Ordinary Inspirator 

I bought “The Grand Budapest Hotel” movie a couple of months ago but somehow I chose to watch action movies over it. Then last Friday when I was alone, it was the only reasonable movie that I haven’t watched (the other choice was horror movies, and to watch them  alone on Friday?….hmmm I don’t think so).

At the beginning of the movie Jude Law’s character said that people often become the inspiration of an author’s writing.  I must say it’s so true. But most writings about or based on people are usually about people who are well known though some became well known after a book is written about them.  

Come to think about Burmese, they are not that much different with Indonesians hence living here doesn’t require too much effort to settle down. Apart from the language, beetle nut chewing and stains, people wearing thanaka powder on their faces at any occasion, and more slippers than shoes, I feel as if I am living in Jakarta in the 80s. 

Almost every household has a maid or two or sometimes more depending how wealthy you are. Just like Indonesians and because I am Indonesian tied to the embassy, we are provided a house, a cook and a maid, both speak everyday Indonesian. Communication is not an issue with them though sometimes little misunderstanding occur but nothing significant.

Ma Phyo is our cook. She choose to remain single and she is from Kachin. Soe Soe is our maid, recently lost her husband to Tuberculosis and she is from Kayin. Both have been working at the Indonesian Embassy compound for over 15 years, which made me wonder why they are so loyal to us considering how “demanding” my kind of people can be. Not only that they have to work like a horse because most of us are trained to be lazy so they had to cook on their master’s behalf for the many occasions because Indonesians love ceremonies (thank God the ceremonies had significantly reduced since we have a new ambassador), and in most cases these maids work for Muslims who are considered minority here in Myanmar.

I know for a fact that finding good, loyal and honest maid is extremely difficult in Jakarta. And so I am so blessed to have two who are now part of my little household.  When lots of my friends in Jakarta complained about their maids, I have rarely any complaints about mine.  

Honestly, both Ma Phyo and Soe Soe inspired me a lot. It is their dedication to serve us and their care to my two girls that made me question my capability within the domestic front. Just imagine, when I was tasked to cook an Indonesian food for the embassy’s event, I delegated the task to Ma Phyo (I called her Ibu). She’s Burmese but yet she was the one I depended on for Indonesian food. And when I am occupied with work and embasay duties, I relied on Soe Soe to look after my girls.

How could they manage to stay as maids for so long compare to me who already lost the zest on my current job in 18 months only?  Options….yup, they don’t have any other option. Me on the other hands have not been thankful enough with the so many options and oppotunities presented upon me. 

So, both Ma Phyo and Soe Soe are my inspiration to be empowered to exploit the options I have.


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