Willy Foo & the helpers
Quite surprise on have to turn to Facebook for helps instead of calling friends though? Malaysia Embassy seem to be not helpful also.
Originally Posted by www.straitstimes.comStranded in rural China, she turns to Facebook
Robbery victim gets aid from online friends By Serene Luo
STUCK in a remote part of China, robbed of almost all her belongings, and numb from hunger and the cold, a Singapore woman turned to the one resource she knew would get her rescued: Facebook. The woman, who wanted to be known only as Ms R. Yeow, 27, had been robbed of all her money, her passport and her cellphone in Kaiping, located 140km from Guangzhou.
Desperate, she turned to a policeman for help - managing to borrow 100 yuan (S$22) - then headed straight to an Internet cafe and logged into her account on the social networking site.
Three days after her first post went out, she was rescued. A friend who saw her appeal managed to get a business contact in China to help. The contact then asked friends to drive to the small town where Ms Yeow, a permanent resident from Malaysia, was.
They paid the lodging charges at the hostel she was in, as well as the policeman she had borrowed the money from, and then drove her to Guangzhou. She will be travelling to Shanghai today to get new travel documents.
Ms Yeow, a hobby photographer, had gone to Kaiping on a day trip last Friday. After she was set upon, she made a police report and begged a policeman to lend her money.
Her first post came on Friday. '(I'm) devastated by my latest loss,' she wrote.
She then put herself up in a hostel for 38 yuan a night, and spent the rest of the weekend there, hoping the police or Malaysian embassy could help her. But there was no news.
On Sunday night, she filed this post: 'Nothing. There's no response.'
Speaking to The Straits Times last night, she said she had been desperate. 'The embassy did not return any of my calls or e-mail messages, and I posted a note, hoping help would come.'
Singaporean Willy Foo, 33, a professional photographer and a friend of Ms Yeow, saw her note on Monday morning.
Mr Foo, who has more than 2,600 friends on Facebook, was not even in Singapore when he saw the message - he was in Kota Kinabalu on assignment at the time.
But he swung into action anyway, using his Facebook, Twitter and Plurk networks to raise the alarm. Twitter and Plurk are micro-blogging sites through which users can use their cellphones or computers to send short, 140-character messages almost instantly to friends on their network.
Within minutes of Mr Foo's first SOS, word spread like an ink blot.
People who saw it also started calling police stations, consulates, and even contacted their friends who were in China to try and help - even though most of them did not know Ms Yeow.
They did not even know which exact corner of China she was in, so some of them trawled online satellite maps to narrow down her location.
Undergraduate Wu Huishan, 22, made a few calls to China on behalf of Mr Foo, who is not fluent in Mandarin.
'I may not know her background, but a friend is worried about her. It makes sense to help a friend even if I don't know who it is I am helping,' she said.
She was amused that 'the woman's first instinct was to get to a computer and Facebook'.
'In the past, if I got lost, I would look for a phone,' she said.
The rescue finally got on track on Monday afternoon, when Ms Yeow logged onto Facebook again and managed to give Mr Foo her exact location.
She told The Straits Times: 'It's amazing. I've never met most of these people before!' email@example.com