My mum pulled my hair, I dropped my baby

OKAY NOW: Madam Kelly (in white T-shirt) went to the hospital with her son yesterday after a scuffle with her mother. Madam Kelly claims that her mother bit her right thumb and forearm (inset).

SINGAPORE - An argument between a woman and her mother over money yesterday escalated into a scuffle - and a toddler ended up being dropped onto the floor.

Madam Kelly (not her real name) said her year-old son had slipped from her grasp during the scuffle.

He hit his head and was taken by ambulance to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH). He was in the observation ward for about two hours before he was discharged.

Madam Kelly, 28, told The New Paper: "I wanted to protect my son from my mother. I don't trust her with him."

Madam Kelly was released from prison in February after serving eight months of her 17-month sentence for fraud. She was sentenced in June last year.

She is now under home detention at her parents' three-room flat in Hougang and has an electronic tag around her ankle.

Until it is removed next month, she can leave the flat only between noon and 3pm every day.

Madam Kelly, whose husband is in jail for loanshark-related offences, accused her mother, Madam Tan, 48, of being an abusive parent.

She said: "I remember when I was about five years old, my mother pinched me along my arm until it was blue and black. She also tried to smother me with a pillow."

She claimed that even now, her mother would physically and verbally abuse her three to four times a week.

"But I'm older now, so I have learnt to fight back," said Madam Kelly, who did not report the abuse to the police.

Madam Tan denied that she had abused her daughter and claimed the latter had always been rebellious.

Madam Kelly said she had just woken up yesterday morning when her mother confronted her about being a spendthrift.

Madam Kelly, who used to be a membership consultant for a fitness centre, said she could no longer work because of the home detention and relied on her 53-year-old father, who works in construction, for money.

PAINFUL

She said she was carrying her son when her mother tried to hit her.

She pushed Madam Tan away, but claimed the older woman retaliated.

"She pulled my hair. It was very painful.

"I accidentally dropped my baby and he started crying.

"Before I could pick him up, my mother bit my right thumb," she said.

She claimed her mother also bit her on her right forearm.

She said Madam Tan left the flat soon after and she locked the front door as she did not want her to cause "more harm" to them.

She refused to let her mother in when she returned about 30 minutes later.

Madam Tan called the police.

Madam Kelly said: "I opened the door when the police arrived about 10 minutes later as I felt safe with the officers around."

She claimed that Madam Tan later took her keys and locked them in before going out again at around 11am.

Madam Kelly phoned a member of the citizen consultative committee, Mr Lionel De Souza, for help.

Mr De Souza, 71, a former police officer, told TNP: "I called the police as I was concerned for the safety of (Madam Kelly) and her baby."

When TNP reached the flat at 12.30pm, 10 officers from the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were at the scene.

At 1pm, accompanied by SCDF officers, Madam Kelly left the flat with her son.

The police said they were alerted at around 11.40am and officers found that a child was injured at the flat. He was sent to KKH and investigations are ongoing.

Madam Kelly said her son was discharged at around 3.30pm after a doctor told her he appeared to be fine.

She was told to monitor him for the next two days and return to the hospital should "anything happen", she said.

She added with a sigh: "I will move out to live with my in-laws once the electronic tag is removed. Despite what my mother did, I still love her because, after all, she's still my mum."

'Daughter fights with me all the time'

Madam Tan denied that the fight was sparked by her confronting her daughter over money yesterday.

Giving her version of events, she said Madam Kelly had asked her for $40 for taxi fare to visit her husband in Changi Prison.

But she could only spare $10 as she is not working.

The former childcare worker said: "I told her I could only give her the money later. But she got angry and we started quarrelling.

"She asks me for money all the time and would get angry if she doesn't get her way."

She said they then got into a scuffle.

"We were using our hands to hit each other when she accidentally dropped my grandson. He got a bump on his head," said Madam Tan.

She said her daughter had always been "naughty" and rebellious since her school days.

She claimed the teachers often complained about her daughter's behaviour in class.

TOOK CARE OF GRANDSON

When Madam Kelly and her husband were in prison, Madam Tan said she took care of her grandson together with her daughter's motherin- law.

After their fight, she left the flat at around 10am to buy groceries.

When she got back about 30 minutes later, the front door was locked and her daughter refused to let her in.

"So I called the police," she said.

She denied locking her daughter and grandson in the flat later on.

She added that her two sons are "very wellbehaved", unlike her daughter.

Her elder son, 25, is working and gives her about $300 every month, while her second son, 20, is still in school and lives with his maternal grandmother.

Wiping tears, Madam Tan said: "I don't know what to do with my daughter.

"She fights with me all the time. But she is my daughter and she can still live with me."

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 24 in The New Paper.

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