Singapore—A couple recently made the news for harassing their frontliner neighbours in spite of police reports filed against them.
In a Facebook post on Friday morning (May 21), Madam Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings, suggested that mental illness or dementia may have caused the couple to behave in the way they did, and asked people not to jump to conclusions.
A nurse working at Sengkang General Hospital shared a video of his neighbours constantly hurling vulgarities at his family members since May 2020. The latest incident was posted on the nurse’s personal Instagram account “jibby4g” showing that his child was afraid of the neighbours’ rude acts.
The nurse and his wife, who is also an essential services worker, were taunted and even had disinfectants sprayed on them by their next-door neighbours whenever they returned home.
“I am called obai, kanina, virus, dirty family and virus family and was sprayed with Dettol. Just so sad. What has my family ever done to you that we deserve this treatment from you guys?” the nurse wrote in his post.
The neighbours, Cheang Eng Hock, 56, and his wife Lim Sok Lay, 48, have since been charged by the police. Cheang faces two charges of intentionally causing harassment and Lim, five similar charges and one count of public nuisance.
They have also been accused of having used words against a man at Sengkang General Hospital earlier this year, on Jan 8, making remarks like “This nurse gangster”, “this nurse no good” and “this nurse very bad.”
CNA reports that the prosecution asked that Lim be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for two weeks for psychiatric assessment, which the judge ordered.
If the couple are found guilty of intentionally causing harassment, they could be fined as much as S$5000 or jailed for up to six months.
Mdm Ho shared the CNA report and wrote that she was surprised to learn about early-onset dementia, which can strike people who are only in their 50s.
Perhaps that is why Lim has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.
“Oftentimes, folks with dementia can end up doing strange things in public, things they would not do normally,” Mdm Ho added.
“There are also folks with various mental or neurological issues.
“They hear voices, or they could see a lion sitting beside their bed.
“Some are aware that such apparitions or voices can’t be real.
“But others are not aware at all.
“They can imagine themselves to be Napoleon or some famous person, or they can imagine others to be some threat.
“Some folks with dementia become very mild and passive, in contrast with their youthful days of thunder and fury.
“Others become aggressive when they used to be mild, and many become paranoid, suspecting their family members or others of this or that.”
Mdm Ho ended her post by asking people not to be quick to judge but to “try to see if help is needed”.