Today, Singapore was shaken by the news of the
deaths of a family of four in Tampines Street 44. A 40-year-old Chinese man was found
dead at the bottom of a block of HDB flats this morning. Police later found
the bodies of a 39-year-old Chinese woman, a 12-year-old boy and a
4-year-old girl in a flat on one of the upper floors of the block.
It is not known yet what exactly happened to the
family, but a neighbour who was interviewed on television today pointed out
that the dead man was a happy-go-lucky sort of chap. Another neighbour said
she saw the man screaming as he fell off the window. The television news programme also reported that several handwritten notes, in English, were found
in the flat. These hinted at financial problems faced by the family.
It could be that the father took the lives of his
family members before committing suicide. If that is the case, then we have
every reason to rebuke the dead man for his selfishness.
Every few years in Singapore, the lives of
innocent young children are sacrificed by their parent or parents in the name
of protecting these children who would have otherwise grown up in the absence
of these parents. Is it a noble act in the part of such parents, causing their
young children to die without the chance to grow up, get married, have
children, and then grow old?
These children never had a chance to decide for
themselves their fate. They died by the hands of their parent or parents. It
is sad when children suffer such fates through no fault of theirs. These
parents, having sown the seeds for such a situation that demanded they take
their own lives, had no justification to sacrifice the God-given rights of
their children to a full life the moment they decided to have these children.
It is a joy to be able to wake up to a brand new
day each morning. Alas, the two children will no longer be able to join
thousands of young Singaporeans in going to school tomorrow.
It's already so difficult to have children in
Singapore. Those of us still mulling over the idea of having children will
find no consolation in hearing today's grim news. But, let us not allow the
selfish acts of a few to mar our efforts at baby-making.
It is times like these that we bystanders get a
chance to reflect and say to ourselves: Aren't we lucky our parents are not
Yes, we are certainly luckier than the two
children who died today. But will Singaporeans ever learn the lesson taught by
this tragedy? Unfortunately, today's tragedy may not be the last of its kind
here. In the next few years, there may be a repeat of what happened today,
just as what happened today bears similarity to other incidents which have
taken place here in the past.
Society also has to take responsibility when
tragedies like this happen. In Singapore, face-saving is so important that
when people face financial problems, they rather take their own lives than
live with the shame the money problems bring them. It takes courage to be able to live
through financial problems. It takes courage to accept bankruptcy in a
conservative society such as ours. In the heat of the moment, it may seem
easier to seek a way out through death. But, must we play God with our