From ‘Maid charged with stirring menstrual blood into employer’s coffee’, 22 May 2012, article by Alvina Soh, Channel News Asia
An Indonesian domestic worker was charged on Tuesday with adding her menstrual blood into her employer’s coffee cup. 24-year-old Jumiah allegedly committed the act at a residential flat early in the morning on 31 August last year.
For mischief, she could be jailed up to a year and fined. Her case will be mentioned next week.
Sometimes it’s better to get your own damned coffee. At first glance Jumiah may be trying to get herself sacked, taking revenge against an unreasonable employer or just severely absent minded. Chances are she was taking the advice of a bomoh, that by tainting her employer with her endometrial secretions, relations would improve by some form of devilish possession. If the intention was to charm the drinker with her menses, then it’s not so much ‘mischief’ as a desperate, deluded faith in ‘black magic ‘. Yet the same disgust towards eating or drinking womb remnants doesn’t apply to local women eating placentas for youthful skin.
Cannibalising a part of another human as transference of one’s ‘essence’ is a superstition as ancient as there have been shamans and broomsticks, such as drinking your sworn brother’s blood in a secret society initiation ritual. Christians eat a piece of their Lord and drink his blood all the time. For all its symbolic and religious associations, (menses) blood isn’t the only bodily discharge that have been used against employers. In 2009, Indonesian maid Sri Aryati added urine into drinking water in a kettle and jug. In Hong Kong, another Indonesian maid put her own urine in milk to feed a baby, with the belief that she should have ‘greater influence’ over the child by bonding through her pee. Between the two bodily fluids, urine is probably less hazardous, though I’d imagine to be equally unpalatable.
Real ‘mischief’, or even ‘attempted murder’, occurs when maids trick owners into consuming window-cleaning solutions, mix detergent into milk powder to feed babies or switch shampoo and conditioner with household bleach. The malicious (forced) feeding of inedibles and unmentionables goes both ways, with several instances of maids being abused by employers and forced to EAT faeces (Granny accused of making maid eat faeces, 11 April 2003, ST) or drink urine, with some bullies dishing out the worst possible humiliation by force-feeding animal dung (Pair accused of forcing maid to eat dog faeces, 19 Sept 1997, ST). If I were ever tortured and forced to choose between a menses-soaked teabag and a piece of poo, I would settle for some period-infused Earl bloody Grey in a second.