Warned not to get pregnant

Warned not to get pregnant

SINGAPORE- She was 26 and living in a village in Central Java, Indonesia.

A recruiting agent told her that she could work in Singapore as a domestic worker and earn a good income.

That was seven years ago and she said she has been sending home enough money to enable her husband and their 10-year-old son to live comfortably. The minimum monthly pay for an Indonesian maid is about $450.

But the agent sounded a warning.

Madam Tuti said in Bahasa Indonesia: "My agent told the other maids and me that we cannot get pregnant. Or else, we will be sent home.

"But I'm a married woman. I already have a husband and a son back home. This advice is more for the single maids, I think."

She often warns the younger maids, especially the newcomers, that they must behave themselves or risk being sent back in shame.

As an "elder sister", she reminds them that they came here to earn money and not to "have fun".

Madam Tuti said she is lucky to have kind employers - a Singaporean couple who are in their 40s and have two children, an eight-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.


She said they treat her like family and she even accompanies them on holidays.

When they employed her, she was told that they needed help with their son who was still very young.

She was happy to take on the job as she could dote on the little boy as her own son is "very far away".

Madam Tuti looked sad when asked how she would feel if she were sent back.

"I will miss the children. I love them very much," she said.

"I know I cannot stay here forever, but I'd rather not think about it now."

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