Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My journey throughout the decades....

Soon, don't know when, I'll be hitting half-the-century milestone. So today I decided to share with you what I have gone through in the past 40 years. Here, let me take you through the journey....

40 years ago: I was in standard 2. Happily walking to school, playing with my friend, catching fighter fishes from the nearby stream, playing in the rubber tree plantation. Life was so good. No pressure from my parents to outperform my classmate. Live is so much easier and fun back then even though we don't have TV to keep us entertained at night. My great-grandma was the source of our nightly entertainment where she shared with us all the Nenek Kebayan stories, Batu Belah and many more and oh yeah! that lady can sing.

30 years ago: I joined the rank of college students. Leaving the safe and secure environment of my parents home and to live in the unknown environment, sharing a room with 7 others girls who became my sisters during our stayed in college. I went through major transformation from a happily go lucky girl, rugged, mischievous into hmmm.. did I changed? Not really. It is still the same old Zai but what changed was that I covered my hair and perhaps less mischievous.

20 years ago: I joined the rank of professional workers. Worked and trained by one of the best IT company in the world, bought my first car, met my dear hubby and got hitched a one and half year later. The rest is history. Still the same old Zai.

10 years ago: We moved to our new home, gave birth to my second son, bought my third car, move progressively in my career with my current company and rediscover my passion for reading again and my oldest son was in pre-school. Did Zai changed? No Still the same Happy Go Lucky Zai with two kids.

Today: Still loyal with my current employer, has four lovely kids, moving to my new house soon, has cyber friends and enjoying my life to the fullest. I dabble into photography and some other things that I want to do and looking forward to the day I can retire. Any changes to Zai? Yes, she looks older but still a happy go-lucky girl (but my friends said I didn't look like my age, I looked much younger. Sshhh! If you know my age don't tell them).

When I hit half-a-century milestones, may be I'll do this again but for now I gotta go before I revealed more things here...Happy reading!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maid: Do we have to be at their mercy?

Oh! My dilemma with maid is never ending. In my previous post Maid oh Maid, I was singing praises for my new maid but that only lasted for 4 weeks. My maid has been threatening us about leaving and before she do that, we sent her back to the agent.

Well, maid problem in Malaysia is kind of serious, to me, because the Indonesian government is banning their people to come to Malaysia to work until both government settle on salary, day off and some other issues. To me, I'm fine to accommodate their request but how can the agent or the Indonesian government ensure us that we get what we pay for?

The past experience has made us more wary and selective of hiring the maid from Indonesia as they are know to lack the required skill and also language. So for me to pay the amount they asked, I have no problem but the maid has to be:

1) have some working experience first. There are occasion where the maid doesn't know how to light the gas stove, let alone operating the electrical appliances.

2) the maid must be able to understand some basic language of our Bahasa Malaysia. There was one maid that I had before who totally doesn't understand our language. It was like a duck talking to a chicken and the training is very exhaustive because everything has to be shown with example.

3) be truthful about their age. Since the age legal age is between 21 to 45, they have falsified their birth date to meet the requirement. My latest maid age was 47 years old, which we found out from her passport, and she told the agent and us that her age is only 37. I also have a maid, my best maid ever, who was 18years old but her passport listed her as 25 years old. To me this has shown their insincerity. Be truthful about it as we are going to trust you to take care of our kids.

4) ensure that the maid is responsible and would not disappear from the house leaving your kid at their mercy. I have read and also through some of my friends experience, there are maid who will just pack and leave, leaving your kids at home alone. These runaway maids normally has contact outside and believe me they just leave the house and stay with the construction workers.

5) they are certified to be fit - physically and mentally. There are maids who came here with some mental problem ending up they abuse the kids that they supposed to take care. Some of the employer resorted to install CCTV inside the house to monitor these abusive maid.

6) no practicing of black magic-some of the maid, ewwww they spit or add in their urine into your food or drink. Why they are doing that, only god knows but from what I heard is that they wanted the employer to listen to them and not the other way round where they are supposed to listen to the employer. They also bring with them some kind of charms where they charmed the employer. There were few cases where the husband lost interest with their wife and took the maid as his new wife. Their reason for bringing this charm with them is to make sure the employer will like them. Duh! If you are good, we will like you. No need to charm us.

So how can our government ensure that we get the right kind of maid to serve us? Do we have to be at their mercy? If they imposed conditions to us, shouldn't we have some condition too to ensure the safety of our kids and home when we are away at work?

Do you agree with me that we need some kind of assurance especially when it comes to the safety our little ones? Share with me your thoughts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodbye Ramadhan, Hello Syawal

After a month of fasting, we said goodbye to Ramadhan on 9th August and say hello to Syawal which started on Friday,10th September. As per our tradition, we seek forgiveness in the morning where I led my kids to ask forgiveness from hubby and then the kids asked forgiveness from us. The kids also asked forgiveness among themselves where the younger asked forgiveness from the elders. It also a practice in my family to give them "Duit Raya", money which we put in a special envelope instead of presents.

