Public raises $3,150 for maid whose boss is in a coma

The maid whose wages dried up when her employer fell into a coma last October - leaving her without money and food - has seen her luck take a turn for the better.

Since news of Indonesian Mersi Fransina Missa's plight was revealed by The Straits Times on Monday, a total of $3,150 has been raised for her by the public.

She has even received offers of employment but has turned them down as she hopes to return to her home town of Kupang, Indonesia, to visit her family, including her 52-year-old mother who is ill.

"I miss them and I want to go see them. I had no money, but I keep thinking of my mother," said Ms Mersi, 28, who last saw her parents and six younger siblings two years ago. Her parents are farmers and she is the sole breadwinner.

Ms Mersi has been living at the Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics (Home) since December. She is unable to leave the country without approval by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

However, the MOM yesterday confirmed that it will "facilitate" her departure.

She hopes to return home within a few weeks and told The Straits Times she wishes to stay in Indonesia for a few months. She also hopes to be able to send money to her family to cover their living expenses.

Ms Mersi had taken care of her employer, a retiree in her 60s, for more than a year after she suffered a stroke in August 2014.

But her employer was warded at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in a vegetative state after a second stroke last October.

Ms Mersi continued visiting her employer at SGH for a month, but the travel costs became too expensive for her. Her actions touched one reader - a Singaporean professional - so much that he donated $2,000 and his friends chipped in another $600.

"I was particularly touched by her loyalty," he said, wishing to remain anonymous. "She could have seen that her employer wasn't going to recover soon, or questioned where her salary was going to come from, but she was there for her every day."

Her employer, who is single and has no children, used to keep $100 for her out of her $520 salary. Ms Mersi said that $1,950 of her money is still with the employer.

An MOM spokesman said that it is trying its best to help Ms Mersi settle her salary arrears. "But with the employer still in coma, we are looking at other interim options to assist her," he said. "We will continue to monitor the situation after Ms Mersi returns to Indonesia, and maintain contact with her."

This article was first published on Jan 8, 2016.
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