Amah In The Bathtub



It's 1967 and the women who are members of a British swimming club in colonial Singapore take their social events seriously - but not all of them know what's going on at home.

A young mother, Connie Conport, is particularly clueless about problems developing between her two young boys and their nanny. She has hired an amah, a servant from China, who is a member of a group dedicated to domestic service.

Ah Chat belongs to a sisterhood of 'black and whites'. They wear a traditional uniform and swear an oath to remain celibate. On their rare days off, they meet up at their headquarters, the kongsi house. It's a refuge and a support group. These women are her only family in Singapore.

Elderly Ah Chat has good references - seventeen British families have employed her previously - but this position seems to have serious problems.

Sound Design: Jon Nicholls

Written, directed and produced by Judith Kampfner

A Corporation for Independent Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Wives in 1960s colonial Singapore are partying, unaware of disturbing domestic problems.