Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Maid Story - Tale Of A Runaway Maid

Maid In Singapore

"Bu, saya mau ikut Ibu." An Indonesian girl talked to Me.
She seemed to shield herself behind the bus-stop. 

"Tapi saya mau ke rumah sakit." I told her. 

"Ke mana juga saya mau ikut. Nanti saya mau ikut Ibu pulang. Tolong Bu." She pleaded. 

"Mana mungkin. Saya tinggal diMalaysia. Harus guna passport." I reasoned to her. 

"Enggak apa-apa. Saya jalan betul-betul belakang Ibu. Enggak dilihat orang." She assured Me.

News of a missing China girl, Huang Na, came fresh to My mind.
It's everywhere - In the dailies, tv, radio and posters were hand out in search of her.
She was killed and stuffed in a box.
The killer sneaked back to his home-town in Malaysia.
Since then, security at the Woodlands Checkpoint was stepped up and the man was finally hanged.

Will this Indonesian girl create headlines for Me?

The bus to the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) station arrived.
I boarded and she tailed Me closely, without being asked.

Once inside the MRT, I asked what makes her run away from her employer - Her answer did not shock Me - Language barrier is always the case when dishonest agencies back home were involved.
Resume in the paper is no more than just written words.

She did not understand a single English-word spoken by her employer.
Whatever it's been said, she responded with a nod,
"Yes, maam", or a shake of her head "No, maam".

So, getting the daily scoldings had pushed her to take this drastic action.

Knowing her Singapore agency was somewhere in Toa Payoh, I thought of accompanying her back to the place.
She refused to alight and kept a distant from Me when the destination was announced.

She came back to me when the train started moving again.
It was heading the city.
This time, I did not tell her where I'll bring her to.
Half of My sympathy was gone.

I called My Sister to cancel my visit with her to the hospital.
I had more urgent matter to attend.
Settle this maid who suddenly becomes a liability.

I was on My way to Wisma Indonesia when she said she had not eaten the whole day.
It was almost 6pm.
She was at the bus stop since 6.30am, and I met her at 3.30pm.
I brought her to Burger King.
Yes - She ate hungrily.
I ordered another set meal for her.

******

Nearing the Indonesian Embassy, she hold Me tight.
Refused to let Me go.
She pleaded and cried.

She wanted to go to Malaysia.
She used to work in a factory in Johor Bahru.
She produced her friends' addresses and phone numbers.
She wanted to be with them at Ulu Tiram.
She wanted to work in JB again.
Big money did not matter to her anymore.

Just then, she remembered having a male former colleague's number.
She called and asked him to bring her to their former working place.

We waited for him at the bus-stop where she first spotted me, at Admiralty Road.
The Malaysian man was on his way to work his graveyard shift.
He promised to pick her up at 7.30am the next day.

I was forced into the circumstance.
Much as I was reluctant to help, I do not like the idea of her following the man.
Thought of a police call was dismissed after seeing the frightening reactions in her, to actions I was about to take.

I have to see her friends.
I assured her, I will.

Heading towards the nearest mosque, An-Nur, I insisted on her taking a rest inside it.
It was after 9pm and the mosque will be locked at 10pm.
With the excuse that I will have to wait for My Husband outside the gate, she followed My advice.

******

Convinced that she was finally resting, I hurried to my waiting Husband across the Johor Bahru Causeway.
We went straight to the given address.
After meeting her friends, I asked them to help her.

What can they do?
They did not have her number and they were not allowed to leave Malaysia.

At that point, I realised her case was already over.
Nobody is allowed to stay inside a mosque after 10pm without prior permission.
Even if she was to stay up at the bus stop, she will be picked up by the patrolling policemen.
After all, looking at my watch, it was nearing 1am.

Did she betray her employer?
Being naive led her to face the ordeal all by herself.

To the poor girl whom has made the agency back home richer, may she be in good hand now.

Until today, I do not know her name.