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Where Does our Employer and Helper Relationship Ends?

Singapore is a country where we have domestic helpers from many countries. In a society whereby dual income is almost to maintain a quality of living, having either a stay-in maid or part time maids is almost a norm in a lot of households.

We are blessed with a helper who had worked with me for close to 14 years before she decided to go back Indonesia for good and start a family. We never fail to stay in contact despite the distance, with technology, being in touch is possible if the hearts are willing.

Recently, our family have another opportunity to visit our ex-helper, Yuli and her family for the 2nd time since she left us 3 years ago.


Recalled the initial days, we were concerned having a stranger in the house. Soon, she became part of the family, we learn to accept her, train, counsel and guide her. We are happy that she settled down with a trainer job in a Maid Agency.

There are many stories about ill fated employer-helper relationships, there are also many good ones around. Believe as long as we are willing to accept them, nurture them, these helpers can also be our long distance family members one day.

Hence, the relationship do not end when the helper leaves us, if she has spent a decade of her youth with you, it is only right to ensure she is equipped with the skills to carry on life away from you.

Our Domestic Helpers

Seeing the recent news in HongKong about how 2 domestic maids were terribly treated makes me ponder as how sadists some people could be. Imflicting such pain and torture on another human being is unthinkable, not to mentioned about the family members who just standby and do nothing.

A lot of families in Singapore cannot do without our domestic helpers, they are our extra hands helping us to maintain our homes, care of our  loved ones while we earned a living. Knowing that they are faraway from home without friends and family, we are like their family in Singapore. We should treat them as how we want to be treated;  imagine if is your child out in a foreign land, dont we too prayed that they will be much favored by their employers.

In my many years of managing domestic helpers; the previous helper was with me for close to 14 years that we found her a job as well as printed a cookbook for her to assure that the next phase of her life will be fine. I am not saying is same for all helpers and also not saying that there are no black sheeps around, however, I believe we can all do our part to make our helpers more at ease and happy working for us. Below are some of the tips you may consider managing new domestic helpers.

  • Check your new helper’s luggage and things she brought over,  replenish with any necessities that are short.
  • Have a regular sit-down sessions to review your expectations and her performance. Frequency should be daily, reducing to weekly, monthly and impromptu with your confidence and trust in her.
  • Understand her reasons for working in Singapore, her family background and motivations.
  • Draft out a savings plan for her and her monthly own budget
  • Treat her as part of family, for meals, outings wherever possible.
  • In the begining, give only basic phone and limit her contacts to only family. With increased trust and your observation of satisfactory behaviour, you can allow more leeway for wider contacts.
  • When time is right, look into her development as well, to equip her with skills, language that she could use when she no longer work for you. Of course, you do not need to sponsor her entirely, give her directions and your blessings to upgrade herself.

Hope this is useful for you.

Can We Take Failures?

What is failures and what does failures mean to you? I supposed it is different for each of us as we are all uniquely “wired”. Failures are setbacks in life that do not meet our expectations.

Some people who are so blessed that they may have less failures while others have more such encounters. Failures could “spring” one up to perform even better or it could just teared one down to feel so disillusioned. Whatever it is, we need to recognized that it is inevitable to fail one time or another, we should learn to take it as a “feedback” to us for more finetuning on our plan before we charge again.

Experiencing failures do not mean that we are a failure, we are still as good as can be. Failures can make us more resilient, able to take more life struggles and emerged a better person, as life is not a bed of roses.

Having shared the above, doesnt make me one who can take this. We all need to constantly remind ourselves that failues is just an mechanism for feedback and perhaps is also God’s way of telling us,”Well, Not Yet, Wait Awhile More”….

Game or No Game

Online games are so addictive to both young and old.  Many children especially boys, will spend hours in front of the computer playing games like Maplestory, League of Legends etc. What isnt that really attract them, foregoing food, tolerating nature calls, sleep to just levelled up. A sense of achievement that cannot be achieve in the real world that they try to find solace in the virtual world? An invisible powerful character that they visualize being, that the virtual world can bring? Many even went on to spend lots of their recess pocket money to buy games cards to allow them jumpstart levels or armed with my weapons etc.

