Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sundays from Singapore: Snow in Singapore

Almost Grown, this is the tidy-whitey story, just for you!


Well, I wish it was snow, and to the casual observer, it probably looks like snow. But in reality, my reality, it is actually dust. You know, that insidious stuff that finds its way under every door and through every crack in your otherwise hermetically sealed home. Now, what I want to know is how, when I am 17 stories up in the atmosphere, and there isn't a panel of dry wall in the joint, does this grime make its way in?

No matter when I dust, or what magical as-seen-as-on-TV product that I use, the second I turn my back, there it is again. I enter the bathroom (having washed every surface down with a wet cloth an hour before) and it looks clean. But once I lower myself down to the toilet and glance about my just washed loo, it's there! That hazy, gray, "somebody had a spastic fit while using baby powder" dullness.

I also firmly believe that the powder is in cahoots with the dust bunnies, which have a gestational period of about 2 days, after which the roam the marble floors in herds of dust buffaloes. I think in the interest of saving face (a big deal here in Asia) I will simply inform guests that this family is a regular participant in the National Dust Bunnies Soccer League, and that we are rapidly ascending the playoff ladder. Might even make it to the Olympic, World Series, Super Sweep Dust Pan Bowl to be held between the Hot Season and the Wet Season. So, please, do not disturb the athletes as they roll and stampede down the hall. They are training!

This leads me, of course, to the question of getting a maid. Now, I have kicked this idea (and a few dust roly polies) around for a while, but have come to the decision that having a maid just isn't for me. I mean, I can't even order a meal at McDonald's and get what I want. What makes me think I can hire a maid and not have to ride around on her shoulders pointing out exactly how and where to do what, without breaking Fido the vacuum, or spraying the furniture with the wrong "all-purpose, guaranteed to resists spills, smudges and scratches, cures miscellaneous diseases and conditions, and leaves your hair sweet smelling and shining" concoction?

Adding to my discomfort about hiring help are the reports in the daily paper. Everyday, a new article outlines in details the abuses to and by foreign workers. Many maids fall to their deaths while climbing out on narrow ledges to clean the windows. Employer hits maid, maid hits children, children bites parents and the circle begins again.

Photo by Kees & Sarah

But today's report really clinched the no-maid deal. Apparently, on her second day of work, a maid was secretly videotaped making the family's evening soup with laundry water she had previously used to wash out underwear!! Yuucckk!! She had been counseled that this would make her employers "obedient." Well, kiss my grits! I don't put corn chowder in my washing machine, and I don't expect to find tidy-whitey water in my soup!

Photo by Pixeloflight

A maid was just found guilty of "causing grievous hurt" and as a side note, death, to her employer after a brawl involving the telephone. The employer, a Chinese woman, had called her Indonesian maid the equivalent of a prostitute, which is much worse than it sounds to you or I and apparently, insulted the maid's reputation. A slapping session followed, culminating in the trading of blows to the head with a lightweight telephone. The maid, it seems, won the battle to control the phone, and beaned the employer, causing the woman to die. The sentence will be relatively light as no premeditation was found. I guess anyone planning to "off" their boss wouldn't have chosen the cheap phone as a weapon. A crock pot, perhaps.

I don't want you to believe that all maids and employers behave this way. The Morgs had a wonderful amah here in Singapore, Eva, who was a delight to visit with, spoke perfect English, was great with the baby and I bet made very tasty non-sudzing soup. And I know that no fights involving household appliances, big or small, ever occurred in their peaceful abode.

Perhaps, if I had small children that I needed to escape from occasionally, if my cooking skills were limited to Pop Tarts and TV dinners, or if I had trouble discerning the spray end of an aerosol can, I might get a maid. But for now, I think I will stick with attaching a rag to the end of a bull whip, cracking it towards the furniture and yelling at the top of my lungs, "Giddy-up!" At least all of that wind emanating from me ought to keep the stuff airborne until the guests go home.

1 comment:

Celticspirit said...

Yikes I think I'd skip the maid too. I can't believe all the stuff that goes on there with the domestic help. And it sounds like people don't really care. Kinda scary.