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Helpless in Singapore

Updated on April 21, 2018

Life with out a Helper

To most people this might seem like the most ridiculous, self-piteous, obnoxious, whiney piece of crap they've ever heard. Some poor self-entitled expat is bemoaning the fact that he and his comfortable family no longer have a live-in slave.

It's true, when I go home to the UK and talk about the helper people roll their eyes and look at me like I've literally regressed into a weak and idle beast with no moral fibre who has bought into a twisted and over entitled existence.

Out here in Singapore everyone has a helper, well all the expats do. It's like having an ID card. When you get here, as part of your orientation it is considered part of normal life for everyone. And so it was for us. For five years we had a helper called Lanie. She lived in with us and was, to some extent, part of the family.

Now, I can say that I was uncomfortable with this idea from the start, but that's all bollocks because I did nothing about it and just enjoyed the benefits of someone cooking my meals, cleaning my house, cleaning and ironing my clothes, picking up my kids and doing the shopping for around SGD800 a month.

If I said I didn't like it I'd be a hypocrite.

So why did we let her go? Well, simple really, my youngest son is turning into a self-entitled monster with a twisted value system.

Despite our attempts to get Lanie to be strong and disciplined with Raffy, well he's about as belligerent a person as I've ever encountered and in her defence she doesn't have the strength or courage to really shut him down the way we can. Because we're her employers and she'd feel bad or like her job was a risk if she really unloaded on him.

So she became his slave. He's 5 years old and he ordered her around like an appliance. Soon we realised that if this went on he might be permanently damaged by this.

To back this up I meet so many other expat kids out here who've been brought up with helpers their entire life and, well, if I'm honest I'd say they're really damaged by it. Sure they have a wonderful education and opportunities etc. But they just don't have the humility and grit to take on al the tasks and toil of a real life. I fear for many of them at University when the truth is going to hit hard.

Also, my other two kids had their young life in the UK, with a lovely nursery run by firm but fair carers who taught them proper values. As a result they are both good natured, and for the most part understand that no means no and now means now. But Raffy is a law unto himself. Sure he'd be a handful in any environment but with a slave the problem is ten times worse.

So we've let Lanie go, and we were sad as she's a kind and loving person, but it's time for our family to get back to being a proper family again. And that means doing chores ourselves, working around the school pickups and so on.

So there it is, I'm gonna try and update this as regularly as I can to explain how this process is going. It may not be of interest to many people as their lives are so different from ours. But to expats or those who want their children to grow up with proper values and an understanding, not just of right and wrong, but responsibility and hard work. Then bear with me.

Sorry there were no jokes in this one...I'm at a weekend swim meet and it's like a giant hellish seagull colony full of horrific tiger mums and tanned overpaid execs, loud music and screaming everything.



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