Here are some quick facts about cleaners:
- They are outsourced workers – they don’t normally work for the company they clean
- Some work (or chose to work) 10 hours a day
- Some earn average wages of about $750
Yesterday I had the opportunity of joining in a “Cleaner’s Appreciation week” celebration at the Foodfare at AMK Hub.
When was the last time you took some time to speak with a cleaner? For me, probably never. Apart from the thank yous and good mornings to my office cleaner, my interaction with others never went more than a smile. So today, I managed to speak with 3 ladies and their humble stories of resilience made me think.
Meet Mdm. Lina.
She’s works as an outsourced cleaner. I don’t know how old she is, but her son is 35 this year. She cheerfully tells me that she has raised her 3 children all on her own as a single mother. Then she said in melodious Malay accent, a simple, but laden sentence:
“All macik’s (aunty’s) children bring up by cleaner’s money”, she says proudly.
In this one sentence, this macik has showed me how in 29 years she sought for affordable alternatives to life necessities.
In one sentence I heard the hardships of a single mother.
In one sentence I heard stories of sleepless nights, rejections, failures and the wherewithal to stand up again and carry on walking.
Now, if only we could do more to help people like her. I know we all want to do more, but in this case, “do more”, really just means pay more.
Ask any consumer, would any one of us want to pay more for our food and services? Probably not. Ask any contractor, would this company be willing to pay forgo just a little bit of profit to pay them a little bit more than the market minimum? Probably not.
This week is Cleaner’s week. At this little event I attended, the NTUC wants to remind both consumers and employers (which includes Government) that social responsibility cannot be outsourced. It is a responsibility of ALL of us.
There is a sense of nobility in helping to make the life of a less fortunate person a little better. It takes all of us to know and show that every job is valuable. It takes all of us, to move a business, to move a business to make their jobs easier, safer and smarter.
When all of us places the well-being of society before profit, we know that we would have taken a quantum leap forward in humanity.
Appended, found this video on the internet, have a look!