Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our neighbour's maid, the Conclusion

If you missed the first post, you can read it HERE

I am delighted to report that we have a happy ending for the maid. The night of the confrontation, the wife attacked her as well, for having the audacity to seek help from our housemaid. Our housemaid had advised her of her rights, and has a good friend at the Employment Agency that originally brought her over.

The maid bailed out late that night. The agency intervened with the family, and obtained the release of the maid's paperwork, passport, and personal effects the very next morning. The maid has accepted a somewhat better paying position with a new family, who have been thoroughly advised of the maid's rights. The maid is aware the Stone and I are happy to intervene again, and that she is not to return to A's house without Stone along to escort her. I'll be sure to let you know how it works out in the long run.

Our maids have been instructed to call the police if the man of the house so much as looks at them. The guy is clearly an asshole, and both adults have now shown a propensity for violence.

Stone will be speaking to the wife, and possibly the Husband in the office today, after enlisting the support of a Senior Omani Female to supervise the discussion. Key points will include:
  • We are aware of the Maid's claims, and believe them.
  • Treating and paying your housemaid like that is unacceptable Socially, morally, and legally.
  • A short rundown of the legal rights of any Expatriate employee.
  • That neither Husband or Wife are to set foot on our property ever again, and they are not to have any contact with our housemaids whatsoever.
  • That we have lots of ROP wasta, and plenty of Corporate wasta.
  • That we will be watching, closely, the treatment of A and any future maids.
  • We will not hesitate to throw every ounce of Wasta we have at having charges pressed at the first sign of abuse or neglect, either towards the maid, or A.
The story does not end so happily for A, who has lost the only sane person in his life. I am tempted to involve the Omani Version of Child Protective Services, to follow up on A's care and situation.

I think that anyone who treats thier household staff in such a manner is unlikely to treat thier children much better. Perhaps the threat of knowing that we, and other neighbours are watching will be enough.

I really, really, really want to thank those who commented for the good advice, and for the votes of support. I also want to highlight a couple of really great points from the comments section. For the full text of all the excellent comments, please follow the link at the top of the page.

mmk080 said: sadly the mentality is that it will be crazy if we didnt pay them the absolute minimum, it would be 'tabtheer' or 'wasteful'... what's wasteful is our lack of use concsiousness when it comes to treating other human beings like this

That is such a good point! It's one of the ways people justify doing the wrong thing here. Stone and I don't feel it's wasteful to pay our maid well, because we are supporting her family in making thier lives better in the process. Her Son has attended a good school, and has diplomas in Hospitality and Graphic Design. Her Husband gets private medical care for his affliction. Her grandchildren are attending a top preschool back home, and she is able to save for her retirement. There is nothing wasteful about that.

Outsider said: To me, it seems that there is very little enforcement of social norms beyond the very superficial, such as wearing proper clothing. God forbid someone goes out scantily clad, but many will turn a blind eye to what the neighbor is doing to the maid as its not their business.... As long as (a) a minority thinks that they can do whatever the hell they want with no consequences and (b) no one calls them on it, people will continue to act like assholes, from cutting queue to abusing their maids. Very different degrees of wrong, but they both require social enforcement to be stopped.

Thank you so much for your lengthy and thoughtful reply. You. are. dead. right. Nothing much will change until the society decides to start saying aloud that a particular behavior is unacceptable. My mom sometimes says that Sunshine is the best disinfectant. I. E. putting the problem out in the open is usually enough to make the problem go away. It's unfortunate that the usual reaction to problems like this here is to ignore them, or cover them up for fear of causing trouble or embarrassment.

Dragon, Hajib, Alex, and Anon's # 1,2,3 & 4, Thanks a million for taking the time to comment, and for the very, very, Very, good advice. Please come back anytime.

Later in the week, I will write something funny, and maybe publish a love note to Stone.

Also, Suggestions for Blog Posts are always welcome. OtherOman at Gmail Dot Com

11 comments:

Undercover Dragon said...

Suburban,

I'm glad it worked out for the maid. This is the first real example I've seen of the new labour laws (precipitated by the US-Oman Free Trade agreement and the Human Trafficking Reports from the US Dept of State) actually changing things, which is a great sign.

MMK080 said...

First of all, I am glad the maid managed to get out of that place and I wish her the best of luck.

Secondly, I think that what u pay ur maid is something noble and very praise-worthy.
However, if every Arab family (in the Gulf at least) paid their maids or drivers the same amount as u do to urs then, I truly believe, they would employ a fewer number of maids/drivers (e.g. instead of 3 they employ 2 or 1) and thus, economically speaking, fewer number of people desperately seeking work in those countries (India, Phillipines, etc) would manage to find work to provide for themselves or their families... therefore it will, in effect, seal the fate of a substantial number of people to a life of poverty and despair, a life barely worth living.
My point is they should be paid better than they are right now but not so much so that it will in effect, require the employment of less people for their home which will as I said seal the fate of a lot of people who r in desperate need of work. And of course I am totally against any inhumane treatment of these workers.

Thirdly, about putting the problem out in the open is usually enough to fix it... I was born and raised in a house that taught me the complete opposite... Which Kind of explains why I can't sleep at night now. It is quite funny, we r all about bottling up feelings at home (especially us men... b/c we r men!) and every couple of months we explode and splurge everything out verbally to one another and completely forget it ever happened the next day and begin the cycle again. It's not the healthiest way of living but it works (I think)!

