Angered by unfair comparison

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 April, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 April, 1993, 12:00am

SHEILA Grange (South China Morning Post, April 26), has some very peculiar ideas as to what constitutes hardship.

I could not believe that someone could have the gall to compare favourably the working conditions of an amah with those of an ''expatriate manager''.

Are you serious Ms Grange? Oh, that I could suffer so painfully.

The expat manager who leaves the house at 7.30, returning at 8 or 9 pm is probably earning a good $100,000 salary for his troubles.

Besides that he lives rent-free in the most salubrious accommodation, owns at least one home overseas, and will retire on a pension considerably higher than the average wage in his home country.

Such hardship - how I feel for the poor guy.

The domestic worker however, earns a little over $3,000.

Typically, she works from 6.30 am until 8 or 9 pm.

As her duties tend to include nursemaid, she is on call 24 hours a day.

She lives on one meal per day and is rarely permitted holiday time.

She must endure daily indignities and a complete lack of personal freedom, knowing that if the employer terminates her contract, she must leave the territory within two weeks.

Most amahs are working to put their children/siblings through school, or simply so their families may have something to eat.

As main breadwinners for the family, she has no choice but to bow and scrape because her job depends on it.

The expat who works at the expense of his marriage has chosen to exchange a stable family life for a swimming pool.

A Filipina domestic worker will quite likely not see her family for two years. This, I think, would be a little harder on a marriage than a bit of overtime.

I would agree that the ''low paid poorly educated Chinese factory worker'' also has a justifiable grievance. Although, Ms Grange guessed wrongly at his salary of $3,000, that being below the minimum wage, he too has a lot to put up with in comparison to the expatriate manager.

In contrast to the amah though, he at least lives in his own home and may come and go as he pleases.

Finally, the people of the Philippines are originally from Malaysia. The term ''Filipino'' is not the title of a race, it is a nationality.

The name of the race is the human race, and we are all members. When people of Ms Grange's ilk learn this, then perhaps we'll be making progress.