Girl, 4, being raised by schizophrenic mum and aunt
Her schizophrenic mum doesn't have a stove and feeds her a brew of Milo, milk powder and tap water for meals
Lisa is like most girls her age.
The four-year-old is curious, shy and has an infectious smile.
She is also often hungry. She is small but at 13kg, still within the acceptable range.
Lisa's mother suffers from schizophrenia and her father is in jail.
The little girl's other housemate in the sparsely furnished one-room rental flat is her mother's sister. She, too, has schizophrenia, according to medical documents shown to The New Paper on Sunday.
They are her guardians and provide for her - the best that they can. They receive aid, get help from volunteers and have neighbours who watch over Lisa.
But is it enough for Lisa?
We are not using real names to protect her identity.
TNPS was alerted to Lisa's story by a volunteer who helps the family. On Wednesday, we visited her at her home in the north.
Clad in an oversized blue pre-school uniform, Lisa goes from neighbour to neighbour, hoping they will give her some food.
Sometimes she gets bread and sweets. When neighbours and social workers realised what she was doing, they alerted the authorities.
Lisa's mother, Carene, tells TNPS she has little money to buy Lisa anything.
"You see, she is so skinny," says the 35-year-old in Mandarin.
Carene and her sister Jasmine don't have money because they can't work, they say. And they can't work because of their medical condition.
Jasmine, 39, says: "If we need money for emergencies, I go to the streets to beg.
"We are sisters and we look after each other."
But they do receive financial aid.
Carene says she gets around $700 in financial assistance. The money is managed by her "godfather" and Jasmine's husband, Mr Wong Choo Kum, 68, who lives separately from them.
Mr Wong also receives around $800 in financial assistance. He tells TNPS that they have no savings as the aid money is spent on food, rent, insurance premiums and petrol for his sinseh business.
They also spend $500 each month on cigarettes, meant mostly for Jasmine as she smokes three packs a day.
"I still have to pay a $1,000 fine that both of them incurred when they threw cigarette butts from their flat. There is nothing left after that," complains Mr Wong.
When confronted about her smoking habits, Jasmine simply says: "I'm quitting, I'm quitting."
Both women are clueless about their finances as Mr Wong manages everything. Jasmine says: "We need more because Lisa needs to eat."
Lisa is a normal child, says Carene. But she had a difficult start.
"Lisa was born in the toilet," says Carene, who had no clue she was pregnant when Lisa was born in 2010.
Jasmine says: "She had no idea. One night, she kept going to the toilet and then came out saying that there was a baby in the toilet bowl."
"I called for an ambulance," repeats Carene.
She is not sure but she thinks the man she divorced, who is in prison for drug abuse, may be Lisa's father.
"Of course I am worried for Lisa's health and her future. Every day is a struggle for us," says Jasmine.
Jasmine claims that several years ago, Carene threatened to throw her baby daughter out of the window when her schizophrenia caused her to "see ghosts".
She did not carry out the threat and calmed down only after her sister took Lisa away to their parents' home. The women say their mother also suffers from the same mental condition.
The sisters say they are now on medication, given to them for free by the Institute of Mental Health.
Lisa's usual meals are a brew of Milo, milk powder and tap water, says Carene.
They do not have a stove but they have a rice cooker, donated by a stranger. The women use it to cook porridge if they have ingredients such as rice and eggs.
And they say they try to keep the flat clean. After they moved in last July, the flat was infested with bedbugs that came with the mattresses from their old flat. Its white walls were dotted with thousands of blood spots from squashed bedbugs.
Two weeks ago, volunteers from various social welfare organisations helped to repaint the home, clean up the flat and gave the family furniture and food supplies.
While the bedbugs have mostly disappeared, the flat returned to its messy state when we visited.
Boxes containing old documents and books were put in disorganised piles along a wall. Dirty plates and cutlery filled the sink, unwashed for days.
The family also keeps two rabbits which they previously allowed to scamper around the house, leaving their droppings on the floor.
They are now kept in a donated cage placed outside the flat at the request of a social worker.
And what of Lisa, that shy, curious girl?
She attends a pre-school nearby and has her meals on weekday afternoons in the kindergarten.
While Carene says she has Lisa's interest at heart, she refuses every request from social workers to put Lisa in a children's shelter or foster care.
"Which mother would want to give her child away after carrying her for nine months?" she says.
Family's poor hygiene concerns neighbours
Taxi driver Joel Tan pays close attention to Lisa's well-being.
"I was sad when I found out about her background from her mother. She needs help," says Mr Tan, 40.
When he moved into his rental flat six months ago, he immediately noticed a strong stench coming from his next-door neighbours. He pins the causes on their poor personal hygiene and disorderly home.
Mr Tan's father, who lives with him, was once so annoyed, he volunteered to repair their neighbours' water heater so that they could shower.
"But their water heater was from their old flat and was long broken. I don't think they shower at all," says Mr Tan, adding that he was also bitten by bedbugs crawling out of his neighbours' home.
He alerted the Ministry of Social and Family Development of the living conditions of Lisa and her family.
Mr Tan, who plays the ukelele and sings Christian songs in his free time, gets an audience whenever he plays or sings. Lisa would pop her head through his door, enchanted.
"She is very skinny and weak but friendly. She listens quietly and enjoys my music," says a beaming Mr Tan.
But when the music ends, Lisa would ask if he can give her food as she is hungry.
Volunteers from social welfare organisations, who regularly ply the corridors of the rental flats, say they are aware of Lisa's situation.
One volunteer, who declined to be named, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "We help to clean the house and tell them to be hygienic but it always returns to its original state.
"I know they don't bathe because they cut up the bath towels we give them."
She adds that she is worried Lisa does not get proper nutrition from the Milo diet she consumes daily.
"You see the amount of Milo powder and milk powder they use? It is too sweet. The girl doesn't want it," says the volunteer.
"In my opinion, she needs to be in a better place."
Should social workers intervene?
Ms Christine Goh, a social worker with the Care Corner Family Service Centre (Toa Payoh), says the law allows children to be separated from their parents in cases of abuse or neglect.
But it is not an easy call.
She says: "There are a whole lot of checks to do, assessments have to be made to gauge how much risk a child is in. Ultimately, the main purpose is to protect the child."
Lisa's case is tricky. Her mother and aunt care for her and her basic needs are being met.
But are the women capable of being her guardians?
Social workers tell The New Paper on Sunday they rarely come across cases of adults with mental disabilities raising young children.
But the guardians can be taught to create a liveable environment for the child.
Mrs Florence Lim, director of Methodist Welfare Services Covenant Family Services Centre (FSC), says: "Sometimes, families with mentally-challenged adults respond well to education so there may not be a need to report to child protection services."
When child protection services are called in, the child can be placed under foster care or put in a children's shelter.
This is the last resort as separating a child from the parents can be a "traumatic experience" for both parties, says Mrs Lim.
And separating the child from the parents would also come at the expense of family bonds, adds Ms Goh.
The Ministry Of Social And Family Development says it is aware of Lisa's case and has been providing the family with financial assistance since 2012.
"This includes assistance for payment of rental and utilities," says its spokesman.
He adds: "Our officers from the Social Service Office at Woodlands had contacted the family and understand that volunteers had helped the family to clean up the house and provided new furniture.
"MSF would like to urge members of the public who are in need to visit the nearest Social Service Office for assistance."