Friday, November 20, 2009

Kisah Pembantu Rumah - Part 1

Ever since I married MrNordin, I only know of one maid, Sri.

Sri came into my husband’s family in 2002. I was not married yet then. She was this tomboyish-looking gal with short hair and big-built, always looking at me nervously whenever I came around visiting.

I remember her going in and out of the kitchen when I visited their house one day and I thought she looked rather suspicious. She was illegal at first, but after seeing that she was quite capable of handling the housework, MrNordin applied for her work permit and so, she was made legal.

I got to know her better after I moved into the family. One word to describe her is ~ competent. She takes care of everything in the house while we are at work ~ from cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing to taking care of the pets (we had a lot then ~ chickens, cats, birds, tortoises and now a goose) and the kids.

She also supervises the gardener, the plumber, the electrician, the driver, the bill collector, the air-cond man and whoever that comes around to the house while we were out. We can trust her with giving instructions to them and clarifying what’s wrong with the devices.

She can cook very well, sekali ajar dah boleh buat. I thought her how to cook nasi lemak and asam pedas, now her asam pedas and nasi lemak are the ones that my kids crave for when they come home for the holidays. She makes the best sambal goreng and ayam berlada (which I don’t know how to). Her sambal belacan is only second best to my MIL’s and her masak lemak is almost as good.

Besides masakan melayu, she can also cook pasta and such ~ macaroni and cheese tu pejam mata je lah, spagetthi olio, carbonara, bolognaise etc, etc. But I thought her first how to do all these lah... (must claim credit !).

She’s also a good seamstress. Before she came to Malaysia, she was working in a garment factory in her kampung for a while and that’s how she acquired the skill. She sews her own baju, Nizzar’s baju melayu, repair our baju2 yang dah koyak, jahit tepi kain, jahit samping etc, etc. It’s so convenient.

Besides her multi-skills, she’s also quite clever. Maybe because she has been with us for a long time and she knows our style. Sometimes when I’m out with my friends at night and my MIL calls the house, she could cover for me by saying, “Kak Yati dah tidur, bu…” (I didn’t ask her to do that).

Or when some sales man call, demanding to speak to my husband, she could gaduh with the guy to stop bugging us.

And she can speak English as well. Not fluent, but bolehlah sikit-sikit. She reads Harry Potter, ok? And watches TV with my children. I guess that’s how she picks up the language.

I’m glad she wanted to learn although my MIL was not very happy when she found out that our maid reads books instead of doing housework. We told her, "Daripada dia dok melepak dengan maid2 lain kat luar, baiklah dia baca buku, mak…" She was not amused.

Having her around was a blessing for us all. I remember when Nizzar was just a little baby, she was the one who took care of him after I went back to work. She’s very good with children and I can trust leaving her with my baby.

But not everything is well and good. She has her flaws and her days as well. If you’ve been reading my blog, there were times when I got cross with her due to her lax attitude. And that’s normal especially when one has been working for one employer for a long time. Complacency sets in… she becomes lazy, sloppy with her work… that’s when we gave her a scolding so she toe the line once again.

But most times, she would realize it was her mistake and she would come to me after that to apologize. At least she felt remorse and that’s a good sign.

To this very day, I have never treated her as a maid per se coz she’s been a part of our family. She eats with us at the dining table, she goes on holiday with us, she comes with us whenever we dine out, she eats what we eat and she drinks what we drink from the same Portmeirion plates and cups that we have in the house. No different pots/plates/cups for maid vs our own use coz we don’t believe in that.

Well, initially she did eat alone in the kitchen after we had our meals but over time, we just asked her to join us at the dining table. Dahlah penat2 masak, takkan makan sorang2 kat belakang pulak, ya tak?

To me, she’s family. That’s why when she told us that she wanted to get married at the end of this year and that she wants to go back to Indonesia, we were devastated. Can we do without her? Can we get the same maid as good as her? Is she sure of her decision?

