SINGAPORE - A woman identifying herself as the mother shown in a viral video caning her daughter in public has written a letter to the media to apologise, saying she will take up netizens' suggestions and seek counselling.
In the letter, titled "Apology letter from the mother of the child who was publicly caned", the woman, who signs off as "a repentant mother", says: "I do admit I am a very strict mother, which doesn't mean that I do not love my children."
She explained what happened before the video was taken at Block 410 in Jurong West on Tuesday (May 16) at around 6.30pm.
"My girl has been discovered to be lying to me with regards to homework recently," she wrote. "I discovered many empty worksheets from her tuition classes, which she insisted were questions that teacher did not ask her to do. Subsequently, we discovered that she had often conveniently said that to avoid doing her homework."
The mother, who did not give her name, said she gave her daughter a chance to repent, with no caning, but monitored her closely after every lesson and warned her again.
She later found that her daughter's marks dropped for three of her tests, and she was "very angry when I discovered that the third paper consisted of mistakes that were glaring (meaning she did not check)".
She said she had asked her daughter after she completed the tests whether she knew the answers to the questions and had checked them properly. Her daughter said yes.
"During the car ride back to my mother's house, all these episodes ran across my mind and I just exploded," said the woman. "She admitted that she did not check part of the papers. I just could not believe I have raised a liar."
She then told her daughter she must be caned at least once so she would "remember that one must be honest and to check one's work carefully".
Her daughter "cried loudly and refused to accept the punishment".
Wrote the woman: "Some of you will say, 'of course, she is scared'. But as a mother who had said she was going to mete out the punishment, how will you react? At that point, I felt that I must keep to my word at least once but she struggled with me with the cane."
She said her husband did not approve of the caning and so stood aside at first.
Explaining why she carried out the caning at the foot of the block, the woman said her mother forbade her to cane her children in the house, as "grandparents are very protective of grandchildren and sometimes spoil them".
"I had tried to choose a deserted corner to discipline her as my intention is not to publicly humiliate her, but my girl cried very loudly," she wrote.
She said she asked her husband to do the caning as she had "exploded due to her daughter's defiance" and could not control herself.
"My husband by then realised that there were bystanders and decided to step in to end the scene," she said. "Out of his love for me, he gave four strokes but some missed my girl. He told her she should be obedient and not run away when punishments are meted out and we talked to her after she put her bag and came out of the car, which the video did not capture."
The woman said she has realised her mistake from the video.
"As communicated by concerned netizens, we do think we need to seek help from counsellors," she wrote. "However, please rest assured that our children are not abused."
She said she would be taking up suggestions provided, such as seeking help from a family service centre to work out her expectations and disciplinary methods.
She also said her public apology shows her sincerity in improving herself for her family, and said she hopes the media will stop pursuing the matter so it will not cost her family their jobs and ability to raise their children.
"This is a family discipline case, not child abuse. If you are really concerned about our children, please give us the space," she wrote.