Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong put out a Facebook post on Tuesday (Jul. 20) afternoon addressing the River Valley High School (RVHS) incident.
Several other ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Heng Swee Keat, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, and Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, also offered their condolences.
Condolences to boy's family
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, PM Lee expressed that, like everyone else, he was "shocked" by Monday's tragic incident.
"We cannot make sense of what happened. Words fail us because we cannot understand," he wrote.
"We are overwhelmed imagining what the victim’s family are going through. Yesterday morning, they sent off their 13-year-old son to school. Suddenly, without any warning, he is no more."
PM Lee also shared his sympathy for the boy's family:
"My heart goes out to his family. I know we cannot properly express our sympathy, or offer much comfort in their sudden calamity. But still, I would like them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them."
"We are each other's keepers"
PM Lee addressed the RVHS students and teachers who may be in shock, saying, "We will help you walk through this dark valley, and come to terms with what has happened."
He encouraged people to not "worsen the trauma and grief of the affected families with speculation and rumour", and to instead wait for the police to finish investigating the case to find out the motive and whether something could have been done to avoid it.
PM Lee stated that great emphasis is placed on safety in schools in Singapore, and on the well-being of teachers and students.
"Our education system is not only about good academic performance, but also helping our kids to grow into happy and well-adjusted persons."
He encouraged staff or students who know of a pupil or classmate who seems to be troubled or under stress to inform the principal or school counsellors, who can then work together with families to provide help.
He also called on people to look out for one another:
"We are all in this together. We are each other’s keepers. Let’s continue to look out for one another."
PM Lee shared several resources for people to turn to if they need help, or if things feel like they are too much to bear:
- National CARE Hotline: 1800 202 6868
- Fei Yue's Live Chat Counselling Service: ec2.sg
- TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
His full post:
"Shocked and saddened"
Heng, Indranee, and Desmond Lee also expressed their reactions to the incident on Facebook, each writing that they were "shocked and saddened" by the tragedy.
Heng expressed his sympathy for the families affected by the incident, as well as all students, teachers, and alumni of RVHS.
He also encouraged everyone to "continue to support one another during this challenging period", and to reach out for help if they or anyone they know is under mental or emotional stress.
Indranee similarly suggested that any students, staff, or parents who need counselling or support to reach out to the school and counsellors.
Lee asked that everyone, no matter what their religious background or faith may be, hold the grieving family of the victim in their prayers.
"Their pain and loss is unimaginable," he said.
He added that counsellors from the local Family Service Centre and other nearby centres are on standby to support those who have been emotionally- or psychologically-affected by the incident.
Top photos via Instagram / sgfollowsall and by Denise Tan.