Saturday, October 28, 2006

9 Out of 10 = A Lot!

Almost everyone has one. I don’t have one. But then, I’m not a “local” and thus am not allowed to have one – non-locals, generally, are not allowed to sponsor “maids.” There are, of course, exceptions. Certain professions of non-locals [i.e., physicians] qualify and may apply to sponsor a maid. For the most part, non-locals must use “houseboys.”

Of the dozen or so households that I have been to where there is a full-time, live-in maid, I’ve not been overly impressed by the work that they do. Perhaps my standards are just that much higher, but I know that I do a better job of cleaning and “keeping house.” I suppose that if my DH’s position here for some reason were to be eliminated then I could become a maid – oh, sure, it is an option that we could fall back on… [Yeah. Right. Not in this lifetime!] If I had not seen so many victims who have been imported as household help and if they were treated with just a modicum of decency and respect – oh – and paid a decent wage… Nahh. I just don’t think I could do it…

The maid’s aren’t really the ones at “fault” as far as the quality of work. A friend put much of this in perspective for me when we were discussing it one morning and she was telling me how their maid had ruined another load of laundry. I suggested that perhaps she shouldn’t have the maid do any more laundry as several “loads” have now been ruined and she explained to me that it was partly her fault as she hadn’t given much consideration to the fact that this maid is from a country where there is NO SUCH THING as a washer and dryer and in that case how could she [the maid] possibly be expected to know how to use such equipment?

Still, in a country where, for the most part, the majority of women don’t work, the fact that
9/10ths of the households here have at least one maid certainly is telling.

The Philippines will soon make available for sending to The Sandbox a “
Supermaid.” I kid you not. The “Supermaid” is going to be highly trained and will be given language instruction so that they will speak whatever language the country to where they are going to be employed speaks. These maids, the new and improved version, will of course cost more and there is already some balking that “locals” are not going to want to have to pay the additional 50 or 100 Riyals it will cost for the upgrade.

This seemingly makes the “maid” a “thing” that can be upgraded with newer and better options, rather like leasing a car. You can get the bare-bones, stripped down version of a Hundai or Kia, or for a few Riyals more you can get a Lexus. Hmm... It will be interesting to follow to see how many “locals” are willing to pay the additional cost for the new, improved version – the upgraded model - the "Supermaid."


  1. The 'locals' do nothing but bitch & moan about their maids as it is, so somehow I can't see them paying more for a person who has been either trained or 're-trained'.........perhaps they already sussed it & realise they won't be able to get away with abusing the maid or with-holding her salary for months on end.

  2. I have to say I love my maid! I work part time and have always been a crap housewife and to be able to choose not to do it is a wonderful luxury! I refuse to feel guilty about it! I pay her what she asked, I pay her on time, I pay her in full when we are away on holiday and she gets paid days off for Eid, Diwali, Christmas and any other festival she wants and she also gets a Christmas bonus of an extra months salary.

    I feel it is a huge privilege to have someone to clean my house for me and I am very grateful as she does a much better job than I would! I am not going to feel guilty for giving someone a job at a rate of pay they fixed.

  3. Supermaid, LOL!!!If that is the Phillipine's effort at making sure their nationals are treated decently when working in KSA, it certainly does not bode well for all these poor Phillipino domestics who are not 'upgraded'. The whole thing is totally insane since the problem is with the Saudis themselves who think themselves way too good to do their own housework. If you balk at doing your own laundry and cleaning you are not worth much as a respectable human being.
    By the way Sabra, thank you for this post: it did answer my queries. {;-)

  4. wow

    If I were an American woman, I don't think I could ever get used to living in the ME O_o

    I'm impressed that you made the sacrifice. I certainly hope hubby is handsomely rewarded for whatever he does there.

  5. wow...

    it is nearly a full moon in the NYC area...

    and getting close to the big day.


    i think i will need a super something after Tuesday, but we are going to give it our all.

    just say NO to Nancy...

  6. I agree with northern shewolf. The maids who don't get the 'upgrade'
    are going to be regarded as second-class maids and this will probably foster
    added abuse.
    There's something worrying me about that article you linked to. "68 percent
    of housemaids are barely
    20 years old, 51 percent of them are between 20 and 30 years of age";. WTF? I
    can't figure it out. Are 19% exactly 20 years of age? No that can't be because
    I'm sure there are some over 30. Can someone clarify this math for me?
    Dux in Oman.

  7. wow. Glad you found me. Your intro is absolutely wonderful. It certainly gives one the desire to read even more. You're definitely getting on my blog roll!!!

