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Saturday January 26th 2019

Reader’s Account Of His Family Struggle

Hi Gilbert,

My brother and I ¬†were brought up in a not well‚ÄĒto-do family. Both my father and mother worked during the day, hence we usually stayed with our grandparents the whole time and only at night did we went back home ¬†to sleep. We could not afford luxuries or holidays and I remember my only family holiday was when I was eight years old and went on a 3d2n bus trip to Malacca.

Relations between my parents were not good. They¬† often quarrelled ¬†due to money problem as well as my father’s obsession with washing hands (repeatedly) and keeping stuffs (any stuff, like karung guni). My mum had a hard time balancing between maintaining the house and working full time. In 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, my father was retrenched and from then on things went rather downhill.

Since my father was retrenched, he never held any full time job ever since, save for  a few 3-month job stints  like security guard or toilet cleaner.  He would get sacked repeatedly due to disagreement with colleagues.  Such odd job labouring continued till 2001 when he completely stayed jobless, not even attempting to search for jobs. It did not help that he is an extremely difficult person to  build relations with.

I did my O levels in 1999 and went to Poly in 2000. Throughout my 3 years in poly, I worked part time at a retail chain to earn my pocket money and school fees while my mum worked to pay for the entire household expenses. My brother was doing his NS, hence he could not contribute much.

This went on with him sitting at home happily while the three of us scrimped and saved as much as we could.

I believe some time in 2002, we moved out of the house due to a very heated argument almost to the point of involving weapons. Before this incident, he used to ¬†challenge me to hit him so that he can report me to the police for parental abuse.¬† We later moved to a relative’s house and stayed there till now. The three ¬†of us moved into our relative’s 3-room flat while my dad stayed alone by himself in our 4-room flat.

We paid for the housing instalments and utilities bills while he stayed in our 4-room flat. We also paid a nominal sum to our relative for staying in her house. During this time, he even went about the neighborhood lamenting to those he knew that his sons and wife was dead! That was despite we giving him a little pocket money each month!

We had completely given up on him. We did not visit him for the next 5 years until we received a call from a social worker asking matters on my dad. The social worker informed us that my dad had been repeatedly warded into the hospital for a medical issue with his leg and we should probably get in touch with my dad to understand the problem better.

During this period, I came to know that he had sought social assistance and some welfare homes would send him monthly consumables like rice, bread, milo etc for free. All the stuff given to him were not consumed by him at all and were stored up for years in the house.

Recently, he went for a leg operation and when  we went back to our house to pick up some belongings, we were shocked tothe whole house was stuffed with alot of outdated rubbish.

Imagine finding all these consummables  completely stacked high up all the way to the ceiling on the dining table, on the sofa, under the bed, in the master bedroom toilet. Basically everywhere so long as  there is space available.

Worst was to come, he repeatedly got himself warded every 3-4 days for no apparent reason even after the operation when he was pronounced cured. Every time he got discharged, the hospital would called  us up to pick him up. We were fooled initially and went to pick him up the first few times until we realized something was amiss when he got himself warded again every 4-5 days after he got discharged.

We believe he was probably afraid of staying alone hence he got himself warded. That was when the hospital decided to to refer him to IMH. IMH scheduled a meeting with us to discuss his problems. In the end, there was no conclusion to the meeting, since his behaviour was erratic.  

Even till now, my dad still “checks” into the hospital every few weeks. The hospital would still call us to pick him up when he is certified for discharge.

Sometimes I ¬†wonder when we can return home and be one big family again….

Stanley (name changed)

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One Response to “Reader’s Account Of His Family Struggle”

  1. manson says:

    Sad to see a father turn insane to treat his wife and sons this way. Maybe the sons now in their adulthood can befriend his father again and mend this ill-feeling. I believe most father will alway love, protect and sacrifice for his family sake. Think of the good time when you are a kid and the happy time. Forgiveness is the best advice.

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