I felt the urge to write this after reading Dad of Four plus One's latest posting today. I really can relate to his predicaments.
Remember I wrote some time in June that my maid ran away, right?
Since then, I had been without a bibik. The agent had been promising to get a replacement for us, but, he seems to be full of excuses - no supply, too young, too old (we specifically asked for one aged 30-34) failed medical, passports not ready, puasa, raya, etc.
It has been more than 4 months, and I think we've been coping quite well (just...).
Some of you might know that for the past 9 years, we have been staying with Mak in PJ. Even after we bought our own house in SD 7 years ago, we still stayed in PJ during weekdays, and only went back to SD during weekends. We've had, let me see...7 maids in the last 7 years.
One was sent home because she was so "gedik", and was trying to woo one of Mak's staff. She somewhat succeeded - we had to send her back.
One would have won an Oscar - she would be the best actress if she were to star in the Exorcism of Emily Rose.
One was quite good, and we had no issues with her - except that when it was time to renew her permit, she failed her Medical. She was Hep B +ve.
One followed us to the UK during my first year of my PhD. We brought her everywhere we went around the UK, we let her call Indonesia every 2 weeks (we footed all the bills), we gave her pocket money (in pound sterling) on top of her monthly salary, we let her cook whatever she wanted to eat (because she was quite particular with her diet), we bought her clothes and stuff, we even bought for her whatever she fancied at all the Car Boot Sales in Newcastle we went to. She ended up telling people that we starved her, and we found out that she also pasang a Pak Arab boyfriend there... (and until today we couldn't figure out how both of them communicated with each other!). So, when we came back home to Malaysia, we sent her back to Indonesia.
One was quite pleasant, but she just could not stand Mak's bibik who was so bossy (even bossier than the majikan, mind you!) and was subject to being bullied and ended up doing most of the work! She asked to be sent home. Our principle - if our maid asks to be sent home, we send her home. No point of keeping her.
One was another Oscar winner - faked a fall, and ended up at the A&E, and pretended to lose consciousness (from morning until the afternoon!), when all the docs (including Ayah) and the nurses could tell that she was faking it! She had to go.
One was quite okay - quite hardworking, but quite loud. But, she, too could not stand Mak's bossy bibik! This was the one who ran away in June...
(We really are at their mercy, aren't we? Mak's bossy bibik was a REALLY good cook and very hardworking, and she can do just about whatever you asked her to do! So, we just couldn't send her home just because she was bossy with the other maids, could we?! Anyway, her contract just ended in August and she's gone now)
So, for the past 4 months or so, everytime we went back to SD during weekends, I would be the bibik. I would do the sweeping, the mopping (all 3 floors AND also outside, okay?!), the washing/drying/ironing of the clothes, the cooking (including the pre- and post-cooking chores), the dishes, tidying up the mess, etc. It's not that Ayah and the kids did not help at all. They did and still do, but, it's just me. I like to do things MY way, so at the end of the day, I would re-do the chores which had been done by them! But, it's strange in the sense that when we had the maids, I just let them be and do the chores around the house, and I would be Ma'am Besar and just supervise them. Boleh pulak?!
Anyway, it's a bit of an irony and quite mind-boggling that in our dire maidless situation, Ayah and I decided that we would move from PJ to stay at our own house in SD permanently. And the decision was made about 2 weeks into Ramadhan. Can you imagine that? Elok-elok we stayed in PJ, with Mak's and my SIL's maids there to prepare for Iftar and Sahur, we decided to make our life difficult during Ramadhan.
Yes - yours truly had to set at least 3 alarm clocks just to make sure I wake up in time to PREPARE for sahur. I also had the chance of honing my driving skills going through the Ramadhan traffic jam everyday from my office, to the kids' school in PJ, to SD (going through Jalan Universiti, Section 12, Section 16, SPRINT and LDP or Penchala Link!) I also decided that alang-alang dah jadi Ibu Mithali, I would also COOK for berbuka... Smart, eh? So, I did just that.
It was quite a torture.
People might think that we were crazy - the timing was not quite right...
But, we were adamant. We REALLY wanted to experience Ramadhan with just the five of us. And we are so glad that we did it.
It has been 5 weeks now - living in our own home. It's quite exhausting, but it's nothing compared to our feel-good feelings. Even the kids enjoy their home. More space. (More like more internet access! ;)) even though sometimes it looked as if a toranado had just passed through the whole house sometimes...
What we do now is - Ayah would send Hanna to school in the morning before going to the hospital. I would send Hasya and Hilman to Mak's house before going to my office. Mak's staff would send them to school in the afternoon and also fetch Hanna and send her to Mak's house. I would fetch the kids from school straight after work, fetch Hanna from Mak's and drive everybody back to SD.
Prepare dinner. Wash dishes. Iron clothes (aaaarrrrggggghhhh!!!). Settle kids for bed. Sleep. Wake up. Do the laundry. Sweep. Mop. Hang laundry. Shower. Wake kids up. Send them to PJ. Go to office. Work. And the cycle continues.... Hmmm...I sound like a robot, no?
Hasya and Hilman are quite independent and so, when they're in PJ, the only thing that Mak's maids need to worry about is just to prepare lunch for them (which is no big deal because more often than not they would only ask for Ayam Goreng and Nasi!) What' so difficult about that? They would take their shower and get ready for school on their own.
Shouldn't be a problem, right?
Just that - this morning, two of the maids ran away...*
(*Apparently one of them has a boyfriend somewhere out there...)