Nancy started to work for my family about 9 years ago (2007). Initially she looked after my mother-in-law who had dementia and was later bedridden and had to be fed through a tube through the nose. Nancy also had to insert a tube into her bladder a couple of times a day as my mother-in-law could not ease herself. Looking after her was very demanding and it was almost a 24×7 job.

Then about a year before my mother-in-law died (early 2008) my wife had cancer of the uterus and life was exceedingly difficult for me and my family… Nancy had to spend time looking after my mother-in-law as well as taking care of my late wife after her initial operation, which was followed by chemo and radiation treatments later. It was really a challenging time for us (my late wife and myself)…Having Nancy around to help out caring for two sick persons and other domestic tasks, especially when I had to perform day or night shifts, was a great relief for me. It was as if Nancy was God-sent. My pay was not a lot as a security personnel and I had to pay for expensive medication even though it was heavily subsidized. I could not make it alone if I were to work and look after mother-in-law and my wife. Nancy performed her work outstandingly despite her personal and family problems back home. For this I am eternally grateful for what she did despite her personal and family difficulties.

Her family misfortunes started when her mother had a stroke as a result of a bad fall (late Oct/Nov 2015) she was “paralyzed” from the neck downwards. She was rushed to the hospital in Indonesia (about 10hrs from Jogjakarta). Nancy was frantic and terribly depressed as she was the only bread winner in her family. She could not afford the hefty medical expenses as she had no medical insurance for her family. She was desperately in need of financial assistance in order for the hospital to proceed with the admission, operation and subsequent treatment. As her employer I told her I would do all I could to help her pay for the medical expenses. Her mother’s recuperation and recovery is a slow process. Up till today she still could not walk and needs a care giver (Nancy’s sister).

Her father is elderly (in his 60s) and in poor health. Over the last 12 months he was admitted to hospitals on a couple of occasions; one for an operation and on another occasion for having low blood pressure and stomach ailment.

Nancy’s elder sister is not working as she is diabetic and one of her legs is amputated so she is handicapped. She stays at home to help look after the elderly parents and 2 children (Nancy’s and her daughter).

Nancy’s daughter, the elder child has asthma/bronchitis and from time to time is admitted to hospital whenever the child has a bad asthma attack. This would incur medical expenses which Nancy could ill afford.

Around Jul/Aug 2016 last year, while on home leave, Nancy had a fall and fractured her leg. She did not go the hospital to get proper medical examination and treatment as she was already in debts and was borrowing money from “loan sharks” (“Ah Longs”) for medical and family expenses. I too chipped in with my savings and took loans for a bank and VISA. All in I “loaned” her about $50,000/-.

By Aug/Sep 2016 I was unable to help any further as I had used up my savings to help her over tide over her family misfortunes. In fact I had to pawn my late wife’s jewelry and also to take out loans from a bank and VISA. My average salary as a security personnel could not do very much to help her with these expenses.

On top of this, recently I found out from her that her house would be foreclosed by the bank as she is unable to pay up her loan of about $38mil rupiah (about S$4,100/-). She just signed a document to release the property to the bank as she could not make the loan payment.

She owed money to “loan sharks/Ah Longs” as well and lost her paddy field(s) when she could not pay the “loan”.

In Oct/Nov 2016 she left her village in Lomanis (10hrs from Jogjakarta) to go to Batam to work as she was having problems with the “loan sharks”.

About 2-3 weeks (around mid Dec 2016) ago she suffered a minor “stroke” after hearing some terrible news that her house would be repossessed (by 18 Jan 2017) and also her daughter had an asthma attack. She was unable to find the money to settle her outstanding loan plus money for her daughter’s medical expenses. She asked me for help…as I was cash-strapped too and I had to borrow in order to send some money to her although it was not enough to cover all the expenses.

Right now she is back in her village and the family home will be taken away from them as Nancy had signed a document giving the bank the right to “repossess” it. She informed me she had sold all the furniture in the house, chairs, mattress, fridge, TV etc…It breaks my heart to hear that her family has to sleep on the cold, hard floor…her mother is a stroke patient (has not fully recovered, still unable to walk); her elder daughter is asthmatic and the poor child is sleeping on the cold/hard floor at night…her sister is handicapped as one of her legs is amputated…I can’t imagine anything worse. She told me in her sms they have to seek the sympathy of neighbours for their daily meals…Nancy herself has suffered a “minor stroke” 2 weeks ago as a result of a fall from the stairs after hearing the traumatic news from the bank and has not fully recovered. She said “my body is swollen and very pain…now my half body cannot move… (this was texted to me from Batam by her about 2 weeks ago).

I have sought the help of local (Singapore) newspapers to help me raise awareness and to get members of public to donate generously. Only one newspaper came forward to write an article but they stress that in their article they can not ask the public to “donate”. So far, the article has been published but unfortunately no one has contributed or donated.

Today less than 2 hours ago just to spoke to her on the phone (8th Jan 2017 12:57pm Singapore time)… she was crying and related that she and her family is evicted from her family home in Lomanis and they are now homeless in another town (Braukatoa), with little money. She said she only has about $100,000 rupiah (S$11.00). Another horrendous blow to her family is that the younger child (sister’s daughter) has cancer. She was crying profusely as she related the news to me. I couldn’t help but my heart sank. I want to help but was helpless…I told her to send me photos or documents…she said it’s too late now and cut off the phone conversation immediately…

If anyone knows how the plight of this unfortunate family can be helped I would be most grateful to hear your suggestions or advice. Some one suggested to post this article in Facebook but I don’t know how to do it…if anyone is kind enough to help I would be most grateful…

Well, some may still be wondering why am I so naive as to give practically all my life savings away…. To me when someone unconditionally sacrifices and dedicates their time (off days) and energy to take care of our loved ones and when there is very little precious time left for us to be with them it means a lot to me… and giving back something in return to these wonderful people to show our appreciation is one way to express our appreciation and gratitude. For her devotion and kindness taking care of my loved ones I’m forever eternally grateful to her…

Thank you.

Michael Lim (this is my pseudo name)
A.S.S. Contributor

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