VOICES OF YOUTH

Treat maids with more respect

THE number of domestic workers in Singapore has been increasing over the years, and this has caused a rise in the number of abuse cases.

There have been reports of employers physically abusing their maids or treating them unfairly for no particular reason. Some maids are not even given sufficient food to eat.

Some maids are driven to a point that they even think of committing suicide or harming their employer's family.

Such treatment of maids is deplorable, and it is saddening to read of these cases.

Singaporeans need to recognise that maids are human, too, and deserve to be treated fairly. They are here to work for us, and they play important roles. There is no reason for them to be treated so poorly.

These maids are not as fortunate as us, and we cannot expect them to meet all our expectations. It takes time for them to get used to a new environment.

The law should come down hard on abusers, and victims ought to be protected at all costs.

Employers should treat their maids with respect; no one has the right to physically or verbally abuse these domestic workers.

They also need decent working conditions in order to perform well.

Meredith Tay Wen Xin (Miss), 19, second-year polytechnic student

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Heritage survey helps long-term planning

I APPLAUD the National Heritage Board for conducting a nationwide survey on the state of Singapore's heritage buildings and sites ("First heritage survey gives conservation efforts a boost"; May 7).

It is important for Singapore to regularly maintain and evaluate the condition of its heritage landscape, for long-term heritage planning.

The survey will not only give town planners a more comprehensive understanding of Singapore's land, but also give Singaporeans more extensive knowledge about their own heritage and culture. It could eventually spark an interest among Singaporeans about the country's history and heritage.

As land here is scarce, the survey will also help us evaluate the conditions of each structure, and make more informed decisions on which should be kept.

Phoebe Lin Yihan (Miss), 19, second-year polytechnic student

Benefits of a good education system

AS A Secondary 2 student, I feel fortunate about being able to receive one of the best educations in the world ("The secret of S'pore's success in education"; April 11).

I am thankful to our founding father Lee Kuan Yew for his staunch belief in the importance of education.

He emphasised the importance of bilingualism, believing that Singaporeans should have a good command of English, without forgetting their cultural roots.

Learning to communicate effectively in two languages enables students to better prepare for the future.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) now emphasises a well-rounded education, which develops us both physically and mentally.

This shifts the focus of our education system from academic excellence to a more holistic approach, which includes the development of students emotionally as well as in areas like sports, music and the arts.

Having non-academic pursuits, through participation in co-curricular activities, gives students more room for talent development.

Mr Lee paved the way for Singapore's good education system, and the MOE has done a lot to build upon it. I hope we can continue Mr Lee's legacy and continue to ensure future generations are equipped with skills that will be beneficial for us in future.

Lim Xin Yuan, 14, Secondary 2 student