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Burmese maid who committed suicide to be cremated in Singapore

A screenshot from a video purportedly shot moments before Burmese domestic worker Zin Mar Oo jumped from the ledge of a condominium in Singapore.

A Burmese domestic worker who jumped to her death from a 19-storey building in Singapore this week will be cremated in the Southeast Asian city-state, with her father and uncle preparing to travel there for the ceremony.

Zin Mar Oo, whose suicide on Monday was captured in video that went viral online, hailed from Gu Ta Lone Kya village in Arakan State’s Mrauk-U Township. The 25-year-old woman was said to have had little contact with family since she left Burma to take a job in Singapore about a year ago.

“She contacted her grandparents only one time,” said Wai Hin Aung, a writer who is also helping to raise funds for the woman’s surviving family and who visited her grandparents, the deceased’s caretakers growing up, this week.

The deceased’s father and uncle have applied for passports and will travel to Singapore once they receive the documents to attend a cremation ceremony.

“We will get the passports tomorrow morning. As soon as we get the passports, we will go to Singapore. In Singapore, Burmese youth groups are waiting for us,” said Thar Tun Aung, the uncle.

Burmese nationals living in Singapore have also begun a fundraising campaign to support Zin Mar Oo’s bereaved grandparents.

“We know that the grandparents depended on her and they are very poor. So, we will fundraise as much as possible and donate the funds to her grandparents,” said Nyein Chan Swe, a Singapore-based organiser of the effort.

Before her death, Zin Mar Oo reportedly told an Indonesian friend that she was given just two slices of bread and water for her meals, which were sometimes only provided once per day.

Katy Aye Aye Mar from the Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), which assists migrant workers in Singapore, told DVB that Zin Mar Oo was part of a worrying recent uptick in migrant worker suicides in the wealthy city-state.

“In the past, such cases rarely happened. There are more cases these days,” she said, adding that often domestic workers in Singapore were underage and “cannot cope with stress, physically and mentally.”

“According to the laws of Singapore, maids should be given an adequate amount of food,” said Katy Aye Aye Mar. However, “No lawsuits have been filed against the family whom Zin Mar Oo worked for.”

Advocates for migrant workers have long flagged the potential for abuse of this vulnerable labour pool.

In a case that made headlines in July of last year, Burmese national and domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don was killed by her Singaporean employers. Her body was returned to her hometown in Tedim Township, Chin State.