Children, not maids, the issue at private clubs

Let me play devil's advocate in the debate on maids at private clubs.

Why was the maid even in the club? Was she there genuinely as a guest and enjoying an off-duty treat with the family, or was she there to care for a child?

Has anyone even questioned why families with young children now do not go anywhere without a trailing maid? She remains on duty to feed and soothe the child, and change his nappy, while the employer's family enjoy their leisure, as if she is invisible.

In another time and place, this would have been considered a dysfunctional family.

I dress formally for a "black tie" event and go casual to a picnic. There is a time and place for everything.

I usually book myself into the "quiet coach" of the train when I anticipate having to either work or sleep. It is most annoying when children start running up and down the aisle and people talk non-stop on their mobile phones.

When our child was little, we used to go to a family-friendly pub. One day, the number of children there made the noise unbearable. We never went back there. The pub, a victim of its own success, closed shortly afterwards.

I don't have a private club membership but have been invited to dine at a few.

Members pay exorbitant sums for the privilege of calm and fine dining. It is simply not the place for children, with or without a maid in tow.

The maid is not the issue here.

Rather, inflicting children on those who have paid for a child-or baby-free space and then complaining is. There is a time and place for everything.

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Children, not maids, the issue at private clubs'. Print Edition | Subscribe