S'pore teen writes open letter to semi-D neighbour who allegedly 'starves' and 'confines' maid at home

A teenager in Singapore has taken to Reddit to pen a letter to her neighbour, who lives in a semi-detached house behind her family, for allegedly mistreating maids.

Redditor button-holed, the teen, has a domestic helper named Elina, who was confronted by the neighbour for speaking to the latter's own maids.

This was witnessed by the teen, who said the neighbour "dismissed her presence entirely".

According to the teen, her neighbour told Elina: "I’m having problems with my maids. They all talk to you, and they say that you have a high salary and that you go on holiday with your employer.

"I can see that you are good at what you do, but, please refrain from speaking to my maid any more. Not everyone can be paid as much as you."

Unhappy with the "arrogant and entitled" tone that her neighbour had used, button-holed wrote in response: " Domestic helpers are not citizens, but they are people.

"They are living, breathing human beings with rights and needs and desires. They deserve dignity, and no matter who you are you do not have the right to impose upon that."

In her letter, button-holed also said that her neighbour's "domestic helpers haven’t stayed any longer than a few months" and is also allegedly mistreating her current maid.

She wrote: "Can you really blame your maid, then, for talking to Elina?

"You confiscate her phone so she cannot call her family or her friends, or even a helpline if she wants to leave.

"You don’t let her have off-days, so she is confined to the house.

"You only give her bread and instant noodles and the leftovers from your own dinner, so she practically starves.

"Then, you ask, what has Elina been doing?

"Elina is the one passing your maid food through the holes in the fence when you sleep.

"Elina is the one who helps her send money home, when she can’t leave the house.

"Elina is the one who offers her support, when she’s crying and can’t call home.

"Have you ever wondered why your maids don’t stay any longer than a few months?"

At the end of her letter, the teen also added: "Please, refrain from speaking to Elina like that again. I don’t suppose you can understand, but she’s part of my family."

You can read the full letter here.

In response, netizens, while agreeing that it was a well-written letter, have implored the Redditor to "do something about it other than post about it here", such as telling her parents or informing the authorities.

One user commented: "We all know that this sort of treatment is horrible. Your open letter won't change anything. It won't change the opinions of those who don't agree with you, and is more virtue signalling than anything.

"The only way to get anything done is to actually do something, not posting somewhere on the Internet where your target audience probably doesn't even frequent."

Button-holed later updated her post and added: "I'll talk to my parents, I'll try to make tangible change. but don't you see?

"Flaming me for being a keyboard warrior impacts this situation even less than an open letter sent to no one.

"So sure, I may not be one for direct confrontation, but I'm doing my best, and I hope you understand."