Domestic helper was 'never a maid but family'
When Madam N. K. Ambika started working for Madam Selvamary Prakasam 18 years ago, she was reprimanded frequently.
Madam Selvamary, now 62, was a warrant officer with the Singapore Armed Forces and ran the household in a regimented manner.
But the two women grew to love each other.
Madam Selvamary wanted to nominate Madam Ambika, 53, for Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year last month but unfortunately missed the deadline.
Madam K. Jayaprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) (AEAS), which organises the annual competition, said: "Exemplary workers (like Madam Ambika) should be recognised.
"These workers don't necessarily speak English but have stayed with their employers' families for many years."
More employers - 480 this year compared with about 200 in the previous two years - are nominating their maids for the award, the AEAS told The New Paper.
Madam Selvamary said Madam Ambika would bathe her late father, who had dementia, change his diapers and endure his morning outbursts.
She even carried him down the stairs before a lift was installed in the block.
"She was never just a maid but family. She had the authority to discipline my children," said Madam Selvamary,
The children are now in their 30s, and Madam Ambika was proud when they got married.
She said: "It was as if my own children were getting married. (Madam Selvamary) insisted I attend (the weddings) as a family member."
Madam Ambika, who is returning to India for good next month, added: "I will always remember the care my employer has shown me."