Alden Boon

Abused Because of Cerebral Palsy, but Still Wesley Wee Rises Above, Finding Happiness and Love in the Face of Adversity

02/06/2018

Wesley is lying in his own excrement and urine. Only twenty steps separate the toilet from his room, but he did not make the distance in time. Wesley is all alone in the house. No one is around to help him, so he lies soaking in the putrid pool. Company does not necessarily bring comfort or relief. The jangling of keys and squeaking of door hinge are a portent of yet another drubbing. He knows it all too well. A slap, hard and hot. A slam of the head against the wall. Leather belt noosed around his neck, then pulled tautly, asphyxiating him. Leather belt on naked skin, each slash a laceration of the soul.

Wesley is lying in his own excrement and urine. He can do nothing but wait.

Wesley lives with cerebral palsy, a set of permanent movement disorders caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain during pregnancy, labour or shortly after birth. In the five-member Wee family, as Wesley quickly learnt, cerebral palsy is dishonour. Inconvenience. Shame. In his own house, Wesley was a bête noire, a mere flea begging to be swatted. His late father was a man of stern countenance. Hell-bent on making his son walk, he would press-gang the latter into exercising, wielding a weapon barbed of fear and crushing words. To Wesley, hands gripping his walker, heft of his own weight on legs that had no strength, walking was not just impossible, it was torturous. During the punishing exercises, he could only hobble, and whenever he failed to complete his rounds, his father would starve him.

I’m sorry, dad, for not being able to walk.

One day, his frustration waxing, Wesley’s father dragged him from his room to the toilet, where a big green tub filled with water sat. Such malice was in his eyes that curdled Wesley’s blood. Twenty steps. Grabbing Wesley’s ankles and heaving him until he was completely upside down and vertical, such feat he could manage for he was a puissant officer trained by the Singapore Navy, and the burden was no more than a bony frame, he dunked him headfirst into the tub of water. Writhing, slavering, choking as gushes of frothy water entered and burnt his nostrils, Wesley resisted, beating the water and air futilely. Respite was barely a few gulps of air before he was submerged in water again. Other days, Wesley would be pinned under a running tap like a prisoner of war. Waterboarding, executed in dark, hidden cells bereft of humanity to break the spirits of the hardiest of well-trained soldiers, had now entered this humble home in Singapore. His mother, spectator to this abuse, often joined in the hectoring as well.

This pattern of abuse continued not for a year, but throughout Wesley’s formative years.

Read: Dr Siew Tuck Wah on Breaking the Poverty Cycle, Saving Singapore’s Street Dogs and Finding Buddhism

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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