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Unable to offer assistance as case occurs decades ago

  • Lianhe Zaobao (04 June 2011) : Unable to offer assistance as case occurs decades ago
  • Lianhe Zaobao (31 May 2011) : Orphaned son of Samsui Woman seeks compensation

Unable to offer assistance as case occurs decades ago
- Lianhe Zaobao, 04 June 2011

1.   We refer to Mr Lu Quan's letter ‘“红头巾”遗孤欲索取保险金’ (31 May 2011), requesting for the Ministry of Manpower's assistance in returning his late mother's remains and compensation monies for the work-related accident that occurred on 19 April 1952.

2.   We empathise with Mr Lu's circumstances. Unfortunately, we do not have any records of the 1952 accident, as it occurred during the colonial government administration. Thus, the Ministry is unable to assist Mr Lu further with regards to the compensation claim.

3.   On Mr Lu's request for his mother's ashes to be returned, we have also checked with the relevant local authorities, clan associations and organisations (新加坡三水会馆, 新加坡广惠肇碧山亭) but unfortunately they also do not have any records of his mother's burial.

4.   We share his sorrow and would like to extend our condolences to Mr Lu and his family. We have contacted Mr Lu to explain the situation.

Orphaned son of Samsui Woman seeks compensation
- Lianhe Zaobao, 31 May 2011

I am Lu Quan (卢全), and my late mother, Yu Xing Gui (余杏桂), born February 1908, left her hometown in Sanshui County, Guangdong Province in 1936 to work as a construction worker (commonly known as a 'Samsui Woman') in Singapore. She lived at 60 Upper Chin Chew Street then.

On 19 April 1952, my late mother was crushed to death by a concrete truck that had suddenly reversed down a slope that it was being pushed along at the work site. After working in Singapore for 16 years, my mother had given her life to Singapore's nation-building.

I was a primary school student at the time, and having no immediate family members with me, I basically had no one to depend on (my father had passed away much earlier). I was deeply saddened by my mothers passing and without my mother's remittances for my studies and daily needs; I was left to fend for myself.

After my mother's death, the Labour Department in Singapore sent me a notification of her death on 20 June 1952, and had urged me to approach the relevant authorities to furnish documents as proof of my relationship with my mother, for purposes of claiming my mother's "insurance money". I had made many visits to the County Government, and the Government official said "Official stamps are not allowed out of the country because China has just been liberated." Hence, I was unable to furnish proof of my relationship with my mother, and was unable to claim the insurance money even though the Labour Department had sent me three letters in 1952 for me to furnish the relevant documents.

The memory of my mother was always with me as I grew up and even as I started working and my thoughts were constantly on bringing her ashes back. However, due to my work and constant relocating, I had lost all records and documents related to my mother and the Singapore Labour Department. Hence, I have been unable to settle the matter.

After my retirement, memories of my mother weighed even heavier on my mind, and I managed to recover some of the information related to this matter in my 70s. My thoughts once again turned to the settlement of this matter. Hence, I would like to pose two questions to the Singapore Government:

1) Would the Government be able to provide assistance in returning my mother's ashes back to my hometown?

2) Would the Ministry of Manpower be able to return my mother's insurance monies to me?