'There's no choice': This Singaporean father had to help his daughter, 30, shower and deal with her menses

With his wife in hospital, Ng Chye Hock became the main caregiver for his daughter.
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Tzu Chi Singapore

When his wife was hospitalised in critical condition with Covid-19 earlier this year, Singaporean Ng Chye Hock had to take on the role of being the main caregiver for his 30-year-old daughter.

In a YouTube video shared by Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) on April 6, the 62-year-old father shared that his intellectually disabled daughter had to rely solely on him for help with her daily routine, such as washing her face and brushing her teeth.

"The most painful thing [is that] I have to face her every day and help her shower. After all, she's 30 years old and a woman.

"Then there is another challenge because women have their periods, but I still have to do it, there is no choice," said Ng in Chinese. 

In the six-minute clip, Ng said that his daughter, who also suffers from epilepsy, is usually looked after by his wife, but she was sent to a hospital after being infected with Covid-19.

Describing his wife of 30 years as an organ transplant patient, Ng said: "She texted me and said, 'I'm sorry, I'll have to leave before you'.

"I kept persuading her, 'even if you can't walk, we still have to live on'. 'We have to bring up this daughter."

Ng Chye Hock's message to his wife after the latter was infected by Covid-19. "Dear, you cannot give up hope. [You] must be better."
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube

Ng, who works part-time as a house mover, said that his daughter follows him to work so that he can "have a peace of mind".

He recounted: "Once, she was sitting in the van and we were on the highway. [When the vehicle] happened to be moving on the left side, she suddenly pulled the inner handle of the door and it opened.

"At that time, I was so scared and I immediately stopped the van."

Although sending his daughter to a nursing home would lighten his load, that was out of the question for him. 

Ng shared that he would rather "sacrifice a little" by bringing his daughter out with him to work.

"My brothers and sisters said that they could help me (look after her), but since it's not a one-time thing, I can't ask them to help me forever," he said.

That period has led to many sleepless nights for him.

"I keep complaining about why God is testing me," he said, adding that his daughter is his biggest motivation.

"But she would make me laugh when I'm feeling frustrated. She [would] call me dad and that makes me really happy."

https://www.tiktok.com/@ntw00/video/7081983841430146306?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

With assistance from the Ministry of Manpower, a domestic helper was hired to help Ng, according to the non-governmental organisation Tzu Chi Foundation.

Nancy Chew, a Tzu Chi volunteer, described on the foundation's website how Ng is one who does not like to trouble others. 

"[During that period] we felt sorry for him, he was very thin at that time. But [he] was still smiling all day, you can't see his inner world because he doesn't necessarily tell us about [his troubles]," said Chew. "But on social media, sometimes he would confide his problems inadvertently. [Hence] we all try to observe him on social media."

His wife, Ang Ah Choon, has since recovered from Covid-19 and is now back at home.

Ng, a volunteer at Tzu Chi Foundation, said: "Looking back to that period, I'm thankful that my wife has recovered. And when I'm upset, I have the care and blessings from my 'brothers' and 'sisters' [at Tzu Chi]."

chingshijie@asiaone.com