It was heart-wrenching for Mrs Kim Ae Ran, 46, to pull the plug on her daughter's education here and return to Korea earlier this month.
But her husband's construction business back home was floundering. The couple had made the painful decision to withdraw their 16-year-old daughter from the Canadian International School and leave their 17-year-old son, also enrolled in the same school, here in the care of a friend.
But when she handed over the keys to her rented condominium in Bukit Batok, she said her real estate agent disappeared with her pre-paid two months rental deposit of $6,000, leaving her stranded.
'The money was meant for me to settle my son in at his new home and also to buy air tickets home for my daughter and myself,' said Mrs Kim.
'I cannot bear to tell my husband I have lost the money because he is under so much pressure, yet I cannot go home.'
With the help of Mrs Kim Tolani, 60, who runs the Sihanada Buddhist Association, she has lodged a police report. She is now trying to pursue her case at the Small Claims Tribunal.
Since moving out last month, the family has split three ways. Her son and daughter are putting up at their friend's homes. Mrs Kim stays with another kirogi mother and spends most of her days at the Buddhist Association.
'She is fine when she is here with us,' said Mrs Tolani. 'But she tells me that when she is home, the frustration and helplessness is almost unbearable.'Source: Straits Times, 15 Mar 2009