i love love love robert altman and even though "prêt-à-porter" is all about fashion and one would think that it should be my favorite, and it was for quite a long time. until a few days ago that is when i watched "gosford park". i loved the multi-story line that altman seamlessly connects together, the period costumes, the palatial manor, the dark humour, the who done it murder mystery, and maggie smith who is one of my absolute favorites. i also recently just finished reading "brideshead revisited" and ever since then i've been infatuated with the tension between social classes in england during the turn of the century because the gap that separated the rich and the poor back then is pretty much how its like in the philippines today.
in the philippines almost all the middle and upper classes still have servants. that's just how things are over there. when i was growing up my family also had maids and i even had the same nanny who took care of me since infancy till i came to canada. unlike england then, in the philippines they are very much a part of the family in most cases. its not unusual for a servant in the philippines to stay with their employers for decades. its actually quite natural and the notion of "upstairs/downstairs" is pretty much non-existent. they ate at the same table as us and they even slept in the same room as the children.
i would never dream of employing servants now because i've learned to fend for myself and my western upbringing would find it rather uncomfortable to be constantly waited upon. also i would judge my character poorly for paying someone to do the things i can do on my own. i can't however hold prejudices to people who do because that would make me sort of a hypocrite. and considering the fact that my room mates are two boys, i'm constantly having to scrub the bathtub and tiles, fix the shoes in the hallway, wipe bread crumbs off the kitchen counter, wash the dishes no one would own up to, take the garbage and recycling out when its overflowing and not just waiting for pick up day, plus sweeping and mopping the floors, i have the utmost empathy for maids. and i ain't even getting paid for it.