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Archive for the ‘Maid’ Category

On Sunday,
Simple Sally cooked me bee hoon
without omelette
(even though I asked for omelette).

On Monday,
Simple Sally cooked me omelette
without rice
(even though I asked for rice).

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Maid No. 1 aka The Stalker

Her story…
Only 25 and fresh from the remote mountains of Bukidnon in far-flung Mindanao, easternmost of the Philippines, without a single relative or friend here in Singapore, she missed her family and boyfriend greatly, wept daily.

Why I kept her until I fired her…
She was sweet, sincere and innocent (she swore her eternal allegiance to me the very night she arrived; when Mr Fluffy Hubby sent her back to the agency, she asked him to tell me she was sorry for letting me down; and when he walked into the agency a week later, she immediately rushed forward to ask him how I was), hardworking (during the one month she was here, she kept our apartment the cleanest and neatest it has ever been), (too) eager to please (she wiped stuff we strictly instructed her not to touch), honest to a fault (she admitted to wiping stuff she was strictly instructed not to touch), and appreciative (I felt like God every night when she thanked me for the food).

Why I fired her anyway…
She couldn’t cook to save her life. Literally. Her hands shook uncontrollably whenever she held the kitchen knife. We had to wait 3.5 hours every night for our tears-salted dinner. But she was really starting to come unhinged when she asked, “Chicken thigh is from what type of chicken, Mam?” and “Mam, tomorrow I cook melons?” while cupping her breasts with both hands. I was vastly pregnant, very paranoid and very much perturbed.

After words…
Almost 2 years later, she called me out of the blue, asked whether I remembered her, and started sobbing, “Mam, I going home next week cos my mother sick. I miss you so much. Everyday, in the afternoon, I stare at your house and think what you doing. I so sorry. I miss you so much, you know, cos you’re my first. Can I visit you?” A few days later, she turned up, squealed in delight at Strawberry Milk Baby and kissed her, stayed for an hour updating me on what had happened to her after I fired her, then left with tears brimming over in her eyes. A week later, she called me up again, quietly weeping, “Mam, I going home tomorrow. Can I have photo of you? Because I want to keep, you know, cos you’re my first. Can you call me in the Philippines when I go back?” Sometimes, I wonder if I should have kept her because she obviously loves me, but mostly, I’m just freaked out because she obviously loves me.

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"… only pretty girls can go America…"

The maid was watching me assemble baby chef’s new toy kitchen playset that is not just fully equipped with a battery-operated stove, an oven with a grill, as well as a tap and a sink that really ran water, but also outfitted with an impressive array of kitchen accessories such as spatula, ladle and drainer, kettle and teacups, plates and saucers, forks, knives and spoons, topped by an entire carton box of plastic food.

Ma’am, all these very nice one leh.

Yah, they are very nice, aren’t they?

Ma’am, when you small, you also have all these?

Me? No lah, I didn’t have the kind of toys baby has. But I imagined I did. I used whatever toys I had to imagine whatever I wanted them to be. So if I had wanted this to be a car, it was a car. If I had wanted it to be plane, it was a plane. And when I wanted to play cooking, these would be the food that I was cutting and cooking.

Ma’am, you mean you pretend one, issit?

Yah, pretend.

Ma’am, you very funny one leh!

When the maid’s laughter finally subsided, I resumed the conversation.

So would you like to get your sister something like this?

No lah, Ma’am… The children there like to play outside one. They don’t like to play at home.

Oh… so no toys?

No… Last time, I buy the electronic keyboard for my sister. More than $100 but she play a while only, then never play anymore… Very expensive one leh.

Do you also play the keyboard, or piano?

Me ah, Ma’am? No… I not so clever one. I just buy for my sister. Very nice one leh. If you can play music, you very clever one. But she play a while only, then never play anymore. Very expensive one leh.

So there’s nothing you want to get for her now?

Barbie doll lor, Ma’am.

The children there like Barbie doll?

Yes lor, Ma’am. My sister say only pretty girls can go America next time.

What?

Aiyah, Ma’am, she very funny one lah, my sister. She say only pretty girls can go America next time. So next time, she go America.

So she likes Barbie doll?

Yes lor, Ma’am. You know the trolley bag? She say she want. Ask me to buy for her. But I don’t know where to buy… Ma’am, you know where to buy the Barbie doll trolley bag?

Most of the departmental stores would sell it, I think. Just go to the toys section. You can try Takashimaya or Isetan when you go to Orchard Road on Sundays.

Is it? Then I go and find lor.

After more than 2 months, the maid still hadn’t brought back the Barbie doll trolley bag from her weekly Sunday traipses down Orchard Road. In the end, I couldn’t take it anymore and bought a full set of Barbie doll haversack (the trolley bag was ridiculously small), water bottle, wallet, watch, pencils, notebook, eraser, colour pencils, etc, and passed them to the maid for her to send them back home to her sister. So now, my baby chef has an entire toy kitchen playset and the maid’s sister has an entire Barbie doll school set – consumer colonialism complete.

