"Here's the thing. Don't even think about an Indonesian, because they are simply not clean. Sri Lankans would work very hard in the house, but don't let them near your child. Philippinos... now that's a tricky one. They're great with kids and they can do household chores. But they will never agree to do both. Their major weakness is that they babble on about human rights and demand their day off a week. Oh and they will never let you hold on to their passport."
I did not make this up. I overheard this conversation between a woman in her mid-30s, giving advice on how to select a foreign domestic worker. For me, the most baffling thing was how this woman had gathered enough information about groups of people from 3 different countries to make this very confident conclusion. And then it dawned on me, she didn't. She probably just based these conclusions on a few experiences that she's had and feedback from her neighbours and friends. Not the most scientific of methods I suppose.
Here's another incident that always stuck to my head and made me embarrassed to be Lebanese. A friend of mine was attending a concert for Vanessa Mae in Lebanon and she overheard a conversation between a man and a woman, who probably thinks she's from the high society of Lebanon. The man was saying that the artist was allergic to flowers and that they shouldn't hand her the bouquet to her face directly. The "accomplished" woman's response was "Oh God. This woman needs a couple of slaps and a 'go make coffee'". Vanessa Mae, the world famous Vietnamese violinist, needs to go make coffee... in Lebanon.
What brings these incidents into the light for me today is the story of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan maid who has been sentenced to death for murdering a 4-month-old baby in Saudi Arabia. So many dubious issues surround the sentencing. 1. It appears that Rizana was 17 when the child died, and yet she was tried as an adult. 2. The condition under which she had confessed are not clear. It has been reported that her confession was made under duress. 3. She has no idea she has been sentenced to death.
This is just one of many many stories we've heard of where the rights of the foreign worker are completely disregarded in order to ensure "justice" for our own people. The personal encounters I described above are just few examples of our unjustifiable sense of elitism towards a people whose only fault it seems is that they are dependent on us for their livelihood. I do not understand how the same people complain that they get "random security checks" at US airports, or when they are denied entry to the UK. When you have such low regard to a human being simply because they don't have a better option than to come to you, don't expect any better treatment from others. And don't tell me you can't see the link.