Business, Finance & Economics

No English? No problem for maids-to-be


Domestic helpers enjoy a picnic in the shade at 'Gulung-gulung' park in Singapore.


Roslan Rahman

If you're reading this, you may be overqualified to mop a Singaporean family's bathroom.

The affluent, English-speaking island of Singapore has opted to scrap its requirement that foreign maids pass an English exam, according to Today Online.

Though Singapore's wealthy rely heavily upon their maids, almost none of the island's "foreign domestic workers" are from Singapore. Many hail from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or other poorer countries in the greater region.

Ditching the test is a boon for nearby Indonesia, where many families pull in just $2 a day, right? Not exactly, said one Indonesian lawmaker, who told the Jakarta Globe that miscommunication would only cause more disputes.

Working as a maid in Singapore is tough job that requires women to live with their employers and attend to their needs seven days a week. A minister's recent suggestion that maids ought to get one day off per week drew ample criticism.

So here's some starter vocab for maids-to-be: "Give me Sunday off or I'm going to go insane. And tell your newly enlisted son to carry his own damn rucksack."