Monday, December 19, 2005

I WANT SOME WATER

Says my 8 year old cousin, eyes rolling up to the ceiling and with the most arrogant expression on his face that an eight-year-old can come up with. Is he talking to the maid, I wonder. I think his parents overheard him and now I'll have to watch him get killed.

Yes, his parents heard. They just sat there. The maid got him some water.

Later I asked his mother - how often does your maid get a day off? She doesn't, she replied. For the first six months you didn't give her a day off? No, there is no day off. Her contract does not provide for one. Anyway, even if I gave her a day off, where would she go?

I looked at this young woman, working her butt off on a Sunday looking after 3 extremely unruly kids (they're great, but there's no denying it) and I realised she must be the loneliest person on the planet. Maybe her contract will actually last the full 2 years (a personal record for my aunt) but she'll have no contact with her family or any friends during that time, unless she manages to strike up a conversation through the kitchen window with someone who cares.

I don't think I can fully understand how she feels, but I wonder how she can put up with so much shit. Watching her try to feed 3 running, playing, fighting children last night, all of whom treat her like a servant. I thought, wow she must really need that cash.

Well, at least she's not their pet lobster.

After several attempts at keeping goldfish, fighting fish and other small pets with sky high mortality rates, my auntie got it into her head to get them a small pet lobster. And they have to help her look after it, like change the water and feed it and stuff. Anyway, when I last saw that lobster, it was missing an eye, one pincer and maybe 2 spindley little legs. I think they took their duties too seriously and tried to bathe it.

19 Comments:

At 5:24 PM, Blogger PC said...

*sigh* always sad when i read stuff about maids.

i have a maid. we have NO contract with her.. but we do give her a day off.. or any time of if she asks, like going to send money back home or going to the temple.

it frustrates me lots when i hear of ill treatment.

on a separate matter, kids, like dogs, instintively know the hierachy in the family. caught my daughter raising her voice at our maid one day and with my best "BIG VOICE" told her off... it's the parents' responsibility to teach children how to respect others... maid or no maid.

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger HairyDonut said...

It's true, plus this stuff does not actually qualify as "abuse".

It is an extremely unpleasant echo of the parent, I think. My cousin sounds exactly like one of his parents when he talks to the maid. Even the Singlish inflection is indistinguishable.

I'd have a lot more to say if I wasn't related to them, simply because I'd be able to see it objectively and just say what I like. And yet they are my blood relatives and I know their nice side as well as this 'dark' side. It's this little reminder of human nature that I find so disturbing.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger valkyrie said...

an excellent example of what not to do, in so many angles.

i know they're still your relatives and i'm sure you love them but it seems to me that these kids may grow up with no respect for life in general. maids, humans, or aquatic lifeforms.

 
At 3:55 AM, Blogger The Legal Janitor said...

you know, I think alot of children don't realise that they have to treat every person with dignity and respect, regardless of the jobs they do, because they mimic how their parents behave.

And on the pet lobster, at least they didn't try to give the lobster a hot bath. Like Homer Simpson. He later ate the lobster while crying for its loss.

 
At 4:56 AM, Anonymous lilacs out of the dead land said...

*wince*

wince is for all of it, but maybe particularly for the poor pets. i really do think there is a special circle in hell (or whatever passes for same nowadays) for animal abusers.

it's funny what human beings are capable of, both the best and the worst. reminds me of that psych experiment where they put one bunch of volunteers in police uniforms and another bunch in prison uniforms and stuck 'em all in a fake jail. talk about instant police brutality - within a short while most of the "police" volunteers were acting just like they thought a jailer would act - the worst possible kind of abu ghraib type jailer, that is.

funny what happens when we're given free rein. seems like most human beings don't have enough self-control or conscience built-in to guide them in such situations.

(and let's not talk about religion. far from being a helpful ethical guide, it seems like it's being used as a great excuse for the worst excesses of human behavior, especially nowadays!!!)

[/end rant]

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger The Screwy Skeptic said...

Funny to hear about the lobster. Not so funny about the maid. Then again, I think PETA would say otherwise.

I've only stopped by here once or twice before and never quite realized how extraordinarily entertaining you are. Would much offense be taken if I linked to you, MrsMachine?

 
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