Elderly woman sleeps next to dead daughter for 4 days

Elderly woman sleeps next to dead daughter for 4 days
Madam Yap Bie Keow, 81, (right) and her son Mr Cheng Ah Jee, 60.

The day after she found out that her neighbour's daughter had died, Madam Nekmah Mahadi, 45, went to her neighbour's side and asked: "Are you okay?"

Her neighbour, Madam Yap Bie Keow, 81, placed her wrinkled head on Madam Nekmah's shoulders and said: "Sad. Mei Mei is gone already."

Putting her arms around the retiree, Madam Nekmah told her: "Mei Mei is in a better place now. "Don't be sad. I'll be your Mei Mei from now on."

She understands the pain.

After all, she has known Madam Yap and her family for more than a decade as she lives in the unit a floor below their rental flat in Bedok South Road.

And it was also she who made the grisly discovery when Madam Yap asked her last Wednesday morning why her daughter had slept for four days straight, without waking up to eat or drink.

She found Madam Yap's daughter, Miss Cheng Ah Moy, 55, dead on the mattress where she usually slept.

Miss Cheng, Madam Yap's youngest child, shared the same room with her mother at the two-room flat.

Madam Nekmah told The New Paper: "I met her at the void deck that morning and she (Madam Yap) had just returned from the market.

"When she told me (that Miss Cheng) was so lazy and that she had not moved for so long, I did not suspect anything."

Along with her 14-year-old son, Madam Nekmah followed Madam Yap into her flat, where Madam Yap's son, Mr Cheng Ah Jee, 60, also lives.

Said Madam Nekmah, a primary school canteen operator: "She told me, 'Look for yourself, she's so lazy!'"

But when she opened the bedroom door, she was shocked.

The first thing to hit her was the putrid stench from Miss Cheng's dead body in the room.

She had to break the sad news to her neighbour: "Aunty, Mei Mei no more already."

The police received a call at about 11am and when they arrived, they found Miss Cheng lying motionless in the room, a police spokesman said.

She was pronounced dead by paramedics. Police have classified the death as unnatural and are investigating.

After the body was taken away, Madam Nekmah stayed behind to help clean up the house and pack Miss Cheng's things.

She communicates with the Teochew-speaking Madam Yap in a smattering of Teochew, Malay, Mandarin and a variety of hand gestures.

The next day, Madam Nekmah returned to further clean up the place and help Madam Yap with the funeral arrangements.

She said Madam Yap had told her to stop cleaning the flat because she was embarrassed that her neighbour had to do it for her.

Said Madam Nekmah: "I told her, 'I'm Mei Mei now, you said so that I could be Mei Mei.' After that, she let me do it."

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