My maid is driving me crazy


Dear Hillary,

I know I am lucky to have a maid, as I could never afford one in America.  And I know I am joining the band of women who are complaining about their maids.  At all the functions I go to, the discussions are all the same, what the maid has done this week!  I will admit that I do not speak very much Thai and my maid speaks even less English, but surely if she wants to be a maid for English speaking people, should I not get someone who can communicate?  I did not choose the maid as she was supplied by my husband’s company and this is my first experience with domestic staff.

I could go on for hours about the way she refuses to use hot water for the dishes, will wash everything in the same sink, will use the dish cloth to wipe the floor.  I am sure you have heard it all before.  She also does weird things like leaving clothes out in the lounge room for a day, rather than putting them away.  Why?  Is this some special Thai ‘sign’ to tell me something?  Routine cleaning and dusting seems to be beyond her and I have to tell her to do these simple tasks every time.  She also tries to leave before 6 p.m. and always comes in late in the mornings, after 8 a.m.  What can I do, Hillary?

At my wits end

Dear At my wits end,

You know the problem, right from the start when you say that you do not speak Thai and your maid does not speak English.  No communication!  Could your husband get what he wants done if his secretary only speaks Hindi and he speaks Swahili?  Speak to your husband, if his company has supplied the poor woman.  She probably goes home and talks to her friends, all of whom are complaining about their mistresses.  However, how much does your maid get paid, my Petal?  If you are only paying a low salary, you cannot expect a household whiz who is also multilingual.  If she were that good she would be working as your husband’s secretary, not as your 10 hours a day slave.  If it all becomes too much, you can always do the work yourself, as you did back home.  Finally, as I have to remind many foreigners, this is Thai-land and the inhabitants speak Thai.  How many maids in the English speaking world are multi-lingual?