You said you was high classed, that was just a lie
You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't a friend of mine
- originally by Elvis Presley, now by Anwar Ibrahim to Khairy Jamaluddin
Hardly surprising that malaysiakini didn’t report this one, what with all the hi-profile news about (1) Anwar Ibrahim wanting to sue Khairy Jamaluddin for calling the former an agent of the Jews and (2) Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin stunning the Malaysian blogosphere by cooing a sweet ‘forgive and forget’ regarding Negarakuku rapper Wee Meng Chong – Zam said that Malaysians (meaning UMNO) should be magnanimous in accepting Wee’s apology about his MTV-style online video which mocked the national anthem – Uncle Zam said Wee’s faux pas was due to the latter’s ignorance
No, it was an al Jazeera report yesterday that again reminded us how bloody cruel some of us Malaysians have become.
Another Indonesian maid, Parsiti, alleged that her employer started kicking and beating her with a cane in May, just one month after she came to Malaysia. Parsiti revealed that her employer had kept her a virtual prisoner, apart from installing a closed-circuit television camera in the house to monitor her.
An Indonesian embassy official confirmed that Parsiti has swollen lips and a bruise on her left thigh.
Parsiti was so traumatised by the alleged physical abuses that she made a desperate escape from her employer’s residence. She climbed through the window of the 22nd storey condominium in Kuala Lumpur but had to be rescued by from the high ledge outside the 17th floor when she was stuck there. It was fortuitous a neighbour had spotted her climbing down from her employer’s apartment and alerted a security guard.
She is the second case of such a dramatic desperate and dangerous escape from an alleged abusive employer. A couple of months back, another Indonesian maid, Ceriyati Dapin, made the same form of escape by climbing out of the window of her employer's 15th floor apartment with a rope made of towels, sheets and clothes. You would have thought such escape aids were only in movies.
Irene Fernandez, director of Tenaganita, a migrant workers rights group based in Malaysia, said such incidents were ‘happening too often’. She accused the Malaysian and Indonesian governments of being indifferent to the plight of Indonesian maids who were getting a raw deal compared with Filipino domestic helpers.
But let’s leave aside the apathetic governments - ho hum, what's new.
Instead we need to ask ourselves: what sort of abuses would have driven these maids, working in a strange land, to such desperate measures to escape their employers? What sort of people are we Malaysians to treat our servants so cruelly as if we are some medieval feudal lords with sway of death or life over our 'slaves'?
If the above allegations are indeed true, I as a Malaysian feel terribly ashamed that we are a bunch of, no not hound dogs, but plain mongrels - pariah dogs to ill-treat a worker in such a draconian way because she so happened to be a foreigner.