Murdered socialite's family still in shock

Murdered socialite's family still in shock
A view of the Victoria Park house of Nancy Gan.

SINGAPORE - On Saturday, family and close friends attended the wake of socialite and philanthropist Nancy Gan, who was found dead in the swimming pool of her Bukit Timah bungalow last Wednesday.

The 69-year-old porcelain artist was the oldest of eight siblings, and was survived by five sisters and two brothers, all of whom showed up yesterday at Mount Vernon Sanctuary funeral home to pay their respects.

Second sister Helen Gan told The Sunday Times that her elder sister was "a generous person, very giving, very affectionate".

"Once, I was on a trip overseas and forgot to bring my fur coat, and Nancy was very nice, she had it sent to me by a friend," said the younger Ms Gan.

"I still cannot accept that she has passed away, even till now. Our whole family is in shock."

She added that no one in the family had met Ms Gan's recently hired maid Dewi Suko Wati, 23, who has been charged with her employer's murder and is remanded for psychiatric assessment.

Dewi could face the death penalty if convicted.

The maid had been employed for only nine days before Ms Gan's body was found floating in the pool of her Victoria Park Road home. She was wearing pyjamas and had suffered head injuries.

"How was it possible?" asked her sister. "We're all very confused at the moment."

Also present at the wake was Ms Gan's second husband, Mr Hilton Cheong-leen, a former Hong Kong politician.

Ms Gan's only two children are from her first marriage to a surgeon.

Daughter Sharon Lim is a doctor based in London. Her brother Victor lived with their mother but is understood to have been in Korea at the time of her death. Both are in their 30s and married, according to a family member.

They returned to Singapore to attend the wake, and were on hand to greet visitors yesterday.

They deliberately kept the wake private, said Dr Lim, inviting only close family and friends rather than "dignitaries or politicians" who were part of Ms Nancy Gan's wide social circles.

She paused when asked to describe her mother, eventually saying: "Mothers are mothers, you can't fault her for being a mother." Ms Gan was cremated on Sunday.

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