reality is sad, sometimes.

to help keep the rented house in Baguio clean and to keep my siblings from starving themselves to death, mother hired a housekeeper. her name is Jessica and she is about 20 years old. before she was with us, she was employed by another household.

this assignment is probably better than her last one- and i am saying that not because i am biased. maintaining a 3-br apartment with two college students is an improvement over housekeeping a household of eight people, not to mention presence of kids and aged person. but, the reality of her not ever finishing school many years ago to work as a househelp sort of make me really sad. the fact that all her salary goes straight to her parents makes me even sadder.

when i was younger and my parents run a small dry goods business, we employ a number of sales ladies.  most of these sales ladies were brought by their parents to the city to get them employed. every month, i remember seeing their parents in our store to collect the monthly salary they earned. and sometimes, i see some of them asking mother for an advance, causing our store help to work for a salary that their parents already have spent.

i was too young then to digest the devastating reality of what i have witnessed.

i have grown up now and having been spending the last week in Baguio with the family and seeing Jessica work, i couldn’t help but feel very guilty about all the injustices in the world. as if i have actually been a part of the evil team that nurtures it.

Jessica has a whole lot of her future ahead of her. she has been a househelp before and from where she stands now, she expects to be one for the rest of her working life. it is quite overwhelming to find out that she finds nothing is wrong on the fact that she absolutely does not get a part of her salary. and that her parents having a 100% claim on that is normal for her.

i have thought about convincing mother to insist that at least 15% of her salary stays with her.  on second thought though, she probably would just end up sending it to them because she believes that is the right thing to do.  i know that for a fact because father has done that all his working life (despite of my insistence that he keeps a percetage of it for his own).

as i write this, i wonder if there is anything else i could do.

“why does it strikes you so much that you have to do something about that? your mother is paying her well already.” a friend commented. “it is not your fault that her family claims all that money for their own.”

perhaps because, and i did not tell my friend this, i wonder if she ever thought about how it would be like growing old. and i wonder if doing something about this will change the course of her destiny.


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