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Helper's work deteriorated since coming to HK

  1. #1
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Helper's work deteriorated since coming to HK

    We brought our helper (Filipina) from Singapore to HK. Been with us 2 years, never had a problem with her. Since she arrived here, she seems a lot more...relaxed? not sure how to describe. Her work is not as thorough, she seems to need to be constantly reminded of what she should be doing, any initiative has vanished. I know I need to talk to her but whenever I point out she 's done something wrong she gets tearful and/or sulks - which again didn't happen before. What to do? She is paid well over the minimum and gets 3 bonuses a year (amounts to 13 months money), I paid her agency fees, airfare and her recent passport application.

  2. #2
    burrcl is offline Registered User
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    Is she feeling lonely and missing her friends from Singapore? She might be feeling 'home sick' too maybe if she doesn't know anyone here?

  3. #3
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Oh I should have added - she has many cousins, several aunts and a lot of friends here. When I told her we were moving here she was over the moon!

  4. #4
    burrcl is offline Registered User
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    Ok, not lonely then!!

  5. #5
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Which makes it even stranger. I think I'll just have to sit and ask her what's going on. (When we did this once before, to tell her we were moving and to ask if she would come, we got the deer in headlights look and handkerchief clutching - before we'd even opened our mouths!)

  6. #6
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    Perhaps your helper is thinking of finding new employment? I've heard stories of how a previously wonderful helper will do an about-face just before quitting and moving on greener pastures (new employer with better pay, easier conditions).

    But you mentioned you pay her well above minimum so maybe this is not the case??

  7. #7
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    What are the working conditions like for her? You said that you pay her above the minimum wage with bonuses? How about the work load and living conditions?

    I just remember watchingthis about domestic helpers in Singapore.

    To be honest, it seems there isn't much protection or rights (in practice) for domestic helpers in Singapore compared with Hong Kong. Compared with HK working hours and conditions (that she's hearing about from friends and family) she may feel that she can get a better deal (easier load) somewhere else. Whether that is true or not is debatable. I don't know the actual situation in Singapore but judging from the video it makes me think that the atmosphere in HK allows domestic helpers more of a feeling of being a free agent.

    But it could also be a number of other things including depression. Just because she has friends and family here doesn't mean it hasn't be a difficult adjustment. Have you spoken to her about the changes you've noticed? What has been her response?
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  8. #8
    elle is offline Registered User
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    I was also just thinking that what you are describing sounds like it could have a clinical root such as depression. Not saying that doing it at all (in fact likely the opposite because you are trying to figure out what might be the problem) but a lot of people I have met in HK seem to think that domestic helpers don't have the same life (and mental health) issues that *normal* people have. Major life changes (which I would think that moving countries falls into) is one of several primary causes of depression. So can being thrust into a social circle with relatives and friends that you haven't been living near for a while.

    Not saying this is the problem, but you might want to consider it, particularly if the tearfulness isn't a normal reaction for her...

    Could also be that she is unhappy for some other reason you have no idea about. I have found more often than not that when my helper has had an off day or more that something (a breakup and a death in the family for example) personal was going on that she didn't share with me right away (which of course she isn't required to, but when it really affects how she is behaving I've had to ask what's up and if she needs to take some time off to deal with whatever...

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