and I don’t mean Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s moves to leave the Cabinet whose line-up may be known as early as tomorrow.
Instead, I’m referring to the tenuous 3+-year work relationship that mum’s Picky Siti has with the family.
I won’t go into the latest breast-beating (mine, not hers) details here, except to say those who don’t know me other than thru this blog can search for some of her more audacious behaviour that’s been documented in various posts here.
Those who know me would have been inundated by enough of my almost daily laments to want to have more of the same in my blog. As some of my “advisors” — including family members who don’t share my home — have said: Take a decision and move on.
But such advice is easier to give than for the recipient to act upon.
So, I decided to escape the tense situation in my home for a couple of days and took refuge with a good and multi-decade friendship friend in Kuala Lumpur.
Only on arrival to find that my good friend, ES, and her maid R — who has worked for her for 18 years — are practically not on speaking terms and have been like that for months.
R on a good day
ES gave instructions and R silently executed them, with a huge sulk plastered all over her face. As R has always had a sulky face, the extra sulk didn’t do anything for pleasant scenery.
How they are going to last till early July when R leaves for home and will be replaced by her daughter — if the paper work works out — I don’t know.
Oh, sure, I’ve been privy to the deterioration in the relationship for ever so long but had always assumed that as ES isn’t at all picky except where her beloved dogs are concerned and so would continue to put up with R’s way of running things.
R’s forte is with the dogs and the garden — huge by Sg standards — and her lucrative tailoring sideline, which my friend tolerates, so long as the helper does her work, including housework, and doesn’t liaise with her dress-making clientele within my friend’s home.
As for housework, it’s been at best sloppy but I had put it down to the fact that there are always dogs running in and out, except when I’m visiting and they are put out in the yard till I go to bed.
Unfortunately for R, my friend has now moved to the stage where she’s semi-retired and spends more time at home than she’s ever done. And R’s omissions have become more obvious.
Or mayb they had always been obvious but busy people tend to close an eye or even two, rather than rock the domestic boat when there are more important battles to be fought on the professional front.
During my 5-hour coach ride home yesterday, extended needlessly by anorther 20 minutes (about which will expound in another post), I had plenty of time to reflect on our situations, that of ES and mine.
Well-educated ex-professional women being held to ransom by virtually uneducated or semi-educated women because of domestic set-ups that need an extra pair of hands!
How did we ever end up in this situation?
I can’t speak for ES but mine has mostly to do with my mum.
Why on earth didn’t I see what was ahead and made suitable arrangements — such as downsizing, establishing homes more conveniently located to supermarkets, food courts, restaurants etc — so that there would be minimum need for formal live-in home help.
It’s too late now to change tack. Will focus energy instead on simplifying life so that mum’s maid can spend more time on looking after her than cleaning and re-cleaning stuff that’s peripheral or of no use to our lives or living!