SINGAPORE - There was a palpable sense of grief the day after the alleged murder of a 13-year-old boy at River Valley High School (RVHS), with parents, alumni and residents living nearby placing more than 60 bouquets of flowers outside the school.
Most of the bouquets were found outside a side gate of the school when The Straits Times arrived on Tuesday afternoon (July 20). Some were placed at a wall bearing the school's name at the main gate.
Others were accompanied by plush toys, and many with notes offering encouragement and support. One was written by a "fellow RVian and family".
"While we are making sense of the senseless, we stand in solidarity in our grief," it said.
Several young people in RVHS attire were seen paying their respects and leaving bouquets. They declined to be interviewed.
The school, which is in Boon Lay Avenue, was closed as it was a public holiday.
Those living in the neighbourhood also went to pay their respects.
Mr Adam Karthik, 27, who is currently unemployed, said he was shocked that such an incident happened at a school in Singapore.
"It might play a part in parents developing trust issues towards leaving their children in school," he said, adding that the incident may prompt greater awareness of mental health issues.
A human resources practitioner, who wished to be identified only as Mr Cheah, said schools should educate students to be mindful of their own mental health.
"We are not equipped as students in this competitive society. We are very focused on the typical Singaporean path to success - to graduate and find a job," said the 27-year-old. "People aren't interested in mental health matters."
A project manager in her 40s, who wanted to be known only as Ms Yati, said: "I'm worried for my nephews and nieces. It reminds me of what happens in Western countries."
She added that schools could consider tightening security, particularly when sharp objects are used, such as in arts and crafts classes.
On Tuesday morning, a 16-year-old student from the school was charged with murder in a district court. He cannot be named as he is under 18 years old.
He will be remanded at Complex Medical Centre for psychiatric observation and is scheduled to be in court next on Aug 10.
National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am - 12am)
Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg website (Mon to Fri, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 5pm)
Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928/6509-0271 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)/ Tinkle Friend website (Mon to Thu, 2.30pm to 7pm and Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)
TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800 (Daily, 10am to 10pm)