Grassroots volunteer 'always giving to community'
Former MP Cynthia Phua pays tribute to good friend Wendy Ng. -ST
Mrs Wendy Ng was a committed church worker and grassroots volunteer who travelled regularly to Cambodia to help improve the lives of underprivileged children.
The 55-year-old Singaporean with a heart of gold was violently murdered there on Tuesday, and among those mourning her death is former Aljunied GRC MP Cynthia Phua.
"I'm very sad. She has done so much for the Cambodian people... I couldn't sleep after hearing about her death," said Madam Phua, who counted Mrs Ng as a good friend after roping her in to help out in her constituency more than a decade ago.
About a month ago, Mrs Ng arrived in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh, to take up the post of relief principal at Hope International School.
Madam Phua visited her earlier in December, and recalled that Mrs Ng was thrilled about the school's new compound which was being built.
"She was so excited about being able to take care of more students," the former MP told The Straits Times. "Wendy is always giving to the community. She's dedicated and it's a joy talking to her."
In the end, she was allegedly killed by four Cambodian workers who were helping to construct the compound. The men have confessed to the murder, and were paraded by local police during a press conference yesterday.
According to The Phnom Penh Post, they told police they had robbed and killed Mrs Ng because they were broke.
The Singaporean had been staying at a dormitory near the current school, while the four suspects were staying in a construction site close by.
Cambodian police said the suspects broke into Mrs Ng's room and stabbed her to death. She was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor with three stab wounds to her neck. The murder weapon has not been found.
At the time of the murder, Mrs Ng was the only person in the dormitory.
There were four male teachers staying in a separate dormitory just metres away, said the local newspaper.
The Straits Times understands that police followed a blood trail which led them to the stolen items, which were buried a short distance from the dormitory.
These were Mrs Ng's iPad, a Samsung Galaxy phone and about $400 in cash. About $5,500 - salary to be distributed to the school's teachers - was untouched in her safe.
Mrs Ng was on the pastoral team at Glad Tidings Church in Singapore, and her husband Paul Ng is the chairman of the church's board. He flew to Cambodia as soon as he learnt of her death.
Those who knew Mrs Ng paid tribute to her caring nature.
Pastor Sinai Phouek, the Cambodia director of New Hope for Orphans, the Christian organisation which runs the school, described her as a "lovely, passionate and very good person".
In a statement posted on the website of Glad Tidings Church, she was described as someone who changed many lives with her care and love.
"She has always believed that her life, regardless of how long God gives her, will be lived serving her beloved Saviour Jesus Christ," the statement read.
In a Facebook post, Madam Phua thanked Mrs Ng for her grassroots work, and spoke of how the latter spent much time setting up and managing an activity centre for senior citizens in Singapore.
"You gave years of service in Phnom Penh. We miss your cheerful and ready smile for everyone," she wrote. "Rest in peace my dear Friend, we love you."
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