What makes this Singapore mum's relationship with her maid different? Read about this truly unique relationship!
She was just 10 when she first met her, way back in 1992. 25 years ago, to be exact.
Singapore mum Michelle Ong reveals, "My Filipino helper, has been with me for 25 years. She watched me grow, get married and give birth!"
Singapore mum's relationship with her maid
Michelle recollects her growing up days with her helper, Ester Dela Cruz Labrador, "When I was young, she would be the one picking me up from school. I still remember that when my pet dogs died, she cried even harder than me!"
"When I got married, she got all emotional and sobbed, saying that her little girl had grown up. When I was pregnant, I had bad morning sickness and would vomit all over the floor, yet she never complained about cleaning it up."
"And when I give birth to my son, she came to hospital to carry him and see how I was doing. I feel that she is already a part of our family. These little things she does from time to time make us appreciate her even more."
Relationship with mum
What sort of a relationship did your mother share with her? Were there no arguments?
Says Michelle, "Well, every relationship has it's ups and downs, so it's impossible that they were never at loggerheads. Our attitude has always been that once the disagreement got over, we would move on and forget about it."
"My mum imparted all her cooking skills to my helper and now she is such a great cook! Every Chinese New Year or when our relatives come from abroad, they request for her curry chicken, yam cake, ngoh hiang, bobo itam, tom yum soup..."
"My mum even taught her Singapore's favourite hobby: 4D and TOTO!"
Does Ester have any special skills?
"Cooking is her speciality. I would also say that she's a good "repair woman." If certain electrical equipment like washing machine, toaster etc got faulty and was not too difficult to repair, she would repair them.
She's great at gardening too, she trims the garden grass and plants spices to use in her cooking, like pandan leaf, chillis. And of course, dog grooming - she cuts our dogs' hair and trims their nails."
Looking after the baby now
Today, Michelle and her IT manager hubby Lawrence Loh, are proud parents of 20-month-old Noel Loh.
Did you ever imagine that one day Ester would be looking after your baby?!
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that she would be looking after me and my baby! But I'm very grateful that she is.
What sort of relationship do you share with her now? Do you both get along well or do you squabble?
"Minor squabbles do happen, but they make the heart grow fonder. Honestly speaking, without her, I may not be the person I am today.
When I had to go overseas for my studies and fend for myself, that was the time I really appreciated what she had been doing for me all this while. It was then that I understood how much I took her for granted.
Now that my son is born, she helps with his meals, dresses him up and entertains him when I'm tired and need a break."
In the event that Ester has to leave, how would you react?
Michelle exclaims, "How can anyone be prepared to let a family member go! I don't even want to imagine it. I think I will go through the 5 stages of depression: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Honestly, the acceptance part may take a few years to come."
Very often we hear of 'maid horror stories' in Singapore, rarely do we come across such positive and heartwarming tales of love. Here's commending Michelle and her family, and Ester, for treating each other with respect, affection and trust.
May their tribe increase!
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