She had fallen into bad company of late, and had started exhibiting behavioural problems as well. Fed up, her guardian refused to let her go out and meet her friends.
So she thought of a plan.
Teenage girl dies in Singapore
14-year-old Carmen, from Indonesia, had lived with her guardian Mr Chan Tuck Foon, ever since she was 6. Her mother was a friend of Mr. Chan, and he had agreed to look after her, as she studied in Singapore.
However, of late, she had got into trouble for smoking in school and shoplifting. Counselling by school staff didn’t seem to work either, and Mr. Chan had also approached a family service centre for help. Even after attending 4 counselling sessions, Carmen showed little or no improvement.
Her school report confirmed irregular attendance and poor academic performance.
Mr. Chan did not approve of the 2 friends she was especially close to, and felt that they had a negative influence on her. According to Today, he had put an extra lock on the metal gate of his apartment, and kept the keys to himself to restrict her from going out with them. He also fetched Carmen to and from school.
On the ill-fated day early this year, Carmen was desperate to get out of the house and meet her friends. So she devised a plan.
Plan gone wrong
On Feb 25, she tied a pillow to her back, and a large Elmo plush toy to her front, and jumped out of her unit on the seventh floor of Block 519, West Coast Road, believing they would cushion her fall.
Sadly, she fell to her death.
State Coroner Marvin Bay ruled her death a “tragic misadventure”, and has been quoted by The Straits Times as saying, “Her fall had gone catastrophically wrong, with Carmen’s head impacting against a drain and only part of her body landing on a grass patch.”
There was, “a complete absence of evidence of suicidal intent despite the very nature of Carmen’s act. While Carmen’s fall was effectively a deliberate act, it is plain that she did not intend the dire consequences.”
It was revealed that Carmen had previously attempted jumping from an unknown floor of her apartment block a year ago, but was left uninjured. This apparently strengthened her delusion and encouraged her to re-attempt the jump.
It is tragic that a young life has just been lost, due to a rash and impulsive act. More and more teenagers in Singapore are exhibiting signs of stress and depression, with some even turning to violence and substance abuse.
Here are some helplines which are useful for parents and teenagers looking for some expert advice:
- Child Protection and Welfare Services (MSF): For reporting of child abuse – 1800-777 0000
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): Provides emotional support to those who are in despair or distressed – 1800-221-4444
- Youthline : Champions youth causes – 6336-3434
- Pregnancy Crisis Service: Unwed teenagers who face unplanned, unwanted pregnancies can call for help – 6339-9770
- Teen Challenge: Provides faith-based and community-based programmes and services – 1800-829-2222
- Touchline: Provides counselling to troubled teens and youth 1800-377-2252
- eCounselling Centre (eC2): An online facility offering free counselling to youth – 6787 1125
- MeToYou Cyber Care: A cyber wellness programme for youth aged 12-18 years old – 6274 6904 / 9173 1766
- Tinkle Friend: For primary school students, especially children who are alone at home, who need someone to chat with or discuss problems with – 1800-2744 788
Also READ: School girl dies after falling off school building
(Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, Today)