New clubhouse for maids opens near Tanjong Pagar

Domestic workers now have a new clubhouse where they can spend their days off from work.

A 2,800 sqf space at 10 Raeburn Park, near the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, features karaoke facilities, a library and a computer lab. It was opened on Sunday afternoon by non-profit organisation, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast).

Fast said its aim is to provide workers with a space to unwind, mingle and pick up a hobby on their day off. By August, the club will also have remittance, postal and legal counselling services as part of its efforts to be a one-stop centre for maids. Membership fees cost $4 a year.

Indonesian Ms Rini Kurniawati, 28, who has worked in Singapore for eight years, said she usually spends her Sundays shopping and eating at Orchard with her friends. "Now, there's a nice comfortable place for us to spend our free time at," she said. So far, about 600 maids have signed up to become members.

Fast's president Seah Seng Choon said it cost $60,000 to build the centre. The association also pays about $10,000 a month to rent the place. Most of the furnishings and recreation equipment such as karaoke players, computers and laptops were donated, he added.

Mr Seah said the idea of the clubhouse was surfaced about two years ago in anticipation of the large number of maids taking their weekly day off after the Government announced a mandatory off-day policy in 2012. This policy came into effect in January last year.

"We will reach out to those in Orchard and to let them know of an alternative way to spend their off day," said Mr Seah.