Their mother had died recently and it was customary to keep her belongings for 100 days.
So he got angry when he found out that his younger brother had thrown some of them away.
Holding a small knife, he confronted his sibling and punched him.
For that, Ho Tay Lek, 54, who was formerly known as Tay Soo Yong, was jailed a day and fined.
At about 4.30pm on Sept 19 last year, Ho was at his brother's home at Veerasamy Road, near Jalan Besar, to clear their late mother's room.
That was when he discovered that some of her belongings in the toilet were missing.
He confronted his brother, Mr Tay Soo Heong, 61, who said the items had been disposed of.
The two brothers argued.
Ho then punched Mr Tay's face and right shoulder while holding a 4cm-long knife, which was extended from a nail cutter.
The commotion caused Mr Tay's wife and son to rush over to his aid.
Mr Tay's son called the police after Ho left the apartment and said: "My uncle assault me and my whole family. My parents and me are injured... We are bleeding."
Mr Tay was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was found to have suffered a 3cm cut over his right collarbone and abrasions on his upper body.
He was given three days' medical leave.
Yesterday, Ho, who was unrepresented, told the court that Chinese customs state that his brother was not supposed to throw away their dead mother's belongings before the 100 days were up.
Ho said his brother had punched him after he made a gesture with his hand.
When asked by District Judge Lim Keng Yeow whether he had punched his brother in self-defence, Ho said no.
"I did it in a moment of folly. I was rash then and did it out of impulse," he said.
He was sentenced to a day's jail and fined $2,000 for voluntarily causing hurt to his brother.
Three other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Two of them were for voluntarily causing hurt to his sister-in-law and nephew as Ho punched them during the fracas, while the remaining charge was for threatening and causing alarm to his family members.
Judge Lim also informed Ho that his brother and family members had expressed their forgiveness through the court counsellor.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Ho could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.
This article was first published on Mar 31, 2015.
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