Sunday, January 4, 2009

circus poster and more thoughts on "Injuh"

I am trying to get into a show featuring dog art. Working like a fiend - here is one piece I will submit. It's really quite large so you can read it like the billboard its supposed to be so a witty bitty jpeg loses some of the humor because you can't read the type. Some of the dogs in the poster are, or were, mine. the peke, the wire and the cairn. Their names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I wanted to expound on the expat thing I started last post. It is a very odd life and not without a great deal of pleasure (and some pain.) It was the first time I ever had to deal with servants. I was a dismal failure. i never had the heart to fire any one - some of the old hands went through 5 and six cooks and maids in a two year period. Many maids and cooks over many a posting had hardened them to the degree that if one didn't suit, or was late, or was careless with possesions - they were out the door toot sweet.

i was such a newbie that the first lady i interviewed, i hired. Not only she, but her daughter, her nephew and her husband who did odd jobs. She assured me that they were essential. The nephew was our night jaga (guard). He seldom came on time and then when he did he would sit outside all night with some pals and they would build little cookfires for their satay. He eventually took care of his own problem by eventually not showing up at all. As for our lady's husband - we believe he was mainly unemployed so that she had the responsiblity of him, his father and the other children not yet employed by us.

Our lady cooked and did the beds and floors - her teenage daughter was supposed to be the cuci or washgirl. She was a languid thing. Her main role was to act as Greek chorus when her mom went into the fantastic stories requiring a "loan". She would nod emphatically as her mother told of the people in her life who were hit by buses or had lockjaw or some awful incident in which her employers needed to fork over a couple of hundred or the worst would happen. We often did. It caused no end of hard feelings for my husband's driver. He was a devout Muslim - honest as the day is long and never asked for a thing. He was assigned to us by the Indonesian Goverment. I miss him and think of him often.
I miss our lady too but by the end of our tour we were so beleaguered by her financial requests, I found myself roaming the streets of jakarta just so i would minimize my time with her. We did pay for one of her son's circumcisions and the festivities surrounding this momentous event. We got to go to her house and partake of the cakes and appetizers. It was great. We were even shown a picture of the wounded member. The boy was 13 or thereabouts and he posed shyly as you may well imagine. It all looked quite angry and hurtful - but i suppose that is the way anybody would look after the operation. I don't know if Indonesian moms take those pictures as a milestone event to place in the family scrapbook, or she was just trying to show us that our money had indeed gone for the purpose she needed it. (a great deal of money in my opinion but maybe it was expensive) All I know is that she hadn't made a dint in the relative vs. bus loan yet and didn't seem likely to.

Many is the time, i would find myself silently singing the Petual Clark song - "Downtown" as i rode the escalator to the ethnic section of Pasaraya. Many people's maids lived with them - ours went home after the evening meal was served. All i had to do was tramp around the shops and neighborhoods until the children came home from school. more later

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