1/08/2017

Benjamin Lim - barking up the wrong tree?

Below is an extract from a CNA report on 7 Jan 17.

SINGAPORE: From April 2017, young suspects below the age of 16 under criminal investigation will be accompanied by a grown-up during interviews under a new Appropriate Adult Scheme for Young Suspects (AAYS) announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday (Jan 6).
The Appropriate Adults (AAs) will be independent, trained volunteers whose job at police interviews will be to look out for signs of distress as well as aiding communication and providing emotional support. They must remain neutral and not advocate for the young suspect, nor provide legal advice or disrupt the course of justice in any way....

On whether young people would benefit from having a neutral adult present at interviews, he said: "You have to balance between having to interview quickly in order to make sure there's no information leakage, and the need to consider whether it's helpful for a 12- or 13-year-old to have someone else present at a police station ... Regardless of how the police treats him, he's still in uniform."

The initiative comes in the wake of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim’s suicide in January 2016, after he underwent a police investigation over alleged molestation.

The impression I have after reading all the reports in the media about how the school officials and police officers handled Benjamin Lim's case, is that there was absolutely no issue at all. There were a lot of tender loving care shown to Benjamin, everyone was so kind and caring, so sensitive, and there was no undue pressure on Benjamin. My conclusion is that this amendment may be superfluous and an over reaction. When Benjamin was handled professionally by all the trained professionals, following proper procedures and protocols, and with kindness, consideration, and above all, sensitivity, anything that was wrong should not be on the part of the police protocol. The amendment is kind of an over reaction, an after thought that may not be really necessary. Some may label it populist. Or have they found some reasons to do?

There is a saying that if things are not wrong, don't try to fix it. Fix it only when it is wrong.

And the police were not in uniform in the school, that helped except that maybe one or two police officers would be less intimidating on a child. It is good that Shanmugam acknowledged the point that police in uniform is intimidating to a child, but not in Benjamin's case. Only in the police station that the police were in uniform. Maybe the amendment could include police not to be in uniform when handling cases involving children.

The appointment of a trained volunteer to look for signs of stress sounds proper and would be right if the police protocol and procedure are intimidating to young people. But were these present in Benjamin's case that led to his stress level and eventual suicide? Any meaningful linkage?  If I remember, it was reported that Benjamin did not show any sign of stress at all. What I thought would be more appropriate in the case of children is to have someone close to him, like parents whom he is comfortable with, to provide the emotional and psychological support needed in such situation. Another stranger that the child does not know could hardly be reassuring to the child, and could add more pressure instead.

Which is more important, to look out for signs of stress or to provide the child with some sense of security, that he is not alone, and the parents are there with him? In the latter case, there will definitely be lesser stress than in the former case that could add to the stress level.

Shanmugam also pointed out that the police were very sensitive in Benjamin's case and suicide is more a case of the individual.

Oh, the MOE also introduced new measures to protect school children when investigated by the police, like being accompanied by teacher, counsellor or someone from the school.

No one deem it right, necessary and important for the parents of a child to be present. Why? Can a stranger in whatever profession be good enough in such cases? Touch your heart.

I hope Benjamin and his family could be comforted that his death is not in vain and the new measures would prevent other children from going through the same ordeal as Benjamin and no more Benjamin will fall in the future.

What do you think?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any solution to a problem that refused to address the problem honestly, that refused to see what is the real cause of problem, will be a half baked solution at best, if not, a totally waste of time and money.

There is no need to waste another $400,000 to train AAs. All that needs to be done is to do some decent and morally correct things like letting the parents accompanied the child.

This is the most important and humanly decent thing to do.

There is so much wickedness in this whole episode and it is sinful to cover up the wickedness by more lies.

Anonymous said...

No one deem it right, necessary and important for the parents of a child to be present. Why? Can a stranger in whatever profession be good enough in such cases?
RB

Because it is not right mah.

Why?

