Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Yaya meal, anyone?

Image source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/files/2013/08/BCN0YG-441x288.jpg

My helper is still down with fever and flu. Yesterday, I made sure our medicine kit had available paracetamol and flu tabs and told her to get more rest. 

My helper has been with me for some time now - my father took her in to help me go about my daily grind now that I am expecting. In the kitchen, she is not too familiar with the kind of dishes I prepare, but she can cook. What comfort it is to experience waking up in the morning and already have my breakfast prepared for me at the dining table. I've never enjoyed that since I started working and living alone, as my day would usually start skipping breakfast. 

I'm usually the one who plans out the meals for the day; sometimes I'd leave it up to her. She'd join me at the table whenever it was time to eat, and whatever was prepared, we would both partake. 

Balesin's 'yaya meals', as has been making rounds in the news lately, is something that leaves a bad taste not in the mouth, but in any thinking person's sensibilities. Balesin points that yayas 'want and love' their yaya meals, which consists of chicken or pork adobo with rice, as it is 'deliciously prepared' for them by their staff. 

Why, of course. If you were in an exclusive island club, you would expect your food to be 'deliciously prepared' regardless of what societal class you belong to. But Balesin, if your yaya meals are the rave of your members' yayas, why can't their amos have it also? Can they not want and love it too? Is there a demarcation between being served a 'deliciously prepared' and 'exclusively prepared for' meal? If there is such, I hope that does not discriminate, thus your verbiage of the yaya meals? I am confused.

Balesin also claims the 'yaya meals' option are for yayas of guests who opt not to pay for the full meal rates. Somewhat skewed a judgement, I must say, although I cannot pin Balesin to be entirely at fault. It is pathetic to think how some members can afford to pay so much to enjoy exclusive perks but settle for less for the very people who make their lives easier for them. 

Of course, one can argue that it is every employer's responsibility to provide a decent meal for his/her helper and that it does not always follow that whatever the employer eats, the helper shall have it too. Balesin's yaya meals option satisfies both. Why make a mountain out of a molehill?  What is disturbing, however, is that if it does not intend to discriminate, let alone denigrate, then why does it have to be called as such? Is coining it a yaya meal that necessary? 

The traditional notion of domestic service is about the helper's life revolving around the employer. I don't think that way. Both the helper and the employer should depend on each other. And from how I was brought up, our kasambahays are treated as part of the family. We give our kasambahays what is due and deserving of them, not because we see it as an option. 

Tonight, I am cooking pork giniling for dinner (because my helper does not know how to cook it to my liking yet). I shall teach her how to, and she shall eat it with me.

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