Sunday, March 01, 2009

New driver


As I was being driven home from Wisma Utara, my driver announced that he would not be unhappy if I dispensed with his services. In other words, he wanted me to find a new driver. My immediate reaction was relief. There would be no more eyes closing while driving along the toll road. When I had first arrived in Indonesia I had thought that I would be capable of treating people like maids and drivers with respect and consideration; but I had sometimes made Mo work seven days a week; and I did not necessarily have Mo’s total sympathy when dealing with certain waifs and strays.

I paid Mo his monthly salary plus the usual ‘extra’ that one is expected to pay when saying goodbye to an employee. Mo departed with a broad smile and I began making phonecalls in order to find a new driver. Fortunately the family of one of my students, a family that was about to leave the country for good, were anxious to find employment for their excellent driver, whose name was Mo. The new Mo was a married man in his thirties, tall, kind-faced and calm. I promised him that he would normally have Sundays off and that I would pay generous overtime for extra duties such as visiting hospitals.

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