Friday, April 11, 2014

Show more compassion to those who are marginalised

It must be a daunting task for sole breadwinner, Mr Lai Peng Nan to have to take care of 3 mentally-disabled family members as reported in “Who’ll look after them when I die” (The New Paper, March 22). 

Managing one mentally ill family member is so taxing, what more looking after 3 relatives with this condition. But I have the utmost respect for this man for having the courage and conviction to care for his wife and two children for decades. However, Mr Lai’s worries of the plight of his loved ones upon his death are valid concerns which many caregivers have sleepless nights over.

While the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has provided financial assistance, more needs to be done to ease the suffering of caregivers in this predicament.   While, it may not be the objective of MSF to institutionalise the mentally ill, what choice does Mr Lai have?  The challenges facing persons with mental illness and complex and multi dimensional, but given that we are seeing more and more of such cases, it will be better to plan ahead and build more psychiatric homes where specialised care can be given.

I was also saddened that an ex-convict had his rental flat abruptly taken away from him in the report, “From prison to public toilet” (The New Paper, March 24).

Even though the HDB is within its power to take away the flat, couldn’t they have exercise some flexibility given that 68-year-old Mr. Kuu Siau Lam had served his prison sentence?  Why deprive him of a home and take way his electrical appliances, including his power tools which he uses to earn a living as a carpenter?  The primary objective of the Yellow Ribbon Project is to give ex-offenders a second chance in life and help them re-integrate into the community.  However, if they are not given this opportunity, there is every likelyhood that they can go back to crime.  So why isn’t Mr Kuu being given a second chance to rebuild his life?



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