Singapore

Birthday celebration turns to death of a son

The family was waiting for the only son to return home to celebrate his sister’s birthday.

Instead, they received a call that he was in an accident, and later, that he died.

On Nov 3, Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai’s family was waiting for him to return home to celebrate his second sister’s birthday.

They were all prepared and had already bought presents.

But in a tragic twist, they received a call past noon informing them of the terrible news, and found out later that he died from his injuries.

Speaking to the media at the wake on Monday (Nov 5), the sister, who wanted to be known only as Ms Liu, said the family is still finding it difficult to come to terms with his death.

“What was meant to be my birthday... turned into the day my brother died,” she said.

CFC Liu, who has two older sisters, died in a vehicular accident on Saturday morning at Jalan Murai training area.

He was a transport operator from the SAF’s Transport Hub West, having been posted there since September, and was operating a Land Rover as part of a field training exercise when a Bionix vehicle reversed into his vehicle.

He lost consciousness and was pronounced dead at 10.35am.

His father, who wanted to be known only as Mr Liu, said that he did not speak to his son for about 10 days because he was in China with his wife.

He said: “We rushed back because for our daughter’s birthday and we bought presents and were all ready to celebrate with the three children.

“But then this happened.”

Ms Liu described her brother as a kind and cheerful boy who attended and served regularly in Truth Baptist Church, helping the youth in their schoolwork.

She said: “He grew up in church, and often served others, and has also gone for several mission trips to Thailand.

“He texted us that he wanted to apply for military leave to go to Northern Thailand in December to help children in need.” 

The family said they have lived here for more than a decade. Mr Liu said that his son wanted to complete his studies and become an engineer.

“He takes care of his mother and shares a lot of things with her,” he said. “He is my good and filial son.”

CFC Liu’s mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer around April, around the same time that he enlisted in the army.

But the family said he had enjoyed his time in the army, and was very proud to be serving the country.

His sister said: “As his family member, I’m very proud that he sacrificed himself for the country.”

She added that the family was in the process of applying for citizenship when the accident happened.

“He wanted to be a true son of Singapore,” she said. “But after this happened, he can’t become a Singaporean anymore.”

His father said: “I was heartbroken when I received the news, he was my son. But he was serving his duty for Singapore.”

The family declined to comment on the investigations by Mindef, but implored the public not to speculate on the information circulating online.

His sister added that she hopes Singaporeans will come to send her brother off.

“I sincerely hope that Singaporeans will come for his final send-off tomorrow (Nov 6)... he sacrificed for his country. Let him see, for the last time, the people of Singapore.”

Chief of Army, Brigadier-General Goh Si Hou, told the media at Sungei Gedong camp on Monday (Nov 5) that the army is supporting the family in this time of grief.

He said: “This unfortunate training accident should not have happened. 

“The police and the army are conducting its investigations and I ask that we allow the investigations to run its course, and not jump to conclusions about the causes of the accident.

“A separate, independent COI will also be convened to investigate the cause of this incident.”

He added that a safety timeout has been called in the aftermath of this incident for both local and overseas training. 

“The time will be used to emphasise safety at all levels, for the soldiers to be able to go through vehicle drills at the trainer and commander’s level to make sure we have proper supervision in place and to ensure safety on the ground,” he said.

“At the systems level, we are also taking this opportunity to review all high risk training to make sure both our training as well as safety systems are in place.”

CFC Liu’s wake is held at Block 787D Woodlands Crescent and his coffin will leave for Mandai crematorium at 12.20pm tomorrow (Nov 6).

accident