Fourthly, My advice in the previous post to 'ignore the neighbours from now on' needs a little bit of elaboration. I meant ignore the wife and husband, not the maid and certainly not the Down Syndrome kid (poor kid, I wish I could help him) until u get more concrete information about what happened with the maid because to me, she seemed to have a good motive for making this stuff up, but u two know her better than I so... guess I was wrong.

(Again sorry for the long post)

Anonymous said...

Sub,

Kudos to you and Stone for taking such a personal interest in the matter and getting the maid out of her quadary. People like you are gems and are what every society requires - individuals who are not afraid to take a stand and help others out without hesitation.

Al-Maawali said...

I am speechless for the very first time! This is one of the greatest success stories I've read from a Blog (in Oman at least) so far.

It is official, you are now my favorite Blogger in Oman! I can't get enough of your posts. Please keep it up :D

sythe said...

Hooray for sub & stone... well done guys. Of course, it is disapointing that the nasty neighbours didnt get fined or imprisoned or something, but def. great to see that shit got done.
For once.

Sub, I'm still anxiously awaiting your blog on the prostitutes situation... just make something up ;)

Or, you could blog about the fact that HI! FM's $20,000 scam is just that, a scam. You are charged 500 Baiza for every text to enter, which requires 3 (1 entry and 2 questions, which is 1.5 Rials, or $3.87 per subscriber. Now, 20,000 / 3.87 = 5,167.96 entries to break even. And they have your number which they can use to send spam to.

Or perhaps the dragon would like to run with that one? ;)

You could blog more about the white car. That had me in bits, both thread and comments section.

Undercover Dragon said...

Sythe,

I knew about the Hi1 FM method, and am already sick of their constant plugging for texts, but I had always assumed it was an ordinary text charge - they never say on air what the text costs?! (or at least I've never heard it). I will follow up. Thx.

Suburban said...

Thanks for the sweet comments! I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Our housemaid diserves most of the credit, so I'll pass along your thoughts to her as well.

mmk, thanks for your long comment. It's good. I'll try and respond more fully tomorrow when I have more time?

Anonymous said...

well done sub!

out of interest in oman do maids ever steal the husbands and become Queens of the household?

Anonymous said...

I think its just way too wrong that you've been able to publically accuse this guy, and find him guilty of sexual assualt amongst other things, without having one shred of factual evidence to back it up.

You've almost named him in the blog, people must know who you are and where you live and as a result could easily find out who he is. What happened to innocent till proven guilty - and not by the next door neighbours.

I think you're basically a bully as well as a coward, you could easily have put this in the hands of the authorities but you chose not to, instead you chose to gossip about it here under the pretence of being all concerened about the maid.

And as for your husband dealing with things at work.....how unprofessional can you get? I bet it made the both of you feel really good throwing that little snippet in.

If you really were concerned about this maid, or any future maid who comes to work for this family you would have encouraged her to go to the police. But then again I doubt you would have been able to blog, or should that be brag, about your role in the goings on.

I quite honestly think you need to get over yourself.

Here's hoping no-one you know is ever accused of doing something they may have not done, and here's hoping even moree that no one finds them guilty via an internet blog because the story would make good reading and give the bogger an over inflated opinion of herself.

Suburban said...

Anon,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. What's with the hate?

The guy brought the problem to my door, and presented his problem as something that was My husband's and Housemaids fault, and a problem that WE needed to fix. Get me?

I need to correct you on a couple of points as well. As follows.

I have plenty of factual evidence to back up my accusations. Defensive briuses on her wrists and upper arms, and hand shaped bruises around her neck, for starters. And there's more.

We offered to involve the police, twice, but the maid asked us not to.

We didn't involve ourselves until the guy showed up at our door, and made a problem that was his, ours. I summarised a half hour conversation / shouting match at our front gate in about three lines but the guy was Agressive, spooky, and by his own admittance, holding his maid hostage by keeping her passport.

He stated, with pride, that he was paying her 50 rials a month until the week before, when he gave her a ten rial raise. He and his wife both have good jobs, with companies that provide excellent benefits.

To protect ourselves, the discussion about the maid would be happening at the office, in front of ONE impartial witness. That's not unprofessional, that's protecting yourself.

There are four kids in my immediate neighbourhood with disabilities related to trisomy. There must be ten times that in Al Ghubra / Athaiba, at least. While not totally discrete in my blogging, you'd have to know me pretty well to be 100% sure of who I am, in which case you would have heard this direct from me anyway.

I feel good about the end result, and I'm proud of our maid, and of Stone for getting involved. I can blog about whatever I want because it's My Blog, not yours, and not the neighbours.

Maybe I need to get over myself, but I have 150 daily readers who would disagree.

Thanks anyway, and when you have a problem with your neighbours, you should feel free to resolve it any way you want.

Undercover Dragon said...

Suburban,

A good sign of a good blog is a few of those haters. It shows you're being edgy. Don't stop. And its your fcuking blog.

I found it so ironic that she (because it really sounds like a she) posts such a lecturing comment as anonymous. FOFLMAO.

So, keep it up Suburban. And Anon, take that huge stick out of your anonymous arse. And maybe stop reading Sub's blog!? Duh.