Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
Rebecca Loh (pictured left), the mother accused of murdering her nine-year-old son, has been certified to be of sound mind and fit for court proceedings. If found guilty of murder, she will be sentenced to death.
Rebecca’s case is a perfect example of what non-inclusive policies towards certain members of our society (i.e., single mothers, persons with serious medical conditions/ disabilities/ special needs) may result in. A State can never erase its mistakes by hanging victims of its failed policies. It needs to reflect on how its policies can be made more inclusive so that people have enough supportive network(s) to ensure that they will not fall through the cracks.
It is time our government exercises a more reflective attitude and see how their policies have failed to serve the needs of various groups in our society, resulting in the marginalisation of these groups. As mental and psychological resilience vary from person to person, I am not saying that everyone who belongs to the marginalised groups will definitely come to such a fate. However there is always a possibility, especially when one does not know where or who to seek help from and what the future may bring.
As an educator, I have met several parents and single parents with children who are disable and/or require special education. The truth is, these parents are constantly worrying about the future of their children. Although many of them are able to overcome their worries or handle it more positively, some have expressed to me that they will never die in peace should their children over-live them because (to quote one of them) “Who will take care of H after I am gone? People in this society will end up taking advantage of a person like him because they have no compassion and time to be patient with anyone who thinks and acts slow”.
It is heartbreaking, but life for some of these parents takes on a different reality from many of us. If the policies of the system do not fully consider their plight and circumstances, the court must, because they are made up of judges who are human beings themselves.
This is how I see it, but I understand that there are many different perspectives out there, with some calling her a cold-hearted murderer who should be sent to the gallows. I cannot and do not intend to take away their right to form opinions, but I wish to call upon this group of people to put themselves in her shoes and see the reality from where she stood – a single mother living with financial difficulties, who had a child diagnosed with liver disorder and could not move around independently – what would you have done?
To clarify, I am not attempting to find excuses to dismiss the seriousness of the deed, but to appeal to all of you to consider her plight, background and the factors that might have compelled her to do what she had allegedly done. Does she need help, or should she be sent to the gallows? What do you think you will need, if you were in her situation?
Please, do take some time to think about it.
19 Comments so far
Leave a comment