Hong Kong from a Domestic Helper’s POV: Ronnie Chronicles 2

2003

After that traumatic experience of having a co-worker, Ronnie swore that she will never agree to have a companion at work again. Luckily, she immediately found an employer. They are a family of 4 and all of them are office workers being in the jewelry business. The first 3 months were good as expected; not much demand from the employers and she can work at ease since they all leave at 8am and would arrive home at 6pm. She thought that she got lucky until…

“You know what Ronnie? You are not a very good cook, the food wasn’t good at all.” said her lady employer after dinner.

“Ahm, Ma’am, you finished all the food. how about me?” Ronnie politely asked.

“Oh just take the meat in the soup.” her employer said.

They don’t like my cooking? They finished all the 3 dishes and didn’t even leave a bit for me.

Without any choice, Ronnie ate the meat in the soup. It happened almost everyday, they would complain about the food but they would finish everything and would just tell her to eat the meat in the soup or eat some sardines. Ronnie can still stand it, as long as she is given food.

“Ronnie! Did you drink my juice?!” Justin, the eldest son asked Ronnie angrily.

“I didn’t drink any juice.” Ronnie replied.

“So what happened to it? Just disappeared?!” Justin said sarcastically.

“I really didn’t take your juice and if ever I took it, which I never did, I will replace it immediately”

Justin stared at her angrily and turned.

“Mom! Ronnie took my juice and she’s denying it. What a liar!”

“What? Is that true? You took a juice from my son?! How could you?”

“No Ma’am. I didn’t do it!” Ronnie was almost crying trying to convince them that she didn’t do anything wrong.

“Shane! Dad! Ronnie took my juice!” Justin announced to his sister and father as they sat on the dining table for breakfast.

“I think we better call the police. She’s a thief!” Shane said with a smirk.

Ronnie was so scared upon hearing that they will call the police but she stood her ground knowing that she is innocent. She just thought of her daughters back home. She needs to be brave for them.

” So Ronnie, are you going to confess or do we need to call the police?” Mrs. Chung asked.

“You can call the police if you want Ma’am but I am telling the truth, I did not take the juice.” Ronnie firmly said.

The Chung family looked at each other, suppressing a smile. They thought that they have scared Ronnie but they were wrong so they just continued eating and didn’t say another word.

After the 4 left, Ronnie felt exhausted and started to cry. She felt helpless and pitiful. Accusing her of something so petty and announcing it to everyone was embarrassing as if they were sure she did it. She can afford to buy a juice! Why would she take what’s not hers! She just told herself that she has to be brave and just finish her contract and look for another employer. 1 1/2 years is fast, before she knows it, it’s already been 2 years.

In Hong Kong the only person that will encourage you to continue is yourself. Stay strong Ronnie! Think about your daughters.

With that thought, she got up and started to clean.

Ronnie thought that it will be over but it has only started. Every time that something goes wrong, she gets blamed for it and it has always been like a public announcement. She won’t get scolded by just a single person but by all of them. And they will follow her wherever she went in the house just to scold her. She was sick of it that one day she told her lady employer that if they were not satisfied with her service better terminate her rather that treating her badly. Mrs. Chung wasn’t able to react to what she said at first but she eventually challenged her.

“Oh really? You want me to terminate you? And what would you feed your family in the Philippines? How will you pay for your children’s school?”

“To be honest Ma’am, I don’t worry about my children. I know that they are living comfortably even if I am out of job. My husband is from a well to do family.” She bravely said

“Oh really? So why are you here then?” Mrs. Chung asked, not convinced with what she said.

“My husband and I had a misunderstanding, money matters basically. I wanted to have money of my own but he wouldn’t let me work. I was offered a job in a multinational company before but he refused to let me work. Now that I am older, I am not confident enough to apply for an office work so I opted to work here instead. My children understood.” She explained.

Mrs. Chung was speechless when she heard her reason. From then on they mellowed down and if she was treated badly she would always tell them to just terminate her so they would shut up.

Part of what she said was true, when she was younger she was offered an office work in a multinational company but her husband refused to let her work. She managed their business instead. When crisis hit, their business was hit hard and they were buried with debts. To pay off their debts they both decided to go abroad and leave their daughters. She can’t afford to be terminated but they don’t know that, all she can do was to scare them first and it worked. Only a few more months and her contract will be finished. The Chung family thought that she will sign another contract with them, but never.

 

2007

Ronnie was walking in Central trying to catch the bus so she can go home. She was unaware of her surroundings until she thought someone called her name.

“Ronnie! Ronnie!”

Ronnie looked back and recognized the face at once. It was Mrs. Chung!

“Hi Mrs. Chung, how are you?” She asked politely. She clearly aged but it was the same aristocratic face.

“I’m good. Justin and Shane are already married and it’s just my husband and I in the house.”

“Oh ok.”

“If you want to work for me again just call me, here’s my calling card. I will terminate my Indonesian helper if you will agree to work for me and I will give you a higher salary than the regular.” Mrs. Chung said.

“Oh thank you but I’m happy with my current employer now.” Ronnie proudly said giving back the calling card.

“Oh just keep the card in case you change your mind. I’ll see you around. Bye bye!” Mrs. Chung insisted.

Ronnie just smiled, she will never go back to her again. Like she said, she’s very happy with her current employer.

She bumped into Mrs. Chung a few more times and had the same offer which she graciously refused every time.

 

 

 

 

 

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