An Indonesian maid has been sentenced to six weeks imprisonment for mixing milk with her urine and feeding the infant in her care. Astonishingly, the practice is still commonly followed in the interior regions of the country.
A 27-year-old Indonesian female, who was employed by an urban family in Singapore to care for a four-year-old boy, has been jailed for six weeks. Her seemingly noxious crime involved mixing her own urine in the milk meant for the little boy. The maid admitted to her actions before a court and was sentenced to mere six weeks in a local jail. The brevity of her punishment perhaps stems from the fact that, in rural Indonesia, the practice of feeding an infant with food laced with the caretaker’s urine is considered important to develop a close bond.
— The Straits Times (@STcom) June 9, 2016
The maid has been identified as Ela, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. She added her own urine to the milk because of a traditional rural Indonesian belief that it makes a baby more obedient and closer to the caretaker. The judge was further informed that the maid didn’t have any intention of harming the child. The woman pleaded guilty on Monday to one of two charges of mischief, committed at a flat in Pine Close on October 16 last year, reported The Straits Times. The presiding judge could have jailed the woman for about a year and fined her for mischief, but perhaps considering the background, he decided to be lenient.
The Indonesian maid had been in the service of the family for slightly more than a month at the boy’s family home before committing the offense, reported Channel News Asia. The incident came to light when the mother of child returned home from work and poured some water from a flask to drink. When she took a sip of the water, it tasted odd. Moreover, the woman observed the water appeared slightly yellowish. Concerned about the same, she took the water to show it to her mother-on-law and husband. After everyone had taken a sip and confirmed the odd taste, the man decided to investigate further.
— Coconuts Singapore (@CoconutsSG) June 9, 2016
The employer of the Indonesian maid kept the flask in his bedroom overnight to observe any changes in the water. Sure enough, the flask had a pungent odor. When urine is left overnight, the water content reduces, increasing the concentration of urea. Moreover, chemical compounds that haven’t completely broken down impart a strong offensive odor to the urine.
When confronted about the water, Ela denied any wrongdoing. But the next day, the employer caught her thoroughly cleansing the incriminating flask. Ela broke down and confessed to her actions after she was taken to the agency that had hired her and sent her to the family, reported Coconuts Singapore. She admitted that she had indeed collected some of her urine and poured a small portion into the bottle that contained the milk for the child. She added that she had given the milk laced with her urine to the child, but she stressed that she had no ill-intention behind her actions.
Jois Chng https://t.co/mASURyl3sC
— LowJerry 劉權義 (@JerryLowjerry9) June 9, 2016
Women like Ela are quite common in Singapore. The poorly educated women hail from rural regions of Indonesia and often migrate to other countries looking for work. Restricted by their poor communication skills and education, these women have very limited career opportunities and often end up doing odd-jobs for sustenance. Quite a few are employed by companies that offer housekeeping services. The women usually earn close to the minimum wage and even agree to be live-in domestic helpers.
Incidentally, this is isn’t the first instance where an Indonesian maid or caretaker has mixed her own urine with the food meant for toddlers, reported Mid-Day. Hence a support group for Indonesian helpers have been educating these women, and cautioning them not to indulge in such practices.
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