Pinay DH in Kuwait shows life’s absurdity

The late teacher Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence—linguist, author, essayist, translator, diplomat and educator — told one of her literature classes in graduate school , “Life is absurd.”

     She was using euphemism to refer to something that was wrong or something that should not have taken place.

    Marwyne Ablang (not her real name) of Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya, has shown what Dr. Castrence meant.

    She sent a text message toward  the end of July asking for help. She wanted to go home although she had finished only half of her two-year contract.

    She complained of long working hours (17 to 19) and no day-off, contrary to what had been agreed on. Her passport and civil identification card had been taken away from her.

    She said she asked her employer, Husam Abdullah Sultan Alkulaib, to return her to the agency that recruited her, Bothayna Nasser Tahir Othman, but it allegedly refused to accept her.

    Her complaint was referred to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. Labor Attaché Mohammad Ali Macalaba of the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) handled the case.

    Taking into account what was thought was proper, Ablang was advised to finish her contract. She could make the necessary adjustments to keep her job and continue supporting her family with her salaries, which she received regularly.

     Besides, she has bright kids whose studies might be disrupted due to lack of financial support if she decided to come home.

    Ablang indicated that the advice was acceptable and said she  would finish her contract.

    But I was surprised to receive a text message from her saying that she had applied for financial assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). She was asking what she should do next.

    Confused, I told her I expected her to finish her contract. She explained that at the time she asked for help, she had talked to her employer and told him that she wanted to go home. She said her employer told her that she would be allowed to leave if she would agree to stay for two more months, which she did.

   She added that she sent her text message asking for help as a fallback in case her employer did not make good  on his promise.

(Retired Foreign Service Officer Rafael E. Seguis, who is connected with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, referred the case to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.)

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