Mother of teen killed in Bedok basketball court tragedy: 'I worked only for my son. Now I don't know who to work for'
Mum says her only child liked singing and playing the keyboard, and aspired to be a pilot
After returning home from the basketball court, the lanky teenager could be heard singing pop songs and playing the keyboard in his room, or shouting excitedly during gaming sessions with his friends.
This would often go on past 11pm, when his mother, Madam Rahimah Lee Abdullah, would leave for her night shift as a petrol station attendant in Pasir Ris.
But since Monday, the three-room Housing Board flat in Bedokwhere mother and son lived with his father and maternal grandmother, has been noticeably quieter.
Madam Rahimah, 62, told The Straits Times that at about 9pm that day, a knock on the door from the police woke her up. The officers told her that her son, Mohd Ridwan, 17, had been in an accident on the basketball court. He later died of injuries.
"I live a very simple life; I worked only for my son. Now I don't know who to work for," said a heartbroken Madam Rahimah, as her eyes filled with tears.
On Monday, Ridwan was playing basketball with a friend at the court near Block 18 Bedok South Road when the backboard structure of the hoop fell on him. The police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force were called at about 8.45pm.
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central student was unconscious when he was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he died. A copy of his death certificate said the condition leading to his death was a head injury.
When ST visited his home yesterday, the teen's bunk bed was made, his numerous pairs of basketball shoes sat on a shoe rack in the living room, and his notes on unmanned aircraft systems were left untouched in the bedroom he shared with their maid, Ms Maia Ahmad.
"He wanted to be a pilot," Madam Rahimah said, as she retrieved a near perfect report card from ITE College Central. "He was very clever. One of his friends said he was top in the class."
She spoke of how her only child loved basketball so much he would head to the court with his friends almost daily since primary school days. "Every day, he would go. There was hardly a day he wouldn't go there to play," she said.
Madam Rahimah, whose husband runs a food stall, said Ridwan had played for his school team since primary school.
"He was tall and strong so, of course, he was very good."
Ms Maia, who has been with the family for two years, showed ST piles of the teenager's basketball jerseys and T-shirts folded neatly in his cupboard. The 38-year-old from Bandung, Indonesia, sleeps on the lower bunk while the boy slept on the top bunk.
After relating how Ridwan would often sing and play the keyboard before going to bed, she got out her phone to play a video clip of him performing his cover of Calum Scott's song, You Are The Reason.
Friends, family and former teachers have visited Ridwan's home and offered their condolences.
Deputy Prime Minister and MP for East Coast GRC Heng Swee Keat also visited the family on Tuesday morning to offer his condolences and support.
"He told me they would investigate and find out what happened, and I said, 'Yes, please find out...' The basketball hoop is supposed to be quite new," said Madam Rahimah, noting reports that the concrete slabs of the basketball court and a new hoop structure were installed in April last year.
Glancing at the clock that read 12.45pm, she chuckled and said that Ridwan would usually be having breakfast then, and retrieved his favourite cereal - Fruity Pebbles - from the kitchen.
"I told Maia she can eat all this... Everything makes me think of him," she said.
"It has been quiet and it has been very difficult because my son was very kind. But we said our prayers yesterday... He was a good boy, I think he will go to heaven."