  8. HOW long will you last in that hell-hole? Obviously you guys are being paid alot of money to give up all the things you really love?
    do mean sometimes start up with you in public?

  9. Is the Middle east blogging world full of bored rich housewives blogging, desperate for some interest?

  10. Dux,
    I am also unimpressed with the math skills display: if 68% are barely 20 y. old it implies that some of that figure ARE 20 y. old, same goes for the quoted 51% of 'in between 20 and 30 years of age'. To make sense of this one has to assume that the word 'barely' is applying to the majority of the 1st group, and that the 51% consists of some nearly 21 y.old and up to 30. Still, makes no sense...A new statistical 'tour de force' maybe(?).

  11. Jin – Like I said, we’ll see how many of the Supermaids are actually recruited. Should be interesting…

    Rose – You ARE a lucky one, then! And I am glad that a maid works out for you – I’m sure it does for many – but so far, the “help” as in “houseboy” since we don’t qualify for a maid – just hasn’t for me. Maybe one of these days… Just out of curiosity, is the going rate for pay the same in Dubai as it is in SA? [DH is in Dubai right now. If the trip was longer than two days I would have joined him. Way too much work, however, for me, to leave the two Kids, for just two nights away. Luv it there!]

    Gad – Umm, get used to it? Hmm… Yeah. Okay, then… And as DH just happens to be in Dubai, as I type, and the gold souks there are absolutely fabulous, my “hints” quite specific… After all, I have made quite a sacrifice…

    HNAV – Are we winning, yet??? It’s still quite early there… It’s bedtime, here.

    Dux – You are probably quite right. It is certainly a point that I doubt many have given much consideration at all… As far as the math… All I can tell you is that we rode thru a neighborhood late this afternoon and it was rather interesting as there were quite a few children outside on the sidewalks with their toys – riding cars, a push mower [no grass in sight!], and strollers – all with their “maids/nannies,” who were all, of course, covered, but for their faces, but as we were right up basically next to them, you could see that they had very young faces – and I am not trying to imply anything by this, but they all appeared to be of an “Asian” decent, but I’d only be guessing to say from the Philippines… It would be difficult for me to even try to guess the ages, but all very taut, tight-skinned, no wrinkles… So, young, as in very late-teens, early twenties? Oh, and as I pointed out to the woman I was with, NOT a single smile on any one of their faces! Not ONE! We didn’t however, discuss the “age” of these women, but when I see her this weekend for breakfast on Thursday I’ll ask her how old she would guess that they were.

    Stiltwalker – Why thank you!

    Many Names – I can tell you exactly how long we’ve been here [four years, two months, two weeks, two days, twenty-three hours and fifty-one minutes as I type this – but who’s counting?!?]. How long will we last? The question, really, should be, “How long will I last?” And, as far as the ME being full of “bored, rich housewives blogging, desperate for some interest?” Absolutely no clue.

    And, NS… Dux – go with whatever NS says. This woman has forgotten more knowledge than many will ever possess. She is a damn living encyclopedia! Ask her anything and she knows some fact or reference she pulls out of nowhere for an answer, and not just once in a while, or sometimes, or most of the time – always!

    Night, all!

    Have a post on “maids” [um-hmm, another one] and cleaning the bathroom already to go and will upload the accompanying photo to have it posted tomorrow. Promise.

  12. Yes, I know I'm lucky :-) I pay her about (getting calculator out) $200 a month and she comes in 5 days a week and does about 2 hours.

    I don't think paying someone else to do laundry and housework has any bearing whatsoever on my worth as a human being. I don't think I'm too good to do it myself and I don't consider my maid to be a lesser human being because she does do it.

    BTW, tell DH not to buy gold in the Gold Souk, its all hugely over-inflated tourist prices there! Tell him to go to the Gold and Diamond Park on Sheikh Zayed Road, the prices are about half and the quality and choice is better and its not crowded with people trying to sell you overpriced fakes!

  13. Hi there 

    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here is the story of my dog called Shandy.
    He was my favourite pet and he was very lively, lots of fun and very obedient. His main
    passion in life was to be taken for a long walk, culminating with a big run out in his favourite
    park. I would try to take him on this walk everyday, weather permitting. The park itself
    was about three miles away from our house. What do you think?

    Wow, I've found the same to be true too!  Where did you get that at?  

    Bye, bye - Wendy! 

    [color=#473624][u][url=]how I make money with paid surveys[/url][/u][/color]


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