Thursday, November 7, 2013

Airport sculpture incident: More compassion needed- Raymond A Fernando's letter to the press

As I read the report “Police arrest woman who damaged sculpture at airport” (Nov 4), I could not help but wonder if the woman who risked life and limb could be suffering from psychological problems.

I commend the police for rescuing her in time; otherwise, she could have sustained serious injury or even a fatal injury. Our boys in blue did the right thing by arresting her under the Mental Health Act where she could be closely monitored by professionals and referred to specialists for treatment.
But I am disturbed by the insensitive online comments hurled at the woman, such as “crazy” and other demeaning names. At first glance, it appears that she had vandalised the sculpture, but there could more to it than meets the eye. Let us not be too quick to judge those going through the stresses of life — whether they are our own citizens or foreigners — and more so when we do not know much about the woman’s background.

The authorities should do all they can to help her. After all, she could be someone’s daughter, sister or wife. And every life must be valued and treasured.

In the meantime, perhaps the frontline staff can be trained to look out for symptoms of mental distress to better handle such situations. As an additional measure, those travelling alone should provide a next-of-kin contact number on their visitor arrival forms, to facilitate the rendering of assistance if and when it is needed.

Just as Singapore has achieved a first in many areas, let us also strive to be No 1 when it comes to kindness and compassion.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

No comments: