- 11-05-2012, 01:37 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
- Hong Kong
Has this affected your view of helpers?
I'm sure most of you have read about this by now. I was surprised no one decided to start a discussion topic on it but now that the nanny has woken up and, at least by this account, pointed to the employers as implicit in leading to her actions (by giving her housework which she felt was beneath her, and by having conversations with her about her work and possibly terminating her), what do you think? Do you feel less comfortable about having a helper, particularly if you are at home? Just as preface, I know this was a truly insane individual and I am a working mom so having a helper is necessary if I am to keep my job. So I am not saying that I do not trust helpers or that I am going to do anything different with my life. But I read quite a few discussion forums on this in the U.S. and there is a view there since having a nanny seems like a 'rich person's' perogative, and some went so far as to take an almost serves you right attitude toward the family/mother. In Hong Kong, where almost every family I know has a helper, I thought it would be interesting to see people's views. This story has been on my mind for awhile now; it is just so tragic, and I thought it might help to see what others thought.
- 11-05-2012, 02:40 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2010
- hk south side
the actions of a single mentally disturbed person do not affect my view of an entire group of people, i.e. domestic helpers. if i was even slightly concerned that our nanny (who is not a DH) or our helper could possibly do anything like this, neither of them would be in my home for one second. it is a truely tragic story, heartbreaking, but it won't change anything in my life.
i think you are right in that many of the US opinions on this tragedy are colored by the fact that domestic help is a rich person's perogative in the US, most people send their children, even infants, to daycare if the mother has to work, and there is a definite negative attitute toward domestic help in the US - i personally avoid talking about or even mentioning having a nanny or helper with anyone 'back home' as they really have a negative view of people who employ domestic staff.
there are all too frequent examples of children dying or being seriously injured from neglect and abuse in daycare centres in the US but they don't seem to gain national media attention most of the time.
- 11-05-2012, 03:35 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
- Hong Kong
I agree with Elle. The actions of one mentally ill person would not color my views of a profession in general, or my own personal helper.
HKers are obsessed with "horror maid stories" -- just read any local newspaper. Even if there is an odd accident that happens in, say, New York's Chinatown, we hear about it. My husband just got yelled at by his local colleagues because we refuse to put in CCTV cameras and spy on our helper.
Let's be logical here. If you heard a story about a shopgirl who was mentally ill and went on a rampage, would you be frightened of all shopgirls? If you read about a student with a gun in America, would that change your views of students everywhere? Of course not.
- 11-05-2012, 04:45 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
I hadn't read this before but it hasn't changed my view of helpers. As the others have mentioned, extreme cases occur in all professions. One might be worried if the proportion of such things happening was high in the helper profession but I don't believe that's the case. And I am influenced by my own experience with helpers in Hong Kong, that of my friends and my observations of helpers and how they interact with the kids in their care in general. It is true that babies are a particularly vulnerable group and in that sense there is a risk leaving them with a stranger but I guess it's a calculated one and it seems that by and large it works out okay.
Given that the job of a helper is a demanding one, I try talk to my helper and watch out for signs that the workload is too much or she is stressed out and adapt accordingly.
- 11-05-2012, 05:50 PM #5
it doesn't affect my opinion of helpers/nannies anymore than a deranged woman who kills her own kids affects my opinion of mothers...
seems like a silly idea to me. i mean that one crazy woman would tarnish the opinion of helpers 1/2 a world away....?
- 11-05-2012, 06:02 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- Happy Valley
In the US, one profession has such a bad reputation for going crazy that they even have a new verb coined after them:
I wonder if those worried about their helpers going nutty also worry about going to the post office...
My personal view : I prefer not to send my helper to the post office :)
- 11-05-2012, 06:18 PM #7
sorry, just re-read my post...
second paragraph doesn't read right...
what i mean is that how can your opinion of helpers in hk be changed or negatively influenced by the actions of a crazy woman 1/2 a world away... that seems a little crazy to me.
- 11-05-2012, 10:37 PM #8
I do think that I'd be in denial if I didn't read that story and think "I'm also leaving my kids with a stranger - how can you REALLY be sure??" I'm sure that the mother of those kids didn't realise that her helper was a murderous psycho otherwise she wouldn't have left her kids with her.
(there, I said it!)
That said... I do recognise that those initial feelings are irrational and unfair if I extrapolate them to other helpers. Most helpers are themselves mothers who come to sincerely care about the kids they are looking after. For many of them, the kids are the light of their day - the joy in a difficult job away from their own families. I think that many helpers grow to sincerely love the kids they are looking after and couldn't hurt them even if other parts of their job were less than rosy. And ultimately, our kids could be harmed by millions of people in millions of ways - we'd go crazy if we fretted about every single possible way they could be injured or worse... Sometimes we just have to accept that there is a very small risk - and move on. Do what we can to prevent it... (in this situation, if there are ANY concerns, no matter how small, about the safety of my kids at the hands of my helper, the helper would go immediately even if it were incredibly inconvenient to do so).
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