I wrote in my facebook “keep wondering why pembantu are many time so ignorant”. A reply came from Mbak Ina, a lawyer and a-long-time-no-see, “Hey…how are you going? why care about pembantu?” 😛
Working mother in Jakarta had to admit that pembantu is an important part of their lives. My life will be hard without a pembantu. Though I might be able to manage the laundry, clean and cook around the home myself, the activities would consume my precious time. Without pembantu, I would not have enough time to read books, practice violin, watch TV or just to chit chat with my son.
But many times pembantu adds the complication of lives. Take my most recent experience. She easily damaged my expensive clothes without feel guilty and not able to accept a responsibility to it. More to it, she has the nerve to brought her family to blame me on the incident.
Before her, we had this young girl who spend more time outside the house the do her work. Whenever we left the house, she left as well. She will return after we return. The neighbourhood talked of her different dates everyday while she talked to the neighbours that she’s been abused at home. Once, we had a pembantu that sleep all day. Another pembantu broke the washing machine. Another one steal…
Yesterday, there is an email about pembantu in the mailing list. I laughed a lot while reading, realize that my problem is small compared to her. She told us that once, she found that many of her clothes was iron-burned. Then she found out that the pembantu put blue marker on her blue jeans ~~she was silly for not knowing that the color of the jeans are necessarily fade~~. She then was not able to resist it anymore when knowing that the pembantu wore her outfits many times and use her LV bag to a dangdut show. Bad enough, on the occassion the LV bag got a hole of cigarette burn on it, and the pembantu bought a fake LV in the local market for replacement!
Many many times we face the situation where we are not happy with the pembantu, but choose to keep them working because we desperately need someone to help at home. We hardly try to ignore their mistakes, tolerate their unappropriate behavior, forgive their cheats-lies, speak low though we are so angry, involve them in our family activities and many times reward them an appreciation when they actually not worth for it. For me, its not just for the sake of having someone on domestic works, but more as an exercise of human the human. Unfortunately, when I think that way, most of pembantu I met does not get the idea.