Hong Kong from a Domestic Helper’s POV: Ronnie Chronicles

 This is the first entry of this series. It is about Ronnie and her fourteen-year journey working in Hong Kong. Hope you enjoy and learn something from it. You can comment and like it.

2002

As the door of the plane slowly closes, Ronnie wanted to shout NO! She wanted to go out and go back home to her daughters. If only she can find another way to make money and pay off her debts she would never leave her daughters but she had no choice. She has to be brave for them, for their future. So Hong Kong get ready for me!

A few months after she started working in Hong Kong she finally got the hang of living in a foreign land and dealing with foreign people. She learned the do’s and don’ts, the rules and a little bit about the culture. She sure knows that there’s still a lot to learn and she’s ready for it. So far her working relation with the other helper is going smoothly, although she’s assessing her seniority over her. As much as possible she is ignoring it and focusing on her work. Cleaning the house and other household chores was easy and she finishes early since they only take care of a bed-ridden old lady. After they have cleaned and fed the old lady they have nothing more to do. She learned that the other helper she replaced was terminated because she was caught sneaking in the building after going to a party. She was caught by the security guard climbing to the building. The other helper didn’t know that she was sneaking out at night because she sleeps in the old lady’s room. Every afternoon they are visited by the daughter’s lawyer to see if they are doing fine and the old lady is well taken cared.

Christmas

“The mass has ended, go in peace. Merry Christmas!” the priest in St. Joseph parish said.

“So this is what it feels like spending Christmas in Hong Kong? Very lonely and all you can do is to entertain yourself. Oh I miss my kids so much it’s the first time they spend Christmas without parents.” Ronnie told herself while tears are falling from her eyes.

“Are you okay Catche?” Cindy, Ronnie’s younger sister asked her.

“I’m okay, I just thought of my daughters.”

“Oh that’s the kind of life here in Hong Kong Catche, you better get used to it.” Said her youngest sister with tears also falling from her eyes.

“Let’s go and call Mother and the kids before we eat?”

“That will be better so you won’t get too home sick.”

 

8 months passed

“P***** mo!” Ronnie was shouting expletives from outside the building.

“Bwisit ka!” (You are annoying!) said the other helper from the building.

Just a month ago the old lady passed away from complications of pneumonia. She was secretly blaming the other helper because she believes that it was her fault because when she got back from her vacation in the Philippines she was coughing and after a days the old lady fell ill as well. Naturally, since the old lady has passed they will be losing their jobs and they had to look for another employer. They were both afraid that the old lady’s daughter will terminate them immediately. But being very considerate and as a token of gratitude she allowed them to look for employers first before she lets them go and she even told them to share among themselves the contents of the house- and that was when the chaos started.

“Hey Ronnie, you can take these antique dining set.” said the niece of the deceased.

“Oh thank you Ma’am I like it so much.”

“This one too.” pointing to another set of antique furniture.

At side glance she saw Liza smirk and continued cleaning up, she just shrugged it off as if nothing happened.

That night Liza told her that she will take the dinning set and antique furniture that the niece gave her.

“Why? She already gave it to me?” Ronnie asked

“Because I like it.” Liza smiled confidently as if Ronnie was going to give in.

“Oh sorry but No, it was already given to me so if you want it you can ask Ma’am to take it back from me.”

Liza just gave her a challenging look and walked out.

“No one can ever scare me!” Ronnie said with a smile.

Since that encounter their relationship turned from warm to cold, Ronnie just ignored it telling herself that in just a few weeks they will be out of each other’s throat. Though sometimes she really loses her patience and instead of confronting her, she does something else.

“You think you can outsmart me Liza? Well, think again!” Ronnie was saying it while dumping Liza’s toothbrush in the toilet bowl.

“Now your mouth will really smell like poo as it should be with all the bad things you are saying. hehehehe…”

“It’s good that I won’t see you again! Good bye bitch!” Ronnie continued to shout.

“Same to you!” was Liza’s only reply

“Hey Catche let her be, let’s go we have to pack these things and send it back home then you have to go to your new employer.” Ronnie’s sister said

Ronnie gave one last glance at the apartment that was her home for 8 months and walked away.

 

 

 

 

 

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