As parents, it is a dilemna on the boundaries that we need embrace? To allow or not allow their time for them to play their favourite games? What is the guidelines? What if we do not allow, what is the consequences?

It is  a powerful wrestling parent/kid moments testing parents firmnness in maintaining discipline, yet providing leeway for enjoyment. Parents in this same situation may consider

  1. Understanding the game that your child love
  2. Know who are the friends he plays with
  3. Set boundaries and guidelines 
  4. Frequency and length of play e.g. 2 times /week, one game per occurrence
  5. Finish homework before any play
  6. No play X weeks before exams
  7. Unfavorable results will mean no games for the x weeks
  8. Monitor, pop in to check occassionally
  9. Be firm and strictly enforce guidelines
  10. Introduce and engages child in other physical activities


Continue reading Game or No Game

Parenting is an Art

The usual life cycle for most of us is coming to this world, learning of first ABC, to crawl, walk, run, to school, graduation, career, found a love one to spend our next lap of our life and parenting all seems to be milestones in our life.

Many times, we are thrust into the role;  son or daughter, wife or husband and mummy or daddy! As the saying goes, there is always an eye that is watching,  the son or daughter is looking at how the father and mother behaves, talk, act and do. Hence, lots of what a child does or do in the later of his life,  how he handle stress, treats his parents, siblings, kids, friends, value system….etc…etc..

I would say our initial viewpoint on how we should bring up our kids will be from our parents. If we are fortunate to have wonderful, fantastic parents, there will be higher chance that the good parenting skills will cascaded down and we may have a better foundation on parenting skills. However, times has changed so much with, it is a technological world now, electronic games, computers, internet, smartphones where everyone seems to be reacheable all the times.

As parents, we need to continue need to upgrade on how to nurture our kids as the world is changing, though some basics are always there. The degree of which these are exercise depends on the age of the kid and individual parents discretion.

  • Connect
  • Communication
  • Spend Quality Time
  • Be Present
  • Use of Love Language
  • Provide for Their Needs
  • Discipline
  • Setting of Boundaries

 What will be yours to add?

Goals Setting

It is beginning of a fresh new year again. I am sure alot of us ponder on what have we achieved last year on both personal and professional levels. Did we achieved what we set out in the first place.

A lot of us set our goals for various things in our lives. I am sure you have heard of SMART principles for goals settings. Let’s refresh some of these :

S – Specific, meaning we need to make sure we clearly spelled out what we want to achieve, do not be vague about it.

M – Measurable, meaning the goal must be measurable, be it in a tangible or intangible way.

A – Achievable, meaning the goal must be achievable based on your skills, environment and resources.

R – Realistic, meaning the goal must be realistic, not something you simply dream about with no clear steps on how you can do it.

T – Time, meaning the time factor, there must be a time period on what you want to achieve it, not in infinity else we will not do it.

In setting of goals, I often ponder on whether all of us really set our goals based on these principles. Believed some of us tend to be overconfident and set high targets for ourselves, thinking we will hit it. However, at times, we maybe disappointed as the goals are way out of our reach as we did not take incremental steps towards it. Some of us will set lower targets that posed no challenge as it is easily achieved.

So? Is it better to overachieved or under-delivered our goals? These will based on how true we are to ourselves when we set our goals. Have you set yours?

Public Speaking with Confidence

The thought of speaking public in front of a large audience especially for the first time, sends butterflies to our stomaches. Most of us are fearful of spoiling our image, unreceptive of our delivery or plainly the impact to our reputation after the speech.

We are all not born to be great speakers, it is through practice, experience and environment that nurture us. Some are better than others, that commands a following and moves the audience. Well, God make us differently. So, how can we learn to speak publicly with confidence?

Some of us choose to get a coach, learn thru experience or grab a book like Win Over Any Audience . Whatever means we choose, we all aim to be better hopefully gain sufficient confidence in due time.