Going home is one thing, but getting married is another thing. She’s a good girl, hard-working, and has lots of money having worked here for 7 years. This guy is a painter (tukang cat) and he does odd jobs as and when they are available. Don’t know how they met but she told me he is a neighbor in her kampung. He came here only recently.

From what she told us, we were not convinced that he’s a good guy. I think he’s just after her money. But pressure from both sides of the family and the fact that she’s now 25 and still not married (kat kampong dia kira dah andartu lah tu..), she succumbed to their wishes tho’ deep inside I know she doesn’t really want to marry this guy.

I shed tears when she told me about it coz I worry for her future. After being with us for some time, my only wish is that she’ll have a better life after she leaves. Having worked so hard all this while, I don’t want her to lose all the money that she has earned to this guy. I want her to have a good life; not lavish but comfortable enough for a small family unit.

I feel that she deserves a good life. She always told me, "Saya datang ke sini untuk kerja dan kumpul wang supaya adik2 saya and anak2 saya boleh pergi ke sekolah... sesuatu yang saya tak pernah alami selama ini. Saya mahu mereka dapat kehidupan yang lebih baik dari diri saya, k.Yati...”

I know her intentions are noble, that’s why I don’t want this guy to screw it up!

17 comments:

aida yurani said...

no wonder kak yati nak cari maid.
hmm... can't you guys find someone here for her to marry? at least she can still come cook and clean during the day, and you can pay her overtime..... (just a suggestion, hehehehe, tapi definate tak boleh)

MrsNordin said...

Aida,

She is coming back to Malaysia after she gets married, but she won't work for us anymore. I think, enoughlah pun... dah lama sangat...

She said she wants to find a daily job which allows her to go home after work. Fair enough. I just hope the guy won't ruin her life and she'll be happy with him.

Naz said...

I think as much as you are lucky to have her, she is also lucky to have you.
I went through the same thing when my pembantu wanted to quit after 3 years. In her case, it was to take care of her mother and start her own business. I told her to take a few months off and come back to Msia after that(she stays with my mom when we're not around). But masa tu dah optimistic sangat sangat, so she left. As you said, bila dah lama bekerja ni pun boleh timbul masalah juga.
This year she started calling me minta nak kerja balik. And I have already got a replacement! So she got a place with a new family and they are not treating her well...
Sad kan?
Insyaallah with a kind hearted person like you, you'll get a nice pembantu too. Good luck!

Ummi365 said...

Mrs N,

Memanglah bila kita dah buat maid tu as part of a family, memang susah nak bagi balik. I treat my maid just like you did, makan sama, cuti sama, i even buy her undies, everymonth duit clean. we treat her well sebab dia jaga anak kitakan. tapi kadang2 bila dah lama sangat pun susah jugakkan.. some things they ambik mudah.

moga the husband to be is a good man and can take care of her and may you get a good maid macam dia jugak.

Lyana Mauseth said...

MrsN,

bukan senang nak dpt yg baik kan...kalau dpt mcm robot tesco kak naz tu lagi teruk haha...hope u will find the replacement soon :D

wanshana said...

BJ,

I know how you feel... Bila kita dah tengok how hard our maids work for her family, anak-anak, etc we pray that the husbands will not buat perangai and ill-treat them.

My MIL and SIL punya maid dah how many of them yang dok mengadu husband pasang lain kat kampung, and some of the husbands had the cheek to actually use the money they sent home to get married!

I will be without a maid for the next 2 months, as Bibik Dar is going back for cuti. I just sent home her duit gaji yesterday, and even though it may not be much, with that amount she said she wants to betulkan rumah, especially nak tukar the roof which has been leaking for more than 2 years!

Sedih I dengar - for 2 years she has been working just for that, and she told me, once dah repair semua and her family boleh stay in the house comfortably, her gaji for the next 2 years nanti, baru she wants to save and spend on herself and things for her kids.

