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from THE JAKARTA POST -- MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2010 The other day I was discussing with a friend the situation of Indonesian women who went to work as domestic helpers in other countries in Asia, when she suddenly confessed that more than once she had nearly slapped her domestic helper in the face. I gasped.
My friend asked me to hear her out. Were we in Hong Kong? Singapore or Taiwan? No, we were in Medan, and my friend was a native of Medan. Was she neurotic? As far as I know, she was as normal as the next person.
What she proceeded to tell me was not new. I had heard it before in Hong Kong, Singapore and other cities in Malaysia when I was doing research for a book on the issue. Yet I hadn't expected to hear it from a friend. When I had regained my composure, I began to think and become alarmed at the implications of what she had told me -- that the situation of Indonesian domestic helpers had not improved very much, if at all.
The story began when upon …