Raya also mean visiting parents and relatives and you can bet, my parents house was packed with all of us. My older brothers decided not to stay overnight at my parents' house but not for me or my sisters. No matter how packed the house, we will always sleep at my parents' house because there's a lot of stories and gossip to share.

My sisters went back one day before Raya but for me, I only went back on the first day itself. We didn't leave early as usual because my husband and sons decided to have their Friday prayer in Kajang first. So we left 10 minutes before 3pm.

We thought by that time, the traffics will be good but we were wrong. The moment we reached Seremban R&R, the queue started. The 45min drives took us 1 hour plus to reach my parents home. By the time we reached there, we were already hungry because we only had lemang and rendang for lunch.

Well I was not disappointed when I reached my parents home because my favorite "sup tulang" is waiting for me. This raya also saw all my relatives came to our house on the first day of raya. Normally they will come on the second or third day of raya. So we have to reschedule our plan to go to my eldest sister house. By the time we reached her house, there is no more "soto ayam". She has to fried noodles for us.

On second day, we decided to travel back to Kuala Pilah to visit my aunties. We left Seremban at 11am in the morning and I couldn't belief the traffic. The jam was from Bukit Putus all the way to Kuala Pilah and we were stuck in the jam for 1 hour plus. Luckily for me, my hubby was driving so I got the chance to sleep. At my aunt house, we had spaghetti but what I like most was the "ketupat and the kuah kacang". After spending two hours at my aunties houses, we then went to my hubby kampung which is only 20 min but due to the traffic it took us almost double than the time.

At my hubby's kampung, they served us laksa but I can't take it anymore. I have been eating non-stop from morning. I also met my hubby grandma who is about 90 years old and deaf but her eyesight is still good. The last time I saw her was last raya. However her condition is not good and she only sleep the whole time we were there.

We left for Seremban at 5pm and the traffic going back to Seremban was good. At 8pm, we went to my cousin house and this time we had mee curry. On the third day before we left for Kajang, we went to my other cousin house in Senawang. We thought we know Seremban very well but I was wrong. Instead of heading to Senawang, we headed to Bukit Chedang but it was worth it. My cousin served rice, fried chicken, sup tulang mamak style and air bandung. After few days of not having rice, that was the best lunch I had.

So my raya at my parents' house ended when we went back to Kajang that evening. Knowing Seremban -KL Highway was jammed, we decided to use LEKAS highway and it took us just 30 minutes to reach home.

Instead of eating non-stop for three days, I still missed the following foods:

  1. Chicken Kurma and Nasi minyak. I think I will cook it this weekend.
  2. My mom's and aunties' lemang and rendang.
  3. My sister's soto ayam.

And I also forgot to:
  1. Pack my little girl's jeans
  2. My sons pajamas
  3. Buy new songkok for my sons.
  4. My cleanser and moisturizer (my little girl took it out from my bag)

So how's your raya? Were you caught in the jam on the first day of raya? Do you miss or forgot anything?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Maid Oh Maid...

After 3 years without maid, finally after months and months of waiting, my maid is here. The months of waiting is worth it as my maid is super efficient except;
  • She is almost same age as me (in other words old)
  • She understand arabics and little bit english and not Malay (I have to show and explain the words everytime she looks blank)

Because of the language problem, there tends to be some misunderstanding between us and her. There are times we asked for something, she will gave asked some other things. Sometimes it can be hilarious and some other time is can be very frustrating but overtime, she will overcome the language barrier.

When she first came, two weeks ago, she called me Makcik and my hubby Pakcik. At first, I let her get away with it until one day, I can't take it anymore, coz for someone her age to call me Makcik is very rude. I told her to call me "Kakak" or "Ibu"and my hubby "Bapak". She said her agent asked her to call us Makcik and Pakcik. I guess the agent must be someone who doesn't understand our culture.

Talking about the agent, I would have to say, we learnt our lesson well. We have met few agents, paid the advanced money as they requested and then dissapeared with no maid delivered. But this particular maid, she came in without agent but when she landed here, she met this lady who claimed that she can get a job for her. So what this lady did was she sold this poor maid to us for RM4000 whereas she didn't incur any $$$ at all. She made clean profit from the sale of this maid.

I was disgusted when I came to know about this few days ago (my maid told me how her money was swindled by this lady). Alas, it a lesson learned for my maid not to simply approach people for work. She was lucky that this lady didn't sold her to prostitute ring.

For me, I have to thank Allah for sending me a super efficient maid who my kids like her very much.