Sunday January 15, 2012
Aussie seeks out ‘amah’
By LEE YEN MUN
PETALING JAYA: After four decades of separation, an Australian retiree wants to reunite with her family's Malaysian amah.
Determined to reconnect with the domestic helper, Pamela O'Keefe said many attempts were made to locate Lim Lian Swee, who is believed to be in her 50s.
The last letter received by O'Keefe from Lim was dated April 13, 1979.
“My youngest daughter Kathleen was born in Malaysia and I am keen to take her back to her roots.
“God willing, if we should find her (Lim), we are willing to pay for the expenses to take her to Australia so that she can meet with the rest of the family as well. We are searching for a friend, not just another amah,” she said.
She added that the family had enlisted the help of the Malaysian High Commission in Canberra besides researching the Internet.
“We have also written several e-mail messages to Malaysian newspapers to help us in locating her, but they have not been successful so far,” O'Keefe, 71, said in a phone call from Queensland, where she currently resides.
Describing her former domestic helper as “quiet but solid in character”, O'Keefe recalled many fond moments her family of six had with Lim.
Lim had stayed with the O'Keefes for over a year, caring for the family's four children ranging from a newborn to an active nine-year-old.
O'Keefe said the family lived in Malaysia from 1970 to 1972 because of her husband's posting at the Australian Trade Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
“Lim came to us when she was still in her teens, probably around the age of 15.
“She was a clever girl who learnt new things quickly and could communicate in English. We had so much fun together and did not have any problem with her,” said O'Keefe, who now has seven grandchildren.
O'Keefe said she plans to travel to Kuala Lumpur in the first quarter of this year to look for Lim.