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Seeking a helper to start in next month or so

  1. #1
    Cumulo-nimbus is offline Registered User
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    Seeking a helper to start in next month or so

    My husband and I (American/British) just moved to HK, living in Mid-levels. I'm expecting our first baby in 7 weeks and we would like to find a helper before that if possible.

    Ideally one with experience caring for newborns and cooking western food (in a utopian world they would speak some Mandarin as I would like my son to learn, but I know that's hard to come by..)

    Any recommendations appreciated!

  2. #2
    elle is offline Registered User
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    If you are looking for someone to start in a short period of time, you should limit your search to helpers who are at or near the end of their present contract. it can take significatly longer to complete the hiring process for a first time helper, or one who has either broken her contract or been terminated (whether or not for cause).

    In all honestly, if your helper will be taking care of your child for any significant period of time, i would look for a helper who has experience and is competent in (and enjoys) caring for newborn children as my main focus -- and definitely get her references from previous employers backing up that she is good (and safe/ has training) with newborns. Being able to cook decent western food isn't an outrageous request, but it will probably limit your search to primarily helpers who have worked for a longish period of time with western families (a much more limited pool of helpers). I'd forget the Mandarin speaker - domestic helpers in Hong Kong do not come from countries where Mandarin is spoken as a primary language.

  3. #3
    asalles is offline Registered User
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    Hello, I can recommend my helper's sister, Jocelyn. Her phone number is 6298-5704. She has worked in HK for 5 years, as well as 2 years in Singapore. She has experience with cooking and newborns. Hope it works out.

  4. #4
    Cumulo-nimbus is offline Registered User
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    thanks asalles!

  5. #5
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Hi Cumulo-nimbus -- Welcome to Hong Kong!
    If you're looking for a helper who is
    * available and familiar with Hong Kong
    * has childcare experience
    * can cook some Western food
    * has the English skill to understand basic instructions from an American / British couple
    ... then you are probably looking for one of the many Filipinas who already work here. Try a good agency. We used Arrow and liked them.

    I'm not sure why everyone is so keen on Mandarin-speaking helpers -- your yet-unborn child is a bit young to be learning Chinese at this point, and you can always go to Chinese-language playgroups or hire a tutor when he/she is older.
    The mainland Chinese tend to have no English and very few practical skills, like Western cooking. They can be almost twice as expensive -- for no real advantage -- are are not here on DH visas.
    There is also a cultural difference -- you'll be getting something more like a guest "auntie" in your house who will be less likely to listen to your instructions if she has her own ideas about parenthood.
    Honestly, even Chinese families on the mainland are trying to hire Filipinas.

    I'd forget about the Chinese language for now. What's most important is that your can communicate with your helper; your helper has some idea of what a Western / international family is like; and your helper can be trusted to follow your instructions with your child.
    Good luck!
    Cumulo-nimbus likes this.

  6. #6
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    As for Western food -- I think if she has basic food skills, she can be taught.
    My Filipina helper started about 1.5 months ago and is a Godsend. It's so nice to send her to the supermarket with an English grocery list, and know that she will understand it. (That won't work with the majority of Chinese helpers).
    I'm teaching her Western food now. I think if a helper is OK in the kitchen (even with Asian food) then jumping over to basic salads, omelets, pastas, grills, steamed vegetables, etc, is not a huge reach.
    Town Gas also offers short cooking courses.

  7. #7
    Cumulo-nimbus is offline Registered User
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    Gracey - this is really helpful info, thanks a lot for taking the time to share!

  8. #8
    Cumulo-nimbus is offline Registered User
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    One follow-up question Gracey and anyone else with an opinion:

    A person I know who has lived in HK for several years advised me to get an Indonesian (rather than Filipino) helper, but didn't give me any rationale, and I haven't been in touch with him in a while to ask. Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks!

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