Man about the house tackles amah dramas

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 May, 2010, 12:00am

To be honest I was expecting a wealthy, self-important woman whingeing about the home help, the space they take up sleeping on a shelf under the kitchen sink, their moaning about 13-hour days ... but the author of Hiring and Managing Domestic Help is in fact a house husband.

Having lived in Hong Kong for the past 2? years, Andreas Bosboch has heard plenty of amah dramas, but he was surprised to find there was no literature on the issue. So the Swede, who runs his own tech firm from home, set out to fill the gap.

His little pink book, published by Haven Books, addresses the fact that your helper is your employee - not a revelation by any means but something that many families fail to take into account.

'The fact that they will be living in your house means that often there are issues of privacy,' he says. 'But you need to apply the same management principles that you would in any other working environment. And I think you avoid many problems that way.'

Bosboch's helper accompanied him to a book launch in Repulse Bay on Sunday - and seemed happy enough, so his approach must be working.

Bosboch avoids a moralising tone in his book, preferring to use everyday examples and breaks them down to help both parties resolve the problem. While it is important to give clear instructions, Bosboch says, employers should give their helper the chance to use her own initiative. 'At our home, for example, I don't know what I'm eating that evening until it's put on a plate in front of me. I leave those decisions to my helper.'

A major worry of many parents is how their children become attached to the amah because of the extended hours spent together, but Bosboch says mum and dad should relax. 'With children, there's always enough love to go round.'