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Have to vent - help!

  1. #9
    Bear Lau is offline Registered User
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    Josoo,
    I will simply ignore your maid or since you are absolutely a good employer - to install the air-cond, DVD and TV.
    I don't know the experience of your maid, but you have to let her know she is being lucky to have a room !!! A lot of maids who work for "normal" Chinese family live in a very small apartment. My maid have a friend who work in a family of four living in a govt housing which is less than 400 sq feet !!!!
    If I tell your story to my Chinese friends, most of them will ask you to simply fry her.....
    Bear Lau:

  2. #10
    josoo is offline Registered User
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    Have to vent - help!

    Thank you for all the helpful comments.

    I woke up this morning feeling really bad, so I called my contractor!

    We've decided to put their wardrobe in the laundry area, so their room does not feel so cramped. I will also put a tv in their room, so they have a choice to watch it in their own room or outside the kitchen!

    Without the wardrobe their room will be spacier. I have also decided to buy a screen, so they have a choice to leave the door open at night, but still have privacy with the screen.

    Hopefully they will be happy in this new environment, so we all live in harmony. Sometimes I feel like I owe them my life...

  3. #11
    ELT
    ELT is offline Registered User
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    I once asked my DH if it is important to her to have her own room and she said it didn't really matter as long as it is comfortable. I would consider sleeping in a room (or sounds more like a store room?) with a small vent pretty uncomfortable.

  4. #12
    josoo is offline Registered User
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    Have to vent - help!

    It's not about whether its comfortable or not comfortable. As Mum of 2 stated, I will simply NEVER choose an apartment for the sake of the maid's room.

    I spoke to my other helper today and she says its not a big deal, because she doesn't mind leaving the door open, so it really depends if you are looking at glass half full or half empty.

  5. #13
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
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    Difficult dilemma- made more difficult by the size of HK apartments and the ridiculous rents we are forced to pay for them!

    Personally I think that any room you expect a helper to live in should have a window. A room without a window just makes me think of a prison cell, and while they may not be spending 24 hrs a day in there, it is still the only room they have in the house and they will need to spend their evenings in it!

    When we recently looked at apartments- we had one agent tell us the helper could live in the small store room off the kitchen which would barely fit a bed; another one told us that the room for the baby had a bed with a pull out mattress where the helper could sleep!

    Saying this however I have never been in a situation where we have had to choose between a decent maids room and a decent sized apartment- very difficult situation to be in!!!! And yes the fault does lie essentially with the developers but until helpers are treated better in general in HK the developers aren't going to do anything about it!

  6. #14
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    josoo, i think u're doing a great job providing all the comforts to your helper(s). most of the helpers i know don't have TVs & they have to buy their own radio or CD player.

    some of my friend's helper sleep in a store rm (storage at lower bunk & they sleep on the top bunk). hey, even some of my friends slept in store rooms when they were teenagers. with the size of hk apartments, you're lucky to have separate maid's room!! most 4 members family in hk live in a one studio style public housing. they have to make a rm out with wooden boards!

  7. #15
    kellyst is offline Registered User
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    josoo, we're another family with two maids as well. i think you're doing great already, 150 sq. ft? my two maids are in their bunk beds in a small room on their own, not NEARLY as big a space as you guys gave them. I hired them from the Philippines and both are happy with the arrangement. It is a tight living space, but they have brand new furniture and a decent work environment. I think they know what's out there and appreciate what they have.

    Of course, there are people with 4000 sq. ft homes who can afford to give their helpers completely separate QUARTER mansions to live in, but you have to know what's out there to appreciate what you have.

    We went house hunting, you need to admire the 'creativity' people put into accomodating for their maids. Not only that NOT having their own rooms is the norm (our agent was quite quick in pointing out that not a lot of people ask to have separate rooms for the helpers, most just room them with the kids). We saw day beds that people pull out in the kitchen that helpers sleep in or literally closets that people fit beds into for their helpers.

    When I see 8 out of 10 arrangements with helpers accomodations like that, I don't think we are seeing the extremes but rather the norm.

    My daughter's room only has a tiny window, which opens up directly into the wall of the neighbors, we don't even open that window now. Does that mean i'm putting her in a prison cell? We live in HK, and we deal with the situation, just means that she's spending a lot more time playing in other rooms where there's much more natural sunlight.

    How about this... if they choose to, your helper can always sleep in the living room where there are plenty of windows. I think you're being a great employer already.

  8. #16
    mum of 2 is offline Registered User
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    Yes, this 'sharing with the children' thing seems to be quite common. If I were a DH, I'd much rather have a small room to myself than a large one that I share with my employer's children. There is no way that I would put a tv, dvd, phone etc. in my children's room, so if my helper was in there, she'd have no private space, nowhere to watch tv, make phone calls etc. herself.

    Moreover, I don't think it's fair on the children. I mentioned to another mother at the school last week (when she commented on how exhausted I looked), that I had been awake because the baby had been kicking me from inside and my son had woken up 3 times during the night. She could not understand why I looked after him myself at night and had not sent my DH to him. Both of us were shocked by what the other considered 'normal'.

    Josoo, sounds like your helpers have recovered from their strop. They certainly have more space than my helper, and many others, they have probably just realised that too. I'd trade windows for some space and privacy (our windows are never even opened for safety reasons). Good luck settling in!
    Last edited by mum of 2; 05-21-2007 at 12:09 PM.

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