chicken nuggets, prawns, meats, fish, sausages....etc. Why were the kids complaining?

One of the kids decided to find out. He came back extra early one day and saw the maid preparing lunch, deep-frying chicken nuggets in the kitchen. He went upstairs to change and when he came down to have his lunch, there weren't any chicken nuggets on the table. He vividly remembered seeing the maid frying them.

He asked her and she denied, and waved a knife at him telling him to keep his mouth shut. Later she borrowed some money from him and went to the mini-mart to buy a packet of frozen chicken nuggets to replace the ones she took.

When I was alerted, I went through the grocery and frozen food in the house. Lots were missing. I just bought 2 dozen bottles of peanut butter a week ago, half were gone. When grilled, the maid confessed to cooking and distributing my food to feed the neighbourhood foreign workers!! Later, I found other maids were feeding them or holding parties with food stolen from their employers' homes.

My next door neighbours had similar problems. There were 6 terrace houses in my row, every employer was affected! One of my neighbours had to send his two maids home immediately. They were constantly borrowing his 8-year-old daughter's mobile phone, hiding in the toilets to call the foreign workers. I sent my maid home too.

Too much was at stack. Besides the S$5,000 bond I could lose if she gets pregnant, there are the security issues. I'm not home most of the time, it's just the kids and the maid. And her bedroom was on the ground floor facing the contruction site.....


Symphony of Love said...

I understood where you are coming from and yet there isn't really much we can do once our almighty governments decided on something right? I had heard of many cases of DHs and foreign workers. Of two of the cases, the DHs even bought the foreign workers back home when the employers were not in the house. I believe that everyone must be treated with respect and that respect must be earned regardless of whether you are foreign workers or local people.

EastCoastLife said...

Hi symphony of love,
Respect must be earned.

I understand these foreign workers are alone here and need to have friends and love. I'm considerate and sympathise with them.

But they have a don't care attitude. They don't care about their employers or their young charges or others' concerns.

Their mentalities are very different from ours. No matter how well I treat my maids, they turn evil and mean in the end, influenced by other maids and foreign workers.

I used to tell my friends if the foreign workers can think for themselves, they would not be foreign workers here.

It's frustrating when there are troubles, the government will wash its hands off it. Employers are made to pay.

SG Neighbourhood said...

Hi again,

I understand how much you may suffer from the concerns of your children safety with foreign workers who behave criminally or anti-socially.

In my neighbourhood at Geylang, hundreds (if not thousands ) of foreign workers are illegally staying in shophouses and apartments. Besides serious littering and noise pollution, residents are see more of them doing crimes including open-air gambling dens, peddling contraband cigarettes, acting as lookouts for street prostitutes, etc.

It is getting scarier everyday when you see the deterioration of our neighbourhood.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Jessy Koh