Her neighbours knew her as Auntie Jenny, the pretty lady with the short, dyed hair and a ready smile.
Yesterday morning, they were shocked to learn that Madam Ong Guat Heng, 54, had been found dead in a pool of blood inside a bedroom in her home in Tampines.
The police have classified the case as murder and have arrested an 80-year-old man, believed to be Madam Ong's father-in-law, in connection with the case.
It is understood that the suspect turned himself in.
Police said they received a call for assistance at about 10am. Officers found the woman lying motionless in her third-floor flat when they arrived. They were later seen searching the rubbish chute of the block, where they removed a metre-long, dented metal rod, a purple handkerchief, and a grey blood-stained T-shirt.
Investigations are ongoing.
Neighbour Philip Lam, 56, described Madam Ong as a free spirit, always ready with a warm greeting.
"She is very friendly, I see her every morning going out with her husband in the car," said Mr Lam, who has lived in the Tampines Street 43 estate for 30 years.
"I live in the opposite block, but she still says hello to me every time we see each other."
Neighbours said Madam Ong, a housewife, lived with her husband, an adult son and her father-in-law at Block 440. Her two older daughters have married and moved out.
Madam Ong's eldest sister told reporters her sister was one of 13 children. She said one of Madam Ong's daughters made the grisly discovery, walking into the room to find her mother covered in blood.
When The Straits Times arrived at the scene at noon yesterday, Madam Ong's family and siblings were standing in the carpark, chanting Buddhist sutras while gazing at the windows of her five-room flat. Later, they went upstairs and stood along the corridor where they maintained a vigil. They requested space to grieve and declined to comment.
Madam Siti, a neighbour who lives on a higher floor, said the family was fond of karaoke and would often sing together on the weekends. "They are very nice," said Madam Siti, who is in her 50s. "On Chinese New Year this year, my grandchildren wanted to learn about (the festival) so they invited them over to exchange oranges."
She added that Madam Ong's husband was a warrant officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, and that she would occasionally hear sounds of quarrelling coming from below. "My maid was in the living room (in the morning) when she heard screaming," she said.
Other residents said Madam Ong's father-in-law was bad-tempered. Mr Ng Eng Chai, 58, said the man would visit the same coffee shop every day at 6am and get angry if he found someone occupying his "regular seat". He said the suspect did not get along with Madam Ong, adding: "I think he was just frustrated living with her."
This article was first published on August 22, 2014.
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