Rich Indonesia paralysed As Servants Go Home For The Weekend

Darn those religious holidays…

Norimitsu Onishi, NYT: Every year at the end of Ramadan, millions of maids, nannies and chauffeurs make their annual pilgrimages to their hometowns across Indonesia, leaving their pampered employers to fend for themselves.

Some of those left behind hire temporary maids at exorbitant rates. Others go abroad. Still others check into hotels not far from their homes…

More than 27 million are believed to have made the trip home this year, according to the authorities.

The exodus transforms Jakarta overnight. It thins the smog that envelops the skyscrapers in the city centre. It stills its construction cranes. It empties its perennially clogged streets of ojeks, the kamikaze-like motorcycle taxis that weave in and out of traffic, and find shortcuts on sidewalks. Business comes to a halt.

It also wreaks havoc in wealthy and middle-class households that — given the seemingly endless supply of cheap labour in this country of 237 million, mostly poor people — depend on domestic servants.

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