Did he run away because of exam stress?
Parents reunited with Primary 6 student on Friday after he's found. -TNP
SINGAPORE - In a case believed to be linked to exam-related stress, a boy ran away from home on Tuesday, leaving his parents "worried sick".
Matthew Jason Tjong, 12, a St Andrews Junior School Primary 6 student, was last seen at Boon Keng MRT station at 1.30pm on Tuesday.
His parents then began "combing Singapore frantically, searching for him everywhere and anywhere we can think of".
An appeal also went viral on Facebook and Twitter, in which the Tjongs pleaded for information on their son's whereabouts.
They filed a report with the police on Tuesday evening and efforts were initiated to search for him.
On Thursday afternoon, the police issued a public appeal for information.
At 12.28am on Friday, popular blogger Mr Brown, who had joined in the appeal to find Matthew, posted that he "had been found and reunited safely with his family".
When contacted over the phone at 1.30am, Matthew's father said the police had just dropped off his son at their home.
"He is well and healthy, and we have put him to bed," Mr Tjong said.
Sounding tired, he added that he didn't know where Matthew was found as he has not had a chance to get a "debrief" from the police.
Earlier, his wife had said in a message posted online that their son had left a note to explain why he had run away.
The New Paper understands that the letter mentioned that he was stressed out by the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), which he has to sit for this year.
The PSLE started yesterday with the English oral examination, which Matthew missed. The Mother Tongue oral examination will be held today. Matthew had not turned up in school since Wednesday.
His parents earlier declined to be interviewed, but the online message yesterday stated: "He has no phone with him and just a couple of tens in his pockets. He is smart and intelligent...
"If you work in McDonald's, 7-Eleven or any place where you think he'd go like Internet cafes, LAN game places... Please help send out the message to look out for him?
"We know when he was last seen, he was not taken away by force, he did leave a 'runaway' note. Please share this, please."
And some people stepped in to help.
On "Jiajia Bigbrother", the Facebook page of local YouTube child sensations Dr Jiajia and Bigbro, was a post titled "Missing Boy!!! Please Help!!!".
Reproducing the message from Matthew's mother, the post has been shared more than 400 times.
More than 700 tweets have also been shared about Matthew.
Matthew's classmate and closest friend, Gino Stewart, 12, received a frantic call from Mrs Tjong at around 10.40pm on Tuesday night.
Said Gino: "She said that Matthew hadn't gone home yet, and asked if he was with me.
"When I said no, she asked for my friends' numbers so she could contact them. I was surprised he was missing because he appeared normal in school on Tuesday.
"When school ended, he said he was supposed to stay back, and I just said bye to him."
Gino's father, Mr Leon Stewart, 43, also spoke to Mrs Tjong over the phone. The operations manager: "She told me that this was not the first time that he had done this."
He said he did not have more details about this as he had not asked Mrs Tjong to elaborate.
St Andrews Junior School principal Wong Bin Eng said Matthew's parents informed the school on Tuesday evening that he did not return home after school that day.
The teachers had been checking on Matthew's classmates and would provide them with the necessary socio-emotional support, Mrs Wong added.
The school was also in contact with Matthew's family and will continue to render them assistance and support.
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