Letter on waiters doing cleaning jobs

Dear Director General of the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA),

I appreciate the good work that you are doing, especially the newly started inspection of the country’s food catering services, like hotels, restaurants or cafés.

So, let me bring to your notice something which I believe important looking at today’s situation. The unskilled laborers who are actively working at our food catering outlets in Male’ City are doing the floor and toilet cleaning jobs and as well as the waiter’s job. And also it’s these laborers who are doing the table clearing or cleaning jobs using an awful looking damp and dirty piece of cloth (which actually is a white color piece of cloth but one would look at the cloth and say it’s a black color piece of cloth). Here my worry is that the same laborers who do the waiters’ job are doing the cleaning jobs like toilets, floor and clearing the tables.

I have noticed that a Food & Drug Authority of a country like ours does not allow those who do the cleaning or clearing work to also do the waiter’s job or serve food to customers. I believe it’s only for the sake of the people’s health.

So, I think now it’s time for us to think about such issues as we all know those who are at these areas are very unskilled laborers who know little about food handling. We also notice them digging nose and spitting here and there while doing waiters’ jobs. Here I am not talking about the costly restaurants but the normal places where the majority of people are going for their meals.

Yours truly,

Mohamed Saeed

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10 thoughts on “Letter on waiters doing cleaning jobs”

  1. Dear Saeed,

    This issue is obviously quite serious if the health of the people is at risk.

    I am glad you have brought it up.

    Of course, I one hundred percent agree with you, standards of cleanliness must be maintained, perhaps these guys need training in hygiene and cleanliness.

    But I was wondering if perhaps there is another side to this, if, maybe, these guys behave like this as a way to express their contempt in a passive manner, seems they can't express it openly. Probably I am wrong, and there is nothing here but ignorance and laziness.

    Yet I wonder...

    Imagine serving a table of people, some of whom are living off their father's wealth and have never worked in their lives...a few are half high. They are harping onto each other how oppressed they are, because, their father can't rule the country, he can only be a simple, millionaire, and so Woe is me they cry...In the meantime, they are either completely ignoring you, who really is oppressed, or they show you contempt. They look at you, and they think that you should be greatful for their 'rescuing you and your family from poverty,' and for this reason, because they think they are your Saviour they think they have the right to treat you with contempt. But really, they are exploiting your desparation for their own need for cheap labour. There you are, forced to live away from your family to support them, you are the real oppressed. Yet you don't have the time, power, or freedom to sit around half high and harp on about it, you see, the harsh realities don't allow you the luxury of being so selfishly indulged in your own pity parlour.

    You have to smile, and seem all emotionally dettached, content and naive, like the Bangladeshi's generally look, and are expected to look. You have to repress your contempt, so instead, you express it through through not really giving a damn about quality of your service, or quality of health.

    Perhaps, if the Maldivian Government were to restrict ex-pat workers, Maldivians would be forced to do these jobs, and learn some ethics. Something that I learnt, hard work, years of exploitative grind, teaches you to be ethical, compassionate, and JUST more than a million philosophical and religious lectures.

    That would seem like a neglect of compassion for the Bangladeshi's who depend on Maldivian labour, but PERHAPS, as Marx pointed out, when the poor are oppressed and deprived of help in the way of exploitative labour or welfare, perhaps they would only then be forced to fight for social justice in their own nation.

    Anyway brother, this issue is evidently quite difficult, but, I am glad you brought it up, so, thankyou. I think, there are lots of 'worms' in this can you have presented that some don't wish to open.


  2. JJ, Did you write this letter?

    This was an error to do with our CMS reverting to a previous version of the post, prior to setting the byline - thank you for bringing it to our attention. The letter was written by Mohamed Saeed, as stated. - Minivan News team

  3. Hmmm....also how about the hotel owners telling the waiters to wear clean clothes&take a shower daily..and to refrain from digging their noses&spraying spittle(they keep chatting to their fellows while carrying the plates) on the food while they carry the plates to the table?

