THE STORY BEHIND THE MUM WHO KILLED HER 9 YEAR OLD SON
**TRS EDITORIAL PIECE**
The woman arrested and charged for murder, following her nine-year-old son's death after he was found unconscious below a block at West Coast Road on Jun 1, has been remanded for psychiatric observation.
According to The Straits Times, Gabriel Loh, nine, died in hospital less than an hour after police found him lying unconscious at the bottom of Block 704, where he lived with his 31-year-old mother, Rebecca Loh Chui Lai and his grandmother.
A neighbour, who lives in the opposite block in West Coast Road, had seen Rebecca and Gabriel at the kitchen window of their fifth-floor West Coast Road flat moments before the latter was found at the foot of his block.
Rebecca, who has been arrested for the suspected murder of her young son last Saturday, was also seen crying at the window.
The 40-year-old accounts assistant had gone to the kitchen to wash her hands at around 6pm when she noticed the woman sitting on the ledge of the fifth-floor window.
She saw the woman go back in, only to return with her bespectacled son.
The boy, who attended a special school, was unconscious when police arrived. He was taken to the National University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 7pm. His mother, known only as Rebecca, was arrested later that day by police.
Believed to be an unemployed single mother, she was often seen pushing Gabriel around in a pram.
She would lift him from the pram to the chair and back at a nearby coffee shop, neighbours told The Straits Times.
Gabriel, who was described as having yellow skin and eyes because of jaundice, had a failed liver operation, according to a next-door neighbour who wanted to be known only as Madam Jah.
Single Parent. Disabled son. Elderly grandmother earning $1000.
Unfortunately for 31 years old Rebecca Loh Chui Lai, she had them all. The single mother had a son born out of wedlock when she was 22 years old. Her 9 year old son, Gabriel Loh Zhen Jie, was unfortunately diagnosed with liver disorder and very weak legs due to unknown medical reasons that Rebecca ferried him around in a pram wherever she is. As a result of her son’s serious medical conditions, Rebecca was not able to seek employment and her mother has to be the sole breadwinner of the family on a $1000 paycheck. Her neighbors said they often hear violent quarrels from the household which alerted the police several times. The family is also often in adverse financial difficulties due to Gabriel’s high medical costs.
On the 5th of February, Gabriel fell to his death from the 5th floor of Block 704, West Coast Road. He died after an hour struggle despite the paramedics’ resuscitation effort.
Rebecca was seen on site by several witnesses screaming hysterically that she has killed her son. She was also seen holding her son’s body in a pool of blood grieving in distraught. Rebecca was shortly arrested and taken away by the police.
Rebecca will be charged with murder today, and based on her economic and mental conditions, it is unknown if she will be having any lawyer in her defense. As Gabriel’s fall was not witnessed by anyone, it is unknown if the depressed mother had pushed him, or if Gabriel committed suicide.
Although Rebecca’s household qualify for Public Assistance, it is not known if they have received any help from the PA grassroots organizations in West Coast GRC prior to the tragedy. Unlike most first world countries, the handicapped and unemployed are not given any payouts. There is also no pension system to supplement the failed CPF system which explains why most elderly Singaporeans are still working into their 70s or 80s. There is also no Minimum Wage to help protect low income Singaporeans like Rebecca’s mother. Due to the PAP’s obsession with GDP growth, an influx of foreign labor have depressed salaries especially for low income workers over the past 13 years [Source].
In 2010, The Economist published an article criticizing the PAP government’s failure to provide a social safety net for Singaporeans [Source]. To which the shameless PAP government replied:
SIR — I refer to your article “The stingy nanny” of Feb 13th.
Each society has to decide for itself the appropriate balance between unconditional welfare and self-reliance. Singapore has concluded that we cannot afford European-style state welfare, not because of dogma, but because our circumstances are different. We face competition from some of the most vibrant economies in the world, we have no hinterland or natural resources of our own to fall back on, and our future depends on being a dynamic and self-reliant people who strive our utmost to excel and create wealth for ourselves, our families and our society. Each generation must earn and save enough for its entire life cycle.
Our approach is based on time-tested values of hard work, self-reliance, family responsibility and community support for those in need. While we avoid over-generous welfare handouts, we have substantial state subsidies for education, health care and public housing. These are major investments that uplift the skills, promote the health and increase the assets of all Singaporeans. The result has been high growth, low unemployment, high savings and the highest home-ownership rates in the world.
No society has ever succeeded in totally eradicating poverty, nor in eliminating inequality of incomes, not even Communist systems. A generous welfare state, despite its theoretical attractiveness, is not a panacea. Singapore’s system is by no means perfect, but it has produced real results for the vast majority of Singaporeans, and enabled even the poor to live with dignity and hope. The burden of proof is on its critics to demonstrate that their proposals will in fact work, and improve on what Singapore has achieved, given our socio-cultural fabric and economic circumstances.
Michael Eng Cheng Teo
High Commissioner for Singapore
“If you’re poor in Singapore, it’s no fun, but I think you’re less badly off than in any other country in the world, including in the US”
~Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Rebecca would have received lots of help from the government in medical bills for her son as well as living assistance if she were to be living in other developed nations. Such tragedy might have been prevented if the government is doing more to help the unemployed and the poor. With the rising cost of living and stress living in Singapore, it is no wonder that our suicide rates is one of the highest in the world.
What are your thoughts on that?