BANGKOK – The long-sought reform of the Burmese government resulted in a short-lived celebration for American NGO worker Catherine Logan-Myers, whose nanny Mya Thida departed abruptly for new opportunities in her home country at the end of last month.
Logan-Myers, who works as a transport liaison for non-governmental organization Light Of Literacy, which provides low-cost LED reading lights for children whose homes lack AC electrical power, said she was now reconsidering her previous support for democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I know Suu Kyi was the elected choice of the Burmese people, but no one told me it was going to cost me my nanny,” she said. “I’ve got a full time job and three kids. Mya was such a great worker. How am I going to replace her?”
According to Logan Myers, Mya, whom she’d found on the BAMBI website classified ads six years ago, was an excellent nanny, a hardworking maid, and a very good cook as well. With Mya’s abrupt departure, Logan Myers will now have to take administrative leave from her job for up to two weeks while seeking an adequate replacement—a process which is being complicated by a general exodus of Burmese workers returning to their more democratic homeland.
“It’s not just me that’s suffering the fallout of all this,” claims Logan-Myers. “I know three other women at Light Of Literacy, two at USAID, and a few UN workers who have lost good maids and drivers since the US lifted economic sanctions.”
Added Logan-Myers, “Thanks a lot, Suu Kyi. And thanks for nothing, Hillary Clinton.”
Like many of her NGO and UN co-workers, Logan-Myers spent much of the last two decades fully devoted to the cause of government reform within Burma. She donated generously to advocacy organizations that supported Suu Kyi during the opposition leader’s house arrest under the junta, and signed numerous online petitions calling on the government to allow Suu Kyi to leave Burma to see her dying husband Michael Aris in the UK in 1999.
Additionally, Logan-Myers often cited Mya’s work ethic and humility as evidence of the inherent nobility of the long-suffering Burmese people, who “deserved to choose their leaders and live to their immense potential,” as she noted on her Facebook page during the crackdown on monk-led protests in 2007.
Having seen the goal of open elections and Suu Kyi serving in the government achieved, Logan-Myers now has to deal with the fallout of having her favorite laborer suddenly having better options than cleaning up after her three children for Bt12,000 per month.
“Mya told me that her cousins were opening up a coffee shop in Rangoon to serve all the new tourists,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity, I guess. Also, Mya gets to be with her own children every day, which hasn’t happened since they were born. I mean that’s great. Of course I support that. Really.”
Asked how Mya was doing in her new life, Logan-Myers admitted she hadn’t really followed up. “I assume she’s fine,” she said. “I mean they’re free now, right? Yay for freedom. Look, I’m busy. The house is a mess. My kids are spoiled brats who can’t clean up after themselves. Who has time for politics now?”
Logan-Myers then returned to her laptop to continue her days-old search for available nannies, which she insisted was a complicated process because “Thais don’t work as hard as Burmese, and Filipinos have a grudge against Americans.”
“What do you know about Cambodians?” she asked. “I mean they’re poor, right? Poor as Burmese? That could be promising.”