Biker's 5 beers exact a toll of misery on him and family
His hopes for his son's future crumbled after one phone call in 1989.
Mr Lim Ping Kiong, who was a taxi driver then, remembers rushing to the hospital after hearing news of a road accident involving his son, Koon Heng.
At the hospital, Mr Lim was met by the sight of the mangled body of his son.
Mr Lim, now 77, told The New Paper: "The doctors told me to prepare for the worst. When I heard about his condition, my heart was shattered.
"I wanted to cry. I was devastated. Which father can bear seeing his son in such a state?"
His son, who was in his early 20s, had crashed his motorcycle into a divider at Shenton Way. He landed on his bag, which contained a spare helmet, and broke his spine.
It left him a tetraplegic - paralysed from the neck down - and confined to a wheelchair since. His lower body is completely paralysed while his upper body is partially paralysed.
The navy mechanic had been drinking with his friends earlier. After downing five beers, against the advice of his friends, he insisted on riding his motorcycle to meet his girlfriend.
He never made it.
In June last year, Koon Heng, now 48, told motorcyclists at a Singapore Ride Safe 2014 campaign event that his bad decision had resulted in a lifetime of misery.
He said in a report in The Straits Times in 2010: "My parents gave birth to an active and playful boy, but I didn't know how to think, resulting in this, so very stupid."
NOT WORTH IT
The dangers of drink driving constantly haunt his father, who has a simple solution for others to avoid a similar fate as his son's: Don't drink and drive.
"It's too dangerous. Look what happened to my son and the state that it has reduced him to. It's not worth it."
The accident has exacted a heavy toll on the family. Not only did it reduce a young man in his prime to a physical shell of what he could have been, but it also demanded huge sacrifices from his carers.
Six months after that tragic night, Mr Lim quit his job so that he and his wife could take care of his son.
In later years, after his wife was bed-ridden with cancer, he shouldered most of the burden.
Since his wife's death in 2013, Mr Lim and his son have lived on their own in the family's three-room flat in Hougang.
"His accident not only affected him but it also affected the rest of his family," said Mr Lim.
"I couldn't continue working, so I needed to depend on Koon Heng's brother, who continues to remit $1,000 a month from overseas. It put a strain on the family."
Nowadays, he copes by taking it one day at a time.
He fixes breakfast for the younger Mr Lim and buys food from a coffee shop for lunch and dinner. He also bathes his son and cleans him after he goes to the toilet.
Mr Lim never stays away from home for too long, for fear that something might happen at home and his son would not be able to help himself.
"I don't consider myself great because this is the responsibility of a father. We have a debt to our children and to take care of them. I love my son, of course," he said.
"Seeing him in such a state is difficult, but I've come to accept it."
The early years after the accident were rough.
Koon Heng, who has two sisters and an elder brother, was prone to outbursts because of his frustrations in adapting to his handicap. Naturally, those around him bore the brunt of his tantrums.
A decade after the accident, he stopped feeling sorry for himself. After weight-training to strengthen his wrist, he managed to drink from a bottle and feed himself.
He also enrolled in information technology courses and later found a job as an IT assistant.
But he has stopped working and now remains at home.
Said Mr Lim: "I've not forced him to find a job because I trust that he knows what he wants to do in life."
But as age advances on him, Mr Lim fears for the future, because there is nobody else to care for his son.
His other children have their own families to worry about.
He added: "The only thing I can do is to stay healthy. If I fall sick, who else is there to take care of him?"
- Additional reporting by Ronald Loh
He dreaded worse outcomes
LUCKY: Mr Gary Yeo walked away from the crash with just a bloody arm. He was banned from driving for two years and fined $6,000. - TNP PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
In the past, Mr Gary Yeo thought nothing of driving after a few drinks at the pub.
A crash in 2010 changed his perspective.
He was driving home alone one night after attending a nightclub launch and fell asleep at the wheel.
Mr Yeo, then 28, was jolted from his nap when his Japanese hatchback hit a kerb at Fort Road. His car flipped a few times and landed two lanes away.
The freelance photographer said: "Reality struck me only after I crawled out of the car. I could have killed myself."
The crash left him dreading other worse outcomes.
COULD HAVE KILLED OTHERS
"I could have killed a pedestrian or another motorist," he said.
"People forget that after a night of partying, they are tired. The music and air-conditioning in the car can lull you to sleep. The list of things that can go wrong are endless when you drink and drive."
While Mr Yeo walked away from the crash with just a bloody arm, he failed a breathalyser test administered by the traffic cops.
Mr Yeo was slapped with a two-year driving ban and a $6,000 fine but not before the judge reminded him that he was "lucky to be alive".
His badly damaged car had to be scrapped. For the next three years, he had to take public transport before getting a new driver's licence.
"It was almost impossible to hide the reason of the crash from my parents," said Mr Yeo, who was then living with them.
"For a while, I had to endure their scolding. They reminded me that I was no longer a kid and my irresponsible act had repercussions."
Mr Yeo, who still enjoys drinking with his buddies at nightclubs, no longer drives after a night of partying.
"For $38, I can get a valet to drive me home whenever I'm sloshed," he said.
6 NABBED FOR SERIOUS TRAFFIC OFFENCES
- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
An early morning traffic operation on New Year's Day nabbed six people for serious traffic violations such as dangerous driving and drink driving.
The islandwide joint operation, involving Land Transport Authority and police, saw 91 summonses issued to motorists for infringements like illegal modifications and speeding.
Figures for motorists caught drink driving have shown a rising trend.
In 2011, 2,735 motorists were arrested for drink driving while in 2013, it was 3,019.
Between January and June last year, 1,543 motorists were arrested for drink driving, compared to 1,535 for the same period in 2013.