Why didn't community reach out to boy in need?

I was both sad and angry after reading Mr Timothy Cheng's story (From no food at home to dishing out food for the masses; Oct 2).

There were so many touchpoints that could have helped Mr Cheng as a child.

Why didn't his primary school teachers or other staff identify him as a boy who might need help?

Why didn't his neighbours alert their MP or advise him to seek help from his MP? What did grassroots leaders do for him?

Have we lost the kampung spirit among neighbours?

Do the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development have programmes for schools to identify such students and refer them for help? How do we assess the effectiveness of such programmes?

Government agencies must put in more effort to work with schools to identify children with social needs. Giving out money is not the only solution.

I believe there are many children in Singapore who are in a similar situation as Mr Cheng. No child should have to go through such traumatic family circumstances.

Theresa Lee Yin Swee (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Why didn't community reach out to boy in need?'. Print Edition | Subscribe