Teenager shares experience of online search for her Indonesian nanny

(Photo courtesy of CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwanese high school student Hsu Tzu-han (許紫涵), who recently found her Indonesian nanny after 15 years, spoke at a seminar Sunday about her search for the woman she calls her “second mother.”

With the help of the Taiwanese and Indonesian media, the 19-year-old Hsu was able to contact Dwi Setyowati in Indonesia in May and speak with her via video chat.

Despite the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, Hsu said, many people around the world helped with her online search.

During a seminar hosted Sunday by Chang Cheng (張正), director-general of Radio Taiwan International (RTI), Hsu said her search for Dwi was prompted by a school assignment she was given, to write an essay on the topic “Seeing an object makes one miss its owner.”

The topic stirred memories of her Indonesian nanny and her gift of stuffed toy when Hsu was a child, the teenager said.

In a phone interview with CNA in May, Hsu said she launched an online search in April for the woman who had taken care of her until she was four and was the first person she saw every morning.

Dwi played with her at home, took her to kindergarten, and taught her some simple songs in Indonesian, Hsu said, adding that the nanny as like a “second mother.”

Not long after Hsu turned four, however, she woke up one day to find Dwi gone, and the child later learned that her nanny had returned to Indonesia because her work contract had expired.

Hsu later found a note from Dwi, next to the teddy bear the caregiver had given her, saying “I love you” in Chinese.

During the seminar Sunday, a video chat between Hsu and Dwi was arranged.

“I didn’t think you would remember me because it had been such a long time since we separated,” Dwi said, tears streaming down her face. “Thank you all for helping us to find each other.”

Hsu, meanwhile, urged the participants at the seminar to express their love for others whenever and however possible.