SINGAPORE - How could a man who molested his niece live with her again after his release from prison last year?
And how could he have been left unattended with the teenager and her girlfriend, so that he molested the latter while she was sound asleep?
The answer, simply but sadly, is that a mother's love knows no bounds.
Though her son was a recalcitrant offender who had been in and out of jail since 1980 for offences including theft and outrage of modesty, her love for him never dimmed.
And even after he molested her granddaughter, who was below 14 at the time, she forgave him and took him back into her home after he served his time.
When The New Paper asked her why she did it, she replied: "Where else can he go if I don't allow him back? He promised me that he would change and I trusted him.
"I didn't expect him to molest my granddaughter's friend. He is still my son. I love him and can't bear to see him homeless."
Her son, 49, was yesterday sentenced to five years' corrective training and given two strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to molesting his niece's 14-year-old friend on Nov 14 last year and stealing $500 from his mother.
Corrective training, a prison regime for repeat offenders, does not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.
The molester and his mother cannot be named to protect his victims' identities.
When TNP visited her one-room rental flat near Kallang yesterday, the grey-haired, petite, 67-year-old woman sighed after she was told about his sentence. She had been unaware that her single and jobless son would be sentenced in court yesterday.
A sad look crossed her face as she said: "This means that three of my six children are now in jail. Two of them are serving sentences for drug-related offences."
The widow, whose husband died more than 10 years ago, lives in the flat with four of her grandchildren - three girls and a boy- who are between seven and 18 years old.
She said that they are living with her because their parents are behind bars.
As she does not work, she gets $650 every month in social benefits. Another granddaughter, who lives elsewhere, gives her about $250 a month to help with her expenses.
She said her other three children who are not in jail are unable to help her.
"They have their own families and are not rich. I know that they find it difficult to make ends meet," she said.
Recalling the molest of her niece's friend, she said she had gone to the market at around 6am that day, leaving the girls at home with her son.
She rushed home after receiving a phone call from her granddaughter about the molest.
She said: "I was very angry when I found out and scolded him. He just kept quiet. Until now, I don't know why he did it."
But she is sad now that her son is back behind bars and said that she has forgiven him for his mistakes and is ready is take him back again.
"He is welcome to live with me when he is released in five years," she said.
"But will I still be alive then? I'm already old. I hope I'm still alive when he is released."
Where else can he go if I don't allow him back? He promised me that he would change and I trusted him.
- Mother of man who molested his niece's friend
This article was first published on Jan 14, 2015.
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