As the New Year opens, many of us are looking forward to a happy and prosperous beginning. However, for some families, this is not the case when their loved ones have perished in a most tragic way.
First, two teenagers with special needs have lost their lives after one was found drowned in a lake in Woodlands Town Garden, and then 15-year-old Yuen Kai Lek, another special needs student was found dead in a locked bedroom in his home with a rope around his neck.
On Wednesday 5th January 2011, 29-year-old Tok Puay Yong was found dead in the compound of the Church of St Mary of the Angels. Tok, who appeared to have developed mental health problems was depressed over not being able to secure a job.
On 10th January 2011, Madam Ng Sock Luan, 48, who was being treated for depression is believed to have fallen from the common corridor of the point block in Bishan where she lived.
Last month, a cash-strapped 33-year old divorcee who also suffers from depression, gathered her three daughters - aged 10, 11 and 13 – in her bedroom, locked the door and proceeded to burn charcoal which would lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. The mother changed her mind when one of the daughters began crying and coughing. The police who were informed of her suicide bid by this daughter arrested the mother.
The Government has unveiled impressive plans to upgrade several constituencies costing millions of dollars that will improve the lives of residents. Amongst them - the Jalan Besar GRC and the Aljunied GRC.
Whilst this is a good move to improve the physical surroundings of the neighbourhoods, what is lacking is the compassion and support for our marginalised citizens and their caregivers who are finding it so difficult to cope. We can spend a lot of money renovating our house, but if we are unable to give love, support and understanding to our family members, then we cannot call the place we live, a home.
We have the hardware, so now let's match it with the heartware.
Raymond Anthony Fernando