When Mr Pau Sian Mung arrived in Singapore on Wednesday, it was the first time he had been outside of his native Myanmar. The 32-year-old is here to arrange to take back the body of his younger sister, Ms Piang Ngaih Don - a maid who was allegedly murdered by her employers last month.
He was yesterday given $4,500 in donations collected by Helping Hands for Migrant Workers, a volunteer group to help migrant workers from Myanmar. But he has set aside this money for funeral arrangements back home and for the education of his dead sister's three-year-old son. The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, which assists migrant workers here, is also collecting donations for Ms Piang's family.
It will be costly to take his sister's body back home to Dimpi Village in Tedim Township, in the impoverished Chin state. The village, with a population of 1,500, is located in a mountainous area only accessible by a four-hour drive on a muddy road from Kalay Township.
According to Ms Kitty Aye Mar Mar from Helping Hands, half of that cost will be paid by an insurance company, with the other half shared between Singapore and Mynamar maid agents, and the Myanmar Embassy.
Mr Pau, who works in a Catholic church in his village, told The Straits Times that he and his family are shocked at the death of his 24- year-old sister.
Describing her as "very quiet", he said she stopped schooling when she was 15, after finishing Grade 9 - Singapore's equivalent of Secondary 3. She worked in construction but heard from some of her friends that she would earn more money as a maid in Singapore.
She came here last May, leaving her son with her five siblings.
According to Mr Pau, his sister had called the family five times since then.
"My sister wanted to buy a plot of land to build a house for herself and her son in Kalay Township," said Mr Pau. "She planned to work in Singapore for two to three years to earn enough money."
Their parents, who were farmers, died within a year of each other when Ms Piang was just four years old. She is the sixth sibling to have died.Her surviving siblings, who are Catholics, farm the plot of land left behind by their parents.
Mr Pau has erected a cross in his village to remember his sister and plans to bury her next to their parents. He said he appreciates the kindness of those who have donated money to his family.
Ms Piang was allegedly murdered by Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 36, and her mother, Prema Naraynasamy, 58 - both housewives - some time between July 25 and 26.