It's the second Christmas I've spent with the ladies and volunteers in a H.O.M.E. shelter, the same one as last. And it's a simple joy to see others from our neighbouring countries, share their fun at Christmas and fulfill my desire to contribute to their needs.
What do shelters of such kind do?
They are set up as a place for those domestic helpers seeking refuge from their employers. Their cases may range from abuse, wage mismanagement, misunderstandings, misconceptions, mistakes, mismatches and missed opportunities.
Like what the regular manager said, they are all heroines of their families, leaving their home countries and everything familiar, to seek employment overseas and hope to bring home a better future. What happened along the way?
If you are a FDW employer, ask yourself if you've given adequate care, compensation and concern for those under your charge. If you have had bad experiences with your domestic workers, how have you resolved them, without resorting to third parties or even the authorities?
Yes, our family was privileged to have been served by a Filipina helper for 14 years before she returned home for good to set up her family. Now we have an Indonesian helper for more than 10 months. It takes time, effort and commitment on both sides to see through the bonding process, from orientation, training, adapting, learning, innovating, improving, establishing the daily routines at home.
Doesn't that sound like Human Resource Management?
Thanks to my 'crash course' of working for CPG Corporation as a HR assistant for more than a year, I was privileged to learn about how HR deals with recruitment, on-boarding, orientation, OJT, confirmation, promotion, discipline, rewards, compensation, training and career development.
Indeed, open your heart and mind to learning about how to behave with the worker you've decided to engage for domestic work, to look after your house, your loved ones and your lives, as they are a valuable human resource you should not abuse nor mismanage, as that would be counter productive and add on to your stress.
We, as a nation of domestic employers (or of any foreign worker), should first adopt a "I'm here to serve as your boss" and "How should I serve you best?" mentality, in order to make life more fruitful and harmonious to all parties, at work and in home.
Notice I use the word SERVE?
How can you SERVE them?
Do you train them to use the public transport system? Do you introduce your country's places of interest? Do you teach them home economics and thrift, as well as basic personal finance? Do you impart your two cents worth of street wisdom and Singlish culture for them to understand your psyche? Would you be proud of them once they've finished their contracted terms with you, that they can become resilient, self-reliant and a better individual when they return home to their families?
Think about it. Why do you need them?
And how can you share your love with them? They, or We? Them, or Us?
Best wishes to all for a spiritual Christmas and a meaningful close to 2017!
Shirley Lam(b) as the Aussies would call me....