Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Even the Ultraman was not spared ....What the hell was she thinking of?

My mouth gasped in disbelief. 

My mind was spinning and trying to comprehend what the hell was she thinking of when she packed the items laid on the floor in front of me.

On the floor, were packets after packets of neatly rolled up clothes, packed in small transparent plastic bags that I bought for her to pack our food, each packet meticulously labelled not only with the name of the recipient but also a brief description of the content.
"6 piece toys. Ultraman" reads one label and inside this neatly wrapped plastic bag was six of Ryan's favourite Ultraman figurines.

"3 piece girl baby clothes. 1 pink, 1 white and 1 stripe" reads another with three of Chenya's new branded clothes that we have just bought from US, neatly rolled up, taped, wrapped and labelled.'

But nothing tops these two ....

"This is for outdoor activities only" reads one plastic bag with one of Ryan's outdoor shorts, meant to be given to her son.

"For `so and so' birthday. Happy Birthday. From {Maid's name}" was written on one of the label where another Chenya's cute dress was neatly packed.

Not only were my wife and I stunned and shocked. The magnitude of the volume of such packets found in three huge bags and the manner of which they have been packed and labelled sent ripples literally throughout the maid's agency. In all the years that they have been there, they claimed that they have not seen something akin to what was slowly unfolding before their very eyes.
It took 4 staff to slowly laid all the loot over the floor, carefully photographing them, unwrapping them and documenting them. The last count was 250 pieces, discounting those that came in pairs! 250 fucking pieces of clothes, taken right under our nose!
And just the day before, we were just about to process her visa and bring her along with us to Beijing, China to take care of both Chenya and Ryan for the next 2 years.

However, we are thankful and grateful because the heavens are definitely looking out for us. The timing could not have been more timely and how the entire conspiracy and scheme unraveled was rather unexpected to say the least, and it's nothing short of a meticulous and calculated conspiracy between my Pinay maid and the one behind our house.

Being with us for the last 5 months, we have learnt to trust her with our children and house chores. She has started off well, although lately she has somewhat slacked and was caught on various occasions by my mother and mother in law staying at our house, in our absence while travelling, chatting and having a good time with the maid behind our house and another from the corner unit. I have verbally told her off and that she is not to waste her time chatting away when there are loads to do.

So, how was she caught?

On Sunday evening, when we got back with her to have her picture taken for her visa application, we found our neighbor's car parked in front of our house. When my wife got down, our neighbor showed her two bags and asked her if they were ours. The bags were clearly ours and on opening those bags, we were shocked to see neatly rolled up, wrapped baby clothes with name of various people written on them.

We were then told that these bags were recovered from the maid behind our house, when she was fired and were asked to leave. When our neighbor checked her belonging before letting her go, these bags were apparently found and upon questioning, were told that they belong to our maid who gave these items to her to be sent back to Philippines.

My wife was fuming and I can not blame her because we both felt betrayed! We were hurt because we have attempted in the last five months to be as positive and caring as we can (as an employer) to her. We have even bought her clothes from US during our last visit as souvenirs and here she was, stealing from us, right under our nose! We wanted to confront her there and then, but realising that we have no place to sent her to in the night, we refrained ourselves waiting to get that done in the morning.

I was certain that she has suspected her deed uncovered when the neighbor brought down the two bags. Although she has said nothing, she was not her normal self, looked somewhat disturbed and worried. I was fearful that she would just run away that very same night and to ensure that does not happen, I have resorted to keeping every key to the house in my pocket and slept on the couch downstairs to make sure that no one leaves the house without my knowledge.

We called the maid agency the following morning and was advised to bring her in. We told her to get ready because we have to bring her to the embassy to get her visa done (which we planned to do originally anyway) and would drop by the agency to get her documents certified. I could see that she was worried but having little choice but to follow.

Upon reaching the agency, she was brought into a room and was then immediately questioned by the person in charge as to whether she realized why she was brought back to the agency. At that point, she admitted that she did something wrong and that she `took' some T-shirts and baby clothes. She was then asked to list down everything that she `took'. She was reluctant at first and listed down only 3 to 4 items. Upon being threatened that we have already had the loot, she began to fill up a piece of A4 paper!

When the two bags that was returned by my neighbor was brought in and the loot laid on the table, we found that many listed on the paper were actually not there. Upon being pressured, she admitted that there is another bag..."half more she said".....given to the maid from the house behind.

GOD! We just could not believe our ears. What we have seen in the two bags were bad enough and here she was, telling us that there is another bag!

We made a quick call to our neighbor to check and 5 minutes later, she called back and said that she found another 3 bags hidden under the maid's bed and one bag was so heavy that she could hardly pull it out.

With a staff from the agency, we made our way to our neighbor's house to recover this one bag. We were shocked! The third bag is even BIGGER than the first two and stuffed to the brim with items from our house!

We were told that she has been silently packing whatever she fancied and passed them over from our wet kitchen window to the maid behind who would then kept it for her over a period of two months.

250 pieces of my branded shirts and shorts, wife's T-shirts, Ryan's clothes and Chenya's clothes (both hardly used or brand new, still with price labels that we bought recently from US), besides Ultraman, hotwheels, USB thumb drives and Angry Bird keychains!

So, what was she thinking of? What was her or rather their strategy? Don't they know that she would have to follow us to Beijing as agreed? Do she know that when they leave for home, all their bags would be checked? How on earth are they going to move three such heavy bags beside their own bags?