Even though she doesn't have much cash left to bring home with her, we're giving her extras, and also buy things for her kids for her to bring home. Kita pun ada anak-anak, kan? And we know how they look forward to getting stuff, etc from us everytime we go away on a trip, etc.

Yes, like you, I hope her hubby will appreciate what she has done and will treat her well...

I agree with Naz, with your good heart, insya Allah, you'll get a good maid in place of Sri, insya Allah.

* Sorry, terpanjang lah pulak my comment ni! :)

busymum100 said...

MrsN,

I am so sorry to hear you are going to lose your maid. Your story reminds me of my only real maid whom we had for a good 12 yrs! I hope to be able to meet her when we balik raya next week. Yeah, i had a local maid - she got 3rd grade for her SPM (Sc stream!). She could have been a nurse, if not for her dad's strong opposition.

As for being lazy over the yrs, biasalah tu... Bila dia rasa macam rumah dia, then dia behave macam tu jugalah..

I also hope you'll get a good one as a replacement.

DadaIQ said...

BJ
May be its a blessing in disguise. That's what I have gone through after living comfortably for the last 12 years with a "competent" maid. As you said, after so long, they started to get complacent and think that they are indispensable. I'm glad she finally quit. My new maid is doing great so far and I am more than happy now.

I hope your new maid will be as good or even better than Sri, insyaAllah.

Madam Tai Tai No More said...

BJ,

Good luck with Risna. She looked capable when I saw her at Edy's. Hopefully she is as good at managing Nizzar, the house, the pets and the kitchen as Sri (if better pun bagus jugak).

I hope Sri will have a good marriage and wonderful life ahead. It is certainly sad to see someone who has become so dear to us go. Doa aje lah kehidupan dia kelak akan lebih bagus.

AuntieYan @ Makcik Blogger said...

Salam Mrs.N,

Bestnya orang ada maid nih... :-)

All the best to Sri and hopefully you will get a better replacement.

MrsNordin said...

Naz,

It's always like that. Some of MrNordin's old maid pun had called wanting to come back and work for him. But tak bolehlah because we already had Sri.

I suppose, if we treated the well, they will do us good and vice versa. I'm sure you are a goo employer too, that's why your maid stayed with you for a long time.

MrsNordin said...

Ummi,

Thanks for your well wishes. Budi baik dibalas baik... macam gitu lah hendaknya. U have a nice day!

MrsNordin said...

Lyana,

I didn't know Naz's maid was like robot Tesco! This is interesting... :)

MrsNordin said...

Shana,

Si Sri dapat buat rumah baru lagi having worked with us for sometime now. Kesian kan they all ni... their life must be so susah back home.

For them to leave their family back home to come to Malaysia to work for some strangers like us must be really challenging. Semua sebab nak kumpul duit.

Itu for those yang betul2 nak kerja lah, like your Bibik. Setengah tu ada juga yang hampas and bagi pening kepala kita saja.

Good luck with the domestic chores for the next 2 months. Get your girls to help... I'm sure they are more than willing! :)

MrsNordin said...

Busymum,

Gone are the days when we can get local girls as maid. I hope you can meet her again this coming raya.

Tak ada maid pun, you and your family seemed more than fine... :)

Nadira Nordin said...

Although its really hard for us to see her go off and get married to some guy, its even harder for me cuz Kak Sri is like a sister to me and I saw how how she went through her relationship with that guy. As much as I think she deserves a greater guy, I think what's important is that he cares for her and she on the other hand, is lantang enough to put him in his place. I've advised her already. She knows what she wants and I think she'll be ok...it won't be the same without her though...

MrsNordin said...

Yes, Nadira. We all have to make that adjustment without her. At least you & Nabila won't be home everyday. Nadim and Nizzar will miss her the most, I'm sure.

But the new maid is ok lah.. see for yourself when you get home.

I suppose if that's what she wants, then be it. We cannot stop her. All we can do is wish her all the best and hope she finds happiness with the man that she has chosen.