Witness thought she was a towel

Witness thought she was a towel
STUCK: The woman clung to railings outside her Sengkang flat.

SINGAPORE - While preparing breakfast in her kitchen, she spotted what looked like a large towel flapping outside her window.

It turned out to be an elderly woman standing on the 21st-storey corridor ledge of the opposite block - Block 441C, Fernvale Vista, in Sengkang.

Housewife Yani told Lianhe Wanbao that when the "towel" suddenly moved, she realised it was a woman about to jump.

The woman, dressed in purple, was hanging on to a railing above the ledge.

Shocked, Madam Yani rushed to her room and woke her husband before calling the police.

Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers then spent more than an hour persuading the woman to return to the corridor, while others prepared a lifepack on the ground.

Ms Cheyanne, who lives on the 21st storey of the opposite block - Block 445A - had just woken up around 10am when she noticed the woman.


"The police and SCDF officers were trying to coax her back in," said Ms Cheyanne, who declined to reveal her full name. She lives in the same block as Madam Yani.

"They were saying 'don't move' and 'hold still' because the woman had released her grip."

An officer, who had climbed onto the ledge, pulled the woman to safety.

Suicide figures here are sobering.

In 2012, the Samaritans of Singapore received 40,387 calls seeking intervention, compared to 37,752 the year before and 34,444 in 2000.

And figures over the years show an average of more than 400 people attempting suicide here every year. (See figures above.)

Is attempting suicide a cry for help?

No, said Madam Esther Ng, a psychotherapist in private practice.

"When suicide is being contemplated, it is when a person is giving up. Suicide is not a way of getting attention," she said.

She said somebody who attempts suicide may be angry and is trying to punish someone.

Neighbours said the woman kept to herself. She lives with her son, his wife and their children.

Her son, who was clearing the area outside his flat with his two daughters when The New Paper visited yesterday evening, declined to comment.

Madam Ng said family support alone may not be enough to help people like the elderly woman.

She said: "Suicide cases normally arise in mental patients, or those with depression.

"They need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. Medical help is very important."

After she was pulled to safety, the woman left with the police, reported Wanbao.

A relative was seen comforting the woman.

A police spokesman confirmed that an elderly woman had been arrested for attempted suicide.


This article was published on April 8 in The New Paper.

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Samaritans of Singapore (SOS):1800-2214444
Singapore Association for Mental Health:1800-2837019
Sage Counselling Centre:1800-5555555
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling:1800-3535800

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