The king and the cleaning lady

The cleaning lady caught me unprepared this morning. I had only just started cleaning up the kitchen when she turned up half an hour early. Luckily the front day was still shut so she didn’t see me wiping the counter tops. Actually, she didn’t ring the doorbell so I didn’t know she was there at first. She just tapped lightly on the door. A bit strange of course as there is a perfectly good door bell by the front door. But, coming to think of it, maybe not all Thai people have door bells! Or maybe she doesn’t want to waste electricity by ringing the doorbell? Anyway, I know it is not only me. While walking around Paknam I have seen other houses with notices that say, “please ring the door bell”! I had always thought that strange. Obviously I will have to make my own sign.

Back to the cleaning lady. Although I am grateful she is here all day, she doesn’t seem to achieve much in that time. I am finding that I have to not only clean before she comes but also continue the cleaning after she has left. Last Sunday I cleaned all of the mosquito blinds and windows. This weekend I think I will have to go round cleaning things like light switches and around the door frames etc. Some of the walls also have scuff marks from when I had some furniture delivered a few weeks ago.

The cleaning leaning has already made it clear through the school that she is willing to quit her job at the hospital and come to work for me full-time! Tempting, but I am not sure if it is a good idea. Maybe she is cleaning slowly because she is trying to push the idea that there isn’t enough time in one day to do everything. I am not sure. Anyway, it wouldn’t be too expensive. She is only asking for 5000 baht per month to work full time. (Minimum wages is 3520 baht per month which is about $88.)

I will have to give this some thought. She might actually be useful later. If i ever leave the school then I will have to apply for another work permit for my work. Unfortunately these things are not transferrable. To apply for a work permit, the company needs to have 2 million baht in paid up capital (shouldn’t be a problem as the house is in the company name) and four full-time Thai workers. Having a cleaning lady would be a cheap way to add another full-timer. Maybe I should hire a driver too! I am kidding!

I suppose I should now close with an explanation of the title of this blog. This morning, I spotted the cleaning lady tearing out a picture from the front page of an old copy of the Bangkok Post. She then carefully put it to one side before crumpling up the rest of the paper. Obviously she wanted to use the newspaper to wipe the floor or counter top. But what was this pictures she had cut out? After she had gone upstairs, my curiosity got the better of me. I went over to the counter to take a look and found a picture of the king. At first I thought that maybe she was saving the picture for her daughter who might be doing a project on the royal family. Then I suddenly realised. Thai people always treat images of the king with the utmost respect. You cannot wipe the floor or line your sock drawer with a newspaper that has a picture of the king on it. I have known about this for a long time. But obviously I will now have to be extra careful that I pay the proper respect to any rubbish I might throw out. Now, where did I put that December edition of the UBC magazine? Didn’t it have a picture of the king on the front cover?

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