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Fri, Oct 09, 2009
The New Paper
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Pesky mum gets daughter back

SHE does not care what others think of her.

As far as she is concerned, she will do things her way, and her history proves it.

And again she has fought for what she believes is right –and won.

Ms Mary (not her real name) and her husband have regained custody of their younger daughter, 7, after a successful appeal to the High Court.

The child was placed in a children’s home by the Juvenile Court in August after the Child Protection Services (CPS) was concerned for her well-being under her mother’s care.

The parents cannot be named to protect the child’s identity.

OnMonday, High Court Judge V K Rajah, in ordering the return of the girl to the parents, also described Ms Maryas “obsessive”and “difficult”.

Last month, Juvenile Court Judge Wong Li Tein described her as “unreasonable”.

On Monday night, when The New Paper called her, Ms Mary was having a celebration dinner with her daughterand husband, 42, a production worker.

After that, she said, they were going to “walk around” the neighbourhood. She said of her “victory”: “We feel that it’s really justice (served). But I think it (the win) is because I fought for it.

“We’re very happythat everything is okay.” Whenasked to talk about the day’s proceedings, she soundedenergetic and excited.

She said: “It was not so easy in court. We went through somanyobstacles.”


When asked if she saw herself as difficult, she replied: “Who said I’m difficult? Which judge said I’m difficult? How do you know I’m difficult?”

However, she admitted that she is on bad terms with several people, including her father, her in-laws, and her daughter’s school.

In an interview last month, Ms Mary, 40, told The New Paper: “People say that I’m very aggressive, and I challenge authority. I may be more assertive but what’s wrong with that?”

The housewife, who has a degree in arts and social sciences, said that people tend to feel she cannot get along with others.

But she added: “I describe myself as an independent person. I’m strong and determined. I will not submit to authority. I dare to speak up.”

“I know that everyone has a negative impression of me. I always look at whether something is reasonable or not.”

“If everyone is like me, and dares to speak about what they would like society to be, then we have a chanceto change and improve.”

She said that if the CPS called her to go for counselling and assessment, she would comply.

Ms Mary said she would take her daughter to school the next day, but she was not sure if she would stay in the school as she used to do before.

She said she had been advised not to stay so as to avoid conflict with the school staff, who had previously called the police twice on her.

In previous reports, the school principal had spoken about Ms Mary’s disruptive presence, often calling the staff to find out about minute details of her daughter’s school work and even showing up in her class.

Ms Mary alleged that her daughter had sustained injuries while in the children’s home, but added that she has since recovered.

She said that she had complained to the home that some of her daughter’s books, stationery, socks and PE shorts were missing.

When asked earlier if she was over-protective of her daughter, she said: “People are saying that I over pamper her. But this is quite ridiculous.

“There is no such thing as over-protecting and over-pampering a child... What’s wrong with pampering a child? What’s wrong with a mother trying to help her girl?”

Ms Mary has also been to court over her elder daughter,now 12. In 2004, her elder daughter was referred to the CPS after ill-treatment by her, court documents revealed.

The daughter went to school with a black eye, after being absent for eight days.

She then came under the care of her maternal grandparents.

In April this year, the Juvenile Court ordered that her maternal grandfather be made the fit person responsible for caring for her.

Ms Mary was required to sign a $5,000 bond to exercise proper care and guardianship, and another to undergo counselling, revealed court documents.

In July, she unsuccessfully contested the forfeiture of the bond for not complying with this order in the High Court.

Ms Mary was also convicted of harassment and vandalism after a dispute with her younger daughter’s babysitter a few years ago.

In 2001, she successfully sued two of her brothers- in-law for pushing her onto the road during a family quarrel.

Both men were ordered to pay her $800 in compensation, make a verbal apology, and sign an undertaking not to repeat their actions.

In 2006, Ms Mary filed charges against one of them for using abusive words and gestures on her. She won again,and he was asked to apologise to her.

In 2007, she took the same brother-in-law to court again, alleging that he used his right index finger to make circular motions around the right side of his head, before uttering the word “crazy” to her.

In 2003, the woman took her then-estranged husband to the Family Court to ask for monthly maintenance for her children and herself.

She was awarded $600 a month.

Her husband, who married her in 1996, had reportedly considered filing for a divorce in 2006, but backed out at the last minute.

When asked why she chose to air her domestic disputes publicly in a courtroom, instead of resolving them privately, she said then: “I just want to see that justice is done”.

This article was first published in The New Paper.


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