Below are some pointers that I have come across which could be worth consideration.

Preparation – Research on the audience you are speaking to, know your topic inside out and be prepared for any probable questions that may arise. Recite and time your speech by practice in front of your mirror

Breathing – Take deep breathes and visualize the situation that you have under control

Dressing – Dress appropriately for the occasion as when you will feel more confident when you feel good about yourself

Attention – Focus your attention on the topic, on the contents of your speech, not on the audience or what they might think of you

If you have more tips that you can share, I would love to hear from you too.

What to Tweet?

I came across this book “Get Rich with Twitter” and thought that I will just share some tips I learnt. I have setup a twitter account for sometime and always find it hard to find something relevant to tweet. Not sure if you felt likewise. If you have business, perhaps your tweets would be more promotions, product or services related. However, what if you are not? How do you struck a balance of doing relevant tweets and yet not dwell too personally or even privately?

Some tips that I learnt that could apply to on a business and personal level.

  1. Tweet with honesty and relevancies. Be responsible and real about what you are tweeting. Folllow the Twitter rules, policies and the guidelines.
  2. Determine the frequency of your tweets.
  3. To give a personal side of you, you could tweet what you read, doing or thinking.
  4. Tweet on both tell and ask mode to encourage interaction, engagement with your followers.
  5. Avoid being a mass follower, follow only those relevant to your interests, business and needs.
  6. Avoid massive product or service pusher with every tweet.
  7. Make friends and build your customer base by answering your followers’ when deem necessary.
  8. Keep your tweets short, readable and shorten your URLs.

Best of all, aim to have your followers coming back for more of your tweets cos’ they enjoy it, learn from it and simply likes to know more.

So, I will try to tweet more from now on, will you too?

Letting Go

In life, there are many occasions that we would need to let go. Learning to let go is really something that as we aged, we learn and be better at it.

There will be situations where if we continue to be insistent on how things should be run, how some people should behave, which does not meet our expectations. There is a prayer of Serenity, to accept things we cannot change, to change things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. Letting go of things or circumstances you cannot change, would make us happier.

When our loved ones pass away, despite the grieve we felt, we cannot continue to live in misery. We need to slowly accept the fact and let go too. Though this is easier said than done as everything surrounding us will remind us of their presence, their laughter, their touch. However, believed our loved ones also wants us to be happy, to move on in life and let go.

Letting go of our children is perhaps the most challenging. We see them grow, educate them, love them. When is time for them to go for further studies, get married and no longer near us. Our worries on whether our children will know how to take care of themselves may continue to bug us as in our eyes, they are forever our children though they have already grown. Trusting in the value system we have imparted and with God’s grace upon them, we must also learn to let go.

Well,  letting go of things, people that is so dear to our hearts are not easy. With trust, belief  and wisdom, we will all learnt and go thru them in life.

The Always-On Generation

The Generation Z today is the “Always-On” generation. Youngsters today are hooked constantly to social media networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Faceback, Live Messenger etc. They can spend hours behind the computer, IPhone to keep up their virtual persona. The energy, passion in maintaining their virtual presence, “talking” to virtual friends, sharing photos regularly is simply amazing.

Acquaintances or even strangers are “friends” instantly at a click of the mouse. In the past, we can only call a friend, when you have met or know personally, the word “friend” doesnt seems too hold the same weight virtually. Keeping friends updated on one’s recent activities seems to be the hip thing to do these days for Generation Z. Gone are the days that one choose to divulge one’s activities only to selected individuals, these days it become an open secret to know the whereabouts , the activities one is doing. Generation Z has no qualms about letting everyone know and certainly is more trusting that these info will not be used against them as “Everyone is doing that”!

To be the parents of Generation Z, we have better keep up too. We may not be always-on, however we need to keep tabs of what our kids do to guide if necessary, thus do not lag behind too much; be a friend on your kid’s facebook, follower on Twitter etc. In this way, we can sing the same lingo…though maybe a bit off tune!