This story is for my mother.
Life is a blessing! Live and let live! This valuable lesson was taught to me by my mom. I’m blessed to be born in my family. We don’t depend on each other but always support and help each other.
It was early 2010, I had sent my mom some money through Western Union, as in those days we didn’t have Internet Banking. I sent her money so that she can buy things for herself. My mom deserves pocket money! I asked her to collect it after 3 or 4 days but she refused to do it. After 2 weeks, someone from Western Union called me, asking me to collect the money back.
I called my mom immediately and was a bit rude to her. She replied politely, “I don’t know how you are, what work you are doing, when you are eating, when you go to sleep. How could I spend your money on myself…? I still have some money you sent for your son, my grandson’s expenses. I don’t need money now!” I was dumb, tears were running down my cheeks! I ran to the bathroom.
My mom is amazing! Not because she doesn’t ask me for anything. But that is her character, a selfless lady. She always gives back to the community and friends. A lovely wife, caring mother, amazing grandmother who knows only to give and never want anything back in return.
I come from a small village, Wilayah, Wonosobo City, Central of Java in Indonesia. Both my parents are farmers. I have a sister who is 3 years younger than me. She is married and have a son. I was married very young, I’m divorced now. I have an 11-year-old son.
As I was married very early, I couldn’t finish high school. But luckily, while working as a domestic worker in Singapore, I finished it! I’m planning to go to university now.
I work as a domestic worker because I want a better life for my family. I have been in Singapore for 8 years now.
Life as a domestic worker is not easy! I have a huge role in my employer’s daily routine. I’m responsible for planning their meals, looking after their lovely boys, cleaning the house, in a word, everything! But I enjoy my work and I am happy doing it, so it never feels like a burden! In fact, I love cooking. That’s my favourite! I try find to different recipes in YouTube and Google. When the boys say, “Aunty its yummy!’’ I’m very satisfied. Sometimes I have my gloomy days also. When it rains in the morning, I just wish I could have slept a little bit longer… hahahaha!
About my finances, I never borrowed money from anyone. I still remember the day when I left for Singapore for the first time. It was the 23rd of November My mother hugged me tightly. She gave me IDR 200, equivalent to SGD 20. I had to work six months for free as all the money went to the agency. My salary was SGD 320 in those days. I just had SGD 10 as my pocket money.
Now I only support my son’s expenses. But I still send a bit of money to my parents and nephew as extra pocket money. Initially I couldn’t save much from my salary but now I make it a point to save SGD 300 a month. I think I have saved approximately SGD 8000 after working all these years.
I’m proud of being a single mother. I don’t depend on anyone. I’m a self-made person. I had to work really very hard for what I have right now. I don’t have a big house or business, but just knowing that my family is happy and healthy keeps me contended here!
I’m a dreamer! My first dream is to see my son graduate from school. I have not done anything yet for my parents so my second dream is to rebuild their home. I think it will take another 3 years to make that come true. I hope to retire as a teacher when I return to my hometown.
Lastly, a piece of advice I want to share with employers is to trust your domestic worker completely. This trust factor makes the domestic worker more responsible. Happy domestic worker, happy employer!
Interviewed by Marie Kretz Di Meglio in April 2018
Edited by Ranita Gupta