My "Too Cute"s

Friday, August 25, 2006


Hmm, to have or not have a maid...that is always the question.

One main concern is that children will become spoiled or lazy since a maid is always around to pick up after them, but that is not necessarily the case. When I was around 11 to hey, I don’t remember how long…3 years? 4 years? (Ja, help me out here!), we had a maid because my mom worked and she wanted someone to cook for us, help out with the cleaning and washing. She was a local maid and she worked weekdays only and she was not a live-in. She was like family. Every Raya, she would come and bring us ketupat and raya goodies even though she was not working for us anymore. But we've not seen her for a long time since we moved from Kelantan. That's like 7 years ago.

The point I'd like to make is that even though we had a maid, Mom always maid sure that we helped her clean-up our rooms and we had chores to do as well. Mom said the maid was not our slave and she was hired to assist us. And during weekends, my sis and I did the housework and helped with the cooking. Having a maid did not make us spoiled kids, and when it was my turn to have a maid, we tried to make sure that the kids helped out in tidying up their toys and that they put their milk bottles in the sink and that minded their Ps and Qs.

We ourselves didn't like the idea of getting another maid because of what happened to my sis; but we learnt that if you wanted a maid,
1. the maid has to be supervised. If the maid is not supervised, then the maid can simply leave the house, or bring a man into the house (that was what my sister's maid did. On top of that, she was also a thief, and she hit my niece, who was 2 at that time, on her head, so that you can't see the bruises. Looking back, no wonder poor Mimi didn't like her and didn't want to follow her.)
2. remember to treat the maid the way you would like to be treated if you were a maid (i.e., treat the maid firmly and fairly), after all, a maid comes all the way here to work, it is a foreign land and we are all she has.
3. remember that some maids don't know their own strength, and that they don't really know the value of money (i.e. the value of your things), and as a result, a lot of things can be damaged by them (On her first day, my maid broke some small part of our Electrolux vacuum cleaner). 4.remember that maids are not entirely honest. Even though they did do it, and right before your very eyes too...they'd say 'No!'. It's like their defence mechanism. They are afraid that they'll get a scolding or worse!
5. remember that miscommunication can happen because although sometimes the words are the same, the meaning is different, and you don't have to go far to discover this. In kedah, the word for biscuit is roti, in Kelantanese, kelmarin means yesterday and kelmarin dulu means the day before vs. KL malay in which semalam means yesterday and kelmarin means the day before etc. For Kelantanese semalam or malam semalam means last night. (I think)
6. remember that the maid may do work at a superficial level only (i.e., you'll find out after they left that they don't sweep where they can't see)

Anyway, the reason why we got a maid was to help out my mom who offered to take care of her four grandkids (2 are mine and 2 are my sister's) and with the kids to occupy her, there was no way she could do other things, including going to the loo.

So it has been two years, there are pros and cons of course but luckily for us, she was not the gossipy type, or the type that brought men into the house. She was okay with the kids but she loved to watch the TV and when the TV was on, her attention drifted to the TV. Also when we gave her specific instructions to never leave the baby unattended, we found that sometimes she did, to go to wash dishes in the kitchen (which we think or thought, could wait). She loves to cook, though some dishes were weird because of strange combinations of vegetables etc. and was good at remembering directions (which was good coz I am really bad at it!)

Since my sis has finished her studies, her kids are back with her and my kids are older now and my eldest will be going to kindy soon, my mom says she's okay without a maid so we did not renew our maid's contract.

And we're doing fine! So get a maid only if it's totally necessary and let there be supervision if possible.

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