Love child of maid: Papa, what is your name?

Love child of maid: Papa, what is your name?
Little Yen Faye's mother holding a The New Paper with Yen Faye's picture on the first page.

With a name like Yan Faye, she would not stand out in Singapore.

But she is a Filipina who grew up in Cavite, a province in the Philippines.

There, her name gets strange looks. The 21-year-old also stands out with her features and pale complexion.

During her school days, she was ridiculed by her Filipino classmates who said she "didn't belong there".

She was repeatedly told to "go back to where she came from".

But where does she belong?

Miss Yan is not sure.

Her biological father is a Singaporean.

More than 20 years ago, her mother fell in love with him after leaving her village in 1991 to be a domestic helper here.

She was less than a year into her contract when she met Miss Yan's father. He was working at a watch shop in Lucky Plaza.

"My mum wanted to buy a watch and after talking for some time, he gave her a discount and they started dating," she says.

In 1993, Miss Yan's mother went back to the Philippines after her contract ended. She was planning to return to be with her boyfriend.

Then, she found out she was pregnant.

She knew the risk she was taking. The rules for working here were clear - if she is pregnant, she would not be able to have her baby here nor would she be able to return to Singapore.

Miss Yan was born in her mum's hometown that September.

At first, her father travelled between the two countries while her mother was pregnant. After the third round, just before Miss Yan was born, the trips stopped.

Those who were kind called her a love child. Many others used harsher terms.

Growing up without a father was tough.

Miss Yan says: "Sometimes when I do wrong, my stepdad scolds me harshly.

"I have always felt that he has close to no compassion just because I'm not his real daughter.

"When we go for family outings, I will walk behind and watch people stare and say things like, 'She's definitely not his', because we don't look alike."

Her mother married a navy officer in the Philippines just after Miss Yan turned one.

Her mother's story is not unusual.

There are close to a million work permit holders here. Many work for years, picking up the local lingo and falling in love with Singapore.

Some fall in love with Singaporeans.

In 2013, close to one in three marriages here involved a Singapore citizen and a non-resident spouse.

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