Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taiwan Report - 1960s (Chapter 11)

Chapter 11 discusses the household help ("servants," as they're called here) that many of us hired during our time in Taiwan.  These included amahs (housekeepers), cooks, yardboys, houseboys, drivers or some combination of these.  Prices were reasonable and I think most of us were pleased with the work they did.

As I've mentioned several times previously, I lived in the FASD hostel that was located right next to the east compound so my needs were pretty simple.  I just needed someone to keep things spruced up and to keep an eye on the place when I was away.  There were several men who worked as houseboys there and each had his own set of rooms to maintain.  My guy made the bed, shined my shoes, dusted, swept, mopped and just generally tidied the place up every day.  He also replaced my drinking water jug when it was empty and did my laundry, but I paid extra for those things.

One morning while at work, I realized that I'd neglected to pick up a fairly substantial amount of money that was on the table in my room.  I hurried back during my lunch hour and found my room neat and clean as usual, and the pile of cash was sorted according to denomination and neatly stacked on the table.  I never worried about the safety of my possessions after that.

My next door neighbor at the hostel was an Air Force master sergeant who was very fastidious about his room.  I think he only hired a houseboy because it was sort of expected of us.  Anyway, he used to sort his bottles and cans of deodorant, soap, shampoo, aftershave, etc. on his vanity, with the tallest container to the left and the shortest to the right.  When he returned home from work he found them reversed, with the shortest to the left and the tallest to the right.  He and his houseboy played this game for several days before he finally made it clear how he wanted them arranged.  I thought it was hilarious and I have no doubt that wherever he is today, he still arranges his containers by height, left to right.

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