By: S Karthigesu

The newspapers yesterday (25 Sep) reported that a young man was arrested in connection with the death of a 61-year-old man at Block 152B Bishan Street 11. The young man (a 25-year-old), is believed to be the son of the dead man.

The Police said that they were alerted to the incident on 24 Sep and that the accused will be charged in court for the offence of murder. They further said that the 61-year-old was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene at about 9pm, and that no visible injuries were seen on him.

What I was most troubled by is the report in TODAY newspaper. The paper said:

“Representatives from Bishan East Zone 5 Residents’ Committee said the family was a ComCare recipient. ComCare provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families.

Mdm Susan Goh, who is one such representative, had visited the family twice this year and told TODAY the elder son is a divorcee with a young boy. The latter lives with the man’s ex-wife, said the 67-year-old programme coordinator.

Another representative, who wanted to be known as Mdm Fauziah, said she was “very surprised” by the murder.

“Before that day, I met the two sons and wife. They took the eldest son to some Malay treatment … because he has got anger issues,” said Mdm Fauziah, who is in her 50s. “The younger son just followed them.”

She added that in the last two years, she and other neighbours had called the police sometimes after the elder son began throwing things in the house, such as a television and a table.

“I called because I was scared he would throw more things,” said Mdm Fauziah.”

There are several reasons why the TODAY report is troubling because the RC members revealed very intimate, personal details of the dead man’s family. These details are unrelated to the suspect, who was arrested.

  1. According to ST, “the 25-year-old man is (the deceased’s) younger son, according to a relative who declined to be named.” Which means that the anger management issues and the family’s squabbles were unnecessarily revealed by the RC members.
  2. Why did the RC members reveal that the family was Comcare recipients? How can members of the public trust such grassroots leaders in the future, when they know that they cannot keep confidentiality?

I hope the Grassroots Adviser will take such leaders to task and set the record straight.