This Week in Asia: Social Commentary Around Singapore’s Domestic Workers Reply

Mums and Maids, a YouTube video generating some debate on this tropical isle, perhaps deserves more credit than local media coverage and public discussion currently grants.  Some have taken exception to the video’s portrait of maids who know children better than the parents in this video.  The argument is that parents might spend more time with the kids, thereby allowing domestic workers to have a day of.

And that is the point of the video–giving maids a day of rest.  #igiveadayoff

But perhaps something more important is happening here.  In a country where public bodies create messages about understanding dementia (Ah Kong), showing tolerance (or understanding) of people from different nations and cultures, and even arrange public networking for singles seeking a partner….to see a message like this coming from an NGO is important.

The fact that this public conversation has been sparked by a workers’ rights group, Transient Workers Count Too, represents an important act of participating in a  civil society.  This is a more sophisticated act of public discourse compared to the blunt stridence communicated by opposition parties or the “move to the centre of the train” messages facing commuters each day.  Both are important, so please do not mistake my point, but many of these messages fail to generate genuine public discourse around the issue.

#igiveadayoff has generated such discourse, and they should be credited for their civic contribution regardless of which side of the issue you may fall.

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