…I could not believe it when I heard the terrible news on the radio. To be sure, I watched the evening news on television.

It was a tragic end for lively eight-year old Huang Na and her dream of becoming a doctor. Her body was found in a box which was abandoned at Telok Blangah Park.

My hopes and prayers that she would be found safely, after she was reported missing on Oct 10, were dashed…

My heart stood still when I saw the police removing a cardboard box in which Huang Na’s body had been stuffed. Then, my heart bled for her and her loved ones. For the next day or two, my heart wasn’t in whatever I did.

I imagined the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness she may have felt before her death. Being disabled, I have to struggle physically to do a lot of things. When I do not succeed, I feel like a drowning boy trying to keep my head above the water. That could have been how the poor girl felt and more.

It pains me to see precious lives lost under such tragic circumstances. It hurts me more if they are young and innocent. They certainly do not deserve such a horrible fate.

Could Huang Na have avoided being cornered by her heartless, cold-blooded and shrewd “predator”?

Obviously not. If it had been possible, she would still be alive.

Although it has been reported that she was street smart, independent and precocious, it is evident that she was not that ready to face the real world on her own. Being naive, she would not have been able to sense danger until it was too late.

Even if one has been told a zillion times to be careful with fire, one may not understand the harm that fire can cause until one has, perhaps, been burned. In her case, she made a fatal mistake and had no chance to learn from it. How about her mother? Where was she when her child needed her most?

How could she allow her “Little Red Riding Hood” to roam the “forest” with a “wolf” lurking about? I know my saying that she should have done this and that will not bring Huang Na back. Her young life has been snuffed out.

The police message is clear: Low crime does not mean no crime. I wish all parents heed the message so that Huang Na’s untimely death will not be in vain.

I am wondering why those around her could not prevent the misfortune. If only they had been more vigilant, I am sure the girl’s life and dignity could have been saved. If only they cared as much for her safety as they would their own daughters, such criminal waste of life would not have occurred.

Anyway, if only … if only … and if only … will never save her life now.

I believe it is better to prevent fire than to fight fire. Therefore, I hope more people can spare some time and some thoughts for the welfare of others.

There have been reports of several cases of child and maid abuse which the neighbours were aware of but did nothing. If they had acted on a few of them, if not all, those who had perished might still be around. More can also be done to look out for one another’s safety and well-being.

I face danger every time my 53kg mother has to carry her 63kg fat-laden son – that’s me – up a flight of stairs. Nobody seems to care or notice my mother’s plight.

Some people just gawk and marvel at the display of strength by a puny woman. Some appear to make it difficult for her, as if to test her prowess, by blocking her way. Many just mind their own business.

Well, if “Humpty Dumpty” – you know who – has a great fall, I am confident that “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” will come to the rescue. By then, will it be of any use? I wonder.

I would like to appeal to my fellow countrymen and all the women, too: Let us start to develop a culture of care and compassion in Singapore.

Don’t kid yourselves that we already have it because of our generous contributions to charity. We don’t have it yet and we have a long way to go.

(This journal entry can be found in TODAY on 3 November 2004)