Monday, July 4, 2011

The Maid - The Loan

Nora*'s mother had just secured a deal with a sugar factory when it offered Rp13,000,000 (S$1,880) for Nora's two-year old quarter acre of sugarcane plantation.

The mother will use the money to renovate part of their house as she had the feeling that very soon, Singaporeans will want to visit her family.
Time is running out before these Singaporeans appeared at their front door.

Since Ramadhan is next month, it is better that the mother start renovating the house now.

Nora could not said no to her mother, as what the woman was earlier assured by her daughter, come July, Nora will receive her first salary of about Rp3,500,000.
But the mother did not know that Nora had spent two months idling in Batam before her first employer employed her to work with his family in the western part of Singapore.

And, Nora knew that she was cheated by her Indonesian agency.
Since she paid her own passage to Batam, she knows salaryless working in Singapore will be reduced to six, and at the most seven months.
Not nine months as she is facing now!

Nora's family was at the most critical period when her father met with an accident and their failed chilli plantation due to erratic weather that I had blogged earlier, exhausting all financial resources.
They were left totally dry but her children have to be in school and life has to go on.

So, Nora took drastic and unwavering step leaving her 3 young children with her aged mother and bedridden father to be in Batam last Ramadhan.

When others working in faraway land all converged home in Ramadhan to be together for the festive Syawal, Nora left home during the fasting month, leaving her children not only without their father who had simply left his family to pursue his own living, but without their mother too.

To reach Batam, Nora desperately went around asking for loan.

Normally Rp800,000 (about S$116) would be more than enough airfare.
But it was the peak period Ramadhan.

Since demand was more than supply, ticket prices went spiraling, that Nora had to ask for another loan of Rp500,000.

I used to fly to Jakarta from Hang Nadim Airport in Batam to Jakarta.
It costs less than S$100 for return ticket.

But last year, when I offered to pay a family of four's passageway to return home to Semarang from Batam, to spend their Syawal with their aged parents, whom they had not for met more than ten years, ticket price was already Rp1.2 million (about S$170).
And it was around two months away from Syawal.

The husband's mother was always in tears, longing for her only son and never before seeing her two granddaughters, when the couple called home.

Bear in mind, it was after a field day running counter after counter for wanting to secure the cheapest price.
Bear in mind, it was weeks before Ramadhan, in July, not August, and the ticketing girl said, ticket price went up each passing day.

So, I understand Nora's predicament.


The loan had been bothering Nora.
It was really a heavy burden on her shoulder, the biggest stone she ever had on her shoulder, as there was no such thing as to wait for nine months to earn her first salary working in Saudi.

And to tell her mother that her first salary will only be in September, she did not know how to create sentence from the limited words she has.


The cruel maids' world, she only knew and encountered after her two years in Abha, Saudi Arabia.

After her two years of working abroad, after repeatedly hearing others kept saying, she was one of the exceptionally lucky maid, it led her to make a nazar, a promise to slaughter a goat and holding a feast for her village folks after completion of honouring her another two years with the same employer.

When her second two-year contract was completed, upon landing at the airport, immediately after exiting the immigration counter, another maid who returned home together within her group from Jeddah, was struggling and gripping tight, holding Nora's baggage from being pushed away by unknown and suspicious men, hovering around the airport preying from victims.

These vultures, as if being tipped-off, always knew the schedule of return-home maids and many had fallen to become penniless victims, robbed of belongings upon stepping on homeground.
These maids often return to their families not only financially broke, but with shattering brokenhearted too.

The goodhearted maid refused to let Nora charted her home journey with just her and the driver.
Since it was almost nighttime, despite her children and family were all eagerly waiting for her, she was dragged to follow the goodhearted maid home, in Surabaya too.
She was forced to spend her night there.

The 'saint' maid personally chose reliable transportation for Nora to safely reach her waiting family.


Before Nora embarked in search of greener pasture in Singapore, she made a prior nazar, to do the same as what she did before.

But when she worked with her first employer here, she often complained to HIM, what HE gave her was not what she wanted.
She told GOD, her nazar is no trivial matter to look into.
She will do more when HE Gives her more than she had asked for.

As what she told Me, this time, upon completion of her two-year contract, she will qurban, slaughtering a kibasy.
She will ask someone to find the best mountain goat with good meat, the biggest mountain goat yet to be found.
She hope all Nyai's Children will be able to join in the feast she will be going to offer to all her villagefolks.
GOD willing.    


I had told My Husband of Nora's loan since March.

To Him, just get the heaviest stone off on her shoulder, just pay up for her.
After all, it costs Us less than RM400.

Yes, I'll pay up, but not then, in March.
I'll wait until July.
No wonder the zakat, the tithe, He handed Me to give away early this year, I kept postponing.


Yesterday, I told Nora, since it is already July, the promised time has come for her to honour her loan payment.
The promise will be fulfilled when we reached City Plaza.

Nora quickly closed her mouth with both hands when she heard herself shouting loudly

Upon signing the transfer slip, she claimed weightless on both shoulders.
The heaviest stone had automatically slipped away.

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