President offers comfort to those affected by school tragedy

It is hard to make sense of what happened at River Valley High School, and even harder to fathom the unimaginable trauma and grief experienced, said President Halimah Yacob.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Madam Halimah offered her deepest condolences to the victim's family. "I was deeply saddened to hear about the tragedy that took place at River Valley High School at the start of the week," she said.

On Monday, a 13-year-old student was found motionless in a school toilet and pronounced dead. A 16-year-old student from the school was charged with the boy's murder in a district court on Tuesday.

"Some people, including our youths and students, may be shocked and scared by the news, while others feel helpless and confused.

"If you are one of them, I want you to know that you are not alone. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help or a listening ear," said Madam Halimah, adding that there are many helplines and groups that offer support.

"The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your struggles."

Separately, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said this week has been challenging.

"As our teams work round the clock to deal with the Covid-19 situation, we also mourn the death of the River Valley High student and come to terms with his passing.

"I cannot begin to comprehend the pain his family and friends must be feeling, and the shock of losing someone you love in this way," he said.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and to all affected by this tragedy."

He added that those who feel overwhelmed should not cope alone, but "lean on one another and draw hope from each other".

  • Helplines

  • • National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868


    • Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service:

    • Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222

    • Samaritans of Singapore: 1-767 (24 hours)

    • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714

    • Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788


    • TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252

    • Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

Noting that many people are disappointed over the latest Covid-19 restrictions, he said the Ministry of Finance is "working hard to put together a package to support affected businesses and workers". Details will be announced soon.

"It's a trying time for all. Let's also look out for one another and help those who need it, in our neighbourhood and community. Keep the faith. We will pull through together," he said.

Said Madam Halimah: "This is a time for Singaporeans to band together to collectively heal. If you know of anyone who seems to be in distress, reach out to him or her. Especially during this trying time of the pandemic, let's be kind and compassionate to one another."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2021, with the headline 'President offers comfort to those affected by school tragedy'. Subscribe