Expat Life in Dubai, Random Musings

The Maid Culture

November 8, 2014

I was speaking to a friend about the Dubai post I made which became viral and we were talking about how a lot of people hate Dubai based on the hate comments I’ve received since I posted it. People from all over the world would actually waste their time to comment just to show how they absolutely hate the guts of Dubai. Some of them were ex-residents, some were current residents and what really surprised me the most are those who has not even stepped in Dubai and yet, they already have their opinion about it which quite frankly, is a bit ignorant if you ask me.

She agreed to some of the hate comments which are true, I too had to agree on some because let’s face it – there is no perfect place in the world but what struck me was the statement that she said about the maid culture in Dubai.

I am fully aware that some of the people living in Dubai would treat their maids differently but there are some people who would treat them as a part of their own families. It is not only the way maids are being treated which she is against of though, it is the act itself of hiring a maid which she thinks violates human rights and is totally against the principle of treating everyone equally which I will have to disagree. Now before you attack me once again with all your guns blazing, let me tell you why hiring a maid doesn’t really mean you’re violating the human rights of that person.

I come from the Philippines, a poor third world country – doing everything we can to put food on our table is what we’re known for. For us, being a maid is just like any other jobs out there – it’s a decent way to earn a living so it’s not something to be ashamed of. I personally don’t think there is something wrong or degrading about being a maid in fact, I do admire them. Yes, most of the women you hire have left their children back at home to support them – I had a first-hand experience on that.

My own mother left the Philippines when I was 8 years old to take care of a child in the US who is not her own. She stayed with that family who treated her with high respects for a year before she started working in a nursing home. Years later, she was able to save enough money to buy her own house and put up her own business which is now one of the most sought after assisted living homes in the area. She tells me the story of being a nanny with pride and how she was dearly loved by the family she worked for. So I am telling her story now with pride too because I do admire her for sacrificing not being with us, her own children, so that we will all have a better life – which she surely made sure of and was able to achieve. We are all grateful for what she did and we never felt like she abandoned us. Of course we had the rest of the family, specifically my Aunt supporting us which made it a whole lot easier.

There is nothing wrong in being a maid and if you’ve hired one, I don’t think you’re violating their human rights unless you are an animal and treats people around you like sh*t. In this case, you’re a horrible person and deserves to be locked up in a mental institution. If you’re a decent human being though and treats your maid like a normal person would, then you are giving another person a chance to have a better life along with the rest of her family.

If you are a maid, I salute you and I have high respects for you. You should not feel any less for doing your job because it’s something that not everyone can do – be trusted with a house or a child in your care is something that makes you unique and gives you high value. If you are being treated unfairly, run because you don’t deserve it and there are some other families out there who would be grateful to have you.

On a side note: Years ago, we previously hired a help to come every weekends to clean the house. It was more like a charity thing as we didn’t really need one but thought of hiring her because she asked me so we could somehow help her out. I know her personally. It was a great set up until she took advantage of us. I told her that she can cook whatever she wants in the fridge when we’re not around and just help herself with anything she needs. One day, we came home with one of our cooked meals gone and also a pack of frozen pork chops (4 pcs). Yes, I told her to help herself out with whatever she needs but I didn’t mean she can do her groceries for free in our house. Just like her, I’m working to be able to sustain myself and buy meals for myself. I’m not being selfish because it’s just food but it’s the principle of me being nice to someone and that someone taking advantage of our good treatment towards her. Besides, what assurance do we have that she only took those and will only take food in the future if we continued on? We had to end it of course and it was just very unfortunate because I really did want to help her out. I just had to say it since I do know that not everyone is the same. Sometimes, maids are being treated unfairly but there will come a time too that the employer are the ones being treated unfairly. Just like everything else in this world, there’s always the good ones and the bad ones.

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  • Reply Esther of Local Adventurer August 31, 2015 at 04:33

    we’re thinking of visiting dubai in the next few months! I feel like westerner’s have a hard time understanding that different countries and cultures have a completely different mindset and do things differently. Jacob’s extended family lives in Indonesia and they have maids. I can’t say they all treat them well.. but it really depends on the person. If you generally treat everyone else like decent human beings, you will do the same for your maids. If you generally treat people like trash, they also do that to their maids too. that’s too bad that the person you hired took advantage of your kindness. we had thought at one point to employ someone to clean our place if they needed extra money even though we don’t need someone to do that.
    Esther of Local Adventurer recently posted…How to Read More + Maximize Your Month Link UpMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High August 31, 2015 at 23:39

      I agree! It’s not all the same for everyone as people are different. I still have hope that the good people are more than the bad ones. 🙂

  • Reply The ESL Teacher November 16, 2014 at 23:45

    Great post! For speaking out for maids, espeically filipino maids who are manipulated, abused and mistreated in almost every country they work.

    I am not from the Philippines but I carry great love and respect for this country. That encouraged me to learn about the Philippines and its people. After speaking to a great number of Filipino maids working in the middle east I came to know about their plight. From the converstations I have had with filipino maids in the past (on Fb), I rank KSA to be the worst in terms of protecting basic human rights of maids. Saudis are known to be womenizer and often Filipino maids have to put up with covert rapes and overt beating at the hands of their employers. Which essentially means 2-5 years long mental, psychological and sexual abuse that maids have to suffer in KSA.

    Please feel free to visit my blog here: http://filipinoperspective.wordpress.com/ and suggest me ways to improve it. I have kind of abandoned it. I would welcome your comments there.


    • Reply Pinay Flying High November 17, 2014 at 08:26

      Thanks for dropping by. I sure will visit your site. 🙂

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