Living in LaLaLand

There are two types of people that stand out in my mind who come to LaLaLand.

I’m too good for you…
The first type of person is the one who used to come here to to get rich quickly because LaLaLand was THE place to go to get rich quickly.  They came and rented a house at Dh200,000 a year, bought a brand new top-of-the line Range Rover and a brand new Porsche too, and sent their kiddos to the most exclusive school in town at Dh45,000 a pop.  They set up a new company and the going was all good.  But when it came time to pay for work they contracted out, they gave an excuse saying, “Just wait a little bit longer because the bank will be paying me soon.”  They would never pick up the phone when you called either because “Hey!  I’m too important, too busy to take a phone call from you!”

Fast forward four years and then out of the blue you get a phone call from this person.  Mind you, you haven’t heard from this person who you used to want to call and just to say “hi and how are you and your family doing?” No, this person calls with a subtle threat, “Have you received the letter from my lawyer?”  Huh? WTF?  Major “problema” this dude is now going through.

You see this person who wouldn’t give you the time of day is now calling you out of desperation.  Every person he has come into contact with here in LaLaLand must owe him something.  There’s no business.  He can’t afford his payments anymore on his house and cars and tuition.  Well nobody told you to come here and act like your @$&% don’t stink.  Nobody told you to come here and get yourself in so much debt that you would live to regret it all.  Why on earth did you do all that in the first place?

Stupid Idiot.
That’s what you get for showing off.
I don’t feel sorry for you.
You won’t get any pity from me.
No pity whatsoever.

Then there’s the innocent ones who get screwed…
The other type of person who comes to LaLaLand is the poor girl who comes here to work as a housemaid.  I will write about one nationality in particular…the woman who comes here from the Philippines.

Did you know that if this woman was to work as a housemaid in the Philippines that they would only make $30-35 USD a month?  The population of the Philippines is like 97.5 million people and 60% of those people make about $108.00 USD a month.  So this woman registers with an agency in her country who finds a job for her far away from home.  She has to pay the agency about $538.00 USD (25,000 Philippine Pesos…about 5 months salary) to come to this part of the world and works very, very hard for at least $200.00 USD a month.

If the housemaid is lucky she will be placed with a good family who will take good care of her and won’t treat her like a slave.  But then there are the unfortunate ones who will be placed with a family who will work her hard from very early in the morning until very late at night.  She will have to clean, cook, and watch after at least one child (and where is the mother/wife in all of this?).  If she is “lucky” she will get to eat the leftovers from the uneaten food on the plates or maybe she will be given some khobuz (bread) with a bit of sauce from the stew and no meat or chicken.  She might even be beaten and verbally abused by her employers and the children of the employer.  Sometimes she won’t even get her salary.  My list of examples can go on.

This woman usually has children or a family (mother, father, brothers, and sisters) to support.  She sends a little bit of money back every month.  Money for her children’s school, clothes, food, and money for a motorcycle so that her family can use it to make deliveries and a little extra money.

After two years she gets to go back home for a vacation.  The money she has saved up is about $2,700 USD (that is about 125,550 Philippine Pesos…a rich sum…for a while).  She arrives back home only to be bombarded by relative after relative after relative (some she doesn’t even know) who ask to borrow money from her.  “I’ll pay you back,”  they all say to her.  In the end of the very short one month vacation she has no money left.

She comes back from her vacation and repeats another two years….

I feel for these women (and for the other poor people) who come here to make an honest living.  They work and put up with all the BS…they get taken advantage of here and then back home too.  If you don’t have any empathy or sympathy for them…what kind of person are you?

What you do in your lifetime…any kind of thulim (injustice) you do will catch up to you.

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2 Responses to Living in LaLaLand

  1. I cant even imagine the life a maid lives. Whats sad is so many muslims in the middle east have servants who work from morning to evening with no break and barely get paid anything. As muslims we should treat servants better. A typical job is 8 or 9 hours a day, with at least 1 lunch break (usually 30 minutes to an hour. Here in spain you get 2 hours), not to mention 15minute breaks every 4 or 5 hours. Why arent servants offered such breaks? So sad how employeers demand so much of their servants and give them little to no respect and treat them worse than animals. As for the first individual you mentioned who spends more than he or she has, I dont feel sorry for them at all. All I hope is in the end they learn their lesson and dont repeat it a second time. We see this type of behavior in the U.S. where everyone is given credit cards and told to "buy now, pay later" only to find out that when they go to pay later, there is interest added to their payment and it will take years to pay off. But that doesnt stop them from continuing to buy! Most houses are bought on mortgages, sometimes the family has to take out several mortgages only to file for bankrupcy. Such a vicious cycle.

  2. MaryAnn says:

    Hi Rene thanks for your comment.Well in the developed world there are unions or associations that protect a worker's rights but here there is no one to help abused workers. People go around and always talk about the abuse you know but nothing ever changes. A lot of it, i guess, stems from the slave mentality that exsited (still exists in some countries) way back when. Also I am all too familiar with life in the US and the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality. Alhamdulilah we got out of that race. It is sad though that it has spread to this part of the world too. I know of too many local families that feel they have to "keep up appearances". Some people are so caught up in the love of this dunya . A'oothubillah.May Allah protect us from this.

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