'How can she be so heartless?'

'How can she be so heartless?'
PHOTO: Mr Singh

When she saw her sister during Hari Raya Aidilfitri last year, the latter seemed happy.

But after that joyous festive occasion, her relatives no longer heard from the 58-year-old woman who is at the centre of an elderly abuse controversy after a video of her being slapped, allegedly by her daughter, went viral.

The woman's youngest sister, who requested anonymity, told The New Paper last evening that she and her family visited her older sister at her flat on Lower Delta Road in July last year to celebrate Hari Raya.

In an exclusive interview, the 48-year-old mother of three adult children said: "She seemed fine and happy. But that was the last time I saw or spoke to her.

"After that, I tried calling her phone countless times but couldn't get through. It seemed that she had distanced herself from our family. "I don't know why. My siblings also tried to contact her but they, too, couldn't reach her."

The sister said she has four brothers and four sisters. Her abused sister is the fifth child.

Heaving a sigh, the housewife said that she found out about her sister's plight only after watching the news on Tuesday night.

She said: "My sister had a stroke about three years ago and she can no longer walk steadily.

"When I watched the video, I noticed that the woman looked like my sister. I noticed that the woman also walked like her. But I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I wasn't sure. "I had a very bad feeling about what I had seen, so I called my other siblings. They were unsure, too."

Later, while watching the news, the woman saw the note that her sister's 25-year-old daughter had purportedly written and pasted outside their flat.

She said: "It mentioned everyone's names and my heart sank. I was so shocked that I broke down and cried.

"How could my niece do this to her mother? How can she be so heartless? My sister is her mother."

She added that her sister has three children, the eldest a woman in her 40s from her first marriage. Her sister's first husband "died a long time ago".

With her current husband, she has a son and another daughter - the alleged abuser in the video.

"My niece was always jovial. I don't know how she could do something like this. None of us expected this to happen."

The housewife confirmed that her sister faced financial difficulties but refused to give details despite being asked about it many times.

"Her family used to live in a four-room flat in Teck Whye but because of the debts, they sold it about two years ago and downsized to the two-room Lower Delta flat.

"She later told me she had settled the debts and refused to tell me anything more."

When TNP asked her about her sister's husband, she was hesitant before replying: "I don't really want to talk about him."

Apart from her youngest sister, the abused woman's family also received other visitors during Hari Raya last year, her neighbours told TNP yesterday afternoon.

But nobody visited them during Hari Raya last week, apart from some debt collectors who have been knocking on their door regularly, said their immediate neighbour who wanted to be known only as Madam Asha, 63.

When TNP visited the flat yesterday, a letter from a loan company was stuck between the gate and the front door. It was addressed to the woman's husband.

Madam Asha's son, who wanted to be known only as Mr Singh, 39, said the husband had left home about four months ago.

Internet searches showed that the couple were married on Oct 3, 1980, and the flat is registered under their names.

Mr Singh also showed TNP a handwritten letter which the daughter had earlier given him.

DEBT

The letter, written by the daughter in poor English, mentioned that they were in debt and also that she had beaten her mother.

It said: "(My mother) can't change. I'm angry with her so I whacked her with a broom stick and hammer at her mouth and face every day (sic)."

Mr Singh said the daughter had given him the letter to make amends after he was "wronged by the family" last year - after he lent the family a few thousand dollars, they accused him of assaulting one of the family members.

But investigations cleared him, he claimed.

The letter said: "Me, (my father and mother) got do lot of wrong and sin to Mr Singh. Last year, me, (my mother) and (my father) do bluff report and sell Mr Singh's name."

It also acknowledged that Mr Singh helped the family after the father left about four months ago.

When TNP was there, no one was in the flat.

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