When thinking of the long 4 day weekend of the Chinese New Year Holiday ahead of us, Pierre and I decided to stay put in Singapore and just relax the two of us; we will take repossession of our house, our sleep and savor our intimacy. We are thrilled at the thought of having the house for just the two of us for a full four days … or so we thought! We had left one tinny little detail out of our dream equation: Anna will not want to take the time off!!
But it’s Chinese New Year Anna and you have 4 days off, why aren’t you making plans? Why aren’t you out with your friends celebrating and having a good time. No Mam, I feel lazy and want to stay with you and Pierre, doing not much at home, cooking dinner, etc. NO! I mean No! Anna, go, please go meet your friends, it is your days off too and we don’t want you to stay around, we want you to go and have fun!!
No Mam, I prefer to stay home with you.
OMG! what happens when your housekeeper don’t want to leave?? Isn’t it our days off too? A time where we can chase one another naked in the house without thinking of getting caught 🙂 ? Anna may weigh 92 pounds when wet, but she can invade a lot of space in a house. Add her cat Phuket to the equation and we loose another chunk of the apartment. Pierre and I are often confined to the living room and the bedroom as our space, because Anna and Phuket are in possession of the other 1000 square feet.
Please Anna, why don’t you call the Cheese or the Buffalo or even the Loan Shark friend, I am sure one of them have plans, no??
Let me explain: In our world with Anna we need to find ways to understand one another and to follow the soap opera of stories that we hear on a daily basis. Over time, we got very creative and succeeded to identify the people that surrounds her life, and trust me, it can be complicated. First of all, most of them have close enough names get us confused: Liza, Tina, Nina, Pina, etc. and second of all, Anna mixes the “He and She” when she tells a story… and stories she can tell!! Not only that she tells stories, but she goes to Timbuktu to reach Australia and you end up knowing what bus she took to get there and stories about passengers that got on and off of the bus. Tales with Anna never end, and she leaves no detail out, not one single element except the point she wants to make, you could go to sleep and wake up an hour later to hear the end of the story, when all you asked was: how is your daughter or your grandson? Sometimes we are afraid to ask a simple question by fear of the length of the answer.
But may I say that her stories are often JUICY! And both Pierre and I have first row tickets to the best gossips of Singapore. Who needs People Magazine when you have Anna working for you!
For about five years now, I keep on telling my friends that I want to write a television series that will be called “Home Maid in Singapore” and the source of my script and scenarios will be Anna and her circle of friends. With her group of acquaintances alone, I have enough juicy stories for at least seven seasons.
The problem is that Anna likes to talk so much that we get confused on who is who and what the stories are, hence Anna started to give them nicknames that will help us recognize the who’s who of the maids world. This now explains the Cheese and the Buffalo mentioned earlier.
The Cheese bears this name because she works for a cheese importer of Singapore, the Buffalo inherited her name at Anna’s graduation, because this girl impressed me with her story on how she bought a Buffalo to make a business for her family in hopes that they will stop dilapidating her money. Anna also has a friend that we call the loan shark and one that we identify as the ‘sell her body’ and those two do not need further explanations on how they got their nicknames or what their sidelines are on Sundays. There is also the “Kill Dog” who was the girl who killed, or shall I say assassinated her employer’s dog because the furry little thing was getting on her nerves. We found out few months later that the poor girl had a brain tumor and was hallucinating, paranoiac and had a temper control problem. No kidding!! She returned to the Philippines and unfortunately died few months later from lack of good treatments and a delayed diagnostic.
In our collection of characters we also have the “lost dog” who lost the two dogs of her employer while they were away in Australia. One of them returned but the other one vanished for good or so the “lost dog” girl says. There is one that we name the “pregnant” even if she had an abortion 5 months ago. She was expecting from a Chinese man who was married with children and did not want the trouble in his life nor pay for the abortion. She went to Malaysia and borrowed money from her employer to do it, otherwise the government of Singapore would have returned her back to Philippines. There is the “top-up telco card” girl who has a side business of scamming other maids with telephone cards for double the price, and there is the “Mental Breakdown” one that Anna used to refer to as the “Mentality breakdown” until I explained to her the difference. And the list goes on and on so you can imagine the cast of actors we would need to manage in our TV series.