For the same reasons why 70% do not deem it right, necessary and important for more opposition to be present in Parliament lah. Can a "not ready to be govt" opposition in whatever party be good enough to speak up in Parliament, the 70% must be asking.

Don't believe, just look at WP in Parliament. Good enough in speaking up or not, u say lah?

Anonymous said...

They are scared that the parents, not being properly trained as AAs, may turn emotional or worse lah and this may hamper the job of the Police in conducting the investigation.

This can be a very likely scenario which the Police professionals feared.

Just like 70% are scared that the opposition, not being ready to be govt, may turn out worse than PAP if voted in as govt lah. It is the same logic lah.

Anonymous said...

Send all parents who have young children below the age of 16 for AA skills training lah. Make the training WDA approved and funded. Because they may never know when their skills may be put to use.

Anonymous said...

Your quality of people are as Low as religious people. Anything they oversee or the people who come under their supervision or judgment are doomed.

There is no true justice in Sin. The rule of law blinds everyone. That's how they stay in power

Anonymous said...

The vilest kind of people are the religious kind. But you can't say that because the laws protect them so you breed these types all over your land - you need them to keep some people in power whom the world looked on in disbelieve. The consequences are blind, dumb,deaf people doing "good". An appearance of "goodness" covered in white washed garments.

Anonymous said...

/// The Appropriate Adults (AAs) will be independent, trained volunteers whose job at police interviews will be to look out for signs of distress as well as aiding communication and providing emotional support. They must remain neutral and not advocate for the young suspect, nor provide legal advice or disrupt the course of justice in any way.... ///

Aiyoh.
Simi "appropriate adult" lan cheow?
Are they PAP-linked grassroots leaders?

"must remain neutral" - fuck lah.
What does this mean?
Just sit there, keep quiet and wayang is it?

On what fucking planet are "parents" not deemed "Appropriate Adults" ??
- and what is so wrong about AA's providing legal advice to the minors during police interrogation?

As usual.
The typical Singaporean wayang (dog & pony show).
A lot of work that does not do anybody any good.
Just to make our government look good only.

Anonymous said...


Sad! Very Sad! Very Very Sad!

IMO, the best person to be with the child questioned by the police
should be the child parents!

Any questioning should only start in front of the parents.

Yes! No need the AAs. Parents will do!

Sad! Very Sad! Very Very Sad!

Anonymous said...

These vile asses must be very careful of karma going after them.

Virgo49 said...


Volunteers can be asked to be kept quiet. Parents will definitely listened for any any slip ups and not quite right questioning and refer to their Lawyers later.

Volunteers?? Just wayang, wayang and get your allowances. The SPF can be intimidating just to close a case. Hush up the volunteers.

Don't try to be too smart. We know better than you. This BOY is definitely GUILTY as per our experience.

They can be biased and will the Volunteers be wise to be on the side of the young when they found them to be innocently so.??????????

What say you Honurable SHAME????

Virgo49 said...


Forget to add:-

SINKIES ARE KIA SEE, KIA SOO, KIA CHENG HOO AND KIA EVERYTHING. but do not like to drive KIAs cars.

YOU EXPECT THE VOLUNTEERS, NOT THEIR CHILDREN UNDER INVESTIGATIONS TO BE COURAGEOUS AND GIVE UNBIASED REPORT????

FAT FAT FAT HOPE!!!

Anonymous said...

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/06/06/dick-van-dyke-full-interview-on-sanders-john-vause-intv.cnn

Sin will never produce an old man like Mr Van Dyke. At 90, the man was still lucid, articulate, witty and rocks on the dance floor!

Your old man already wasted, arrogant and body three quarter way in the grave! His nation of children are nothing but well fed sheep.... at best

Virgo49 said...

Today ST article of all people this moh peng chaik bin Calvin Cheng.

Relook at the White Paper.

Must be kena swan or chiak kia kee that he wrote this article

Sigh