By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
Mdm Theresa Chan Poh Lin, 72, is currently lying in SGH with advanced lung cancer. She has been told that her cancer has spread to the other parts of her body.
Recently, a social worker came to tell her that she would be taken off public assistance and she needed to use her CPF savings instead (
Mdm Chan has had a tough life since young. She became deaf at 12 and blind at 14 after being infected with a bout of meningitis. Her life changed after a social worker found her.
She was the subject of a 1964 BBC radio documentary, “Child of the Silent Night: The story of Chan Poh Lin” by Stephen Grenfell. Her amazing life story of trial and struggle has also inspired film-maker Eric Khoo to produce the award-winning movie “Be With Me”.
Until she was warded in hospital, she is highly independent who lived and cooked on her own despite her severe disabilities.
At the hospital, she told reporters that she isn’t afraid of cancer.
“If I have to go home, I will be happy to see Jesus. I hope people will remember me and remember that whatever their disabilities, they should have hope and not be unhappy and discouraged,” she added. “I have lived and loved and enjoyed a wonderful life.”
Questions were finger-spelled on her hands by an interpreter.
Eric Khoo, who visited her in hospital, said, “She was frank, practical and, in her usual humorous way, told me and my sister not to send her any wreaths when she goes. She would prefer that the money go to her church.”
“Although she was in discomfort and a bit frail, she was still that tough cookie I met more than a decade ago – strong, brave, one of a kind,” he added.
Mdm Chan is expected to be transferred to an hospice soon. Presumably, she would have to pay for the way to her eventual death using her own CPF.

Why stop public assistance?

The million dollar question on everyone’s mind is why the govt stops giving public assistance to Mdm Chan all of a sudden?
Obviously, she must have been qualified to receive public assistance in all these years but why suddenly the govt wants to take away the assistance from her?
Is the stoppage linked to her terminal cancer? That is to say, stop wasting money on those who are dying?
Is this the government policy?
Early this year during the opening of the 13th Parliament, President Tony Tan Keng Yam has pledged that the Govt will not lose sight of a key and continuing goal: To foster a caring society that can remain over the long term, and lend a hand to those who have been left behind (
So, is the President and the Govt rescinding on their pledges now?
Singaporeans deserve an answer.