Picture this – a maid feeding a boy who was playing his PSP (Playstation Portable – If you don’t know what this is, you are seriously “passe”). He parted his lips and food was scooped into his mouth. Make a guess at his age? 2 years old? Well, add another 10 years to that. Yesss!! Even a 2-year-old can feed himself!
I have seen this all too often in various parts of our small little country. Is it because of the “maid culture” that is so rampant here? Blame the maids? I hardly think that it’s attributed to them. Because I have seen even parents do this.
“Water! Evita!” screeched a parent with an outstretched hand. Magically, a glass of water materialised in her grasp. Hey! This is even more convenient than making a wish to the genie! Even Aladdin had to do some work for his wish to be granted, well, he had to rub the genie’s lamp, remember?
“Feed Ah Boy!” (In case you are misinformed, Ah Boy is not the name of a dog.)
“Diana! Ah Boy doesn’t want his dinner! Bring the bean curd jelly to him!” (Ah Boy happens to have 2 strong legs, which for reasons I can’t fathom, simply can’t walk himself to the dining table, which was less than 1m away.)
It was all too convenient. At the command of a voice, the poor maid scampered around to perform the most trivial task. Children, being children, imitated their parents, became leg-less, hand-less, spine-less, with the maids at the beck of their calls. I find this phenomenon very disturbing indeed. What was wrong with feeding yourself? What was so difficult to walk to the kitchen to get yourself a drink of water? (HDB flats in Singapore are infamously tiny. It probably took about 7 steps to get from the living room to the kitchen.)
With the influx of domestic help in Singapore, every family has a maid. Parents simply glued their butts to the sofas and ordered their maids around, so do the children. Children are little duplicates of parents. Now you wonder why more children are becoming obese in Singapore. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons, besides the gorging of fast food. I cringe at the thought of teenagers who needed their maids to carry their bags for them or even tie their shoelaces for them.
Domestic help, well, are meant to be “helps”! Helping with the cleaning of the houses, they are not there to turn the present and next generation in armless, legless, spineless sloths. Unfortunately, this is what is happening over here. It has created a superiority misconception in children that they are masters or mistresses to the maids and they can be simply ordered around.
I really wonder how we used to get by without domestic help? Starve to death or die of thirst, just because we didn’t have a maid to bring food to our mouths or water to our lips? Parents, if your children do grow up to be worthless creatures, don’t blame the educational system, don’t criticise the society, look to yourselves, what kind of values have you imparted to them?!