Monday, January 31, 2011

The Maid Had Fled...

Our next-door neighbour's maid of two short months absconded yesterday afternoon. And I was an unwitting witness to it.

I had just stepped out the door, trash bags in hand, when I caught sight of her grabbing her bright orange handbag, pre-stashed behind the half-opened door of the cleaner's room, and hurrying towards the lift.

[Each floor of this highrise has a small, unlocked cubicle for cleaners to stash their cleaning paraphernalia].

It was the sight of her, properly garbed in long black pants, purple blouse, a bright-coloured tudung and a pair of festive slippers making a beeline for her hidden tote that told me something was amiss.

However, it wasn't a done deal to simply confront her as she stood there waiting for the lift to arrive. For all it was, she could be going out with friends, and I would look like a moron.

So I kept it to myself; didn't even confide in the old man about it. I was waiting for the next door folks, a young couple with two kids, to return from their day out, to check things out.

The neighbour's much-loved, middle-aged maid had just returned home to Indonesia for good after eight long years of service. Her replacement was that sullen-looking woman in her early 20s.

This morning my suspicion was answered. The neighbour's wife stopped to chat as I stood by the door keeping an eye on our two cats, Lillie and Awang, having their daily excursion around the floor.

I told her what I saw when she informed that her maid had fled. She also said a quick check with the management office revealed quite a number of maids had taken to their heels these past few months, allegedly aided by 'orang dalam' (insiders).

Apparently there's a syndicate at work here, in this building, in which some of the janitors were allegedly involved. She mentioned the name 'Su', which gave me a jolt.

There's only one cleaner named Su, and with another named Eli, had been cleaning my unit twice weekly for the last one month since our old, dependable bibik returned home to Jogjakarta in November last year.

The duo had approached me soon after bibik left, asking to replace bibik. I was a-okay with the idea; after all they had only wanted to earn some extra cash and I certainly could do with extra hands to clean the bathrooms.

This morning I caught hold of Eli working downstairs and told her what I knew. She went pale, asking me again and again: "Puan nampak dia lari?" (You saw her flee?) "Yup," was my curt reply.

Hours later the neighbour rang my bell to inform that she had viewed the newly installed CCTV together with the security people. Su's involvement was confirmed.

She was in every frame, on the mobile acting as a look-out whilst a strange man came to collect the runaway maid's baggage. Eli was not to be seen, so we have yet to know the extent of her involvement in this charade.

Naturally the neighbour was very annoyed. "I confronted Su, Kak, but she denied everything. She chose to keep quiet when we told her we have the evidence on tape." She has since made a police report.

In the meantime, the agency that had employed the cleaners would conduct their own investigations on their workers' alleged involvement. They could be dismissed if proven true, I was told.

"It's not so much the RM6,000 that we have wasted in getting her here, Kak; it's the inconvenience that we have to face because we both work and the kids have school. Thank God for the holidays; at least we can take stock and get things organised before school reopens."

And me? These duo had just started working for us. They came in twice weekly, every Wednesday and Sunday; their job limited to cleaning the 3 bathrooms and all the windows, mopping the floor, dusting the fans, shelves etc.

I paid their first month's due just yesterday and I don't know if I want them to continue. feeling vulnerable the way I do now; I just don't feel safe anymore. Am I being paranoid?

Frankly, I'm pretty pissed myself at the goings-on. What's with these people, anyway? Don't they have any sense of amanah at all?


ninotaziz said...

After loyal and trusted Bik goes home to Indonesia, this very often happens. It is so difficult to find replacements.

I dread the day our Bik decides to go back for good. After five years, she is so much part of the family.

Maybe it is wiser to get older ladies and not expect them to do 'everything'.

As for Su and Eli, surely it is difficult to trust them? What does your gut feeling tell you Kak Kama?

Aida Marie Mohamad said...

Kak Puteri,

I was approached by either Su or Eli too. Masa I tunjuk my unit to potential buyers one of them asked if I need a cleaner later. The one I know wears a tudung, fair and petite. She is always mopping.

Will tell new owner not to use the condo cleaners when they move in.

That's why I still come and use the pool once in a while. Belum handover the keys yet.

I think you should use a new cleaning company. These condo cleaners dah buat you rasa was-was.

They may mark things in your house, make a duplicate key and steal when you are not around. Maybe I am paranoid but it can happen.

Pak Idrus said...

Kama, We used to clean our house ourselves and since the last three months because we felt we need help we decided to hire a walk in maid who do the cleaning at RM10.00 an hour. She would clean the house, a simple cleaning including 2 bathroom and got it done in four hours and we pay her RM40.00 on the spot. She would come twice or thrice depend on us and the job became simpler to her since it is just a repeat.

I think for those family who spouse did not work, they should do the work themselves. Why must they have maid. If both are working then it is reasonable to employ a maid and it should be a walk in maid who work from say 7AM to 5PM daily and pay them on a monthly basis. By doing this one need not give a room and provides meals for the main. One saved a lots if the maid did not stay in.

Hope this idea would be give some thoughts.

Have a nice day anyway.

HHalem said...

Hi Kama,

I don't understand (actually refuse to) why do you need a maid for.

Your other half is not a cruel as me, I guess. :-)

Our mother bela 7 orang anak, morning go to bendang, sometime menoreh getah, and yet don't need a helping hand.

