Bringing your maids abroad? Think very Careefully about this!!

Plan on bringing your maid’s with you when you travel?

Is your maid a faithful maid who has been with you for many years? Are you going to the US, the UK or somewhere in Europe? And you want to this faithful maid of many years as a treat for her loyalty? Or you need to bring her along to help you with your young children or even yourself.

BEWARE – think about it carefully. Your maid may disappear and while that would be upsetting worse may come! You may be brought to court on slavery charges. You may have their passports with you under lock and key. That in itself is a cause for action against you – as proof of imprisonment and definitely slavery.

So okay back home you paid a certain amount as per contract. You may even have paid well because the maid has been with you a long while. But whatever your had paid in Ringgit will be compared to the minimum wage in the county you visit and believe you me, it will be seen as a mere pittance! Slavery it is then!

You may ask how on earth do they do it in the foreign country.  The truth is simple – in most of these countries there are NGO’s professing to help such ‘slaves’. It is believed though these are groups who try to help their country man gain an opportunity to to stay and work in the country. Apparently some maids have contacts with them and plan their ‘rescue’ with the help of these NGO’s.

Fiction? I already know of 3 cases. In one case, a Cambodia maid of many years’ of  service with her boss in Malaysia – was found missing the day after they arrived in the UK. Soon after someone contacted them to say they would be charged with slavery if they reported her disappearance. Another friend had a Filipina and she too disappeared the day after they checked into a hotel. She didn’t bother with any slavery charge. She obviously had her plans well laid out. Later a family friend found out that she then went on to help others whose bosses were planning to bring their maid’s overseas with them. We know of one case where the maid had been brought to work with the Malaysian family in the UK. She is a friend of this other maid who must have helped her, and true enough, after 6 months, she disappeared and later called to say that luckily she did not report her employers for slavery. In other words, don’t make a fuss about it.

The irony of it is that little do these maid’s realise they have not gained a better life. Yes the pay when converted into their currency is stupendous. But the cost of living is high and most of their pay is swallowed up by this. Yes they save because they are used to living frugally. But it is a miserable life and the future is quite grim. I offer here the story of a maid who used to work with me but got PR in the UK and is quite unhappy and unfulfilled. Natty has lived in the UK for more than 15 years. I met her recently and she had a woeful tale to tell. As with most Filipinas, most of her hard earned money went back home to raise her children. She was earning what was a lot in her currency – BUT her monthly salary was the minimum wage which was mandatory in the UK. This actually meant it was  just enough to get by but it was a problem when she had to  use most of it to send back home.

The other problem was she had to rent rooms which meant she had no record of her presence in the UK – and in the UK this means presence as certified or proven by utilities records in her name or at least an address to a place which was in her name. She had none of these. So she could not open bank accounts and worse, she could not get a regular job in shops or restaurants or supermarkets. She was condemned to baby sitting jobs and as she got older, care giver jobs for the elderly and terminally ill patients. The latter is never very easy because as in most cases when her clients died, she had to wait for a while to find another client. When I met her, she was dressed in a mixture of clothes she ‘inherited’ from some of her clients’ families. She lived off the food that the household had and  in most cases that was not too regular or sufficient because the food needed for the client was essentially soft foods. Often she had to buy her own food and without a proper place to live, it meant that she could never really save by buying things in  bulk. She had no savings to speak of and although almost 60 now, her faily still expected her to send funds back  home. If you have a maid and if you plan to bring them with you overseas anyway, perhaps you can tell them this story. But the story may fall on deaf ears because there is always the lure of the pay which, compared to what they get in Malaysia, is a fortune. Few can look beyond that.

Posted in This and That | Leave a comment

Maids – and Illegals

Has your maid ended her contract? Is she going back? Are you sending her to the airport? Or is the agent doing it?

CAREFUL! Whatever, whichever, do not just leave her after she has checked in. Do not leave the agent to do it either.

Try to check her in on your own. If you cannot, get someone you trust to do it. And after you have checked her in, be sure to hang around for a good while to make sure she has really gone in. This is especially important for the LCCT where the immigration counters are up one floor and you cannot see anyone going through immigration.

WHY, you may ask, do I exhort you on such a ordinary event? The reason is simple – there is a syndicate that arranges with these girls to avoid going through immigration. If you don’t send them off personally, even better because the way is clear for them to pick the girls up for another job. In some cases the girls become illegals – in other cases somehow or other they manage to get papers to become legal. Of course the girls pay a lot but they get jobs which apparently pay them better.  Or the pay may be the same but they get more days off!

Why you may ask should one be bothered? They are no longer registered under our names – so it is not really something to bother about.

BUT consider the fact that you have contributed to the problem of illegal workers? And consider the fact that you have been had!

The choice is yours but remember your care in this situation will go a long way in alleviating the problem of illegals!

Posted in This and That | Leave a comment

The Coliseum – in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Anyone who knows Malaysia knows of the Coliseum – of the old waiters rattling their cups and plates as they serve you and of course, for the bar which was so popular during colonial times.

Lots of Room

Coliseum is located in what was downtown Kuala Lumpur which is now so busy that one thinks twice before going there. A few months ago they opened up a branch in easily accessible Petaling Jaya in a new complex adjacent to JAYA 33. Ever since its opening you see long lines waiting to get in for dinner. But, don’t lose heart because the line moves fast.

We went there recently and we went a little after peak hours, around 9 pm and we only waited about 10 minutes. Actually there is lots of room and tables are enough to take in a fairly large crowd.



First impression was not too good because of the noise and the smoke from the sizzling steaks. But then we reminded ourselves that the old Coliseum was also like that, if not worse. But it is definitely not the place if you want to dine in elegant muted comfort. What was nice though was to see that it is very family friendly with tables occupied mostly for families. And judging from the smoke and sizzling noises, the sizzling steak is still the favourite. Every table had orders for the sizzling steak.












Service was fast and friendly. One always remembers the rather ancient waiters from the original Coliseum but here we now have young foreign waiters who are not too bad in that they understand your orders and they are sufficiently friendly and polite. BUT we noted that there was a rather more senior Malaysian waiter who may have come from the original establishment and who was the busiest of them all. In fact he appeared to be in charge settling guests down at their tables and generally going around everywhere. His status was apparently so acceptable that everyone addressed him as Uncle!

What about the food? Like most steak joints of the past, what you get is good stuff – not the gourmet meats you can get from up market restaurants but good enough for the regular palate wanting just simple steaks without the fancy dressings and garnishing. In fat I would say that it is just good wholesome steak – you get your food fast, you eat it quickly and you can be out within an hour after sitting down. No frills and no nonsense meal.

Go if you just want a simple meal – with friends or family. Don’t go if you want a quiet evening with friends or family, or if you plan to conduct business over dinner.

Posted in The Malaysican Scenario - Insurance | Leave a comment