Final farewell for Pei Shan
Family, friends say final goodbye to teen trapped in baby's body
They had all come to say goodbye to a girl with "a small body but a big heart".
About 100 family members and friends filed in line, awaiting their turn to place a stalk of flower into the coffin of Teo Pei Shan, the teenager trapped in a toddler's body.
There were brave smiles and tears among those who had turned up at her home in Pasir Ris for the final send-off.
Pei Shan died on Tuesday, just two weeks shy of her 18th birthday on Aug 5.
The teenager was born with a rare disease that robbed her of the ability to walk or breathe on her own, and it had severely stunted her growth since she was four months old.
After a short service in Mandarin, she was lifted into a hearse that had been decorated with bright and cheery balloon sculptures of her favourite cartoon character, My Melody.
Mr Teo Qi Kuang, 57, holds her daughter's portrait as he walks beside his wife Madam Chew Siew Cheng, 47, to a viewing gallery at Mandai Crematorium shortly before the cremation. TNP PHOTO: JEREMY LONG
At Mandai Crematorium, those who knew Pei Shan gave touching eulogies.
Her positive demeanour despite her condition had clearly made a difference to people, said her piano teacher of more than two years, Ms Mary Yoon.
Ms Yoon, 55, spoke of how Pei Shan enjoyed playing the piano and always looked forward to her next concert or event.
"She lived her life to make people smile. She was a blessing to me too, I believe she is in heaven now," she said.
The loss is especially hard for the teen's parents, who had struggled financially to take care of Pei Shan for the past 17 years.
Madam Chew tears up as family and friends join the procession at the end of a five-day wake at her Pasir Ris home. TNP PHOTO: JEREMY LONG
Pei Shan's father, Mr Teo Qi Kuang, 57, told The New Paper on Sunday: "I don't know what to say. I am still at a loss. We will keep her room the way it is, of course, to remember her by."
Her mother, Madam Chew Siew Cheng, 47, wished to thank the people who turned up at the wake and had showered the family with support over the years.
"She is everyone's child," she said.
Over the past five days, hundreds of people - including strangers, celebrities and politicians - turned up to offer their respects.
About 100 family members and friends paid their respects at Mandai Crematorium. TNP PHOTO: NG JUN SEN
SYMBOL OF HOPE
Funeral director Alvin Goh of An Lok Funeral Services, who helped put together the entire event pro bono for the family, said five days is a long time in the funeral business.
But Mr Goh, 40, warmed to the idea when he was reminded again that Pei Shan was a symbol of hope to many people.
He said: "There were many well-wishers and donors who wanted to pay their final respects.
"It is never easy for parents to have to grieve for their child. As a parent myself, I feel for them. I hope Pei Shan's positive outlook in life will inspire them to move forward."
TNP PHOTO: JEREMY LONG