STOP10 Apr 2017: 'Open Doors: Singapore' by Daniel Yam

As part of a campaign kickstarted by the International Organization for Immigration (IOM) to promote understanding and better relationships between employers and domestic workers, three films are done to spread the message in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Open Doors: Singapore is a film to tell a story within the local context. The eight minute short follows the tale of Serene, a Singaporean employer hiring Lisa, a domestic worker from the Philippines. Confiscating her passport, work permit and not giving her a day off, Serene goes about being unreasonable and demanding. As time passes, Serene’s own daughter begins to mimic her behaviour to spark a shocking realisation.

The film is directed by Daniel Yam, and he was tasked to do this by Fran Borgia of Akanga film raise awareness on the mistreatment of maids. “I have read the treatment of the script (and) I believed in the message of the story. I thought this is a story that needed to be told. I like stories that end with a strong message about humanity,” Yam shared with SINdie.

What we found particularly impactful is that the perspective taken is of the employer and not the maid. This choice challenges the viewers to take a more active role in questioning themselves and whether the choices made in the film are right or wrong. Also, what would we actually do if we know someone doing this to their helper?

Yam gives an example: “Suppose a Singaporean goes on a job interview, and be told that - there will not be any off days. The job requires long hours from 6 am to 11 pm. He needs to be on standby at all times. I think the interviewee will consider this as a ridiculous demand. But in fact this is the working condition of our many local helpers”

Besides giving food for thought and to drive a conversation forward on the rights of domestic workers, what else can viewers take away from this film?

“All people are equal. When we treat others with respect and love, respect and love come back to us.”
Watch the film here (from Viddsee):

Written by Dawn Teo

For the full list of April 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here
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