7 anak semuanya jadi Orang, nasib baik tak jadi Beruang.:-)

My 2 sen.
(ex-gate crasher cum disco crawler. hehehe. Masa tu belum ada karaokae)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

pak idrus & halem - the maid only clean the windows, bathrooms, mop the floor, dust the ceiling fans. Otherwise, i do practically everything myself. the reason why i need a maid is because I have aches and pains in both feet. I can't stand for long. i pray sitting down because i can't bend my kness. how am i going to kneel in the bathrooms to scrub the floors and climb the ladder to clean the fans? i don't really pamper myself actually.. am pretty used to housework, just need help in certain areas.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

ninot - my gutfeel isn't good..

aida - i rasa tak sedap dah now..

pak idrus & halem - my maid pun bukan stay-in. datang 2 kali seminggu only. the bibik who went home in november tu maid my neighbour upstairs. majikan nya allowed her to work at my place 2x a week to earn extra money and to help me.

tireless mom said...

They don't have any sense of amanah lah that is why they do this dirty job. Of course Su will not admit. That is part of the modus operandi. This syndicate thing, it is not only prevailing in TTDI but have heard about it elsewhere too.

HHalem said...

Kama Sis,

Sorry to hear your knee problem which I do not know off. To me you are perfectly healty looking young women judging from you standing equally tall side by side to men.

I should have not judge the badan by the baju:-)

Thousand apology.
Sorry again Mamme.

Im making a fool of myself.
(Slaping my wrist- 1 minggu tak makan ais cream kacang potong. Lain2 OK)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Halem - you're forgiven.. jangan jadi syiah, pukui2 badan sendiri..LOL

Kama At-Tarawis said...

TM - yup, agreed.

Anonymous said...


When in doubt, throw them out.


Kama At-Tarawis said...

derebar - i'll take your advice. better safe than sorry..

Anonymous said...

Sorry Puan, this comment saya nak tujukan to those men out there who think why one would need a maid when the lady of the house does not work and still 'nampak' ok.

What is wrong with having a maid to memudahkan kerja rumah? Housework doesn't end at 5pm unlike working at the office. There is always food to prepare, kitchen to tidy up afterwards, floor to clean, clothes to wash, hang, iron or fold, plants to water and the regular bathroom, window,grille, fan cleaning etc. Most of the times, when the spouse has already got a day job, he doesn't usually lend a (major) helping hand at home, usually taking it for granted 'bini aku la buat, lagipun dia kat rumah bukannya buat apa2 pun'. And kids these days? Yes, they do help out sometimes but itupun at the expense of naik blood pressure orang yg menyuruhnya. Nowadays there are just too many school activities and computer games to distract them.

My aunt is in her 50s and has been a hosuewife all her life. Now ni bila badan pun dah sakit sana sakit sini with arthritis, rheumatism etc. husband still tak nak ambik maid because tak percaya kat orang asing dlm rumah walaupun lebih daripada mampu. My aunt still has to do all the housechores, the ones that she's been doing from the day she got married. So what sort of quality of life does she have?

As for me, i have 2 little kids and a hectic 9-6 job. I depend on my maid heavily. I feel that i'm less stressed out now that i don't have to spend my off days cleaning the house etc. I foresee myself to always having one even though the kids dah besar2 nanti because i like coming home to a tidy house, no rush during the weekends to complete housework and bila dah pencen2 nanti and my bones have started to creak, i just want to enjoy my retirement with travelling or do nothing. The last thing i want to think about is the windows that need to be cleaned.

Sorry once again Puan, emotional pulak kat sini.

Cik Kiah

Kama At-Tarawis said...

cik kiah - i can't but agree wholeheartedly with you.

mekyam said...

puteri, i was thinking... if i was going to have to spend rm6k to get a maid, i wldn't bother getting a foreign/indon one. i'd try and advertised for a local.

surely the amount could be added to sweeten the wages offered to a local since there won't be any more need to bother with org tengah and work-visas etc. or no locals are willing to work as maids anymore nowadays, not even for better wages and terms?

Kama At-Tarawis said...

mekyam - therein lies the problem, mekyam. locals are not keen to work as housemaids. period. unlike before, you could get kampung girls to do the needful; now they are educated, takmau jadi maid.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Puteri, what's the real reason behind all these maids fleeing? I've heard some wild stories but I like to hear from more reliable source like u :))

Kama At-Tarawis said...

tommy - rest assured your wild stories do no represent the true situation in malaysia. admittedly there are the occasional cases of maid abuse and more often than not the perpetrators are brought to justice. malaysians in general are good, kind employers. they neither tolerate nor indulge in this sort of thing. but there'll always be bastards among us who treat their househelp badly, and i wish them hell.

maids usually flee when they don't feel satisfied with their lot. i know why the maid next door lari. more than once she complained to me the two kids liked to 'berantakan' (quarrel) and she couldnt take it. but siblings quarrel all the time, don't they? some maid fled because they felt overworked, thus tired. but we wives feel just the same.. housework is never done.. we are tired all the time.

many flee because they have been influenced by third parties to work elsewhere (for better pay and not as maids). in short, those who flee usually do it for selfish reasons, forgetting they were here courtesy of people who had paid thousands to bring them here.

i, for one, do not have mercy on maids who lari..

VersedAnggerik said...

Haihhh.... Kak Puteri,

My maid too, ran away two weeks ago. Now in the process of getting a new one.

It is tiring, I admit, this process of new maid and re-training them. But with me working and kids going to school, I have no choice but to have one.

Tawakkal illaAllah je lah.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Vee - kesian kat u, just like i sympathise with my next-door neighbour. hopefully you'll get a better one ...