Jan Leow's Press Blog

My Maid Ran Away and Stole My PC Gadgets and Stuffs!

We should never trust any maid. Our recently hired maid ran away and stole my PC gadgets and stuffs too! My wife always wanted a maid ever since she gave birth to our energetic baby last year. Her mom would do the baby sitting but being senior in her years and getting less strong, my wife thought that it might be good to hire a maid to help out with the chores. Little did she know that it would be such hassle get any help at all!

All in all, we have a lot of maid problems, and it seems fated that we would never get good full time hired help. The first maid from Vietnam never even bothered to come over to Malaysia, after spending about RM2,000 (USD645) for documentation and immigration fees. We thought we could save some money by bypassing the usual maid agency and use a runner who knows his way around our tricky immigration department on getting a maid permit. My guess was she decided to go to Taiwan where the pay was much higher than in Malaysia. Her sister who was already working here with our friend actually ran away back to Vietnam.

Maid that ran away with my PC Gadgets, money and stuffs!Our second attempt, we went through a maid agency and got ourselves a Cambodian maid. She was rather smart and quick to learn and do things. Though she would at times take the lazy route out in not doing her job properly and of course do things she was not suppose to do. She had a row with my mom-in-law that in the end we have to stop using her and pass her to another relative. She was not too bad in doing her job, just that she couldn’t get along my wife’s mom. Off and on, there would be some issues with the relative of ours, but eventually it would be resolve.

Our third attempt was an experience older Indonesian maid that didn’t feel comfortable working with us. She felt it was too tough a working as maid. One of her previous experience of working in factory and making comparison meant that maid work was not suitable for her. After about a week, she decided to quit. Well it was a cordial cessation so not that great an issue. She still didn’t have good working relation with my wife mom though, so probably that was one of root cause for her quitting.

So the maid agency brought in another replacement from Indonesia, she was raw and have not worked as a maid before. So there were many things that she needed to learn to do her job. Previously she worked in the farm, but now decided to work as a maid. She seemed to be doing rather fine for a week or so, learning the ropes of cleaning house, though slow and sometimes didn’t do the job properly either probably due to absent mindedness. We learned that her father was ill and she needed money for him to get medical aid when one day she quietly used our phone to call to Indonesia! We were thinking we could give her advancement in her pay to help her out though that would meant she would have to work long term with us.

So today, my wife needed to head out to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to meet up with a couple of friends and so left her in the house alone to finish up on the house cleaning. Turn out to be a very bad idea. I don’t know why I didn’t caution her to bring the maid along and not leave her alone in the house. Normally I would caution her, but today felt too much in jovial mood to bring baby out for spin in Pavilion and taking photos of the Christmas decoration. My wife on the other hand, had an instinct that made her feel uneasy that day. It was the Holy Spirit prompting her. Now whenever the Spirit prompted you about something, you had better pay heed. I have this kind of experience before, but now it was her turn. But she decided to ignore it as she wanted to avoid making her friends wait too long as we were running late.

Later in the afternoon while we were enjoying an afternoon break in Dome Cafe, it was rather weird that my Palm Centro line called in to my mobile phone. I figure it was the maid fooling around with my gadgets lying around the house (which has happened with the Cambodian maid before). I called back but the maid didn’t answer the call. I thought she was afraid to pick up the phone because she played with my stuffs. My wife felt further uneasiness from the call, but decided to continue with her friends and other activities anyway.

When we returned to the house later that night, we found our house front door unlocked! True enough, the maid has ran away! A quick check, we found many of our things were missing too! The most loss was my digital equipments and gadgets! The maid has ran away and stolen our stuffs!

The police report on the maid that ran awaySome of the things that were stolen included:

  1. Dell Inspiron Mini 10v (Netbook) with my Targus backpack and wireless mouse
  2. HP iPaq – an old Pocket PC PDA with a 256MB SD Card
  3. Nokia mobile phone
  4. Palm Centro mobile phone [update] – about a few weeks later, a kind taxi driver called me and said he found my Palm Centro and returned it to me. Turned out it was as a payment by an Indon guy as the guy didn’t have money to pay for his cab fare to Port Kelang (or he just wanted to get a free ride and to get rid of this old mobile which he can’t use).
  5. Palm Tungsten T3 with a 1GB SD Card – I really like this old Palm PDA even though it was obsolete. It was still fun to play with once in awhile.
  6. CF Cards – 4GB and 8MB (yeah, it was a really old 8MB CF Card!)
  7. Mini SD Card 512MB with adapter
  8. Micro SD Card 256MB with adapter
  9. Several Micro SD card adaper without the storage card
  10. USB Drive – 2GB SanDisk, 512MB LG, and a special 8GB Trek USB mini hard drive
  11. Digital Watches – two Nike sport watches and my wife’s old Casio watch. She didn’t touch my analogue watches, it seems like she thought digital is more hi-tech and valuable than analogue watches (or maybe they are just too stupid to read analogue watches but very smart to steal my things!)
  12. Jewelries – They were just costume jewelries, not the real stuff of real value but nevertheless still costly though there is no worth in selling them.
  13. All my coins, probably worth about RM100 (USD33) altogether.
  14. My wife’s brand new Nike sport shoes – she only used it once! What a loss!
  15. An old imitation Samsonite luggage bag
  16. Now this is the stinker, about 10,000 Thai Bahts that’s equivalent to about RM1,000 (USD333).

