By Andrew Loh
“Dearest all… I have never given up on a fight for justice and truth,” Bridget Tan posted on her Facebook page on 4 February. It was the last note she posted before she had a stroke and needed to be hospitalised.
Bridget is the founder and chief executive officer of migrant workers aid group, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, or HOME.
She established the non-governmental organisation in 2004, and worked for it without pay for the next 8 years.
Her dedication to her work is well known by activists and those she assists, especially the foreign domestic workers (FDW).
In 2011, she was recognised by the United States for her work when she was awarded the 2011 U.S. Secretary of State Traﬃcking in Persons (TIP) Heroes award from Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC. [See here.] Her religious belief seems to drive her dedication to her work, which is perhaps one reason why many Filipino FDWs have turned to her for help over the years. Indeed, she is like a guardian angel to them.
At an event organised by HOME in 2012, which I attended, it was abundantly clear how loved she is by the Filipinos FDWs who would embrace her, and affectionately greet her with the term, “sister”. Some call her “mother”.
Two days ago, as she was at home, believed to be doing some work online, she suddenly suffered a stroke, and had to be sent to the hospital. It is believed she has had a blood clot removed but she is still in intensive care at Changi Hospital.
The incident has left many shocked and saddened, but at the same time, her Facebook page has been flooded with well wishes from different peoples, both Singaporeans and foreigners.
“May the good Lord bless and keep you my dear Bridget,” Yap Kim Hao, Pastoral Advisor to the Free Community Church, posted on Bridget’s page. “The One who was with the marginalized in the past is with you in the present situation of need. Jesus loves you and will take care of you always.”
Writer Ovidia Yu said, “Dear Bridget loving thoughts to you and your family at this time. Hope you are better soon.”
Lhinda Abad wrote: ‘Fight it… as the way you teach us to fight or be strong what ever difficulties we face…”
Thess Villaneuva posted, “To our HERO,,,,,, Get well very very soon madam, we love you , me and everyones heart praying for your fast recovery,,, God Bless.”
Bridget is one who never tires and is always there whenever anyone needs her – just as she said in her last post:
“Today a Bangladeshi came to us for assistance… young man who had a bad fall from a scaffold… for two years he has been waiting for his compensation and still waiting… a Filipina ran away from her employer and is now in Malaysia and is messaging me to help her … another called from the airport for help, her employer is sending her back to the Philippines… and the list goes on… never does a day go by without an opportunity to see God in those who call on me…”