MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, February 28, 2014

Walking TIME BOMBS in our midst?

Walking TIME BOMBS in our midst?
Flipping yesterday's morning paper, I was jolted by an eerie piece of social news where an Indon maid slit the throats of a pair of young brothers before taking her own life.
While being overwhelmed by shock, many started to query what were the motives behind such a bloody incident and get alarmed by their domestic helps at home whom they now compare with the walking time bombs waiting to go off.
If has become a ubiquitous phenomenon among Malaysian families to have maids. But having under the same roof a total stranger bearing no blood relationship with the hosts in any way and who was never seen anywhere before, could bring on a lot of worries, especially this woman is now entrusted to handle all the house chores.
Most of the maids hired by Malaysian families are from neighboring Indonesia or the Philippines. To Chinese families, these maids present certain degree of differences in terms of language, culture, religion and dietary habits. Since we have decided to hire them, we have to make some adaptations and adjustments to our lifestyle to accommodate the new member of the household. Otherwise spending the rest of the years before the expiry of the employment contract could be a daunting task for both the hosts and their maids.
Maids often double up as cooks or babysitters for toddlers at home, occasionally caretakers for an aged parent as well. Inside the house they have a rather intimate title kakak but deep inside the hearts of these employers, they are well aware these kakaks are no elder sisters to their young kids but complete strangers whose backgrounds they have very little or no knowledge. It's a matter of luck whether a hired hand would eventually turn out to be a good or a bad one: She could be very diligent and understanding and a good helper at home, but she could also be a total flop and nasty troublemaker, a walking time bomb waiting to blow up the house.
The maid of a friend of mine suddenly got pregnant. This friend has two young daughters and an old mother living with him. Being the only man in the house, he was the prime suspect for causing the pregnancy.
Luckily the maid finally admitted upon some intimidation that she had had a secret affair with the plumber my friend had hired to fix the pipes.
Having his name cleared, my friend immediately sent back the maid and vowed not to hire another one.
The elder sister of another friend of mine has always treated her maid well but because the maid was caught flirting with a male foreign worker behind the house one day, she lightly scolded the maid, who later grudgingly stabbed her from the back, nearly claiming her life.
Far away from their homes, these maids have to work in very lonely and completely unfamiliar environment, resulting in aberrant changes to their mental state. They start to behave awkwardly but often the employers fail to take note of such changes until tragedy befalls the household.
Several months ago, a maid in Singapore ran amok and stabbed her employer's 16-year-old daughter to death because she suspected her husband back in Indonesia was marrying another woman.
Having read so much of such things, many people have become hysterical, installing pinhole cameras keep track of the maid's every move at home.
There are an estimated 230,000 foreign maids working in this country. If maids are equated to walking time bombs, then we will have 230,000 of them planted in our cities and towns.
Just as we have problematic maids, we also have problematic employers.
To be honest, we have also read a great deal about maids getting raped or abused by their employers, so much so that we have seen Indonesians protesting in favor of their compatriots and the Indonesian government announcing plans to stop sending maids to Malaysia.
While it is impossible to stop the tragedies completely, there are ways we can keep them at bay. Communication plays an utterly important role in this aspect.
Employers should know how to treat their maids properly and help them assimilate into the local society. They collectively form a reckoned force to help bolster our economic development but could potentially turn into much dreaded time bombs as well. -Mysinchew

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