Thanks to good Samaritans like Ms Bridget Tan, 63, a Catholic, the CEO of HOME (Human Organization or Migration Economics) a migrant shelter providing food, lodging and legal advise for foreign domestic workers who are owed salaries, mistreated by their employers as well as waiting for their employment disputes to be settled.
Bridget founded the welfare organization in 2004 with only $60,000 of her retirement savings. For eight years she has been helping helpless foreign migrant workers without asking for anything in return. During the eight years as CEO, she did not draw any salary and recently she finally started to receive one. But instead of keeping it, she chose to spend the bulk on a Christmas Eve dinner for 80 foreign domestic workers who are currently residing at the shelter.
HOME took them to the Food Republic foodcourt at 112 Katong Mall and gave $10 each to spend on anything they want to eat. Though the amount is small, its the thought and love of giving from the heart that counts.
Bridget said, "Christmas is not just about going to church, its about sharing what we have with people who don't have much. Its about being a family to others who don't have a family here."
So often we have read many reports of physical abuse by employers over petty issues such as doing wrong things or not following proper instructions. Many employers also refused to give them a deserving day-off. No doubt there are others who are careless, not following instructions, etc, but this is not the way to teach her a lesson and ill treat another human being. Besides did we ever think that she comes from a different culture from a foreign country, a undeveloped country? Did we consider her family background and condition needing her to work in a foreign land and remit money home so that there are food on the table? Did we ever consider how she feels, experiencing a culture shock? How much did we actually paid these workers? Several hundreds went to the foreign worker levy which the PAP government happily collects, a lucrative passive income.
Or are our egos so great, we think that since we are employers we have the right to boss around and lord over them? Since we are the pay masters, they are to be treated as lowly servants? Please treat your maids well with respect and dignity and in turn they will do likewise. And they I believe are willing to do more for you even without asking.
Bridget has certainly brought relief and joy to the unfortunate ones, a good living example for others to follow. She deserves our praise and salute. May God bless her for her works of mercy, love and care for the "little" ones. Let us treat all migrant workers regardless of their occupations as a fellow dignified human being deserving to be understood, cared and loved.