Woman loses grandchild and daughter to suicide
SHE was still coming to terms with the death of her teenage granddaughter, who had committed suicide over scoring two Bs in her O levels.
But three months after the 16-year-old plunged to her death, Ng Siang Mui's grief-stricken and guilt-ridden daughter, who was the teen's mother, also killed herself. The tragic double deaths have left her son-in-law, who is the teen's father, mentally unstable.
More children and teenagers have been seeking help for suicidal thoughts, said the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS).
SOS said that in 2013, 224 children and teens aged 19 and below wrote in to them through its E-mail Befriending Service. From this group, 163 were considered to be at real risk of suicide.
SOS is concerned about this age group because of the rise in the number of youngsters seeking help - it saw 65 more young people in 2013, compared with the year before.
Yesterday, SOS also said that suicides among males had increased by 29 per cent, from 227 in 2004 to 292 last year, while female suicides had decreased by 20 per cent, from 154 in 2004 to 123 last year, The Straits Times reported.
In an interview with The New Paper, Madam Ng, 71, shared the devastation and anguish of the tragedy that began in January when, just three hours after getting her results slip, her granddaughter jumped to her death.
Except for two Bs - in English and Mathematics - the student had scored distinctions for her other subjects.
The only child left a note for her parents: "Mum, I am sorry for being a disappointment. I should have done better.
"Dad, I am sorry you will not have the chance to walk me down the (church) aisle to give me away."
Her parents used to fight over her education. The girl had been a straight-A student who attended a top school. The mother wanted to push her to excel and her father felt that the child should be left alone.
"My Xiao Mei (her granddaughter's nickname) was always affected whenever her parents fought over her studies," Madam Ng said in Khek.
"(My daughter) often compared Xiao Mei's results with those of her friends' children and would ask, 'How come so and so can do this and you cannot?' "
Xiao Mei's mother wanted her to get into medical school.
A family friend, housewife Lynn Wee, 45, spoke of how she and close friends tried to watch over Xiao Mei's mother after the funeral. Mrs Wee said: "She maintained a stoic front and even admitted that she would have been disappointed with her child's academic performance."
But that facade slowly slipped in the weeks that followed, said Madam Ng, who has three grandsons from two other children. Madam Ng said that a month after Xiao Mei's death, her father moved out. "That broke my daughter's heart."
A day before she killed herself, Madam Ng's daughter told her: "Ma, I shouldn't have pressurised Xiao Mei in her studies. You didn't do that to us when we were young and we all turned out fine."
The New Paper understands that Xiao Mei's father is seeking psychiatric help.
Added Madam Ng: "If only we had noticed or realised that Xiao Mei was suffering, we could have asked for professional help and this tragedy would have been prevented."
THE NEW PAPER