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    Oct 19, 2015

    Two-room rental flat is home to family of 10

    S HE has six children from two failed relationships. Five years ago, she married her current husband and they went on to have four children together - almost one per year.

    The mother of 10, who wants to be known simply as Mrs Lin, is only in her 30s.

    Mr and Mrs Lin live with eight of the children, aged one to 21, in a crowded two-room rental flat, which is located in an estate with unsavoury characters, reported Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, yesterday.

    The couple now take turns to go to work every day - with the wife working during the day as a stall helper and the husband as a milk deliveryman at night - so that someone is always at home to look after the children.

    "When we tied the knot, we told each other that we were both poor. Our life will be very hard, so we must stick together and overcome everything as a couple," said Mr Lin, who is also in his 30s.

    But often, they find themselves being stretched to their limits, such as when Mrs Lin could not go to work after giving birth and Mr Lin had to be the sole breadwinner.

    "At one point, I worked as a cleaner with a town council during the day and as a security guard at night. There was almost no time for sleep," he recalled.

    As for Mrs Lin, she also had little rest during her confinements as she had to bathe her babies, buy the groceries and cook for the family.

    "What to do? We are penniless. Who asked us to have a tough life? Who asked us to be poor? How I wish I didn't have to work and could look after the children properly," she said.

    The couple earn a combined monthly salary of $3,000 or so, but with so many mouths to feed, they often find themselves with no money left at the end of each month. Milk powder for the younger children alone could cost about $600 a month.

    Their HDB flat rental is now three months in arrears, and they have not paid up the more than $10,000 owed to hospitals for Mrs Lin's stays during her deliveries, reported Wanbao.

    Their house is also in a messy and shabby state, with all sorts of things strewn on the floor and paint peeling off the walls.

    According to the paper, a volunteer from the Keeping Hope Alive project even accidentally stepped on the hand of a baby, who was crawling in a huge pile of clothes on the floor, during a recent visit.

    But things are looking up. Mr Lin said he has secured a three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio from HDB and the family will move in soon.

    "I've never regretted giving birth to any of my children. I will bear with the suffering as they are all my babies," said Mrs Lin.

    According to Tan Han Shek, senior counsellor of Touch Community Services, the Lins may not know much about birth control nor how to manage their resources, leading to their current state of affairs.

    "They need counselling," Mr Tan told Wanbao, adding that their children also need proper care and guidance.

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