You wouldn't know it by the way her customers keep showering her with goodies, but Ms Zhang contracts with clients who need help when their mobility suffers. Managing a household can be tough, and when the homemaker is the one in surgery, someone else needs to pick up the slack. Singapore's Ministry of Social and Family Development had estimated last year that there are some 35,000 elderly living alone in Singapore, and the number is expected to rise to 83,000 by 2030. When lone dwellers fall ill, there is much that needs to be done about that house, including helping to care for them. This is where Ms Zhang steps in.
Ms Zhang hails from Jiangsu, so no place in Singapore is "too far" for her. While she sometimes contracts general cleaning work, Ms Zhang's soft spot is for individual clients. One of her former clients, M, had just exited surgery and Ms Zhang not only helped her with her household chores, but also helped cook meals for her for four hours a day, seven days a week, and slowly reducing her engagement as M recovered. By and large, her clients trust her with a house key and sometimes leave more than just her fee on the table - they leave extra tips, extra food, excess goodies from holiday shopping, school supplies for her children, and more.
(Photo: Zhang Xiao at Caregiver Asia's premises)
This is an ideal arrangement for Ms Zhang, who was previously on course to be a tour guide - she gets to take care of her two school-age children in the crucial morning hours, takes advantage of the afternoons for clients home economics, and can be there in the evenings when clients need her most. "After all, I've been a housewife for 10+ years, I might as well monetize what I'm good at". Work can be a bit rough when the client has young children below the age of 3 - they mess up the place frequently - but Ms Zhang is no stranger to caring for kids, and she is happy with all her clients so far, who she says are "very good". But could it be that the reason for this happy treatment from the diverse clients, is because of the one common factor between all of them - herself?
Perhaps the only "unhappy" experience she had was one incident cleaning an office at night, on the first day of the "Hungry Ghost Month". But whatever caused that strange gust of wind when all windows were closed, stopped the moment she slammed her Bible at it.
Ms Zhang usually gets referrals by word of mouth, and hopes to steadily grow her business. Besides, her elder child, at 16 years old, is already 1.88m tall and has dreams of playing for the NBA. We wish her well in her endeavours, and all the best to her child's NBA dreams. Ms Zhang can be citacted for engagements at 87983889.