Monday, May 21, 2007

My Aka

"No, Boss. If Boss no give money, I no take, Boss."


For those not having the privilege to be trapped of studying in India like yours truly; Aka can be literally translated as 'Big Sister', but in all practicality, it actually means "Maid" or "Cleaning Lady".

In the whole past week, I've been trying to pay her her last month's wages - which can prove quite a challenge because - well - we don't meet very often. You see, she only comes in to clean when I go to class (because I hate incursions into my lovely, lovely privacy).

Of course, some of you may have qualms (as did I) about a giving a stranger the key to your home, and leaving her at leisure to loot and plunder. Though the senior staying in the ground floor of our triple-storey Tower of Fugliness spoke highly of her, and vouched passionately for her honesty, I remained unconvinced initially. I'm just not a trusting sort of guy. Heck, I don't even trust my own Mom (never did - since the day she fooled me into eating frog meat, telling me it was chicken when I was 5).

So I devised a little experiment to find out;

On the first day I was expecting the Aka to come, I scattered a specific amount of coins on the floor of my room, giving the impression that I am the type of guy that's careless with money (okay, I am, but that's not the point). The plan is, I wanted to see if she can be tempted to sneak away a rupee or two, since after all - someone who's capable of stealing a lot can't rightly resist the little bit which no one will miss anyway right?

So when I came home from class that day, I found that my rat-hole of a place had received a thorough spic-spanning. On my desk in a white plastic bag was the coins I had sowed on the floor earlier (that's nice of her, I thought). But her honesty remained to be judged.

I counted the coins carefully, rupee by rupee lest I make a mistake. I found that the number wasn't right.

So I counted them again.

And again.

There were more money in the plastic bag than what I have laid down for her to find.

Bag o' coins.

Now that white plastic bag is a permanent fixture in my room, for her to toss in any change she finds while cleaning (and boy, the bag's getting heavy!). Honestly, a beggar can make a living by just following wherever I walk.

So where was I before I digressed? Oh yeah, paying her!

cash table
Attempt #1.

I admit, I am extremely talented in forgetting to pay my rent or bills or debts (in a wholly different manner from my practiced skill of "forgetting" to do my class assignments) - and my Aka reminded me that I was already one week overdue in giving her her money.

So, I left her 360 rupees (about RM30) on my desk prior to attending lectures on Tuesday last week - 10 rupees more than what she asked because she did such a smashing job at keeping up with a one so staggeringly gifted in the art of slobbery i.e me.

I came home finding the cash untouched - but the place had been meticulously scrubbed down yet again.

cash door
Attempt #2. Pretend you didn't see the empty vodka bottle, okay?

Okay, maybe someone as honest as her won't presume to take whatever cash I've laid on my desk as her salary (though she would have been justified in doing since I was late in paying her anyway) - so I tried again;

This time, I placed the moolahs on the counter in my "anteroom", right where the mop, broom and other cleaning supplies stood. C'mon, there's no way she can miss it this time, right?

Yet again, I return to my apartment which shone as if an army of House Elves had launched Operation M.O.P.S.T.O.R.M there while I was away. And yea, the Paper Gandhis were still there with not a single rupee missing. *smacks head*

At long last, I spotted her on Friday and gave her the money. I asked her why she did not take the money I left out for her - and her answer is now forever immortalised up there as the Quote-o'-the-Post.

My Blue Blankie.

Frankly, I cannot offer her enough praise. Besides general-cleaning duties, she also does my laundry. It's as if I did not generate enough dirty clothes for her to wash, she would strip my bed-sheet from my mattress periodically to give it a good scrub (even though I did not tell her to).

Just last Thursday, I came home finding my blanket hanging in the breeze - with all its "wondrous" scents wrung out of it. I knew it wanted washing, but I never quite gotten around to remembering to drop it into the laundry basket.

But Aka took care of that anyway.

I have endless admiration for people who do their jobs properly and honestly - two simple, yet very rare virtues. 350 rupees for cleaning + laundry services every two days seemed terribly paltry to me, especially when it's performed by someone as committed as Aka.

I'm thinking of raising it.


All hail Mega Slob,
k0k s3n w4i


Innocent^^Guy said...

I share the same admiration to people who perform their job well. And I would go the same distance like you to reward them just so as to encourage such behavior. Just like my father alwiz tell me, if people do their job well, I'm happy paying a little bit more!

Good love to you!

pinksterz said...

you are so lazy until like that?!


erm, can export one AKA to egypt or not? i give you my the address. no, its not for me *fake cough*

so most people in india can speak easy english?

you should. raise the pay i mean. for all the jobs and tasks she do.

and how did the froggy meat taste like? err...croakily yummy?

