I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A new maid

Finally, after being maid-less for three weeks, the new maid is here today!

During these three weeks, i've not cleaned my room on my own. Before you think, "yeeeee, so dirty", i didn't clean it because the landlady cleaned it for me. Yes, she did it on her own accord; she said since she was cleaning the house anyway, it was just one more room. I guess it was probably because she saw that i wasn't cleaning it everyday like she did with the rest of the house, and my aunt had told her before that i am a lazy girl who doesn't do household chores. Well, even though embarrassed, i'm still glad that someone was doing it for me.

Anyway, the new maid looks young and innocent. She is 24 years old and has never worked away from home before and this is her first. Her English isn't as good as the previous two maids. Before this, she was working in a Japanese home back in Myanmar.

She told the landlady that she has a Chinese boyfriend back in Myanmar. I wonder if she is gonna last here, for she might miss her family and boyfriend very much. We shall see.

Ah, and talking about maid, this reminded me that i've not blogged about what happened to the previous maid. My memory is failing me terribly lately.

On that Sunday when i was back to SG, the landlady was back from the Sunday church already. The maid was cleaning up in the kitchen, and the landlady came to me and told me that she would be sending the maid back to the agency. She told me that since the baked beans incident, the maid had been behaving badly. She then recounted the various incidents that happened, known and unknown to me.

When the landlady was away in China, the maid was doing all kinds of things to get into the good books of the landlady's mother. One of the things was that she helped to massage the landlady's mother legs. The landlady's mother said that when the maid was doing the massage, she would sometimes talked to herself and even laughed by herself. It was as if there was something not quite right with her sanity.

There was one evening when i was around too, the maid brought out the dishes she had cooked for dinner. The sauce for the stir fry veggie was extremely dark, and so the landlady asked her what sauce she used for cooking. She then pointed to a bottle, which was the black vinegar. My landlady was so angry that she scolded the maid for it, and asked her if she couldn't even read the label on the bottle. Even though the maid kept saying that she didn't know that bottle wasn't oyster sauce, we had our doubts because vinegar has a strong smell and it was strange that she couldn't tell the difference when she opened the bottle.

Then there was another incident that the landlady discovered that the maid put her own panties inside the laundry basket of the kids' clothing. The landlady said she wouldn't even mix her own underwear with her kids' clothes in washing, and how dare this maid to do that despite she had told her not to. She then demanded the maid to remove and wash her panties separately.

The maid did so, but then after washing, she hung the panties above the pail that the kids used for bathing (they bathe from the pail and not directly from the showerhead because it is too high up), and let the water dripped into the pail. My landlady saw that the next day and was furious. She told the maid to wash the pail and scolded her again.

My landlady believed that the maid was doing all these things intentionally, and her anger was increasing day-by-day. And i was thinking in my heart that there might be even more things that the maid was doing behind her back and she didn't know about it, such as spitting into the water or food that she prepared.

Anyway, the final incident that crossed the limit that my landlady had for the maid was what happened on that Sunday morning. The maid was supposed to wake up everyday at around 5.30am, especially on Sunday when they were all going to church. Then on that day, the maid wasn't up even and the landlady went to wake her. It was then she saw that the alarm clock was put to 7am. Then when the maid was waken up by the landlady, she said it was so late already and asked if she could just stay back in the house and not go to the church with them.

The landlady was so mad that she told her to quickly get change and go with them regardless. She also told the maid that she would not be giving her any day-off for that day (the landlady was actually thinking of sending her back on that day).

Then when they were in the church, the maid did not accompany the kids (which was her duty) and went to chat with the maid of another church sister. This maid told the other maid something along the line that, "even though my madam doesn't want to let me have day off, i will not get angry at her. We Buddhists do not get angry so easily..." Of course, she didn't expect that whatever she said to the other maid, that maid in turn told her madam, which eventually got back to my landlady.

When my landlady saw the maid neglecting the kids and was chatting away with the others, she told her to stop chatting and go look after the kids. The maid then started crying sadly, non-stop, in front of everyone, as if she was being abused and bullied by the landlady. The landlady was furious beyond words.

So when they were back to the house, the landlady had decided to send the maid away in the late evening. When i was back and the landlady was telling me all these incidents, she was speaking in Mandarin and softly, not wanting the maid to know about it.

But then, i think the maid did hear it, and actually i've suspected all along that she could understand Mandarin from her various behaviours. After she finished cleaning the things in the kitchen, she then went back to her room and started packing her luggage. The landlady saw it and asked her what she was doing. The maid then said she couldn't work here anymore because she seemed to be making the landlady mad all the time. The landlady then told her that she was not allowed to go anywhere without the consent from the employer. She disallowed the maid to pack anything and told her that she could only start packing when she told her to. She then instructed the maid to go do some more work in the kitchen.

Then at around 7pm, the landlady told the maid that she could start packing, but under her supervision, as she would be checking what she packed. Then as they were in the room packing, i was in my room with my door closed. Yet, i could still hear them distinctively. I heard the landlady asking her why she had more money than when she came to this home.

My landlady checked the amount of money that the maid had everytime when she has a new maid. This is just to make sure that they do not steal or got more money out of nowhere. And the maid does not get any pay for the first 6 months, as the money would go to the agent.

Then this maid, when she first came here, she told the landlady that she had about SGD70 with her. On that day she was packing, she had SGD80 in her wallet. Then when she got to know that the landlady was checking through her stuff, she told the landlady that she still had SGD100+ outside the house, hidden in the shoe rack. Of course, she insisted that the money was all hers and she did not steal from the landlady.

Now you can imagine how angry my landlady was. She asked the maid why she had to hide the money outside, and why she had lied about the amount that she brought here. The maid said she was afraid that the landlady would take the money away from her (hmm, frankly, this reason doesn't sound logical to me).

The landlady then really took all the money from her, and told her to quickly pack up. This was when the maid suddenly started wailing. No, i didn't use the wrong word. It wasn't crying or weeping, but really, the "waaaaaaa" kind of wailing.

I had been hiding in my room all the while, for i didn't wanna get involved in this whole fiasco. But then, once the maid started wailing like that, i really thought things were getting out of hand already. I quickly opened my door and went to the maid, while my landlady just ignored the maid. I told the maid not to cry and quickly pack up, and then all these would end sooner for her. She then told me that the landlady took away all her money and how she was supposed to go back on her own without any money.

The landlady heard what she said and then told me in Mandarin that she would be sending her back, and would pass the money to the agent to settle it with the maid. She told me that she would not take a single cent from the maid. I then told the same to the maid but she didn't believe me, kept thinking that the money was lost. I reassured her that the landlady had promised me that she would return the money to the agent, and that she gotta trust me on that. Well, seriously, when i said the words, "you have to trust me on this", i saw she looked away for a quick moment with a suspicious expression. I knew that instant that she didn't trust anyone in this household, even though i had been kind and polite to her all the while.

Anyway, after i repeatedly reassured her, she stopped her crying and started packing quickly. After she was done, the landlady sent her back to the agency as promised.

So, that was the long story about that previous maid. It was quite a drama on that day. Oh, and it also means that i was right in my assessment about her when i first saw her. Once again, it proves that a person who's always so eager to please must be someone with a motive, or a person who's not simple and scheming.

I just hope that this new maid is really a simple and nice person as she appears to be. To me, i have nothing much here except some branded clothes and facial products. The most i need to be concerned with is probably the drinking water. Yet, i am also concerned with the well-being of the kids, because they are left alone with the maid most of the time.

So really, it is not easy to have a good and trustworthy maid.


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