Here is what we think ....
  • She has gotten braver and greedier as the days went by, starting with used items to brand new items that we have just bought because she was not questioned about these missing items. (We have been noticing that our children are wearing almost the same clothes everyday and she has been questioned. She acted dumb and we thought that she was too lazy to take out other clothes and kept on using the same ones to her convenience) With our relocation pending in weeks, we were also very busy to really check on the items we have bought home.
  • She has been instigated and she was tempted thinking that she could get away with the crime.
  • She has no intention whatsoever to follow us to Beijing in the first place, because has been constantly asking my mother in law, the exact date of which we will shift. We have been keeping this date from her for security reasons.
  • She has planned to run away just before we fly to Beijing, very likely with the maid from the house behind and if that is so, they would have very likely made arrangements with another party at large with transportation to help them to cart away the loot.
The entire conspiracy would NOT have been uncovered if the maid behind was NOT terminated and asked to leave unexpectedly. Our believe is that both maids have planned to run away with the items stolen from both our house and our neighbor's house when the timing was right. However, the unexpected termination forced the maid to leave early and hence, the stolen items discovered and the plot unraveled.

So, God has been very kind to us. We could not have imagine our loss (not only the items stolen, visa application and air ticket) but also our predicament at the very last minute when we do not have a maid to bring over to Beijing to take care of both Chenya and Ryan. At least now, we can still proceed with our back up plans for our relocation to Beijing.

And if you think that all the above are bad enough, wait till you read this....

My maid was given a stolen handphone by the maid behind to keep their communication line opened. (Our agreement with our maid when we employed her was that she will not have a handphone, hence we paid her a premium on top of her monthly salary with a promise that we will allow her to call home twice every month using our phone card)

When we went through her items to be packed and given back to her at the agency, my mother in law pass a black bra to my wife and asked if that was the maid's. My wife's eyes nearly fell off her sockets. She was holding her black Victoria Secret bra, bought back from the US sometime back but have not wore it since. The maid has conveniently took it and wear it as her own, and so brave and arrogant that she has became, that she actually washed and hung it out to dry (at the back) right under our nose!

We were very hurt because we have always attempt to make our maid's stay with us as pleasant as we could. We even have her birthday coming up in November updated in our calendar so that we do not forget to celebrate it with her, just like we did with the maids before her.....


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are we the WORST? Really?

At the time when I read that Malaysian taxi drivers were rated one of the worst in the world, I have just came back from taking an approximately 30 minutes taxi ride from Bellevue in Seattle to downtown Pikes Market which cost me USD39 besides the USD5 tips that I have to pay, which means that my 30 minutes ride cost me a cool RM136.50 at today's exchange rate of 3.104. I barely spent 2 hours at the Pikes Fish Market before I had to go back to the hotel with Ryan whining about being tired and sleepy. Hence, my 2 hours escapade cost me a whopping RM273!

So, before we start to jump blaming our Malaysian taxi drivers and pointing fingers that the report is true and they deserve what they deserves, I believe that we should look at the `so called' poll and report and the results objectively before we judged.
I have the privilege to travel quite a fair bit recently, and taking taxis in some of this countries that I have visited and the experience related to this group of people and their occupation.

I must said that I do agreed that we simply do not have the best taxi drivers in the world but I am not quite sure if they deserved being called the WORST!

Read more about my experience with taxis from other parts of the world and see for yourself if we deserved to be called the worst taxi drivers in the WORLD at MyNikon & I : Worst Taxi Drivers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You are giving me a HEADACHE!

As I was browsing through the Tomy Roma's menu at Anaheim, Los Angeles after a two hours drive back from San Diego where we have spent a day earlier at the Sea World, carefully selecting a hearty meal that would hopefully gives me enough energy to last me till midnight later at Disneyland, Ryan, as usual wanting attention, asked me which ultraman figurine that he has brought along for this holiday would I want?
"Daddy, you want Dyna or Ultraman Gaia?" he asked, shoving the two figurines into my face.

Irritated, tired and just wanting to get him off my back, I said "Tiga". For the uninitiated, Tiga is yet another Ultraman in the huge ultraman family.

"Huh? Tiga? No! I don't have Tiga!" he screamed.
"I asked you which one you want? Dyna or Gaia?" he continued.
"But I want Tiga" I repeated, wanting to agitate him and give me a piece of his own medicine when he agitates me non stop.
"I told YOUuuuuu. I don't have Tiga!" he repeated.
"Why not?" I asked, sensing blood, knowing that he was getting impatient.
"I didn't bringggggg!" he explained.
"Why not?" I persisted.
"I told youuuuu, I didn't bring!" he said
"Why? I wanted Tiga because he is so strong!" I insisted.
"But I didn't bringggggg!" his eyes rolling with frustration and agitation.
"But I want!" I pressed on, a line that he uses so often on us that will never fail to drive us up the wall.
"I told you alreadyyyyyy, I didn't bring!" you can have either Dyna or Gaia Onlyyyy!" trying to stress his point.
"But I only want Tiga." I insisted.

At this point, he was already irritated with me to the max, a moment of which I enjoyed tremendously. What a evil daddy I am, but hell, I am having fun for once and having him at the receiving end.

He rolled his eyes and one hand on his head and exclaimed, "Daddy! You are giving me a Headache!"

Both my wife and I burst into laughter and we were laughing so hard till we cried and I am pretty sure that the patrons next to us must have thought the Chinese next to them have absolutely gone mad and were too loud, like all other Chinese they must have came across.

It's pay back time ! Hehehehehe
More Pictures on Jeju Island Coming up NEXT!