Student slaps mother several times in argument over money
Police investigating after report is made and video goes viral, but expert warns against rushing to judgment
A boy hurls abuse at a woman before slapping her repeatedly in a two-minute-plus video that has gone viral.
During the physical abuse, the woman, who later identifies herself as the youth's mother, sits on the floor of their home without defending herself.
The incident appears to be over the boy's allowance of $100.
When the mother says she is unable to give him more and tries reasoning with him, the boy, who is wearing a secondary school uniform, swears at her in Hokkien and slaps her on the face several times.
The video was initially uploaded on TikTok but has been removed for violating the app's policies.
It has since been uploaded on other social media platforms, including Facebook. As of 8pm yesterday, it had 60,000 views.
Based on the video timestamp, the incident happened at around 9.20pm on Tuesday last week.
Later in the footage, which appears to be from a security camera in the flat, she shouts at him: "Slap lah! Slap lah!"
He promptly slaps her again. Pointing his finger at her, he then says: "I tell you how many times already."
The woman replies: "Then how you treat mummy?"
A police spokesman confirmed a report had been lodged and investigations are ongoing.
A Ministry of Social and Family Development spokesman said it was assessing if the family is in need of assistance.
When shown the video, clinical psychologist Carol Balhetchet said the boy appears to be used to getting away with his bad behaviour.
"I am not sure why the woman allows the child to abuse her, but if she continues to allow it, it will only get worse as he carries on into adulthood," she said.
"It is generally not normal, but I've seen similar cases where children intimidate their parents, and it is usually from very young that the child has got his way."
Dr Balhetchet said some parents do not know how to set boundaries and say no to their children. They think they are doing this out of love, but such indulgences can be detrimental, she stressed.
"Parents need to be able to say no to their children from the age of three to five. They need to be able to parent by being firm without being cruel."
A former tenant who lived in the unit with the family told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that she was surprised when she saw the video.
The woman, who wanted to be known only as Ms Liu, 38, said the boy's parents were in their 40s, and the mother would often dote on her son and buy him gifts such as shoes.
"The family of three often eats at the same table, and I have never seen them quarrel," she said.
"The boy is usually very quiet and polite. How could he have beaten his mother?"
A user, believed to be the boy, yesterday posted on Instagram that his family situation was bad as he and his parents are "like strangers" who "don't even talk" .
He said the argument started when his mother complained to his step-brother that he had demanded $100 from her when the money was supposed to be his allowance.
He claimed his mother shouted at him after he spoke to her "NICELY", and "things got worse".
Admitting that it was his fault, he said he and his mother later talked it out.
Condemning the boy's actions, many netizens called on the authorities to step in.
Others commented on his upbringing and questioned how his parents had raised him.
Some users, who appeared to be parents themselves, said they would never allow their child to behave in such a manner.
Facebook user Lim Carol said: "If he is my son, I will ensure that he is sent to jail."
Dr Balhetchet, however, cautioned against being too quick to cast judgement on the family.
"We are but spectators who see only what is happening superficially," she said.
"There are a whole lot of possibilities as to why the woman and teen behaved in such a manner, and unless we are in that family, we really don't know what happened."
When contacted, the principal of the boy's school said he was unable to comment as the case was being investigated by the police.
However, citizen journalism portal Stomp reported that the TikTok video was accompanied by a screenshot of what appears to be an e-mail from the principal.
In the screenshot seen by Stomp, the principal reportedly said the school was aware of the matter and is looking into it.
Stomp quoted the principal as saying: "We are in touch with the boy and his parents.
"The boy is sorry for what he had done and the school is working with him, his parents and the police to resolve their family issues."