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Sat, Oct 02, 2010
The New Paper
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She needs the right environment
by Amanda Yong

ItIt's not about the money, but the time and the right environment for her. 

She needs discipline, stability and structure, but I can't give her that kind of attention," she added.

Mary, whose divorce was finalised in May, has two children of her own, aged 12 and 10. Besides her part-time customer service job, she also runs a courier firm. 

Her ex-husband was jailed earlier this month for drug consumption. 

Asked how she broke the news to Sarah, Mary said: "I told her that mummy found an aunty to take care of her. This aunty is mummy's friend and she'll be treated like a princess."

When this reporter arrived at the flat on Tuesday, Sarah was in the middle of lunch. 

Sitting alone in the kitchen, the little girl was putting forkfuls of beehoon into her mouth. 

She grinned and asked: "Are you the aunty? Is it your house I'™m going to?" 

Oh no, you're not going to my place, I said. Her face fell. But only for a moment. 

When asked where she was going, she smiled and said: "Some aunty's house." 

Did she feel sad that she would not be able to see Mary and her family any more? 

She looked solemn and asked: "Can they see me?"

No, Sarah, they can't. (**SEE CORRECTION BELOW**)

I'll still come here," she said, looking away. 

Earlier, as she hugged and said goodbye to Mary's Indonesian maid, the latter broke down.

The maid, whom Sarah addressed as kakak (Malay for elder sister), had shared her bed every night. 

"If my maid got out of bed, even to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, she (Sarah) would wake up and follow her and wait outside the toilet," Mary said. 

"She (the maid) bathed her and fed her, did everything for her." 

Mary was stoic during the two hours The New Paper was at her flat and during the 10-minute car ride to MCYS. But while waiting for the MCYS officer in the MCYS building, with Sarah seated on her lap, Mary broke down.

"She (Sarah) saw me crying, but didn't ask why. She didn't cry, she just looked uncomfortable,"Mary said. 

Does she regret her decision? No, Mary replied. "I still think it's the best for her," she said.

Sarah's Journey

FEB 13: Sara's mum, Kate, 27, leaves her in care of aunt Jane, 18.

Kate promises to return the next day, but has not been seen by her family members since.

SECOND WEEK OF AUG: Jane is arrested for involvement in loan-sharking activities, leaving Sarah alone with the family's Indonesian maid.

THIRD WEEK OF AUG: The maid returns to Indonesia. Mary, Jane's half-sister, takes Sarah in.

SEPT 28: Sarah is taken into foster care.


**We reported that Sarah will no longer be able to see her family after she has been placed in foster care. This is incorrect. The Ministry of Community Youth and Sports said it will arrange for regular contact between the child and her family. It also encourages parental involvement in making decisions for the child's care.

More stories:

My mummy is at work
'Nobody's child' has everybody worried ...except her own mother
Girl's mum leaves daughter in lurch
Readers come forward to offer help
Sarah's mum fails to turn up
Goodbye is the hardest thing 

She needs the right environment


This article was first published in The New Paper.




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