UPDATE 1 @ 1 Jun 2015: Volunteers, grassroots and governmental organisations are giving assistance to the family.
UPDATE 2 @ 1 Jun 2015: Photos: Volunteers have cleaned up the girl’s home.
Recent reports of a young girl going from house to house in a HDB housing estate has attracted the attention of concerned neighbors, who were worried for the frail, thin looking girl who does not even look old enough to attend kindergarten.
She appears at her neighbor’s doors, dressed in an oversized pre-school uniform, to beg for some food, sometimes rice, eggs, or whatever her neighbors can spare.
4 year-old Lisa stays in a rental HDB flat with her mother and aunt, both of whom have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her family lives only on the income of her aunt’s husband, who earns $1,500 a month – most of which is spent on food, rent and transport for her uncle to go to work. Due to her aunt’s smoking addiction, sometimes as much as $500 or a third of their monthly income is spent on buying cigarettes.
According to Lisa’s mother and aunt, they feed Lisa with Milo mixed with milk powder daily. Sometimes, they have a proper meal if their neighbors give them rice and other ingredients.
Her mother says many years ago, she did not even know that she was pregnant with Lisa. She mistook her labor contractions as a simple need to go to the toilet and had given birth to Lisa in a toilet bowl. She does not know who the father is, but thinks that Lisa’s father is probably her ex-husband, who is now in jail for drug possession.
Reporters who went to Lisa’s home found traces of dead insects and a horrible stench from clothing and dishes that were left unwashed and unattended for days. According to a neighbor Mr Chen, who had moved into the unit next to Lisa’s family 6 months ago, his family had noticed a disgusting stench coming from Lisa’s family flat the moment they moved in. One day, Mr Chen’s father had gotten so irritated by the stench that he had even offered to fix their water heating system for them, but could not do so because the water heater was too old and broken down.
But this may not be the worse part of Lisa’s plight. According to Lisa’s aunt, Lisa’s mother has yet to get her schizophrenia under control. During one incident, Lisa’s mother began hallucinating and believed that she was seeing ghosts. She then grabbed Lisa and tried to throw her out of the window of their flat, but was stopped in time by her sister. Both sisters are now receiving free medication from a mental hospital.