Woman, 85: I'd rather be in Singapore

When we first met Madam Minah, 85, (not her real name) outside the pale green house in Johor, she was all smiles.

The resident of City Heart Care, a nursing home for the elderly and physically disabled in Taman Johor, beamed and gestured for us to sit beside her. But her smile faded when asked about her children.

With tears welling in her eyes, Madam Minah, a former school cleaner, heaved a sigh and said: "I have four children and the eldest is 60 years old. I used to stay with one of my daughters. But she got married and she asked me to live elsewhere.

"So I stayed with my eldest child, a son who is working as a cleaner. But he kept on asking for money and back then, I still had some after receiving money from my CPF.

"But there was not much left after many years. My son would hit me when I refused to give him cash. One day, I just decided to leave. I could not take it any more."

Tears were flowing freely by then and she stroked her chest a few times before saying: "I'm sorry. I don't wish to talk about this. It's too painful."

Without revealing any details, she said she was sent to the home about five months ago. But there is a bright side to her move.

She said that she has started to see her three daughters more regularly.

"They did not visit me when I was still in Singapore. I don't know why and I never asked. But I see it as a blessing that they now come once every two weeks to visit me here."

She said her son does not visit.

"I guess I'm happy here. I have friends. The fellow residents are friendly. My caregiver is very nice.

"Of course, I'd rather be in Singapore, my hometown. But what can I do?"

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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