A passion to help sparked by her family
She knows an old woman who slept at a void deck after she was kicked out of her home by her children. Before that, the woman was beaten and made to lick food off the ground.
In another case, an elderly woman was fed laxatives by her daughter so she would "settle whatever she needs to" before the helper takes her day off.
She was also given sleeping pills so she would be quiet.
Ms Kristine Lam struggles to understand how people can treat their family members in such a manner.
Such cases motivate the social worker at Care Corner's Project StART - one of the three family violence specialist agencies here - to do everything she can to help make life a little easier for those who are being ill-treated.
That includes trying to help shape policies and change mindsets.
For her dedication, Ms Lam, 27, won the Promising Social Worker Award yesterday.
Care Corner Singapore's senior group director Agnes Chia said: "Her forward thinking saw her bringing to the table innovative solutions for systemic and sustainable client interventions and impact."
The award, introduced in 2008, recognises up-and-coming social workers who have made a difference in the lives of clients, their families and the community.
Visibly moved, Ms Lam said: "This award would not have been possible without the support of my organisation and sectoral colleagues, family and friends.
"I believe the recognition and affirmation carry a deep meaning for me and many young social workers as we continue this work to enhance human conditions and make our society one that is more equal and inclusive."
Ms Lam, whose brother is an engineer and sister a doctor, knows there is much more work to be done.
The number of child protection orders, for instance, has increased two- to three-fold and Ms Lam points out that the normalising of family violence is still a big problem.
"We have a child with behavioural issues due to some form of disability. His grandma was pulling his hair, trying to feed him, scolding, screaming...
"But people normalise it and think that sometimes this is acceptable," she said.
It will take a major mindset shift to rid society of family violence and that will take time, Ms Lam acknowledged.
"I am okay if culture takes a hundred years to shift, I'm okay if I can't see it in my lifetime.
"But as long as I see it progressing, then any person has a (fighting) chance," she said.
Her passion to do right stems from her younger days.
Growing up in a "mature, poorer estate", Ms Lam saw how her parents reached out to the needy.
When there were elderly people with dementia roaming around, her father, who ran a provision shop, would take them home.
Families who could not afford their groceries put their purchases on the shop's tab until payday came around.
"Growing up seeing all this, I started to wonder what I could do as a Singaporean, as a citizen, to make a difference," Ms Lam said. "What could I actually do to help make Singapore a better place?"
Five years after she graduated with a social work degree, she is a team leader at Care Corner's Project StART.
She shapes various programmes to tackle the issue of family violence and educate stakeholders, and also to increase the competency of workers in the sector.
Ms Lam also set up urgent response teams at Project StART to ensure a swift response to high-risk cases.
The mother of a three-year-old girl has unpredictable working hours, sometimes leaving home again at 8pm to respond to a case and returning in the wee hours.
Her husband understands and is supportive, said Ms Lam.
"He will text and ask if I need a pick-up... I know my child will be taken care of," she said.
Sometimes, people ask Ms Lam how she juggles her demanding work and motherhood.
"I think what really drives me is that I do not believe in work-life balance. I believe in work-life integration, that what we gain in our work can be translated to gains in our life, and whatever we gain in our life can be translated to gain in our work.
"I believe work is life."
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