Now, to protect the innocents I cannot go into too much details, but just imagine how juicy it becomes when the stories extend to the employers’ life. These girls work for diplomats, for expatriates or for rich Singaporeans so needless to say that we know things that would make soap operas such as “The Bolds and the Beautiful” or “As the World Turns” a new shade of pale. Some sleep with their employers (of course without the knowledge of the wife) and know the password of the employer’s email inbox. A few months back, one of the maids discovered through the email account of her employer that he was having more than one affair, shall I say outside of the house. What happens when the mistress finds out that her man has a mistress? Well, believe it or not, she sides with the wife and poison her mind!!
When I think of it, I believe there are more bolds than beauties sometimes!
Yes, some of these girls can be a marriage breaker, because for many Filipina or other Asian girls, catching a Westerner is their lifetime goal! For many of them, a Westerner is a trophy and a great ATM machine. They will tell you how gorgeous you are and how much they love you if it means that you will round-off the monthly budget and be a potential visa of entry to another country. Be it you are 70 and she is 20 something, if you want to open your ears to it, the ladies will sweet talk you into romance. Even if often it means leaving your wife and kids behind! I do not know what percentage of marriages end-up failing here, but there are many who get what we call here: the yellow fever! A disease that catches some men and makes them lose their mind! 🙂 Don’t worry, Pierre and I are not in danger 🙂
But the known obsession of the Filipina to get an American, Australian or European in their life can make these poor and sometimes naive girls a great target for scammers. In the past few weeks alone, at least 8 of Anna’s maid friends mentioned in my blog were taken for hundreds, even thousands of dollars by Nigerian groups that go on dating sites and post fake profiles of a handsome Westerner who will fall in love with the filipina girl who he catches and write hot and juicy text messages of love to her. The girls all fall like flies for the handsome Romeo, so when the unfortunate handsome westerner gets his wallet stolen in Africa while on a business trip and pretends to have no one else to turn to but her for help, the girl sends him money to buy his plane ticket to Singapore to meet with her and live happily ever after. Of course they are left standing at the arrival gate since the Nigerian men behind the scheme are pure fake! But the money they lose is real and represent months of work for the girls.
There is even one girl in Singapore who actually stole the jewelry and money of her employer (about $60,000’s worth of it) to send to the poor business westerner who needed to buy equipment to complete a big project in Africa. The girl got caught for stealing the money and is now in jail, but the Nigerian guy who took advantage of her is now hitting on someone else in the world, probably in Singapore.
Thank God Anna trusts us and shares these stories so we can give her advices for not getting caught herself. Many times we need to even insist for her to believe us and in her disbelief, the other day, I went online and showed her the photos used by the Nigerian scammers and a photo of the real Nigerian man behind the mask . She was chocked when she recognized the photos of all the beautiful Westerners that are dating her friends online. She tried to warn her friends but for most of them it was too late, the money was already wired. One girl was about to leave her job here to go work for a rich handsome European that offered her a highly paid job but needed for her to send money to get the Visa and the related working papers, all fake of course. Go see the guys at: http://www.romancescam.com/scammers4real.htm and please share the link with your friends because not only Singapore maids get trapped in this scam.
As I am writing this blog we are at the last day of the Lunar Chinese New Year and Anna is still with us, laughing at the thought we wanted her to go out, in vain. She just surprised us at the pool this afternoon, asking us what we wanted for dinner. Pierre and I looked at each other and responded: We will go out for dinner Anna since you won’t leave us alone. She laughed and went back in to call the Buffalo and make plans!
All beautifully dressed-up in a black outfit that made her look as if she is 24, Anna finally left for dinner at 18:00 hrs on the last day of the holiday! I am sure she will be back by 21h00, the latest!
Cheers Anna and we love you!