Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The good maid.


I found this advertisement for a domestic worker agency in Geylang, a Malay area in Singapore. It shows the (presumably) boss of the agency posing with 14 Indonesian women, dressed in telekung (a billowing 2-piece outfit used for female prayer that usually comes in white) and posing with Qur'ans. The text below the picture is translated as "Hire a domestic worker from us, God-willing there will be wisdom behind it."

I found this advertisement incredibly fascinating - that this agency chose to construct their workers as religious (or at least, moral) women who are devout to God, when being religious or belief in God is not part of their job scope as domestic workers. (Notice that the lady in red - presumably the boss - does not have to appear as devout as the domestic workers).

This agency targets Malay employers because the catchphrase is written in Malay and the ad was found in an area where a lot of Malays work and live. I suppose this could help to reassure these employers that they will hire a worker who will not do 'immoral' things like have relationships and boyfriends, run away or steal their employers' things. It's also because domestic workers must live with their employers in Singapore, so this agency is trying to reassure them that they will bring in someone religious and 'safe'!

But I take the most issue with the catchphrase on the ad, because it's using Islamic concepts and Arabic words as a gimmick. Would you go to a car mechanic who says that "With God's will, your car problems will be fixed!" I think not! I'm sure people would engage a service if there was evidence to back up the quality of their service - there would not be a need to resort to entice people like this.

I think that a customer would want as much evidence as possible of getting good service. Faith is needed only when you can't see things - that's why it's part of religion.

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