When Marie takes a job as a maid in Singapore to support her family in the Philippines, she trades one set of hardships for another. When her husband back home abandons her family, she needs to choose between her personal aspirations and her family responsibilities.

"…should be viewed by anyone interested in the plight of migrant women workers.” 

Rhacel Parreñas – Prof. of Gender Studies & Sociology, University of Southern California
Synopsis: 

Based upon an original script by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, Remittance is a realistic portrayal of low-wage migrant workers in Singapore shot at real locations with a cast including actual domestic workers.

Remittance follows Marie, a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines as she struggles to cope with demanding employers, long hours of work, and separation from her family. Breaking from the conventional image of maids as labor, the story explores the transformations Marie goes through as a woman dealing with conflicting obligations and aspirations. At its heart, Remittance is a coming of age story about a woman trying to balance living for her family versus living for herself.

This is not just a Singapore story but a global story of the commodification of labor, the exportation of mothers from poor third world countries to first world nations. Singapore is a microcosm of what is happening across the globe.

Reviews

“…one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.” 

Kate McFarlane, Sassy Mama Magazine

“As I watched some of them cry silent tears, I wondered what they had been through” 

Tan Xiang Yeow, Kentridge Common
Director's Commentary: 

The more we ventured into the world low wage migrants have created for themselves in Singapore, the more it became apparent we were only seeing part of the story. We heard so many horrible stories about abuse, long hours, disrespect and failing families back home, and so were stunned by the amount of women who wanted to stay in Singapore, in spite of those conditions. This led to a major shift in focus as we began to explore why – how bad could life be at home and what did life in Singapore have to offer that we were not seeing?

We found for many of the women working as domestic servants the answer was freedom, or at least a form of it. Hundreds of thousands of women from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka work in Singapore – and they would not be here if they had better opportunities at home. In some cases women are trying to create better economic opportunities for their families – often remitting all of their wages to support their entire extended families. For other women it was a refuge from domestic abuse and broken relationships – migration being a socially preferable option to divorce. In just about all cases, their lives back home were highly prescribed by the values of their often conservative communities and the weight of family expectations . Many of the women with children of their own were married in their teens – and being a woman in the developing world is often a 24/7 job, with no wages, hard work and little thanks. One maid told us that she never had a day off until she started working in Singapore.