Forum: Set minimum requirements on maid welfare

A helper pushes an elderly woman in a wheelchair.
A helper pushes an elderly woman in a wheelchair.PHOTO: ST FILE

I am surprised by Mr Liew Chin Wen's reaction (Privilege of employing live-in help comes with responsibility, Nov 20) to my letter (Rules on foreign domestic workers need dose of reality, Nov 18).

It was never my intention to offend anyone.

My letter was written in the context of a commentary by Professor Tommy Koh (Foreign domestic workers: A suggested rule book, Nov 7) and a letter (Promote Tommy Koh's FDW ideas, Nov 15).

My point in that letter was that we should not rush into prescribing a rule book for employers of foreign domestic workers (FDW) without further discussion, and looking at the facts. Further discussion, research and facts would help point the way to what needs to be done.

I did not say that FDWs should be given food that is not nutritious or that we should be unkind to them. Left unstated was what is recommended by diet experts as the minimum amount of food that an FDW needs each day for the work she does.

Some well-to-do, generous employers may consider lobster and salmon, cranberries and other expensive food as nutritious. Those who are not so rich may think some carbohydrates and vegetables, and the occasional piece of meat, are all that an FDW needs.

We should not rush into setting guidelines that every family must follow without getting more facts and expert advice.

An affluent nation as defined by its per capita wealth does not mean that all its people are affluent.

If hurriedly prescribed rules based on the opinions of some people result in half the FDWs being repatriated or lose their employment, it will not help the families of the FDWs or the Singaporeans.

It is wonderful to be blindly kind and righteous. But kindness without objectivity and thoughtfulness is misdirected and problem-causing too.

Lim Ang Yong