Cathedra Toiletus Encephalopathy

A scream rent the air.


Wayan quietly carried on clipping some hibiscus in the nether regions of the garden hoping against hope that the sound was some cerebral aberration that had intruded itself into the serenity of his afternoon.

“Wayan” the voice came again “where are you you useless piece of bile laiden nasal excretia from the left nostril of a castrated camel?”

“An interesting phrase,” thought Wayan abstractedly “why the left nostril?”. Suddenly he was brought back to the reality of working for a woman who is a trifle difficult at times.

His mind wandered back to the time he had left the toilet seat up, the event that finally convinced him that this crazy woman had a somewhat tenuous grip on this earthly realm. She had turned purple and shaken with rage, he’d seen a dog dying with rabies which was nothing compared to cathedra toiletus encephalopathy (or mad toilet seat disease). “I don’t know about toilet seats” he thought “I’ve never even had one”.

“Coming Bu” he shouted back.”

She spun around wildly.

“Don’t creep up on me like that” she screamed.

“Wayan I told you to clip that hedge so it was level.”

“It looks level to me Bu.”

“Can’t you understand even the simplest instruction I give you? Are you totally stupid? Do I have to do everything myself?”

Wayan just smiled.

The unflappable nature of this man drove her totally bananas.

“That’s not level with the top of the wall.”

“Yes but you didn’t say level with the top of the wall, the top of the wall slopes, you asked me to make it level and it is level.”

“I meant level with the top of the wall but even so you didn’t cut it level, it’s curved down at the ends.”

“It looks level to me Bu.”

“You need to get your eyes tested if you think that’s level.”

“Perhaps it’s your glasses Bu” he replied quietly “they make things look curved.”

“Don’t you start getting clever with me you intellectually challenged pile of……. she took off her glasses and looked at the hedge, then at the lenses of her glasses, a mumble escaped her lips, a pause……..

She regained her composure just enough to get her hysteria reorganised in her brain.

“I give you a simple instruction and all you do is put on that gormless smile.” She was not going to be deprived of her daily release and was starting to work herself up into a frenzy again.

“What is it about you people, why can’t you understand simple English? Why is it that you take everything I say literally? Can’t you read my mind? – and will you stop smiling you stupid, stupid, stupid man”

“Yes Bu” he said quietly.

“Yes what?” she roared. “I’ve got high blood pressure and it’s all your fault.”

Wayan smiled back and a thought drifted aimlessly through his consciousness to have pity, after all this poor woman has to wake up with herself every morning.

Wayan no longer works there, he quietly picked up his clippers and walked out one day never to return. The garden looks unkempt these days, an endless trail of gardeners has been to tender the plants but few have lasted long. The grass is kept short, however, with the constant stampings of a somewhat deranged woman. And, as she storms about in her mumblings and rantings, a dog barks, a couple of cocks crow and the birds whistle on in some far off corner of paradise….

We meet people like this from time to time don’t we? They come to Bali to escape but bring their problems with them.

This is a country where you can do anything if you can find the right people. We may find very capable people but much depends on how we treat them. Some staff may be lazy or incompetent but often it is the attitude of the employer that causes the problems. If we shout at them they become stressed, they lose motivation, make mistakes and do bad work.

I am fortunate enough to have a team of staff that are like family, they are capable, dependable and loyal and I put this down to several key factors:

  • They are ‘managed’ and not ‘controlled’ (trying to control people sends you crazy).
  • They get good training and detailed explanations.
  • They are paid properly with benefits of 13th month salary, performance bonus, paid holidays, BPJS health insurance, Jamsostek pension and meal allowance.
  • Their culture is respected.
  • They are never shouted at.

I have found that if staff are treated with respect they return that respect, if people are loyal to them they will return that loyalty ten-fold, it makes life so much easier.


Phil Wilson

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