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Helpers prefer not to work for Indian families???

  1. #9
    charade is offline Registered User
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    I'm Indian and I think there might be some reason why helpers have this impression. The younger Indian couples might be different, but the larger, more traditional families probably have the same attitude to helpers as the Indians back home. And I think they probably do get a better deal with Westerners, in terms of perks and living conditions.

    That said, I know a lot of young Indian families here who have helpers and both employers and employees are happy. I employ two Filipino helpers myself and we get on very well. I employed my first helper though word-of-mouth and then when I had my second child we brought her sister over.

    I did try a few agencies and none of them ever said anything to me like that. In fact, they provided lots of prospects. It does seem like this guy is not that interested in helping you. I'd ditch the agency and find another one. I also tried directly contacting helpers through the classifieds on this site and another one and while there were a couple who I thought were not interested because of my ethnicity, there were interested ones too.

  2. #10
    bsc1280 is offline Registered User
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    Hi justarlene and shwetakhanna

    please can you send me the details of the agencies you used? especially for an indonesian helper

    Thanks a lot

  3. #11
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    We have a reputation for overworking our helpers. We hired a new helper last year and it took me a while too. Our fav helper stayed with us for 5 years and left us to get married to her BF in the US. She still calls us regularly.

    Since then have had 2 helpers who weren't the right fit for our family. Last year, I searched again, and placed ads on GeoExpat.Com. Interviewed several and finally found a FAB helper. Even after she signed with us, her friends did try and persuade her to change her mind. But she liked us instantly and we her and we're all very happy. There are some gems out there, who don't have any issues working with Indians.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  4. #12
    ngnhk is offline Registered User
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    Thanks all for your input. I guess I should prepare myself for a decent amount of disappointment/rejection, in this case - I'm hoping we get lucky, but only time will tell.

    Rani, I think it's absurd that her friends tried to dissuade her even though they had never met you! That means this prejudice is very strong amongst the helper community, and that really does stress me out.

    For those of you (Indians) who found helpers, did it feel like walking on eggshells at first because you had to kind of dispel this bias?
    And how would I address this in interviews? Am I supposed to try and make her duties seem as easy/minimal as possible? Be extra-nice? I'm not sure how to respond to this. We've never had a helper, so if anything, we're in danger of being too lenient anyway, which I know often leads to the helper taking advantage.

    We'll start looking in June, and the baby is due in October, so we would hope to find someone who could start in September that I'd have some time to train. But it is annoying to be discrimated against like this when I don't see how we could make a helper's job any easier - we have all the gadgets (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.), and all she'd have to do is the housework and drop off dry-cleaning. I do it all myself now and have plenty of free time (so the helper probably would too), but I just don't want to deal with it when I have a newborn. I guess we could have a local live-out helper, but I've heard they're scarce, and anyway, my husband works very long hours, so it would be difficult for me to always be alone with a brand new baby.

  5. #13
    charade is offline Registered User
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    No, it didn't feel like walking on eggshells at all. While there are some helpers who have this bias, there are plenty who would be happy to have a job. I'd assume that those who sign a contract with you are coming to the job with an open mind. I think your agent has over-emphasized this point to you, probably because of his own bias.

  6. #14
    geiboyi is offline Registered User
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    But there is definitely a difference between the culture of domestic staff between westerners and Indians. In India there is still a very strong tradition of domestic help, sometimes in good conditions and sometime fairly horrific ones (young girls being sold to families basically as indentured domestic servants, what would have previously been called slaves). In Europe, for example, the idea of employing domestic help is seen an an incredible luxury, and I suspect there is really a difference in the way helpers are treated, in many cases. My two former helpers had pretty horrific stories about their (Indian) ex-employers.

  7. #15
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    This sounds like the agent is biased, not necessarily the helpers he/she represents. Is the agent local Chinese? There are alot of biases against Indians and other ethnic minorities in HK. (I say that, a bit shame-faced, as a local myself. I don't hold those views, but I know others who do). That said, there are also agents who will badmouth mainlanders or other groups -- just alot of stereotyping.

    And sometimes that trickles down to helpers, who are so terrified that they will be mistreated or underpaid here. And many of them have never worked in a multicultural city like HK before.

    I think most helpers just want a decent employer regardless of skin color. My Filipina helper's friend loves her Indian employers, who are strictly vegetarian. That's why she gets a food allowance, cooks her own food, and also has long lunch breaks. My neighbors are Indian, too, and they seem to get along just fine with their helper.

    I've gotten 2 great helpers over the years from Arrow Agency, run by two Americans in Kowloon. They would never say anything like that. They're decent folk who seem to personally know the women they represnt - maybe not the cheapest in town. But when you are hiring someone to be in your home all day, you want to spend a little more to make sure things go well.

    Arrow Employment Services

    Ask for Allan or Ione, a husband and wife team. Their great assistant is named Swannie.

    Good luck! And remember that, while there are some bad apples in HK (particularly helper and property agents) most people are pretty decent here.

  8. #16
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Planning to have someone start in Sept is very smart. First of all, some babies come early. Also, in my experience, you'll need a bit more hand when you are 8, 9-months pregnant, especially in this heat. I'm also pretty independent, and used to doing my own housework and running my own groceries. But the end of pregnancy is tough. Plus, you don't want to have to get used to a new helper and a new baby at the same time.

    If you want someone to start in Sept, start now. If you're hiring directly from the Philippines, you will need to wait for both HK Immigration and the Philippine side to approve papers. They say it takes 4-6 weeks. But the reality is that doesn't count weekends, public holidays from both countries and random delays like Philippine elections. And it doesn't count the time you need to actually meet the agent, do interviews, choose someone you like, etc. I'd say it actually takes 2 months.

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