Dead biker's dad: No point hating man who caused crash
For close to a year, he thought his only son was responsible for the accident that took his life.
When The New Paper told him that his son, a motorcyclist who was then 35, was an innocent victim of the crash, he was so shocked that he walked into the kitchen and broke down.
Mr Liow Chwee Hor, 69, said: "I feel extremely sad and hurt knowing that my son died for nothing."
His son, Mr Liow Yong Seng, was the only fatal victim in a nine-vehicle pile-up on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) in June last year. It was caused by a motorist who braked abruptly to raise both his middle fingers at another motorcyclist.
The driver, Pang Chon Seng, 52, was sentenced earlier this month to four months' jail for reckless driving and disqualified from driving for four years.
Almost a year after the tragedy, Mr Liow and his wife, Madam Soh Ah Hua, have yet to come to terms with their son's death.
Mr Liow said he still sends text messages to his son's mobile number regularly in the hope that his son would be able to "read" them.
"I hope he will be able to read the heartfelt messages," he said in an interview in Mandarin at their three-room flat at Hougang Avenue 5.
As he scrolled through the messages on his phone, Mr Liow tried to fight back his tears.
Recalling the accident, Mr Liow said he learnt about his son's death the day after it happened.
His daughter was afraid that her elderly parents would not be able to deal with the tragedy.
Mr Liow said he burst into tears when he heard the news.
He said: "We painstakingly brought our son up for 35 years but he was gone in just a second."
He also spoke movingly of his son.
"It was especially painful losing him as he was very filial towards us. He respected us and never once argued with us."
Mr Liow said his son would take him for his eye treatment weekly despite his busy work schedule.
He declined to talk about his son's job but said that he worked shifts.
The younger Mr Liow was planning to marry his fiancee next year and had registered to buy a flat.
He had asked his parents to move in with him after the flat was ready but sadly, did not live to see his plans come to fruition.
Mr Liow said: "He was our everything and prepared our future for us. But now all is gone."
He was furious when his son bought a motorcycle as he had heard of the many road accidents involving motorcycles.
He said: "I knew it was very dangerous."
But his son assured him that he would be careful. And apart from some minor accidents, he proved it by riding safely for more than 10 years.
Eventually, Mr Liow grew to accept his son's love for motorcycles.
Tearing, he said: "It has been a year. But I will always remember him until the moment I die."
When his son was alive, he would hear the sound of the metal gate opening every afternoon when his son got home from work.
His son would often sit on the couch in the living room and play his video games.
But now he no longer gets to hear those familiar sounds.
Asked if he will forgive Pang for causing the accident that took his son's life, Mr Liow said it was pointless to hate.
"I can forgive him or hate him but it will never bring my son back to life."
With a heavy heart, Mr Liow advises young motorcyclists to be careful when on the roads.
"Every parent will feel the same if their child gets into an accident. And it is a kind of pain no parent will want to go through," he said.
We painstakingly brought our son up for 35 years but he was gone in just a second.
- Mr Liow Chwee Hor
He braked just to make rude gesture
JAILED: Pang Chon Seng was sentenced to four months' jail and banned from driving for four years.
He braked abruptly on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) just to show both his middle fingers at a motorcyclist.
Pang Chon Seng's reckless act sparked a nine-vehicle pile-up that killed a motorcyclist in June last year.
On June 3 this year, the 52-year-old workshop manager was sentenced to four months' jail for reckless driving.
He was also disqualified from driving for four years.
Pang was driving his black Toyota Wish on the day of the accident when, without warning, he abruptly swerved from lane to lane to harass motorcyclist Johann Johari Nazir.
Mr Johann, whose wife was riding pillion, felt Pang was driving too close to him and stopped his motorcycle at a road shoulder near Toh Guan Road.
Pang then braked abruptly to make the rude gesture to Mr Johann. His action caused three chain collisions involving nine vehicles. (See infographic below.)
The driver of a prime mover directly behind Pang's car jammed his brakes to avoid a collision.
Mr Lim Kok Aun, 48, whose lorry was behind the prime mover, also braked hard.
This caused his vehicle to veer to the right and spin onto the path of motorcyclist Liow Yong Seng, which was on the first lane
Mr Liow could not stop in time andhis motorcycle collided with the lorry.
The impact was so great that the motorcycle broke into two and was flung across the expressway.
Mr Liow was found dead under the lorry.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Rachel Lee said Pang, who left the scene after the pile-up, had "deliberately chosen to persist in a continuous and prolonged dangerous manner of driving", The Straits Times reported.
Pang's lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, said his client had gone after Mr Johann because he thought he had seen someone on a motorcycle taking photographs of him and wanted to get a closer look.
DPP Lee said investigations had found no evidence of these photographs and even if that had been the case, Pang's reaction was still disproportionate.
For his part in Mr Liow's death, lorry driver Lim was fined $7,000 and disqualified from driving for four years.
The prosecution argued that he had failed to keep a safe distance from the prime mover or watch the road, hence contributing to the accident.
BY THE numbers
Number of reckless driving cases
LAST YEAR: 230
This dip in numbers spells hope for road safety in Singapore, as reckless driving is one of the main causes of accidents in Singapore, Mr Gopinath Menon, 70, a road safety expert, told The New Paper.
Number of cases related to road bullying, or road rage
LAST YEAR : 68
Mr Gopinath said road rage incidents were dangerous and could lead to accidents if motorists were out of control. "Motorists should follow the rules of the road. This would mean safer roads for everyone."