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Monday, June 20, 2011

The People Who Built My House

Here is the team that is building my house. By now, I know all their faces. They're a good team and they are lead by an amazing man called Muthu. See below.

Dear old Muthu walks like a goat and climbs like a monkey. He is shorter than many men I know but his compact body packs strength and muscle that would put men half his age to shame. More than once, I have gratefully borrowed his arm for support as I climb up scaffolding to look at roofs or over mounds of bricks to access a precarious perch to take measurements. No matter how my heart beats as I brave the terrifying heights of my own house, Muthu's arm is rock steady.

I am convinced that Muthu can do anything, and do it well. He is the one who reads the architect's and structural engineer's plans, and then instructs his team. I've never heard him raise his voice. He communicates in a series of low pitched instructions and his workers cooperate readily. At 10.30am and 4.30pm sharp, he allows a tea break. At noon is lunch break. At these times, the team takes a well deserved break from physically demanding work. After lunch, they nap.

It really is tough work. People who have experienced a worksite next door know how dusty and noisy it can be. These workers are up close and personal with the dust and noise. It's no fun I tell you to be the one holding the jackhammer hacking the walls of the hardened shelter. For one thing, your whole body vibrates with the jackhammer (it isn't called a hardened shelter for nothing). Next, you're in an enclosed space where sound reverberates around you. Lastly, you are doing this for the whole day.

I pop by the worksite twice a day. The workers go about their tasks quietly. Once in a while, someone sings a song in his language. It is nice to know that a team of happy workers built my house. I think that is what I really like about The Panda. He is kind and nice to people with no money and no power, and he looks after his workers very well. Indeed, Muthu has worked for The Panda for decades. He began as any other worker, but was so keen and able to learn that he learnt English, and learnt to measure and set out and read plans. The Panda values him so much that Muthu's mobile phone is even more expensive than those given to the company's office workers. AND, Muthu gets to wear a hard hat that marks him out as executive level staff, and not worker level staff. The workers wear yellow hard hats. Muthu's hard hat is white. Whomever has Muthu for husband, father or son can be very proud indeed.

It seems so arrogant of me to say that I built my house. In truth, I laid not a single brick. All I do is make a nuisance of myself, asking to see this and that... asking why this and that... pointing out that such and such is not good. I have laid not a single brick.

The people who really built my house are Muthu and his team. So, this post is dedicated to them.


Anonymous said...

Very nice post! You are fortunate to have such a wonderful building team!

Blur Ting said...

You're a nice (and grateful) house owner. They must be so happy to build your house!

Malar said...

You're so sweet Petunia!

petunialee said...

Theanne - Yes I am. I am glad I picked The Panda to build my house.

petunialee said...

Ting - I don't think they know really... They speak a language I dun understand so I just smile at them and ply them with food.

petunialee said...

Malar - Thank you!!

Jackie said...

Petunia, you are hilarious! Thanks for the laughs. I found your blog via Wilson's (while surfing for gardening tips)

You got another fan now :-)