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Has this affected your view of helpers?

  1. #9
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    i feel sad but no it doesn't change my opinion of helpers in HK. helpers in HK have a union that fights for their rights, and a govnt. that is constantly increasing their salary...we have agencies that double check things and we hire after recommendations, interviews etc. etc. there's a risk with everything... my question is whether the employer told the employee of her good intentions, i.e. do you want to make extra money by doing XYZ or was it here's an opportunity to make more money do XYZ...the two questions comes off very differently! you can never assume anything. maybe they want to make more money but their holiday is more important? i don't know...it IS very tiring taking care of 3 children ( i have three of my own, similar age too)...

  2. #10
    elle is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesliefu View Post
    i feel sad but no it doesn't change my opinion of helpers in HK. helpers in HK have a union that fights for their rights, and a govnt. that is constantly increasing their salary...we have agencies that double check things and we hire after recommendations, interviews etc. etc. there's a risk with everything... my question is whether the employer told the employee of her good intentions, i.e. do you want to make extra money by doing XYZ or was it here's an opportunity to make more money do XYZ...the two questions comes off very differently! you can never assume anything. maybe they want to make more money but their holiday is more important? i don't know...it IS very tiring taking care of 3 children ( i have three of my own, similar age too)...
    It doesn't matter if the NY employer communited with the nanny why she had offered her the extra work. The New York nanny was crazy/ disturbed/ deranged/ had something seriously wrong, plain and simple. No person in their right mind stabs children, regardless of whether they have been asked to work a few extra hours that they don't want, they are tired or whatever. A sane person either says no, does the extra work unhappily, or quits. A sane person does not murder children in cold blood.

  3. #11
    smglobal is offline Registered User
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    Thanks to those who responded so far. I wanted to add some more color into what I mostly felt conflicted about and wanted to get feedback on - first off, yes, I completely agree (and I think everyone would) that there is no question this is a crazy person, this is an isolated tragedy and that there are risks everywhere, and it is important to balance awareness of those risks with probability of them happening. And I appreciate Nicole's comment that despite knowing this, as a parent when you read this and you are not the one watching your child (whether they are in daycare, with a nanny, even in school), your instinct is to focus more on the risk rather than the probability.

    However, the reason I had posted when I did is because the nanny woke up and started saying things about her discord with the family. For example, some people I know in Hong Kong really try to make their helper part of the family, talk to their helpers about their situations back home and possibly financial issues they have, etc. They take the helper on trips, or even take trips to see their helper's home in the Philippines (like the Krim family did with their nanny to the Dominican Republic), give the helper extra hours on Sundays to earn more money, and have the helper take their kids to a lot of classes, when they are very young (all similar to the Krim family). This story made me think of how the relationships we have with helpers are complicated. Is it good to blur the lines between employer/employee to 'part of the family' if the person knows they aren't really part of the family and are fireable? (Have you read, "The Help"? Similar issues in that book). Was visiting the D.R. not seen as an act of closeness but instead rich people on a holiday to see a 3rd world country and pat themselves on the back for being so open-minded? Obviously the extra hours were not taken well. And for my own situation, my helper must see the bills for my toddler's playgroup, just a couple hours 3 times a week singing songs that are almost as much as her salary for a month? I am not saying in any way this insane person was justified for her actions. But what I am trying to say is that it made me aware of the hidden resentment that might be there, very naturally, because HK is a land where people have so much, and splurge so much on their tiny kids, and then there are those here that have so little, who are away from their own kids, some of which are tiny babies, too. And to think that trying to do what you can to be more relatable actually does the opposite is eye opening and troubling. I don't know what the answer is, and I suppose it depends on who your family is and of course who your helper is. In the end, it is just tragic to see how twisted such resentment can become in an insane person and the horror of what happened as a result.
    elle likes this.

  4. #12
    elle is offline Registered User
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    smglobal, i struggle with these issues all the time - kids classes being outrageously expensive compared to what our helper lives on per month, etc. We try to balance by paying her well (including cash on the side that doesn't go straight to the bank account that her family can see/ access for her salary) and giving her plenty of time off to have her own life, date, have dinner with friends, engage in recreational activities. For us, allowing her have plenty of time off to to pursue her own interests, and enough money to enjoy the time off. But we are also in the fortunate position to have a nanny to share the work so our helper doesn't need to be with our child every second that I am in the office. I also try hard to not get caught up in a 'race to the bottom' mentality - 'well, she would be worse off, have less money and work more if she was still in the Philippines' - that i hear so many people use to justify having their helpers work very long days six days per week, especially when they don't need someone around picking up after them all the time.

  5. #13
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    smglobal, what happened in NYC has affected me deeply and troubled me to no end. As I WOHM mom I do leave the care of my LO to others and hope and pray that they will be taken care of. About this specific case, I always take the view that whatever you encounter, there are always lessons to be learnt. These are the things I have taken away from the case:

    Perceptions of the same event may differ drastically and you need to be aware of this - not just for employer/helper relations but for any types of relationships. Obviously in this case, the employers thought they paid her well, and were doing her a favour by giving her extra hours to help her out financially however she felt resentful and did not interpret the gesture favourably (an understatement for sure)

    If you are having to micro manage your nanny/helper, its probably best to let them go as it's universally unpleasant for the employer and helper (with someone breathing down her neck during her working hours), and no one can perform under these circumstances

    If you are wanting to let go of your staff then an element of surprise may not be unreasonable. This I never understood until this case. I always thought the local friends I had made/MIL were being extra paranoid when they told me that I should spring a termination on my helper (who I caught stealing from me) and boot her out of my house on the same day! I thought it was unreasonable, and to be honest, a little cruel BUT giving someone too many warnings/ threats (or what they perceive as a threat to their livelihood) may cause the odd person to snap/ or else do things they would not ordinarily do (steal)/ be neglectful of your child as the mental stress of losing your financial stability is one of the several things known to cause mental breakdown/marriage breakdown (other stresses include divorce/death of spouse/child).

    Finally, as a general observation, the vitriol reserved for this mom on forums in the States is unbelievable. Many are saying she brought it on herself for having a nanny and that 'she should have raised the children herself'. This perplexes and bothers me to no end. For some, they have to have a nanny because they have to work, for others, even if you are a SAHM there will be occasions when you need someone to watch over the children. I think it is totally unreasonable to think a mom can not leave her children for any amount of time. I am glad that in HK we don't have these sorts of posts. No matter if the mother was having her nails done every day nothing she could do would justify someone doing that to her children.

    Anyway my two cents, a very troubling and disturbing case.
    carang and shwetakhanna like this.

  6. #14
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    Also re: being part of the family, I never tell my helpers that they are part of my family, because it's not true for me. That's not to say that I don't treat them well or that I don't care about them but as far as being part of my family, well I think telling them that breeds all sorts of intimacies and expectations that I'd prefer not to go down that route. Moreover, I would think that it would be pretty clear to the helper that they are expected to do paid work and follow my instructions which is not how other members of my family operate.

    -forgot to add this in during my last post, thinking is soooooooo fragmented when the LO are underfoot and you are trying to think!

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