Ever seen or heard of the movie "Runaway Bride" played by Julia Roberts? She played a commitment-phobic bride who kept running away from the altar in the movie. I've actually yet to see it in the reel, but now I'm experiencing something similar in real life.
My new Indonesian maid came to work for us in late March, and her work has been quite good. We taught her the required duties and she had performed satisfactorily. We think we're rather reasonable employers - we don't need her to look after the children (we DIY or get grandparents' help usually), and she usually get all the time to herself after dinnertime, which seldom stretch beyond 8pm. I find this maid taking naps almost anytime in the day - randomly found her sleeping at 11am, 3pm, on different days, but we didn't quite mind, as long as most chores are done.
In order not to let her feel too lonely, we planned weekend trips, restaurant dinners, shopping trips with her, and even brought her to the Singapore Flyer just last Saturday. Nothing too exciting really, since the anticipation exceeded the experience quite a fair bit, but we hope she'd enjoyed it.
So imagine our shock when we came back home last Thursday at 6pm and found her missing. Here's a chronology of the events that happened since.
4 Jun 2009 4:40pm - Received call from maid asking whether to cook dinner.
4 Jun 2009 6:00pm - Returned home to find maid missing. Dinner materials all washed/chopped and left on kitchen counter. Main gate's remote control left in the letter box.
4 Jun 2009 7:00pm - Informed maid agency about missing maid.
4 Jun 2009 8:00pm - Lodged missing person report at our neighbourhood police post. Police office called all major hospitals to confirm no accidents were recorded with unknown runaway maid. The ordeal took almost 2 hours.
5 Jun 2009 4:10pm - Received call from maid agency informing that maid has gone to the Indonesian Embassy.
6 Jun 2009 10:00am - Packed maid's belongings and brought over to agency. Decided to hold on to the items and look for her at the embassy instead and try to talk her around to come back.
8 Jun 2009 10:00am - Queued for almost 1.5 hours at the Indonesian Embassy to speak to the consular officer who told us that she'd run away (again!) the previous day (i.e. 7 Jun).
According to the officer, our dear friend turned up at 11am on 5 Jun with 2 other Indon maids at the embassy, talked about returning to Malaysia during her brief stay there, and then decided to proceed on her journey on stealth mode just yesterday (7 Jun). The embassy had to wait for 24 hours to lapse before lodging a police report too. All this while, she'd been making her way around the island without her passport and work permit, and, heaven forbid, if she has cash on her, it'd be ill-begotten.
I hesitated to rummage through her things at first, since I was hoping she might still return, but later decided to just try to find any evidence of any reason she may have to do this. We found this un-dated letter she'd written, apparently to her family, and not sent out, which we brought to the maid agency to help us decipher.
In her letter, she revealed that she had run away from her previous employer in Malaysia too, and did not complete her 3-year contract then. She'd claim that she completed her contract with her Malaysian employer in her biodata. Can't blame anyone for that, really, as she hadn't come clean with her information, and if she had, who'd employ her? Even the Indonesian consular officer advised us not to hire her even if she comes back.
We think she must have been a highly accomplished apprentice of Mas Selamat, making her way off to the next mission...
Now, if only I can find someone to help do the dreaded chores...