updated 24 Dec 2010, 08:22
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Tue, Nov 30, 2010
The New Paper
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Girl, 11, sits on 9th-storey ledge
by Shree Ann Mathavan

THE little girl's legs dangled dangerously over the window ledge of her four-room HDB flat.

Below her: A nine-storey drop.

For concerned residents at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5, it looked like a suicide attempt.

At least one of them rang the police on Nov 20 when the 11-year-old girl was spotted.

She could be seen by residents from below and opposite her block.

Police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were immediately called to the scene.

A fire engine, an ambulance, a Red Rhino and four supporting vehicles containing rescue vehicles turned up.

SCDF personnel also rappelled outside the windows of the girl's flat and life packs were inflated at the foot of the block.

After three hours, the authorities and her parents eventually persuaded her to calm down and give up her plan.

The girl was arrested for attempted suicide and released on bail, and police investigations are ongoing.

But was all that drama for nothing? Turns out it may have been a temper tantrum instead of a genuine suicide attempt.

Shin Min Daily News had reported that the girl was upset as her mother had not taken her out, along with her six-year-old brother.

The girl's father, a car mechanic in his 40s, confirmed this to The New Paper on Sunday in a phone interview.

He said it all started earlier in the day when the girl had misplaced her identity card.

He and his wife then told her to stay at home to look for her it while the family went out, leaving her "unhappy and angry".

He said: "She was upset when we told her to stay home."


The girl's mother declined to speak to us when we approached her at the family home.

Her family had moved in about two years ago, said neighbours The New Paper on Sunday spoke to.

They mostly kept to themselves, the neighbours added.

Some residents who saw the commotion were shocked at the attempted suicide.

Madam Li Koon, 53, a service staff and resident of 13 years, shook her head: "It's impossible to think that someone so young would have tried to kill herself.

"I really don't understand it."

The girl's father denied that his child attempted suicide.

He said: "There was no such thing."

He added: "The public who saw her sitting near the window looking upset and lost in thought, probably misunderstood.

"That's why a simple thing has been blown out of proportion."

But he admitted that his daughter "has always been stubborn and has a bad temper".

It had been reported that the girl left a suicide note. Her father refutes this.

He said: "It was a note that she wrote some time ago. It was not a suicide note, she simply wrote about childlike things like wanting to be a tree."

Since the incident, he said he has warned his children not to stay too close to the windows as it could be dangerous.

He said that while he appreciates the neighbours' concern, he hopes the family can now be left in peace.

Beyond Parental Control complaints

2009: 91

2008: 121

2007: 140

2006: 147

Numbers of new Beyond Parental Control (BPC) complaints have gradually dropped over the years. Parents of children who are below 16 years old and who display severe behavioural problems can apply to the Court for assistance in
managing them.

The Court may then place the child either under statutory supervision, or admit the child into a home with the consent of the parents or caregiver.

Source: Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports website


ComCare Helpline: 1800-222 0000

Care Corner Counselling (Mandarin): 1800-353 5800

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221 4444 (24 hours)

Help Family Service Centre: 6457 5188


This article was first published in The New Paper.

More stories:

Is it just a temper tantrum?
'Baby etiquette': Tricks to handle your kid's tantrums
Suicidal blogs may not mean suicidal kids
Get help if family is under strain
Those alive are real victims of suicide
Parenthood is a box of chocs
Sweet nothings count for something

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