    It's so important to clean up these fellows inside out..Also how about the dirty customers learning some lessons on how to be courteous to the waiters?if they treat the waiters like slaves,obviously the fellows can't be bothered to be clean or to serve the morons in a decent manner!!maldivians do so think that the expat workers are their slaves!For Godsakes they are not your goddamn servants!!

  4. Hey Saeed, don't you know our country is a quite different type of country??? We are very unique and that we don't have the right to eat clean food, we don't have the right to have proper medical facility, we don't have the right to have a salary or wage which could support the very basic minimum to live and support our families, we don't have the right to have proper justice, we don't have the right to walk on our streets because of the big wholes in our social fabric and many more!!! I just gave some important ones

  5. @Mohamed Saeed,
    you are correct. Male (and the whole of the Maldives for the matter at hand) has a high percentage of unskilled labourers. But I think you are INCORRECT to put the blame onto these people for their actions. They do not know better. I do not think it is fair to expect an “Uneducated” person to give an “Educated” response.

    Have a look at the bigger picture and ask the question, “Why?” Why do we have these unskilled people doing a tasks that is so important that it needs its own governing body (the MFDA), yet there is virtually zero education and / or zero education facilities?

    My answer to that question is very simple. It is the people in power that are at fault. The owners, the managers, the government, the MFDA, etc….. Their lack of drive and will to teach these people the correct way to work is the problem. Their lack of drive and will to provide educational facilities to teach the correct way is the problem. Only through education and training can we achieve our goals.

    There are plenty of resorts and island hotels in the Maldives that employ staff from different parts of the world that come from different cultures and back ground. Most of these resorts have achieved their health and hygiene success because of two reasons. Education and enforcing the rules.

    Here in the Maldives we only have the enforcement, the MFDA. Where is the education? Where are the education facilities. Read this article and you will see the proof that even the owner has no clue: http://minivannewsarchive.com/business/mfda-raises-concerns-over-poor-hygiene-during-city-wide-food-inspections-21095

    And by the way, I have not seen any law, in the Maldives, that states that a food service employee may not clean a toilet. The law says that we must prevent cross contamination. So if an employee cleans a toilet, using the proper equipment and then washes his hands correctly and then after goes to work in the restaurant, it is quite fine. The question is – How many of them do actually was this hand properly?

  6. Superior Bacteria

    I suggest you read this letter until you understand that the letter has not blamed either the unskilled laborers or the MFDA but the letter is directed to the regulatory body of the government which is MFDA so that they could do take possible corrective measures.....

  7. The unskilled worker is only here because locals are not willing to fill the position at the wage rate being offered. If locals were happy to work in those types of positions would the problem still exist? Maybe it is also the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that basic steps in hygiene are adhered to?

  8. Sir I have 3 unskilled waiter who are honest and laborious and they are looking for work they already have passport.Please tell me via email what d position of work is and what you give as salary,if you have any work for them.They are experience holder..

  9. it was interesting to read the article as well as the comments. My opinion is that it is true there is a regulatory body to look into this matter. However, it is the responsibility of the owners to maintain such cleanliness in his hotel or restaurant. Law is there to control but being a human and thinking about a fellow human cannot be taught by law. So every person who owns the hotel should think about it. But for many the profit is more important and it is the result of it. The customers should completely ignore the hotels which don't maintained a slandered of cleanliness then the problem will be solved easily

  10. it was interesting to read the article as well as the comments. My opinion is that it is true there is a regulatory body to look into this matter. However, it is the responsibility of the owners to maintain such cleanliness in their hotels or restaurants. Law is there to control but being a human and thinking about a fellow human cannot be taught by law. So every person who owns the hotel should think about providing hygienic food to his customers. But for many the profit is more important and this problem is the result of such thinking. The customers should completely ignore the hotels which don't maintained a standered of cleanliness then the problem could be solved easily.


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