John Doe said...

From my family experience, good Indian domestic help is hard to find!

*Ponders on ways to export Aka to Mumbai*

Zzzyun said...

well imo, i think u shld raise her pay, even it's a little, esp if converted to msian ringgit, it's just a small amount for us.

becoz it's really hard to find ppl who are so honest, does their work properly and are proactive too. u sure are lucky.

i hvta do all my cleaning and laundry myself, but heck i dont mind. it's good training. =)

- Kye - said...

The world needs more people like Aka.

mrbherng said...

You guys are so lucky to have someone cleaning the whole place for you for like RM30???

If you got lock out in the UK, you have to pay 30GBP to get someone to come and open the lock in less then 2 seconds!! And worst still, just calling the plumber to have a LOOK at the heating cost you 50GBP.

Wondering why not be a locksmith or plumber now =/

michelleg said...

OMG!! she's like an angel!!! raise her pay! she too nice lar.. hard to find these kind of people around anymore. ur lucky to have found such a good help.

Wan Yean said...

if i were you, i'll make her my girlfriend.

AhPau said...

OMG u r so lucky to have an AKA like her. i'm my own 'aka' over here...hmm, probably explains why my room is so messy! LOL...

lingghezhi said...

her honesty and diligence beyond doubt.

Rabbit said...

Ah you lucky chap! 30 bucks and everything done!

michellesy the messy said...

I have issues with admitting that my family had (for a short albeit blissful time) an Aka too.

That was during my first year of life when Mom realised she couldn't work and have a (very messy) baby and run the house as well =S Heh - so much for having her cake and eating it too.

So we had an Aka of our own - although I don't remember her.At all.

However, it is definitely not kosher to admit in egalitarian Australia that you had a *gasp* maid. Cleaning lady is alright though - go figure =P

Lucky you though - some days, when I am stumbling around trying to vacuum the house in a haze of fatigue, I so wish I had an Aka too. Especially one as nice (and honest!) as yours =)

ps: I can only admire the ingenuity of your 'tests' =D Even I, the paranoid cynic, could not have done a more cautious job LOL!

k0k s3n w4i said...

Argh, you have discovered my motives for paying more! I was going to wish you happy birthday but then I saw your latest post.

I am not lazy. I am just providing jobs for the many unemployed people of India. That's me, Humanitarian k0k. Frog meat tastes... well... exactly like chicken. But that's not the point!

@john doe
Your family lives in Mumbai??? Now that's some surprise, dude.

Practice for what? You're going to be doctor, not a housewife! You shoud think of getting a househusband actually. I heard it's the 'in' these days.

@- Kye -

Well, I'm pretty sure people get sick more often than they get locked out or have some plumbing crisis. Plus, doctors get to troop around a hospital full of nurses everyday.
50BP to just look at pipes?!!!! WTF. There should be laws against such people!

She's pretty famous around here, I think. When I was looking for an Aka, everyone told me to get the 'skinny lady'.

@wan yean
She's married :(

Why are all the female doctor gonnabes doing their own houseworks? Can't find good help in Russia, huh?

You spoke truth, o' person who desperately needs a haircut.

I need a gf like michelleg,zzzyun or ahpau over here. Then I don't even need to pay RM30

Damn Aussies. In India, you can even own a serving wench if you so desire (and if your wallet's willing). And I'm just as big a paranoid cynic as you are - only I pretend half the time that I'm not.

bubbly soda said...

Wow! All respect for Aka!

People like her deserve the respect, though her wages is humble she did not have the intention to take more. Respect!

aya* said...

aah. i remember you. well, your name at least. kok sen wai. ahahaha hello :)

k0k s3n w4i said...

Well, respect can't be eaten - so that's why I'm paying her more now.

We were never properly intro'ed before. In fact, I don't even know your real name, haha. But I heard loads about aya.

Zzzyun said...

k0k> househusband? lmao* i wonder how many men wud succumb to that stage? occasional help around the hse shld be fine tho.

"practice" coz in the end, altho i might be working as a doc, it doesnt mean i'm not gonna do any hsework at all, rite? hehe..

rabbit> getting a gf is becoz u lurve her. not to make her into a maid. :P besides getting a gf that is a med student wud always mean she's busy studying! lol.

k0k s3n w4i said...


I have high admiration for any man who would do that - as high as the admiration I have for competent housewives. Running a household is not easy, y'know. Plus, househusbands are pretty popular in the Philippines, what with the womenfolk all in Hong Kong and Singapore cleaning other people's house.