The above were the things that we could spot at hand. There were many things that she missed out, so our guess was that she left in a real hurry and did a very quick scrounging of perceived valuable items. I think of the most value was the Dell Netbook, digital watches, and the brand new pair of Nike shoes and of course the Thai Baht. Other items probably won’t fetch much in the second hand market. However I do have quite a fair bit of personal family photos and personal info in my Palm Tungsten T3 and Palm Centro which I’m not too keen to have it flying around. Perhaps the black market may not have much use for them and would erase the data and just sell the SD Card (which isn’t really much worth nowadays for that kind of storage size).

However I do feel really sentimental with my old Palm Tungsten T3 (much more than my Palm Centro), and wondered had I not left it in the bedroom drawer and kept it together with my dry box (which she missed) it would have survived the theft. Well no point crying over spilled milk now. I guess the accessories for my Palm devices would now be totally useless (a Palm Wireless Keyboard, cradle, and chargers and extra casing). So much for nostalgia.

However we do have to thank God that in her haste she missed taking my other more expensive PC gadgets and photographic equipment. My wife figured she started her plan to run away as soon as we left the house and the maid felt didn’t have much time because my wife said we would be back very soon.

Anyway we were too tired to go make a police report, though we reported to the maid agency. What can the police do anyway? As this is just a runaway case and not a serious criminal case. The loss though bad was not great.

This was a lesson to be learned. Never trust your maid to be left alone in the house. My friends said they have CCTV to monitor what the maids were up to in their absence. Even then, if the maid runs away, you won’t know till you check your CCTV later which would be too late by then. The best would be to lock up my important PC room as there is just way too many IT and photography equipment, plus the super very important data (always make double or triple backups! Always!)

The way I view it, the maid ran away and stole my stuffs, the person who would suffer the greater loss would be the maid. Because now she will now be wanted by the police (as soon as we make the police report), and she would not be able to return back to Malaysia via normal immigration means (although she could easily sneak in and out illegally as our border patrols weren’t very good at preventing illegal border entries with Indonesia as the coast line is really very wide to patrol effectively) and can only work in Malaysia illegally. She would not be able to help her ailing father properly and she would face problems trying to earn money on a regular basis.

On the other hand, base on discussion with other family members, there could be a conspiracy of underground syndicate who influences young girls like this to apply as a maid and tell them what to do, what to steal after successfully becoming a maid. Because it was very strange that she has contacts within Malaysia and able to run away so easily.

And of course, it was a blow to our morale that people could do such a bad thing (well, people do actually do very bad things that’s why we are all sinners). Like what Pastor has always said, never trust in men, but rather place your trust with God.

The trouble with maids

Note: I read a news report that about 10,000 maids in Malaysia runs away every month! And 80% runaway maids are of Indonesian origin. The ease of illegally entry and exit by sea makes them one of the highest runaway maids in the statistics. Also read a news that a pair of runaway Indonesian maids made a jackpot by stealing about RM500,000 (USD167,000) worth of cash, jewelries and valuables. They worked for a year and escaped to Indonesia via Melaka.

Maids steal RM500,000
By Shaun Ho
Wednesday April 4, 2012

GOMBAK: While their employers were away on a weekend business trip, two Indonesian maids made off with valuables worth about RM500,000.

The two emptied their employers’ jewellery boxes containing designer watches, diamond rings and earrings as well as designer clothing and stacks of cash.

“They even took their passports with them,” said Datin Ira Ghani, a 35-year-old businesswoman, at her home here.

She said she received a voicemail on Sunday from her son, saying that the maids were not at home.

The 13-year-old boy told her that his eight-year-old brother’s and his iPads and iPhones were missing.

When Ira and her husband returned on Monday, they were dismayed to discover that their valuables were missing even though they had been kept under lock and key.

“My room door as well as the drawers where I keep my jewellery were still locked. They must have found the spare keys which my husband keeps at home,” she said.

Her sons told her that the maids had ordered them to go straight to bed after they came home from a day out with their cousin on Saturday.

“I suspect that is when they ran away. Luckily, they locked up the house before they sneaked out. Imagine if the doors were unlocked while my children slept upstairs,” she added.

Ira later found a set of keys in the refrigerator and the automatic gate remote control in the mailbox. The maids had also thrown away their old clothes.

Her husband Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad lodged a report at the Gombak police station the same day and had notified the Immigration Department to cancel the maids’ work permits.

Ira said she had not expected the maids to run away after working for over a year.

“We treated them well and they had been very honest employees. They even said they wanted to continue working for us,” she said.

Dr Ibrahim said this was an expensive lesson for not being more careful with their valuables.

“Employers cannot trust their maids completely,” he said. — The Star

No doubt there are good maids and bad maids, just can’t be too careful. And of course there would also be good employers and bad employers. But the statistics and horror stories from friends and family members means there is higher chances of bad maids vs bad employers. And being of lower education and poor morals and low income, any chance to gain more money whether legally or illegally they just might jump at the chance to do so especially they know it is very difficult to apprehend them once they exit the country. The police can’t do anything and couldn’t care less with such petty crime but compile statistic.

[update May 2013]
Well we did finally get another maid sometime in 2010. She was from Cambodia and doing well. We treat her well and she’s rather hardworking. Although there were some snags here and there, we could iron out those kinks. As usual, there was some friction between my mom-in-law and the maid, I guess old habits die hard. As long as the maid could tolerate the fierceness, she should do well. Anyway, no matter how good the maid was, I still take precaution whenever we all go out. Keep my valuables locked and my PC room secured. Especially must safeguard all my important personal data. Although cloud storage is very popular now, I’m not completely comfortable with storing all my personal data online just yet. So lock and key will just have to do for now.

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