IT HAS been almost six months since the baby left in her charge died. But babysitter Wong Poh Chun, 39, still can't get over four-month-old Tan Yik Kiat's death.
She says she will never look after another baby again.
In a phone interview with Shin Min Daily News last Friday, she said that she was still grieving for the baby.
Yik Kiat died on July 27 last year. Madam Wong and her husband wanted to pay their last respects to the baby at his funeral.
She said Yik Kiat's parents did not object to them attending the funeral, but they did not speak to her and her husband.
At the coroner's inquest last Thursday, the court heard that Madam Wong had been looking after Yik Kiat at her flat in Bedok. She fed the baby milk at about 2pm that day before putting him to bed.
About two hours later, the baby's mother called. Madam Wong checked on him and saw that he was still asleep.
When she wanted to wake him up at about 6pm, his arms were by his sides with the palms facing upwards, and his head facing downwards and tilted a little to the right.
When the baby did not respond, she performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Just then, her husband, cabby Cheah Kah Thin, returned home and called for an ambulance.
While waiting for it to arrive, he rushed Yik Kiat to a nearby clinic, but the baby was already blue. By the time the ambulance arrived with Yik Kiat at Changi General Hospital, the baby had no heart and lung sounds.
"I am still very sad over this whole matter... I still have not recovered," she told The New Paper in Mandarin on Sunday. She looked tired and her eyes were red.
"I don't know why this kind of thing happens, but it has happened, and I cannot do anything about it," she said repeatedly.
What is making matters worse for her is that she keeps hearing rumours about how she had looked after the baby.
She did not elaborate on what these rumours were but said that they were "negative". She had taken on the babysitting job because she wanted to boost her household income.
She and her husband have two children aged seven and 10.
"Now that I don't have an income, it has somewhat impacted our financial situation," she told Shin Min.
She is hoping to recover from this soon and be able to find a different job. She did not say what kind of job she was looking for.
The Shin Min report said she sounded like she was crying at certain points during the interview, and there were a couple of times when she could not continue talking and had to pause to collect herself.
She said that since the incident, she has not been able to eat and sleep. Her family members have advised her to seek professional help to get through this tough period.
But she said she wanted to get through it herself. She tells herself that she has two young children who still need her, so she needs to be strong and carry on.
How she will do that, she does not know, she said. Right now, she's only sure of one thing, she will never look after another baby again.
-Additional reporting by Ng Wan Ching
AT an inquest last Thursday, State Coroner Victor Yeo said he was unable to ascertain the manner or the cause of Tan Yik Kiat's death.
The pathologist who examined his body said his death on July 27 last year was most likely due to natural causes linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or the result of an accidental death by suffocation.
Four-month-old Yik Kiat had been sleeping on a mattress with his tummy facing down, arms over his head and face tilted to the side.
The babysitter, Madam Wong Poh Chun, said this was how she would normally put her charges to bed, as they would sleep better and not be shocked by any sudden loud noises.
This article was first published in The New Paper.