Sombre farewell for late artist and philanthropist

SINGAPORE - About 40 friends and relatives gathered on Sunday evening to say their final goodbye to the late philanthropist and artist Nancy Gan before she was cremated.

The 69-year-old was found dead in the swimming pool of her home last Wednesday.

Her Indonesian maid Dewi Suko Wati, 23, has been charged with her murder and has been remanded for psychiatric assessment.

At the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium, friends and relatives sat in respectful silence for a short ceremony of less than 10 minutes. Her son, Mr Victor Lim, who lived with her but was in South Korea when she died, took the lead during the prayer rites, paying his last respects with two deep bows.

Ms Gan's daughter, Dr Sharon Lim, who is based in London, had earlier waved reporters away politely. "This is a private affair," she said. "If you want to find out anything more about my mother, you can look it up on the Internet."

Other family members, looking sombre and tired, also declined to speak to the media.

None of Ms Gan's family members had met the new maid who, if convicted, could be sentenced to death.

Before the cremation, Ms Gan's friends had gathered at Mount Vernon Sanctuary's Purity Hall, where the wake had been held. Lined up outside the hall were wreaths from the likes of property consultancy Orange Tee and luxury lifestyle magazine Icon.

Sending off the cortege from Mount Vernon, Mr Lim followed closely as his mother's casket was carried out of the hall, trailed by his sister and their relatives. Later, he sent the funeral car off with his palm pressed to the glass.

Ms Gan, who was first married to a surgeon and, later, former Hong Kong politician Hilton Cheong-Leen, was described by friends as being kind and down-to-earth.

"She didn't feel like a rich lady at all. She wasn't pretentious and she cared for her causes," said a friend of more than five years who did not want to be named.

"We're saying goodbye to a good lady," she added.


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