[Above: Leonie Gardens, home of maid who inherited $6 million from her employer who passed away.]
SINGAPORE - A devoted Filipina maid inherited six million Singapore dollars from her late employer after more than 20 years of service, a newspaper report said Wednesday.
"I am the luckiest maid in Singapore, with or without the money," the 47-year-old single woman - identified only by the pseudonym "Christine" - told the Straits Times in an interview.
The maid refused to be named in public for fear of possible threats to her life in the impoverished Philippines, where wealthy people have been kidnapped for ransom and some killed by their abductors.
The windfall, including cash and a luxury apartment near the Orchard Road shopping belt, came from the estate of her employer Quek Kai Miew, a medical doctor and philanthropist who died last year at 66.
The maid had also taken care of the doctor's late mother, and was told that she would be a beneficiary of her employer's will when it was drawn up in 2008.
"There were no secrets between us. I was not surprised at all when she told me how much I was going to get," the maid recalled.
"Christine" was devastated when Quek died a year ago, as the two were inseparable, and temporarily moved in with the doctor's nephew for solace.
"It was heartbreaking for me as I saw more years with Doctor Quek than with my own mother. I would break down every time I thought about her. I could not be by myself," she said.
"I was always beside her. Wherever she went, I was with her."
The maid, who is now applying for permanent residency in Singapore, said her newfound wealth had not changed her lifestyle.
"I do not really think much about the money I got. I just live my life as I did before, and not as a rich person," the maid, dressed simply in a blouse and slacks with short-cropped hair, was quoted as saying.
"I am still who I was before. I cannot behave differently because I have money now. Even my Filipino maid friends here still treat me the same."
Nearly 200,000 foreign maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work in affluent Singapore, which has a population of five million.