A man, believed to be drunk, sparked terror, sending people scurrying to safety, as he walked around with a parang.
Described as looking disturbed, he was talking to himself and at one point, took out money from his wallet and threw it in the air towards a dustbin.
He also hacked at a dustbin with his parang before turning the weapon on himself, chopping at his own torso, as he threatened to kill himself.
The drama unfolded near the Toa Payoh Lorong 7 wet market and food centre on Monday afternoon.
When the police arrived, the 57-year-old man refused to put down the parang, which had a 30-cm blade, and continued threatening to kill himself.
The officers finally resorted to using a Taser gun (an electroshock weapon) to subdue the man.
He was subsequently arrested and taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH).
Mr Chan Fook Yen, 45, the manager of Qian Kee Seafood at Block 18 at Lorong 7, told The New Paper yesterday that the incident happened at around 4pm.
"It was not peak period, so I was walking around the shop when we suddenly heard a loud argument from above," he said.
Soon after, he saw the man, whom he recognised as living on the third storey of the block, walk down the stairs holding a parang.
Mr Chan said the man, who looked "very disturbed", started walking along the wet market and food centre wielding the weapon.
"Everyone who saw him ran out of the way in fear. You see something like that, you will also run away, right?" he added.
A shop assistant at a bakery, Good Pleasure, at Block 21, said the argument between the son and his mother was what caught her attention.
The assistant, who declined to be named, said the man was walking around with the parang and talking to himself.
He did not hurt anyone.
She added that he was shouting "what is money" as he took out his wallet and threw all his cash towards a dustbin.
"There were $2, $10 and $50 notes. Really a lot of money," she said.
The man's mother soon appeared and started picking up the money while shouting at him to calm down.
"He was also hacking away at a dustbin with the parang," added the bakery assistant.
Mr Chan said the man then pulled up his shirt and, amazingly, hacked at his own stomach with the parang.
"Luckily the parang was old and blunt," he said.
When the police arrived, the man was still worked up and unruly, the bakery assistant said.
"He shouted, 'I won't kill you, I will only kill myself!'," she said.
That was when the police officers used the Taser gun to stun him.
Mr Chan said: "He went down immediately and they handcuffed him before taking a chair from my shop and helping him up to sit on it."