Monday, January 29, 2007

Maid for Abuse

Large metropolitan newspapers list sub-categories for employment in their classified sections: Administrative, Construction, Education, Health Care, Legal, etc., and our two English newspapers here in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Arab News and The Saudi Gazette, both have a “Classified” section, albeit, on a much smaller scale than the typical American paper. The Saudi Gazette’s classified section does not appear anywhere on their Internet version; the Arab News can be found on-line and their classified section consists of sections for the categories of “Jobs, Matrimonial, For Sale, Miscellaneous, Swap, Cargo and Announcement.” However, jobs are not listed categorically and today there was no “help wanted” listing for a maid. There was an ad for another domestic situation which, really, given the fact that women in this Country cannot drive, makes fulfilling this position a “necessity” in The Sandbox – and that is for the hiring of a driver:

Required a family driver (Filipino/Indonesian) to work in Riyadh with a Saudi family. Candidate should know Riyadh area very well. Will be offered good salary. Suitable candidates contact Mobile: 0555555555.*
Is finding a maid for abuse something that is done through an agency or some sort of networking? There is a question to which the answer may remain, for me, elusive, in that I will never have a maid. Yes, currently, I have a houseboy who comes for four hours, three times a week to assist me in cleaning, but all of the “stuff” that is routine and day-to-day, i.e., laundry, ironing, dishes, make the bed, etc., is done by me.

The employer, or sponsor, whose son responded to the allegations made by
this maid has, of course, denied them. [Yeah, I know. And, yes, I’m as surprised as you are!] It would certainly be quite rare indeed if there is a single, reported case where the employer or sponsor of an abused maid actually admitted it. Just one… Apparently, the son, deems it worthy to note, regarding the maid's claim that she has been abused, that she had “only been with them for a month and a half.” [This will be an integral component used to the benefit of the abusing party – not THE abused – in any official action that might be brought before the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Such mitigating circumstances all but guarantee a judgment in favor of the defendant(s).]

Someone help me out here if I’m wrong on this, but is there a minimum length of time that a maid has to be with a family before the abuse “officially” begins? Is the first six weeks – or month and a half – of employment as a domestic servant considered a “grace period?” If so, somebody should have shared that little caveat with
Fatima! But that would, of course, explain Rosie's saga, because, after all she was a maid here for seven months when AFTER being summoned by the police her male employer admitted abusing her. Oh, pardon. My mistake. I was unaware of this instance in which a husband took responsibility for his wife’s abuse of the maid although it isn’t quite the same as admitting the abuse, is it?

*The telephone number, for obvious reasons, has been changed. Do, however, notice that the Nationality of the wanted driver has been specified. Try to imagine an employer doing something like this in the United States - unfathomable! The ACLU and every one of its related agencies, no matter how remotely associated, would be stumbling over each other during the race to file a lawsuit in the nearest Courthouse. Yes, things are just a bit different here, in The Sandbox…

Friday, January 26, 2007

Look What I Got

This is a first. I’m putting this day on the calendar and will celebrate it like a holiday from here on in. I guess the trick to getting Victoria’s Secret catalogs is to order only one little item so that it is sent to me via mail in an envelope versus being sent in a box via UPS.

Because I don’t want to be polluting the oh so fragile minds of the adolescent males of this society I am not going to photocopy blown-up size pages of the most risqué lingerie and post them on light poles and palm trees, but I want to! Of course it would defeat the purpose to do this on our compound – it would be so much better if I could do this downtown – perhaps leaving several photos like these which are almost pornographic on the windshields of all the cars parked illegally. That, however, would be a humongous endeavor – even if I targeted only the cars at the Rashid Mall.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Copycat Hanging

Hmmph. File this one under “my how things have changed since the olden days.” Probably most of us can recall at some point when we were young and gave it our best effort to copy some action or actions that we had seen a parent or other admired adult-figure do. That’s part of growing up, isn’t it? And, that’s how you learn some of the lessons that prepare you for life.

Granted, back in those days there were no video games, the extent of the violence I can recall from television was purely “G” rated “slapstick” and likely done on a Monkee’s episode or on Gilligan’s Island; I cannot recall a single episode of Lassie that contained any violence, slapstick or otherwise [some injury or sadness, perhaps, but not violence]. No one had a computer in their home, the
Internet was an infant, and certainly You Tube wasn’t even a remote idea.

Who would have thought, that several years [decades!?!] later, the combination of home computers, the Internet and You Tube would produce a generation of copycats that try their own version of stunts they first see on
Jackass or that a 12-year old would hang himself to copy Saddam Hussein? This boy is not the first; according to today’s article in Arab News, FOUR youngsters have successfully demonstrated expert plagiarism skills, if that was their intent.

Copying test answers or the dust-jacket of a book for a book report,
without getting caught, would have been more than adequate. Not to make light of the fact that three young boys and a teenaged girl have met their demise, it is just sad that the degree of violence saturated in today’s world of video games, television programs and movies, and the internet has hardened us in such a way that our reaction to an incident of this nature is “Oh, gee, isn’t that too bad.”

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