Ten-year-old Singaporean Maya is lonely: her grandmother is dead, her mother is focused on her career and her best friend has become a bully. When Aunty M, a domestic worker from Indonesia, joins the family to take care of Maya and her baby sister, Maya is ready to hate her.
Aunty M smiles a lot, but says little. However, after Aunty M rescues a fellow maid living in the same building and beaten by her employer, Maya discovers a side of Singapore hitherto unknown to her. She and Aunty M grow closer as they meet more and more women in need.
What will happen when Mama finds out about Maya and Aunty M’s growing involvement with the aunties? Will Maya lose Aunty M too? After all, Mama did say she hates busybodies …
This poignant coming-of-age story, told in the voice of inquisitive Maya, explores the plight of migrant domestic workers in Singapore and the relationships they form with the families they work for.
About the author
Growing up as an expat child in Asia with migrant domestic workers in the house, Karien never asked herself why these women left their own children behind, and crossed a sea to look after her. That question arose later, and in 2012 Karien joined HOME, a charity that supports migrant workers in Singapore. In the following years she worked closely with domestic workers, and listened to their stories that were the inspiration for A Yellow House.