MY DOMESTIC HELPER ATTEMPTED SUICIDE AT MAID AGENCY’S DORMITORY
UPDATE: The campaign has been stopped. As of 18 Sept 2020, May Thu is recovering well and has gone back to Myanmar to be with her family while continuing treatment. In addition to the kind donations, we received a substantial sum from the government to aid in the bill. The surplus donations were donated to multiple organisations like the CDE and the Food Bank, along with many others. We thank everyone for their kindness in helping us navigate through these difficult times. Thank you
Her name is MAY THU.
May Thu is from Myanmar and has been working as a foreign domestic helper in Singapore since Dec 2017. Her duties mainly is to do the housework at home. Her 2-year contract ended in Dec 2019 and we have decided to extend her contract as she was a quiet but hardworking person.
She was due to return to Myanmar for her home leave of three months from 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the landing of all international commercial passenger flights has been suspended at Myanmar's International Airport (Yangon International Airport - YIA) with effective from 30 March 2359 hours MST. Since then, there were at least nine further extension and the latest extension is up to 31 August 2020, 2359 hours MST. As such, she was not able to return to Myanmar as intended.
Initially, May Thu was confused as why she was unable to return to Myanmar. We approached her agent multiple times since early May 2020 to speak with her, which he counselled her that it was not within our control and hoped that she can remain patient until the airport is opened. On 2 July 2020 there was another announcement on the extension which we eventually informed the agent to help craft an email to the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore to apply for ‘relief’ flight For May Thu. A ‘relief’ flight is a special flight during this period of COVID-19 to send migrant workers home if they are in need doing so. Sadly, we did not receive a reply since then. On 5 Aug 2020, we sent a second email to the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore.
One week before day of incident (7-9 August 2020)
May Thu said that her knees hurt and wanted to rest. We were unsure why her knees hurt, brought her to a general practitioner and the doctor gave her medication.
After taking the medication for only a day, she complained that the medication did not help and she insisted on rest. We acceded to her request to rest and made arrangements with the maid agency for her to rest at the their dormitory for a week from 10 August 2020 to 16 August 2020.
Day of incident (16 August 2020)
The agent informed us at about 10am that he was informed by the police that May Thu had jumped from the fourth floor of the maid agency’s dormitory.
According to the police, she tried to “stab herself, bang her head against the metal gate and eventually leaped off the 4th floor common corridor of her block”.
We are saddened and dumbfounded. It is a possibility that May Thu has become depressed or facing other worries that has not been communicated with us or her agent. We cannot imagine how heart wrenching it was for her to have to wait months after months, only to be met with a postponement one after another.
We are glad she survived. Although she is still unable to talk, she is recovering well and have gone through multiple surgeries. The hospital bill is now at more than SGD$80,000 and counting, with increasing charges daily.
The agency has denied any fiscal responsibility. Although May Thu leaped off from the agency’s dormitories, this is expected as May Thu is still our employee and we are her employer. Morality is another issue. We have spoken to MOM on this matter as well.
The Embassy uploaded the waiting list of passengers for relief flight.May Thu is placed #310 on the list. We believe that the flight has maximum capacity of about 150 passengers due to COVID-19 restrictions. We suspect that May Thu will likely to be placed on a relief flight in late September. However, given that she is now bedridden, we are unsure if she will able to board the flight.
Insurance company is unable to compensate any amount as per their fine print, “self-injury or harm whether sane or insane” are not covered under the policy. Shinmin and Asiaone have reported that $15,000 has been paid out by the insurance company, but no money has been paid out at this point of time.
The current bill stands at more than SGD$80,000 and this is expected to keep growing as the hospital is unable to provide an estimation of her discharge date at this time.
We are seeking help.
My parents are both hawkers, selling yong tau foo. My brother is an office worker. I, myself, am a student. We do not have the ability to pay for this bill. We might need to hold back on some of the subsequent surgeries as we did not expect a bill of this size.
We appreciate every little help given. Thank you.