Do Singaporeans generally rely too much on domestic helpers?

woman wearing yellow gloves cleaning the kitchen

SINGAPORE: A Redditor who grew up in Singapore, recently raised a thought-provoking question on social media: “Do Singaporeans generally rely too much on domestic helpers?”

Reflecting on his observations, he shared, “Growing up in Singapore, most families I see need extra help to maintain their homes and care for their kids, the elderly, and even pets like dogs since we normally work long hours and enjoy going out.”

He continued, “But I wonder if we are so dependent that we cannot function without them cooking meals, cleaning the house, and taking our loved ones to wherever they need to go (e.g., tuition, clinic, daycare, school, & etc.)?”

One Redditor shared insights into the difficult demand of full-time jobs, stating, “With “full employment”, it’s vvv difficult to get everything done with your limited hours after work. Nowadays, there are helper alternatives like student care, live-out cleaning services, dogwalking, or home health aides but it can be expensive and limited for various reasons like scheduling or role limitation. If you ask people to go helperless, yes it’s unsustainable. Most of those families that are helperless have 1) parents support 2) car or 3) cut corners in some way or another.”

Another Redditor, yuu16, spoke about the hectic schedules that often lead to the need for extra help. She explained, “Leave office sharp at 6pm, reach home ~ 7. Cook n kids eat at 8? Even if tabao, still means kids eat at 730 cos also need time to go n buy. Not to mention the OT or adhoc projects that may have sudden calls or meetings after 6pm or meetings at 8pm matching overseas office timing or suddenly need to rush a deadline or turnover a piece of work. What if leave work at 8? Kids don’t need to eat liao. Also childcare must pick up by 7. Else fine. Then sometimes childcare close. Kids sick. Annual leave n childcare leave not enough. Then single parents?”

bluskywanderer shared a personal experience about the time-consuming responsibilities with his partner even when they only have a dog. He said, “In my early years of living with my partner on our own away from parents, we rented a small apartment and we had a dog. Our routine required we walk the dog multiple times a day in addition the clearing up whatever toilet mess, in addition to household chores and whatever maintenance needed and prep for the next day. In the end, we had maybe 45 minutes to an hour each day to ourselves. And that was just a dog. I can’t imagine looking after children.”

He emphasised, “Domestic help removes a great deal of that burden and buys you TIME you otherwise COULD NOT AFFORD.” He added, “Are we fortunate to have this option? Yes. But it’s really quite necessary.”

With the comments from Redditors, it becomes evident that the demands of modern life have led many to seek some extra help as Singaporeans manage their daily responsibilities.

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