Mid-1990s, Singapore. The three children of working parents, Teck and Hwee, are unable to take care of themselves or one another while the couple is at work and so the mother hires a maid. The arrival of Teresa, the new Filipino maid, is initially a challenge for the family as they try to adapt to the presence of a stranger in their home. Having gotten used to Auntie Terry (as they call her), these spoiled children overwhelm her with errands and chores. The relationship dynamic eventually changes when Teresa asserts parental control to discipline the mischievous children. She goes from stranger to servant and now surrogate mother and friend -- one who dotes and cares, yet disciplines and educates. The mother Hwee becomes jealous of the new dynamic and tension develops between the two maternal figures. When financial circumstances resulting from the recession in 1997 mean that the family can no longer afford her, the children struggle to accept they might never see Teresa again.