Change lifestyle to cut reliance on maids

It is hardly surprising that the Indonesian authorities are demanding higher salaries for maids from their country ("Higher pay for Indonesian maids from next year"; Nov 11).

Our reliance on foreign maids is a perennial bugbear for us, and it is time we looked at the entire situation in perspective.

While people with young children and elderly parents may consider maids indispensable, there are others for whom employing a full-time domestic helper is not an imperative.

Perhaps we can seek other alternatives or change our lifestyle. One possible way is to settle our own household chores.

For instance, it is not necessary for a family with teenage children to engage a full-time maid, especially when the young ones spend a considerable amount of time in school.

The children can also chip in to do simple housework like mopping the floor, clearing the table and washing crockery after meals.

Maybe we should think about hiring part-time domestic helpers on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

There are many middle-aged women doing general chores at coffee shops and hawker centres. I do not understand why they are not keen on working as part-time domestic helpers.

The Manpower Ministry and other agencies should come up with incentives to encourage locals to work as domestic helpers.

Such a step seems far more sensible than continuing to be wholly dependent on foreign maids, to our detriment.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng