The Secondary 2 boy returned home on the eve of National Day with a swollen jaw and a small cut under his eye. He claimed they were from a fall.
His parents were sceptical, but didn't question him further.
By the next day, Adam, 14, (not his real name) was still in pain. His father took him to Changi General Hospital (CGH) and was shocked to find out that his son had a broken jaw.
Adam later confessed to his father that he had been involved in a fight.
He had gone to see a movie at North Point Mall with a friend when a Secondary 4 boy asked Adam for a meet-up at a fast-food restaurant in the mall after the movie.
When he arrived at the meeting place alone, Adam was hit by the boy and another Secondary 4 boy.
He claimed that one of them hit him on the chin, while the other punched him in the eye.
Adam claimed that he didn't know why they hit him and could not remember their conversation before he was beaten. He knows the two boys because they attend the same school in the north.
After the beating, Adam took a bus and reached home at about 7pm.
He was worried about his father's reaction to his injury and tried applying ice to lessen the swelling. It didn't work.
His father called The New Paper about his son's injury on Monday morning.
He said: "I know teenage boys are playful, but it is too extreme to beat up my child to such an extent."
Adam, who is slim, had to undergo nearly six hours of surgery to fix his jaw, which had been broken in two places. He was in the Intensive Care Unit for a night after the surgery.
His mother was heartbroken.
She said: "He was a weak baby and had gone through two operations, including a heart operation, when he was younger. He's had problems with his heart since birth.
"I felt like I was going through the whole trauma again."
Adam had already been moved to a normal ward when TNP visited him at CGH on Monday. But he still could not speak or eat solid food because of the surgery.
The once bubbly boy, who could only drink milk since Friday, mumbled weakly that he wanted to eat a McSpicy burger when he recovers.
Adam was discharged on Monday night and will be on medical leave for 21 days.
His parents alerted the school on Tuesday and have spoken to the aunt of one of the attackers.
The school told TNP that it takes a serious view of the incident and is in contact with the parents of the students involved.
'Victim taunted bullies'
The beating was provoked, said the aunt of one of the "bullies".
The woman, who wanted to be known only as Ms Sunny, contacted Adam's father to apologise after she found out about the incident.
Her nephew, Leo (not his real name), 15, had sent her a text message, saying "I'm in trouble" and told her about what happened.
Ms Sunny claimed that Adam had taunted her nephew and called him names such as "coward" and "gay".
During their confrontation, Adam told the older boys that they could hit him if they were not happy with his "jokes".
Leo hit Adam on the face. The impact resulted in a cut near Adam's eye and his plastic glasses were broken.
Ms Sunny said: "My nephew didn't want to hit him at first, but they are teenagers and things happen when they are provoked."
She also claimed that Adam and the older boys sat down to talk after the fight.
She said: "Adam challenged the boys to a one-on-one fight, but my nephew declined. He didn't want to hit Adam again."
Ms Sunny added that Leo is sorry about the fight and had not expected Adam's injury to be so serious.
She said: "My nephew has a temper, but this is the first time he has got into such a fight. He is at fault in this case because he laid hands on another person.
"He is still young. I hope this does not end up in court because it will ruin his future."
When contacted, the principal of the secondary school said: "The students are not known to be involved in any gang. The fight broke out as a result of verbal teasing."
After finding out about the reason behind his son's attack, Adam's father said that he has advised his son to be mindful of his words in future.
"He's still young and thinks he's just joking, but he doesn't understand how his words will hurt people," he said.
This article was first published on Aug 14, 2014.
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