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Friday, August 25, 2006

"Alicia the Lifeguard"

One balmy and breezy lazy Sunday afternoon, as I lounged around in my favourite deck chair...

My super acute toddler vision spied someone needing help in the pool!

My first instincts were to grab my trusty goggles and prepare to dive into the pool and haul him back to safety!

But wait! Mummy said I should think outside the box. Maybe it would be faster if I just toss him this super floaty kick board instead....

Yay! It worked! He caught it and is using it to come back to the shallow end.

Thus brings us to another happy ending in the saga of "Alicia the Lifeguard" as I help Daddy out! Bye!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why does it always have to be about men?

When I first read this entry from my secondary school friend, Shimian, my first thoughts were gosh, how brazen can these maids be!

Little did I know I was about to get practically as incensed as my friend got with her domestic helper.

I didn't grow up in a home with a maid around but one of the key reasons for coming back to Singapore after having Alicia was to make sure that we get some help.

She was my first maid and I was her first employer. I didn't know what to expect and I guess, neither did she.

She was young. 23. Single mother of a three year old daughter.

She came from a very ulu part of the Philippines and this was her first big city experience.

It was kind of a desperate hire. I needed help bad and she was there and seemed to be able to play with Alicia (then only 5 months old). There was a lot of work to be done training her. She was definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Hygiene was a major gripe for me in those early days where she would not wash her hands after using the toilet if she just peed. She reserved those special cleansing moments for the major 'dump' sessions. That was really a pet peeve especially with a young infant prone to catching all sorts of germs.

It would take too long for me to vent about everything that I didn't approve about her. So I'll cut to the chase about what finally made me let her go....

She'd been gradually getter bolder in the vanity sense. Constantly polishing her nails, putting on make up even when we go grocery shopping or for her medial checkups and her dressing got skankier with every day off.

One Sunday, after she had come back from her day off, she brought a cell phone back with her (which incidentally she never told me about; I just saw her using it). When asked about it, she said her friend had lent it to her. Trying my best to provide her basic human rights, I said "Fine but please don't use it during working hours".

The very next day, she hid in her room and was frantically smsing when I caught her and told her off. After which, she stopped using it in my presence and instead took long and frequent bathroom breaks which I assume was when she carried on her telecommunication activities.

Shortly after, I found out that not only is she in contact with multiple men. She claimed one of them as her boyfriend and that she is so "in love" with him (despite only seeing him once a month on her off days).

She even had tons of pornographic messages sent to her!

On the day we broke the news to her that she was leaving (she had an hour to pack up and go), I asked her if she had a boyfriend and she vehemently denied it.

Amidst her angry tears, she told me she didn't want to go home and I told her that the agency would find another employer for her if indeed she didn't have men "baggage".

Just got a call from the agency today and they said she has decided to go home. When I went to the office to pay the return airfare, I spoke to the girl working there and more shocking truths emerged.

The day I left her, she told the agency that she had no idea why we were letting her go. She was asked to relinquish her cellphone after which I was told (by the agency girl) that the phone rings constantly with a consistent flood of SMSes coming in from numerous men.

When questioned about who these men were, she told the agency that she had NO IDEA and that the phone did not belong to her!

They also found the porno messages and confronted her about it at which point, she simply remained silent.

From what the agency told me, my assumption is that she realized that this agency is not going to put their reputation on the line and recommend her to any employer so she decided to go home first and maybe try again with another agency. For her, it would preferably be an agency specializing in expats.

In any case, I'm happy I'm finally done with her before any real damage was done. But why does it always have to be because of men?

I guess because people have urges and needs and some curb it better than others.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Art Jamming

This post is about me for a change.

Two weeks ago, our department had an offsite. While most people get to have offsites at exotic locations, since our department is mostly based in Singapore, we have to have ours here every year. Sigh...

So every year, the boss comes up with some novelty idea to 'spice' things up and encourage team bonding.

This year, it was to be
ART JAMMING! Sounded pretty cool and funky when I first heard about it but on second thought, it was like, damn, does this mean I have to draw something?

As my primary school art teacher Mr Goh would testify, especially after giving me a "D" for my hideous still life portrait of a banana, Art is so NOT my forte. I'm one of those people that loses constantly at Pictionary, you wouldn't want to be on my team.

On their website, it says:

To art jam, you need:

A desire to experiment (yes but hardly ever with paints)
An urge to create
(yes but never on canvas)
An ability to laugh (definitely but usually at how bad my art turns out to be)

Everyone is born to jam. Remember how you mashed porridge on the table?

I questioned the verity of this statement as I trudged along to the venue (couldn't back out, I tried - believe me).

Plus, the theme was to draw the most significant event in your life and explain it (to all the people you work with).

I took the easy way out and came up with this:

In case you were wondering, the one on the right is mine (yes, the one that looks like the Nickelodean symbol).

Here's what it's supposed to signify: the most significant moment in my life (to date) was giving birth to Alicia (hey, I thought this entry was about me!) but since it was a drug free (not by choice) birth, all I could remember is trying to shut out the pain by keeping my eyes shut all the time. (Hence, the black background)

The splotch of red is meant to be symbolic of the amount of haemoglobin that exited my body during the whole process. (eww....)

There you go.... my piece de resistance.