Woodlands residents want answers from Town Council

June 21, 2011
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Migraine, frustration, insomnia, nightmares, pressure, Insecurity, tiredness, stomach discomfort, paranoia.

These are some of the words residents of Blk 686 at Woodlands used to describe their experiences following the saga when a dead body was found in their water-tank. They were among the more than 20 residents who attended a void-deck meeting last Saturday organised by the Singapore Democrats.

The participants were clearly unhappy with the Sembawang Town Council and their Member of Parliament, Mr Vikram Nair. Words like ‘negligence’, ‘lack of transparency and accountability’, ‘irresponsible’, trying to let time heal everything’, and ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ were used to describe how they viewed those in charge of the matter.

Many felt that someone should be answerable for the incident which occurred last month.

One of the participants was pleased that the Singapore Democrats showed care and concern for the residents who continue to be haunted by the incident till this day.

“Though the MP visited our units, he was clueless about our sufferings and the trauma we went through,” one resident said. “When we raised our concerns to him, he would pull the relevant delegate from his block-visit party to tackle the questions. He should place himself in our shoes and feel the pain. There’s no human touch at all.”

A couple related that they had pressed the Town Council to reveal the results of the water sampling report after the incident. However, nobody knows if the Town Council had in fact conducted water sampling, let alone provide a laboratory report.

One question the participants asked is why do the authorities need more than a month to furnish the report. The corpse was found in the water-tank 16 May 11.

Dr Ang Yong Guan (right), a psychiatrist who stood as a SDP candidate at the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC in the elections, conducted a psychological survey with the group of residents.

He found that two-thirds of them were “very badly affected” by the incident. Some of them expressed their fears of keeping their doors open and refusing to take the lift where bloodstains were found. Dr Ang said that the residents suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.

One of the residents collected a sample of the water on the day the tank was replaced (13 June) and upon examination, found that the water reeked of turpentine. The resident’s child drank the turpentine-smelling water later in the evening and threw up.

The Town Council may have felt that replacing the tank is more than adequate to put a full stop to this issue but how do you take care of the emotional trauma which the residents are going through?

The Town Council cannot continue to pretend that the residents’ lives have resumed to normality and that they should move on from this incident because the feedback gathered by SDP from this townhall meeting has shown otherwise.

We will be writing to the Sembawang Town Council on behalf of the residents to ask for answers.

In the meantime, the SDP will like to thank the residents of Blk 686B for taking precious time off to complete the psychological survey and attend the townhall gathering.

We would like to assure the residents that the Party will continue to provide them with support and will not allow the relevant authorities to put the matter to rest till they have resolved the issues.