Much ado about English...... and maids

It was a quiet weekend at home when everybody left for Melaka as a closing to the school holiday. I called a few friends to recommend some maid agencies to replace my existing maids that has been stealing from my house. I am deliberating recruiting maids from Philippines.

Thusfar, I had only employed maids from Indonesia and most of them have their own unique flaws. True that nobody is perfect but there must be a benchmark of the lowest grade. I could tolerate stupidity as I do not expect maids to be educated but maids that began stealing had crossed the line. Maids too have significant influence on the children (if the maid is meant to baby-sit). It is a major turn-off to see children grew up to speak Bahasa Malaysia in Indonesian dialect.

Filipino maids on the other hand were better preferred because of their fluency in English. Being farther away than Indonesia and lesser Filipino population in Malaysia, there is also less risk of them running away. I spoke to three friends whom had employed both Filipino and Indonesia maids. All three of them employed Filipino maids for the English speaking language. The quality of work and job performed are subjective.

While researching for Filipino maids, I discovered an embarrasing truth. There is a huge disparity in wages between the Indonesia and Filipino maid. The best marketing tool used by maid agencies to recommend for Filipino maids is the English speaking. The wages for Indonesia maids ranges between RM400 to RM500 per month but Filipino maid is at least RM1,000 per month.

This is the simplest illustration of the importance of English. The Filipino maids have been reaping the benefits of English while Indonesians are paid substantially lesser and Malaysians are still debating and deliberating learning English as a compulsory pass subject and even in math and science. There is no doubt that English determines the future wages and is important in our daily life... (from a normal work as maid to all other career).

However, it is sceptical that the majority of our students can easily pass English in SPM examination when the percentage of SPM exam failure for Bahasa Malaysia is still alarming although Bahasa Malaysia is our main language that we converse and speak daily.

It is not easy to command any languages especially for passing an examination but we have to start now or otherwise, crudely, soon the Filipino maids will be a part of our middle class population and earn better income than majority of our fellow Malaysians.



  1. RM1000 sounds cheap... My friends parents paid their maid close to RM2500... Of course, she was a University grad, gave tuition to my friends when they were in primary, cooked, and managed the household including repairs and stuff, and when her work was done helped my friend's mom as an office clerk... Typing, filing and stuff...

  2. Jolee...
    Maids will soon be in the malaysian middle-class income category.

    RM2,500 is higher than our graduate starting income (and even our loca grad's income with 2 years experience) but it proves the importance of education and especially English hence, indonesian maids couldnt fetch similar wages due to non-engish and less education.

    Sadly, we are still deliberating english as a compulsory pass-subject.

  3. Gu...what a surprise..i was browsing the net suddenly i came across your blog ;) Cheers mate!

  4. Zarir..

    in 4 days, my blog will be 1 year old... heheee...

  5. Armin, you should send this article to all the major newspaper. It is articulate and straight to the point. I couldn't agree more. I should know as my parents had employed both Filipino and Indonesian maid. The difference is there.

  6. Lena,
    Thanks. I was informed, there is no report of filipino maids being abused (or otherwise negligbile) as compared to indonesian maids.


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