I am so angry. I was made a fool last weekend. This replacement maid whom I’ve sent back to the agent is probably kicking her heels off in her hometown now, sipping a nice cup of tea, laughing at me, the sucker she suckered in Singapore.
Why couldn’t I tell she had no intention to work? Why couldn’t I read her better? Why did I even trust the recommendation of the agent? I knew I couldn’t trust her right from day one – she had those shifty eyes that made me very wary – but I just couldn’t put a finger to how I really felt about this new person in the house. The signs were everywhere – unwillingness to follow instructions, never smiling at my children, trying too hard to please only when I was around – I was the fool to believe the best; that she was trying to adapt to working in a new environment and needed time to adjust. To be fair, it would be overwhelming for anyone to help out in a house with three adrenaline-charged kids.
So when I told her I was sending her back to the agent on Saturday, she broke down and cried. I asked her if she wanted to go home instead and she said yes. I could do two things: buy her an air ticket and send her home (but this means she had to stay for a few days more till I get all the documents processed and the air ticket settled) or send her back to the agent and get them to buy her an air ticket on my behalf. I chose the latter, because it was infuriating to have her around every minute. So I assured her I would tell the agent to buy her a ticket home. And for the first time, in six days, she smiled genuinely. And laughed. She even told my helper with such glee that she could finally go home.
So we went back to the agent and I paid her a month’s salary even though she “worked” only five days, and she’s off on a jet plane back home as of now, with this money. I’m thinking: did she maliciously stage this? Showing us such horribly lazy attitude just so she can worm her way out of here with a one-way air ticket fully paid for by the sucker that is me? I mean, these girls know that the moment they’ve found employment, no matter what, they would have to be paid 30 days’ worth of work even if the employers decide to return them to the agent, isn’t it? I knew I couldn’t trust those shifty eyes. And to think that I could have been used that way! It sure feels terrible to be suckered like that.
I have so many takeaways from this lesson: number one, the agent and domestic worker always stand to gain more than the employer, so from now on, I’m not gonna assume the best of everyone – this world is really the survival of the fittest and wittiest; and number two, the next domestic helper had better be able to look me in the eye for more than 20 seconds. Shift your eyes and I’ll stay clear of you. I’m not going to be your sucker anymore.