Tue, Apr 21, 2009
The New Paper
Did Huang Na's mother use bereavement money carelessly?

By Ho Lian-yi

LOOK at that house in China. Clearly, Madam Huang Shuying and her husband have done well for themselves in the five years since the sensational murder of her eight-year-old daughter, Huang Na in Singapore.

The question is: Where did the money come from?

Was it from the donations that poured in after news broke of the child's murder at Pasir Panjang?

Partly, the Chinese national admits, revealing, after all these years, the amount she received.

The family had received a large sum of money as 'bai jing' (Mandarin for 'white gold') from those who turned up at Huang Na's funeral.

But Madam Huang had earlier refused to reveal the exact amount.

At one point, it was rumoured to be as high as $300,000.



'It was definitely not that much,' she said, 'and we definitely did not carelessly spend the bereavement money!'

The actual amount, according to her, was $126,203.

The story of Huang Na, whose body was found in a box in Telok Blangah, had led to an outpouring of sympathy here in 2004. (See accompanying report.)

But after Malaysian Took Leng How was hanged for her murder, the spotlight shifted to Madam Huang, who used to be a study mama and vegetable seller here.

It seems that life has been good to Madam Huang since those days.

When a Shin Min Daily News reporter visited her house in Putian, Xiamen, she found a luxurious four-storey building, with a compound the size of four basketball courts.

The four-storey house, ringed by a stone wall and held up by classical European pillars, looks like a fortress, her report said.

From afar, it stood out among the other buildings nearby.

In the 20m by 50m courtyard, there was a small hill and a pond with a bridge over it. Near that was a swing.

At the opposite corner was the garage.

Locals were quoted as saying that even though there were many multi-storey houses in the area, it's rare to see one as grand as this.

Madam Huang, 36, lives there with her second husband, Mr Zheng Wenhai, 33, her three surviving children, and her parents-in-law.

Mr Zheng has started a labour company in Putian, the report said.

Looking plump and radiant, he drives a black saloon with real leather seats. He had three TV sets in the car.

Breakdown of expenses

Madam Huang has still not given a complete breakdown of where the money from Huang Na's funeral has gone.

She claimed that tens of thousands of dollars was spent on the last rites.

About $10,000 went to building Huang Na's tomb in Putian and renovating the house.

Some of the money has gone to charity, including to three Pasir Ris quadruplets suffering from cerebral palsy, and to build a road in Putian.

Most of the rest was saved, to be used for future rites for Huang Na.

As for the house, she maintained that the building was Mr Zheng's ancestral property, and it had always been the same size.

'When Huang Na passed away, in order to be able to see her grave frequently, we added another level, and at the same time we did some renovations,' she said.

The Shin Min reporter confirmed it was possible to see the grave from the fourth storey.

The house is made of stone.

'Most of the houses here use stone,' she said.

She also denied previous reports that her first husband, Huang Na's biological father, Mr Huang Qingrong, had wanted a share of the funeral donations.

She said Mr Huang has never asked about the money, she said. In 2004, he did accompany her when she brought Huang Na's ashes back home.

'After that, he has never visited his daughter's grave. However, he has a new family, a new life, so that's understandable,' she said.

This is not the first time Madam Huang's house in China has been in the news.

The New Paper had visited her in Putian in December 2004, when she talked about adding another storey as the view of her daughter's tomb - halfway up a mountain about 20 minutes from the village - was blocked by a nearby house.

Madam Huang said then: 'Things are different in the village - we build simple houses as roofs over our heads. If we can afford it or need the space, we add another storey to it.

'Not everyone can afford to tear down their house and rebuild.'

The fact that they renovated their house in China and started businesses soon after returning from Singapore has raised eyebrows.

Some questioned her use of the goodwill money, while others said it was up to her to spend it as she pleased.

When contacted by The New Paper on Sunday, Madam Huang said in Mandarin: 'You can ask me anything about my daughter, but I won't answer anything about myself.'

She said they were doing quite well in China.

But she declined to comment further, saying that she had to drive her children home from tuition class.

This article was first published in The New Paper .

Read also:
» Huang Na to be immortalised? .
» Many questions remain over Huang Na's death .

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