Showcasing Siti

Although she’s just an Indonesian maid from deepest Sumatra, she’s nifty at art n crafts. Since I don’t like “inventing” work for her to do, besides the standard washing n cleaning, I gave Siti a box of water color paints and encouraged her to get going to fill up her spare time in something concrete and meaningful.
Since then, she’s painted four little cheerfully colorful “naive” pictures, and I managed to find buyers for two of them, netting her a total of $80. She’s mighty pleased with her success and is diligently working on a portfolio to “show”.

Her latest she’s titled Going to the Farm (below) and she wants $50 for it. She may or may not find a buyer but I don’t want to discourage her.

Update: As of Dec 27, Going to the Farm has gone at Siti’s asking price of $50 to a buyer who is a leading educationist in S’pore. The buyer and friends say I should help Siti start on acrylics but I think I’d better not, in case she gets the stuff all over the place and there would be domestic disharmony. Still, it’s gratifying to find that she can produce works of art that people actually want to buy!

Farm Lass

Farm Lass

She’s done another which I thought is too seasonal to attract any buyers and so have “borrowed” it to make into an e-card and send to friends to show off my maid’s “talents”, for which I’ve duly received many compliments. The picture reproduced below was superimposed with a greeting using MS Paint.

Maid's view of X'mas

Maid's view of X'mas

A sampling of the compliments:

  • From my cousin D in the UK: “Siti’s artistic flair is highly commendable.  You should nurture her talent and who knows, one day – someone may come up with an idea of starting up a centre where maids’ talents in all manner of craftwork could be encouraged, collated and exhibited/sold at say, an annual festive season.  Don’t mind me … I’m in one of my day-dreaming mode!  “
  • From KL, Prof C wrote: “Siti Nurlaila should be a greetings card designer for Hallmark, or maybe you should start a home-based business for personalized greetings cards!”
  • A banking ex-colleague said: “your maid Siti has a cheerful artistic flair going by the cheerful colours she uses, ” adding her good wishes for Siti’s “l’l business”.
  • A librarian friend wrote:”Your domestic help is in the wrong job!”
  • “Please tell Siti that the drawing is very good,” wrote SCY an ex-colleague, while another two ex-colleagues actually bought her pictures, Time 2 Play, and Putri Solo. (below)
First Sale

First Sale

I think the suggestions to engage our maids in creative activities n enterprise have a lot of merit. So, I throw it out to those groups working to uplift the lot of transient workers in Singapore to get the ball rolling. I have already done a little, in my own way. Your turn Transient Workers Matter 2 and ACMI..


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