Singapore

Over 100 family members, friends pay last respects to Ben Goi

The late businessman described as 'kind, generous and thoughtful'

The late businessman Ben Goi made it a point to remember the birthdays of all his friends, sending them greetings by text messaging even when he was travelling.

Once, he even got a friend a birthday cake for a surprise party when he realised it was missing one, said Mr Christopher Sin, 47, sharing anecdotes about his friend of 25 years.

Mr Sin, a manager in the semiconductor industry, described Mr Goi as a man without airs despite being the son of a Singapore billionaire.

"We are from different backgrounds but he doesn't care where you're from.

"If he calls you a friend, you are his equal," said Mr Sin, adding that Mr Goi would affectionately call him dai lo, or big brother in Cantonese.

"He was someone who showed his love through his actions. Whatever kindness you showed him, he would repay you 10 times."

Mr Sin was among more than 100 friends and family members who paid their last respects yesterday morning to Mr Goi, the youngest of Popiah King Sam Goi's four children. The family declined to be interviewed.

Mr Ben Goi was chief operating officer of Tee Yih Jia, a food manufacturing business, which his father expanded from a manufacturer of popiah skin into a global Asian food company.

He was 43 when he died of a stroke in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

In his eulogy at Mandai, Mr Sam Goi said in Mandarin: "I hope my youngest son can have a happy life in heaven as he did in life. I must thank everyone for coming to my place and sending him off. I'm glad so many people will think of him.

'He must feel very happy on his way to heaven."

He also thanked everyone who paid their respects over the Chinese New Year period, including politicians. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan was among those seen speaking to Mr Sam Goi at the family home yesterday.

On Monday, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, as well as former foreign minister George Yeo, were seen at the wake.

Mr Sam Goi was No. 14 on Forbes' Singapore's 50 Richest list last year, with an estimated fortune of US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion).

Mr Ben Goi's wife is Malaysia-born former TV actress Tracy Lee, who gave birth to their first child, a son, in February last year.

His sister Laureen Goi, the second of Mr Sam Goi's four children, told Shin Min Daily News on Tuesday that her brother had gone to KL about a week earlier to visit his wife's family for Chinese New Year.

Ms Lee sobbed after placing flowers on her husband's casket.

She later turned away from the crowd to compose herself.

During the cremation service, she was heard crying out in Mandarin: "Goodbye, hubby, goodbye. I will take care of your parents. Let's meet again in heaven."

Death