Truly, if our children are how we imagine the future, is it any surprise then that I, with my 1st world dreams, have always wished she can effortlessly whip up fabulous food; and the maid (who is an awesome cook, by the way), with her 3rd world dreams, has always wished for a better life in a 1st world country? So yes, it is funny, this thing with the imagination. It is funny to imagine what money can buy. And it is funny to imagine what money cannot buy. In the meantime, we play pretend.

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Which came first… chicken or meat?

I instructed the maid on preparing Toffee’s dinner.

Marinate the meat with basil and black pepper. Then cut the bell pepper, and chop some onion and garlic to steam together with the meat. Marinate the fish with basil, black pepper and lemon juice. Cut the tomato. After you’ve steamed the meat for some time, put in the fish and tomato to steam too. Then cook the rice till it’s soft. Do you understand?

Yes, Ma’am.

Are you sure you understand?

Yes, Ma’am.

I repeated the instructions 2 more times just to be sure.

Let me know when it’s done. Ok?

Ok.

5 minutes later, the maid came looking for me.

Ma’am, you say do the meat…

Yes… ?

But Ma’am, it’s chicken.

Huh?

You say do meat, but it’s chicken.

What do you mean?

You say take out chicken but you say do meat.

You mean I asked you to take out the chicken from the freezer to thaw?

Yes lor, Ma’am. You say take out chicken, but later you say do meat.

You mean I asked you to marinate the meat and cook it for dinner?

Yes lor, Ma’am. But you say take out chicken.

I suddenly gained clarity.

Chicken is meat!

Is it? I thought meat is pork?

I ponder over whether I have actually been engaging in a philosophical discussion with the maid. If chicken is meat, and meat is pork, then is chicken really pork in disguise? Little wonder then for the confusion.

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Maid & Rabbit

I stumbled on the maid vaccuming the rabbit’s cage, with the rabbit in it.

Help.

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Fish & Chicken, or Green Beans too?

She eats lots of mushy baby food. These are usually prepared as purées, stored in baby food storage cubes and then put into the freezer. As the number of storage cubes we have are limited, the amount of purée to prepare at any one time has to be carefully managed in correspondence with the amount that she eats. Typically, she polishes off 7 cubes of purée per day – 2 cubes of fruits purée in the morning for breakfast, and 5 cubes of fish, meat, vegetables and fruit purée in the evening for dinner. This is on top of the other baby food she eats, such as baby cereal, potatoes, pancakes, toast and fruits.

Today, seeing that we have 10 empty storage cubes, I asked the maid to go to the market to buy cod fish and chicken to purée – 5 cubes of cod fish purée and 5 cubes of chicken purée. Since she was making a trip to the market, I also asked her to buy green beans for puréeing tomorrow.

I strolled into the kitchen while she was preparing to purée, with all 10 storage cubes lined up neatly on the counter-top.

Ma’am, you want me purée fish and chicken, right?

Yah.

Ma’am, you want me purée green beans also?

No need. Just purée the fish and chicken now. Purée the green beans tomorrow.

But Ma’am, this one fish and chicken only.

Yah, just purée the fish and chicken now.

But Ma’am, this one fish and chicken only!

Huh? I don’t understand. What do you mean?

You want me purée green beans, right? But this one fish and chicken only!

Understanding suddenly dawned on me.

You mean there are only enough cubes for puréeing the fish and chicken?

Yes lor, Ma’am. This one fish and chicken only. Then you want me purée green beans tomorrow…?

Well, the baby will eat 2 cubes of purée for breakfast later, and then another 5 cubes of purée for dinner this evening. And tomorrow, she will eat another 2 cubes for breakfast. So there will be 9 cubes altogether. You can use that for the green beans when you purée tomorrow.

Oorrh… so I purée green beans tomorrow?

Yes, purée the green beans tomorrow.

Then I use the cubes?

Yes, use the cubes.

Then I purée in the afternoon?

Yah lah. Purée in the afternoon after the baby has eaten her breakfast so that there will be enough cubes.

Oorrh… ok.

I ran away before I screamed at the maid.

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Peaches & Plums

We asked the maid to go to the market to buy 4 peaches + 4 plums.

She returned with 0 peaches + 10 plums (in 2 bags).

Why didn’t you buy any peaches?

Very expensive, Ma’am!

Is it? How much were they?

$1, 1!

Oh ok. Peaches are usually this price… So why did you buy 2 packets of plums?

This packet from Shop N Save.

And this packet?

This packet from market.

So why did you buy 2 packets?

$0.95, 1!

There was a moment of silence as I contemplated this.

You mean you bought the plums because they were cheap?

Yes, $0.95!

So you mean you went to Shop N Save and bought the plums and then you went to the market and bought more plums because they were cheap? $0.95 for 1 plum?

Yes lor, Ma’am. $0.95 only leh.

So you didn’t buy the peaches because they were expensive?

Yes lor, Ma’am. $1, 1 peach. So expensive. Very expensive one leh.

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