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The New Paper
9 April 2017
Several domestic helpers have made headlines for the wrong reasons recently.
Last week, ONE FM 91.3 decided to go in search of exemplary ones.
The local radio station's executive producer-presenter Andre Hoeden felt it would be "nice" for ONE FM listeners to share positive stories of their helpers, and two families called in with just that.
Yesterday, both employers and maids were invited to appear on the ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show, during which they were rewarded with a staycation at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore as well as meals at J65 and Ah Hoi's Kitchen.
The helpers will also enjoy a spa treatment at Essence Vale Spa.
Hoeden said: "We thought since (the families) took time out to do something nice, we should also do something nice for them."
IT technician Adrian Chng, 35, and his wife, Madam Joreen Liu, a 29-year-old office manager, believes their Indonesian helper, Madam Sumiati Sarwoto, 42, has gone beyond what was expected of her.
Especially as their 20-month-old daughter has hypoplastic right heart syndrome.
The little girl has to take medicine daily, be monitored at all times and rushed to the hospital if she has difficulty breathing and when her face turns blue.
Madam Sumiati, who has been working for the family since the child was born, was trained by Madam Liu to look out for such situations.
Madam Liu said: "When we first hired her, we didn't involve her in the cooking because we wanted her first priority to be our children.
"But she showed great initiative and, on her second day, she started cleaning the windows and subsequently cooking."
Their four-year-old son is also very attached to Madam Sumiati.
Mr Chng said: "He's so 'sticky' to her that when I raise my voice at him, he would run to her and hide."
The family eats at the same table with her, even when guests are around.
They bought her son a bicycle for his birthday last year and gave her $100 to organise a birthday celebration back home.
Of her first staycation, Madam Sumiati said: "I'm very happy to have an employer like this."
Another employer, Mrs Dona Konidena, was moved by the love and care her helper, Madam Kadek Wiriasih, has shown her for the past four years.
The 41-year-old Indian national, who lives in a three-storey cluster house with her husband and two sons aged 10 and 15, said: "I fell quite sick and had a terrible chest condition after the first week she joined...
"After I returned from the hospital, she was very attentive and didn't let me step down from my bed. She gave me something hot to drink every hour and even cooked for me. I could depend on her completely."
Madam Kadek, 49, is looking forward to renewing her contract. She said: "(Mrs Konidena) never once treated me like an employee. She's like a sister and will drink coffee with me and hear me out when I'm down."
Tears welled up when she was told about the staycation. She said: "I can't believe this."