Sankofa #19

Sankofa #19


Came back last Sunday morning. Nearly missed our flights. We mistook our flight to leave on Sunday midnight rather than Saturday midnight. We had dinner on Saturday evening at my second sister’s place. For whatever reason my nephew, Sim decided to check our itinerary and realised that our flight was due to leave at midnight. Thari and I quickly packed, showered and left for the airport. Arriving at the airport we weighed our luggage and realised that we had excess baggage. Fortunately, we could buy excess baggage before we checked in.

Both of us enjoyed our 10 days in Singapore, especially Thari. We are glad that we could celebrate my eldest brother’s 80th birthday. My eldest brother was glad too. 

Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW)

On our first Sunday in Singapore, we attended a service where the majority are from Myanmar. They are using a Presbyterian Church for worship. Three quarters of them are Migrant Domestic Workers (maids). They stay with their employers 24/7, six days a week. My second sister, after the sudden death of her husband early this year employed an MDW. 

Created in God’s Image

Before we left for Singapore, Thari told me that I was ‘expected’ to share at the Myanmar service. I wrestled with what to share. Knowing that many of them would be MDWs I decided to remind them that we are all created in the image of God and the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27). We all know it won’t be physical likeness. 

I emphasised the word ALL. Reminded them that it means even those people we don’t like or can’t stand. ALL also means people from other living faiths, other ethnicities, and nationalities. Sometimes I think we forget that. Paul reminds us that “God has no favourites’ (Romans 2:11). 

First, I wanted to remind each of them that irrespective of their profession, they are created in the image of God. Whether they are Migrant Domestic Workers or engineers or labourers they are created in the image of God. Our worth or value is not based on what we do but on the fact that we are all created in the image of God. We all need to keep this in mind always. The psalmist reminds us: “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” (Psalm 139:13,14)

Second, if we are all created in the image of God how we treat others are important. Again, those people we don’t like or can’t stand must be treated with respect too. I know this is hard, but Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had the image of God in them. We don’t want to say that or think that, but they did. And that’s why we still would have to consider them of worth. I know, that asks a lot of us.

In fact, Jesus reminded us of this (Matthew 25:31-46). How we treat others matters. It matters a lot to Jesus, especially those considered the least by our society. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.” (Matt.25:40)

John also reminds us that ‘Those who say, “I love God,” and hate a brother or sister are liars, for those who do not love a brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.’ (1 John 4:20)

Hate to say this but I am aware that many Migrant Domestic Workers face various kinds of emotional abuse, despite growing legal protections against visible forms of sexual or physical abuse in Singapore. Truth be told, Thari and I are also very uncomfortable with the ways my second sister treats her domestic helper. She is a difficult person to get along with. I raised my concerns with my sister about her behaviour towards her domestic helper. Thari spoke to the domestic helper and tried to encourage her.