Helper's Helper by Julie Jacobson $99 After hearing complaints about domestic helpers not performing basic tasks properly, then Hong Kong resident Julie Jacobson - who now lives in the United States with her family and helper - decided to write an instructive manual. Written in basic English, this concise guide aims to give amahs a helping hand. To make sure both content and style reached the targeted readership - and to get a helper's point of view - Jacobson consulted her amah Melly, to whom the book is dedicated. The guide opens with some advice on getting a job, incorporating interview tips and a checklist of relevant questions to ask a prospective employer, and each chapter covers a different aspect of housekeeping including laundry, cooking, cleaning, time and budget-management and child-care. These are then subdivided into short 'how to' sections. In the chapter on cooking, for example, advice is given on everything from making the best use of the freezer, following recipes to food presentation and table-setting. To clarify points, the text is accompanied by colour photographs with some - such as the how to make a bed section - offering step-by-step visuals. The child-care section is split into two chapters, the first on newborns and babies followed by a section on kids from two years and above. There are sections on caring for the elderly and pets; and perhaps the most important topics - handling a household crisis, basic first aid and support numbers for the employees. Jacobson took the photographs and had the book published under her own steam - so colour quality isn't always 100 per cent. But it is a good starting point for new domestic helpers and employers who know what they want but haven't got the time or know-how to explain. The advice might seem obvious, but it is often the basic tasks that cause the most household angst. And - as Jacobson points out - while this guide serves well for starters, the key to a healthy working relationship is good communication. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Overseas Filipino Workers' Charity Foundation for Youth Development, which helps with scholarships for deserving students.