Needy stories need to tell whether helped by Comcare?

Photo by mailer_diablo, Creative commons  BY-SA 3.0Photo by mailer_diablo, Creative commons BY-SA 3.0

Yet another heart-wrenching story that doesn’t seem to say whether the needy family received any help from ComCare?

I refer to the article “Generation Grit: She put herself through school after dad walked out on family” (Straits Times, Jan 17).

It states that “My parents became bankrupt when I was very young.

My dad is rather entrepreneurial but his businesses failed often. From a young age, I was always told by my parents that they had no money, so I learnt not to ask for things.

In my first year at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), my dad left us. I thought he wouldn’t do this to us, but he cut off all connections with us.

I felt anxious and lost and we didn’t know what to do. My mum wasn’t working then and she became depressed. Later, she found a job as a promoter at supermarkets, to pay the household bills.

I worried about how to pay my school fees, which cost about $1,300 a year. I was studying Hospitality and Tourism Management.

I told myself there was no use crying, so I started working as a waitress. In my first year at NYP, I worked 20 hours a week and I used my salary to pay my school fees.

I had no time to go out with friends. No time for TV or computer games. My only leisure activity was sleep.


Shortly after my dad left, I thought of quitting school to work and help my mum with household expenses. But I knew that if I didn’t have a diploma, I couldn’t get a better job.”

When I read the above – the first thought that came to my mind was – given her family’s situation – did her family receive any help from ComCare?

In this connection, according to – “As for those seeking donations, they are required to declare whether they are receiving financial aid from the Government, among other things.

“If you declared you did not (get government aid) but you did, it’s misrepresentation”.

But there is potential for abuse, say observers, such as when fund-raisers provide inaccurate or incomplete information about themselves in order to get more donations.

(New code of practice for crowd-funding sites to be launched in Jan to prevent fraud, boost donor trust [The Straits Times] 31 Dec, 2017)”

As to “So I finally asked my course manager at NYP for help. I was afraid that I would burn out and not be able to keep up with my studies if I had to work as much as I did.

Just asking opened so many doors.

I received bursaries from the Government and NTUC Income Orange Aid. I was also awarded a scholarship from Mainly I Love Kids (Milk), a charity. The bursaries and scholarship took a huge weight off my shoulders and covered my school fees and expenses” – why didn’t she receive any help (apparently from what is being told in this article) in her first year in the polytechnic?

“In fact, I haven’t asked my mum for an allowance since I was 17 years old. Now I can give her some money to help cover the household expenses too.”

So, is this another example of a needy family falling through the cracks?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.