Servants Without Masters

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Having grown up in Indonesia, I found this piece fascinating. The author writes of his (common) experience as an American in Singapore encountering his host’s family maid. The author goes on to (rightfully) recognize that in the US they have “blithely accepted the service of servants” when “framed as business transactions with dehumanized service workers.” A terrific writing, he articulately declares “what individualism has bought us is not the end of servitude, but merely the cloaking of masters...a sort of inverse Confucianism – a system where authority can only be exercised by people who deliberately do not engage in one-on-one superior-inferior relationships.” 

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