Major Demographic Shifts with Wide Engagement of Domestic Helpers in Asia

fdw_sinchewWith estimated 1million and growing number of domestic helpers being deployed in the families of south east Asia region where the competitive labor market demand both the married couple to hold on to full time employment to meet the preferred life style of their choice, unintended demographic shifts are bearing shape and it’s prudent to be aware of them and take necessary precautions to offset the effects.

Unlike most of their western counterparts where Government led infrastructures are in place to ease the loads of the family, Asian at large had their own cluster extended families supports where one another extend their helps to each other at different milestone stage of their family, however, with shrinking family sizes and frequent relocating near to the work place, the private arrangement of extended family supporting structure had collapsed since the 90 and fueled the trends of engaging relatively cost effective helping hands in the family which unknowing presented itself with some long term consequences of which three of them are worth exploring; namely, on the lifestyle influence of the next generation, integrity of managing the husband and wife relationship and last but not least on the rising trend of public discontents of the service providers themselves and the community as a whole.

As a matter of fact, four broad category of the domestic helper rather demanding  responsibilities are sanitarian maintenance, culinary services, taking care of the children and looking after the elderly, all these are both physical and mentally demanding jobs used to be handled in house and now are popularly outsourced.

High dependency on outsourcing the fundamental laborious activities in the household had conveniently neglecting the key competencies for alternative arrangement of sharing the chores for the next generation forming their own family in future as none of the home management skills are imparted in the formative years, both the new generation of women and man simply are not up to the standard of the expectation of the new modern marriage where both couple actively committed to labor market are expected to split the loads in a mutually complimentary manners. It led to a viscous cycle where a family can’t properly function without a paid helping hand even if the circumstances didn’t genuinely justifies and a domestic maid becomes indispensable. Many took prejudice on domestic affairs and lose out the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of physical and mental chores well managed themselves.

Increasing reported incident of family disruption on mischievous and abusive behaviors as the new member of the family is after all a stranger with distinctive varying degree of cultural background and values, sometimes at a heavy price of a irrecoverable consequences such as broken marriage and lost of trust. Situations was worse off for full time live in maid as she is after all an individual who has both the physical and mental needs that need to be addressed to put things in context. It’s not uncommon to uncover abusive practice as psychological pressure of taking care of the difficult subject such as mentally and physically unhealthy subjects tends to lead to development of depression on the care takers. Breakthrough on the Average life span with typical last ten years being highly dependable also didn’t help the situation as much of the Asian families tend to avoid deploying the palliative and elderly care services commission by the community and institution for fear of being labeled as not being filial. In addition, majority of the Asian in general prefer to have their last breadth at the comforts of their own home for emotional needs and sense of pride.  Most 1st generation over Stretching their limited resources to provide the best nurturing upbringing environments to their offspring and didn’t cater sufficient resources for their own retirement years, domestic care takers engaged by their adult children therefore shoulder much of the responsibilities.

Most of the ladies from less well of countries work in the foreign lands to support their own families back home, giving up pretty everything in the process, as an individual, their fundamental emotional needs are often neglected by the employers and with increasing numbers of them clustering together at off days, public discontent are apparent and challenge the infrastructures that cater for their rest and recreational activities, the communities are simply not ready to accept the diversity context presented to them in their own communities. Opportunity for social mobility is simply not an option for them due to the strict immigration rules which prohibited permanent residency with their extended families so they are basically caught in between.

In summary. Core values of respecting each other and unbiased view on the household chores begins at home and as parents, one should draw the lines on the scope of the tasks the helpers should address and discipline the children to be responsible for their own needs for their own sake. In addition, vigilant supervision and proper training are crucial to keep things in order to avoid any abusive inclination to take shape. Short respite and relief are needed to put matters into perspective as many care taking jobs are long hours and mentally taxing, suppressed wages also lead to limited quality of the services of providing effective palliative cares and premium service comes with premium price that one should be willing to part with. Many of the undesirable worse case consequences can be avoided by engaging a day time helper rather one that stays together under one roof.  In addition, unlike formal labor contract where one changes job freely, most of the countries that’s have hundreds of thousand of domestic maid didn’t practice fair employment arrangement and having the free market is probably the best shots for both the employers and services providers to find the best matches for each other and offset the undesired consequences.


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