Singapore – Blogger of dear humblet and mother of two Amy Tan recently shared her experiences being a mum in Singapore. Her Mar 12 post titled “Subsidised with a ‘C'” reflects on some views that Singaporean families might have at the nation’s hospitals.
Barely a month had passed since her first child, who goes by the adorable nickname “Humblet,” had returned from a hospital stay when Tan had to admit her eight-month-old son, nicknamed “Singlet.” Singlet had gotten warded for a stomach tract infection.
With a heart condition meaning the baby is excluded from medical insurance coverage, Singlet had to stay in a C-class ward unlike his sister who was treated in a B1 ward.
While waiting at the hospital, Tan overheard a wife say to her husband, “Later the nurse ask you, just choose A-ward. Subsidised ward a lot of bad influence. The parents let the kids watch TV all day long. They give formula milk to their babies and many of them don’t speak English properly.”
It was this remark that got Tan writing a post that serves as a response to “all others who feel the same way” about C-class wards.
She shares how the first night was a horrible one for especially Singlet, who was hooked to a heart rate monitor and IV drip. The infant was fasting from milk and solids to help his gut recover. So, he cried the night away from hunger pains.
Being in a room with seven other patients and a crying child would cause any parent distress. Yet, none of those in the C-class ward complained nor confronted Tan.
“For sure, one mummy walked toward us angrily at about two in the morning, but when she saw the drip and me bouncing Singlet up and down, she nodded in sympathy and went back to her baby,” writes Tan.
Another dad was even kind enough to go down at midnight and buy Tan a drink from the convenience store. He told Tan that it was only the baby who needed to fast and she need not starve herself.
Another equally tired mum asked Tan at 4 am if there was anything she could do to help.
The next morning, yet another kind mother bought a toy for Singlet and told the baby boy to be brave, knowing too well how hard it was for a child to be hungry.
“It was because of these kind parents and grandparents in this so-called subsidised ward that I could make it through the night. There was absolutely nothing subsidised in their kindness or generosity towards us, I can vouch for that,” writes the grateful mum.
Over the three days hospital stay, the family got to know the others they shared a room with. Tan explained how one child had to come back for surgery because of multiple urinal tract infections, while another patient was suspected of having Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) but was fortunately discharged when the fever subsided. A two-and-a-half-month-old baby had a spinal cord sample taken because of a prolonged illness.
Tan opines, “They may not breastfeed their children, give them a little more screen time and speak an English mixed with other languages. But all around me, I saw mums caring for the sick babies as best as they knew how. Dads tanking the overnight-stay, rocking their crying children to sleep tirelessly. Grandparents bathing the little ones so parents could eat a meal undisturbed. Aunties hovering around the older siblings with toys, games and balloons, while mums tended to their infants.”
She ends her post by asking “the wealthy” not to be prejudiced toward C-class wards nor the patients that get placed there: “Please do not assume we are second-class Singaporeans, or human beings for that matter simply because we are in a subsidised ward.
“We may not have much financially, but for one, we love our children enough to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment in the hospital. Please do not make such thoughtless and mindless comments.”
The blogger-mom also urges those with “LV clutch bags and limited-edition Tod’s loafers” to “sprinkle your wealth with graciousness and the world will surely become a better place. We do not need your charity, all we demand (and deserve) is your respect. If not for anything, for the fact that we are fellow adults on this difficult enough and challenging journey called parenthood.”
The Independent Singapore has reached out to Tan for a statement and will upload updates.
Send in your scoop to firstname.lastname@example.org