Oct 3, 2011

2nd Shot: Let Your Maid Carry Your Bag

Let Your Maid Carry Your Bag

When the original photo was reposted on HWZ and STOMP from Facebook, it naturally caused an uproar among Singaporeans. Opinions were divided, with some folks giving sympathy benefit of doubt to the soldier. Perhaps he hurt his back? While citizens debate on whether soldiers nowadays have become soft, the report made its rounds overseas, and behind our back; just what would foreigners think of us? I give you some examples later. On hindsight - referring to my second shot - I should have stood a few steps behind for a more perfect shot. Well, none of my second shots is perfect … yet, just like our soldiers.

Who is the culprit who shamed us all? Is it the maid who should have fought for her rights (she is a maid; MOM calls them FDW - foreign domestic workers, not porters), or the soldier who should have kept up his situational awareness, or the owner of the photo who uploaded it on Facebook. In the end, the soldier was "counselled" and the uploader? Not dealt with, to my knowledge.

Netizens came out with parodies like this one to mock the incident. I can only conclude the OB markers have been relaxed [source].

This one takes the cake. Chua En Lai's Another Home that has not maids but many lovely girls who offer to take the bag.

Even if you think SAF is a bloated organization with too many spare hands doing nothing productive in their "rush to wait, wait to rush", nobody likes to be assigned the painful task of uncovering the bugger. To check which company in BMTC or unit is in BMT phase; and the nominal rolls for recruits staying in the vicinity of Tanah Merah; and their approximate book-in book-out times; all these sound like a weekend burnt for the unfortunate assignee. Moreover when you have kaypohs like this concerned citizen start to accuse MINDEF of deafening silence, you can only expect SAF to work harder and faster to catch the bugger. The poor soldier might have pissed in his no. 4 slacks. We learnt that he has owned up to his commander.

Indeed the damage has been done, not only in our psyche but also our reputation which has long been that of a soft authoritarian government; now the conscription system would breed soft soldiers. The incident was reported in Taiwan news, another polity with conscription system for males but which I heard is slowly changing. Our neighbor, not the one up north, has deemed the episode newsworthy to be included in the Indonesia BBC and detikNews, their most popular news website, has upped the entertainment value in their:

  1. LOL! Foto PRT Bawakan Ransel Tentara Jadi Olok-olokan di Singapura [link]
  2. Foto PRT Bawakan Tas Ransel Tentara Jadi Buah Bibir di Singapura [link]


Lam Chun See said...

You never tell us where is this place.

Icemoon said...

Oops, it is the path from the Tanah Merah MRT exit to Bedok Rise.

peter said...

I put this problem on parents.

I have witnessed parents (either mum or dad) who are against the NS system in Singapore for one reason or the other "sympathising" with their enlisted sons.

Each time son complains about treatment/favoritism during BMT, parents fly into a rage. Coupled with growing affluence (and becoming more "How Lian"), parents see foreign domestic worker as an opportunity to solve son's problem.

Why not you say after all foreign domestic worker is "GDman" in the house - wash car,walk dogs, cook, baby sit, clean house, polish shoes, bring tea for madam, find lost & found things in the house?

So son has foreign domestic worker to carry his pack.

Or how about parents (with daughters) who are afraid of dark shadows and/or dark people on Singapore streets that foreign domestic worker must wait at bus stop to accompany precious home? Not only carry school bag but also piggy-ride precious on bicycle?

No wonder some maids tired of working and seek opportunities like talk-talk on h/phone or look for dark ppl for a listening year.

So there's 2 sides of the coin to any argument.

Icemoon said...

It may just get worse. After the price fixing by maid agencies and subsequent demanding of minimum wage by their governments, the maids will be exploited to do more, in return of a higher salary.

peter said...

Tit-for-tat: Maid agencies get penalised for price fixing and the ball is in Manpower Minsitry's court about that ridiculous test for maids.

We need oral and hand skills, not written skills. Maybe some who ever came out with that policy and orgiven the mandate for that policy practise written notes/memos to maids. Naturally it becomes essential to be able to write good English.

Aaron "Six Stomachs" Chan said...

Even my colleagues here in Indonesia know about this episode. Interestingly enough, they don't see the humour behind it. One of my male colleagues told me that if this happened in Indonesia, the fella who took the photo would probably have his phone smashed (and that is only if the soldier is in a good mood)

Icemoon said...

Haha, I guess the humour is in the creativity after that, battalion of maids serving our nation. :P