Granny helping hubby collect cardboard dies after BMW crashes into them
For 10 years, the elderly couple worked rain or shine on weekends to collect cardboard, earning under $1,000 a month.
She did it, said her son, to stay active and to accompany her husband.
They would drive their lorry to various sites and pick up recyclable materials. It became routine.
That was until a black BMW crashed into Madam Tan Powi Kim, 62, just before 7am along Collyer Quay on Saturday.
She and her husband were almost done loading cardboard onto their lorry when the accident occurred.
She was rushed to Singapore General Hospital, where she later died.
Her husband, Mr Cheng Kiat Yan, 68, suffered a fractured knee after the impact caused him to fall off the lorry.
The 45-year-old car driver has been arrested for a negligent act causing death, police said.
The family is still in shock.
Mr Goh Cherk Wui, 35, the couple's youngest child and only son, told The New Paper: "It was their weekly routine. They've never had an accident before.
"My mother was someone who sacrificed a lot for us. Now she's gone. I don't know how we are going to move on."
Speaking at his mother's wake in Tampines Central yesterday, Mr Goh, who works in the shipping industry, said his mother and stepfather had left home at about 5am on Saturday.
They drove to Collyer Quay and parked their lorry at a loading bay near the OUE Link Bridge.
After alighting, Mr Cheng climbed into the back of his lorry while his wife stood on the road near the back of the lorry and handed him the cardboard boxes.
They were about to pack up and leave at about 6.50am when a black BMW crashed into Madam Tan before smashing into the back of the lorry.
Mr Cheng told The New Paper in Mandarin: "It happened so fast. One moment I was on the lorry, the next I had fallen off."
He got up and saw his wife lying on the bonnet of the car.
He added that the car driver, who looked dazed, then alighted and stood beside his car.
"He didn't say anything. He didn't apologise or didn't come to help. Only when I told him to help me carry my wife onto the ground did he move."
Mr Cheng then called his stepson and told him what happened.
Said Mr Goh: "I was asleep when my phone rang. When I picked up, I heard my stepfather muttering.
"His words were: 'Mummy got hit, die liao'.
"I dropped my phone. The feeling was just horrible."
A police spokesman said they received a call for assistance at about 7.05am.
Officers established that the accident occurred between a car and two lorries.
A woman and man in their 60s were taken to the Singapore General Hospital, the spokesman said.
By the time Mr Goh arrived at SGH, his mother had died from her injuries, he said, choking up as he spoke.
His stepfather was treated for a fractured left kneecap.
Referring to the driver of the BMW, Mr Goh bowed his head and said: "I don't even want to know who he is. He took my mother away from us. I just hope justice would be done."
He didn't say anything. He didn't apologise or didn't come to help. Only when I told him to help me carry my wife onto the ground did he move.
- Mr Cheng Kiat Yan
She raised 3 kids alone after first husband's death
He lost his father when he was 12.
Over the next 13 years, it was his mother, Madam Tan Powi Kim, who single-handedly provided and cared for Mr Goh Cherk Wui and his two older sisters.
Mr Goh said: "She ran her noodle stall and put us through school. She was the one who brought us up - all on her own.
"Over the years, she never complained, not even when she was not feeling well. She always put the family first."
Madam Tan remained the family's pillar of strength until she died in the accident on Saturday morning.
Mr Goh said the family was devastated. His stepfather, Mr Cheng Kiat Yan, 68, who married his mother about 10 years ago, was also inconsolable.
Mr Cheng, whose left leg was in a cast after fracturing his kneecap, told The New Paper that doctors said he needed at least six months to recover from his injury.
When asked about his plans after he recovers, Mr Cheng looked solemn and quietly said: "I don't know."
Mr Goh told Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News that his nine-year-old son, who was diagnosed three years ago with autoimmune encephalitis - a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the brain - had been asking for his grandmother.
He told TNP: "She's been the one helping to care for my son, who cannot go out due to his condition. She and my mother-in-law would look after him on weekdays."
His mother would then join his stepfather, who worked as a rag-and-bone man, to collect cardboard and other recyclable materials on weekends.
"She liked it. It was her way to keep active. They did it every week and when I was younger, I also joined them sometimes."
He said his sisters had planned a trip to Bangkok with their mother.
"They were supposed to go in June. They had even booked the plane tickets.
"But now..." he said, his voice trailing off.
The funeral will be held on Wednesday.
Over the years, she never complained, not even when she was not feeling well. She always put the family first.
- Mr Goh Cherk Wui on his mum