Tanjong Pagar crash victims were charitable people: Friend
Friend of Tanjong Pagar crash victims says three of them did volunteer work to help elderly hours before tragedy
They loved fast cars and luxury watches, lived flashy lifestyles and were the envy of many on social media.
But the five men who were killed in the Tanjong Pagar crash also believed in helping the less fortunate.
Mr Jonathan Long, 29, was the driver of the white BMW M4 coupe that crashed into a shophouse last Saturday morning, the second day of Chinese New Year.
He died along with four others in the car - Mr Eugene Yap, 29, Mr Elvin Tan Yong Hao, 28, Mr Wilson Teo Qi Xiang, 26, and Mr Gary Wong Hong Chieh, 29.
Mr Long's girlfriend Raybe Oh Siew Huey, 26, is still in critical condition in the hospital, having suffered severe burns while trying to save her boyfriend and the others.
Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Ethan Keng, 28, a friend of the group, revealed that just hours before the incident, some of them were packing and distributing food to the elderly. He said Mr Long, Ms Oh and Mr Tan were volunteering with charity organisation Hopes In Meals on the first day of Chinese New Year, helping to give out meals to low-income seniors living in rental flats at York Hill Estate in Tiong Bahru.
"They were charitable people, taking time out at least two or three times a year to help the elderly," said Mr Keng, an insurance agent.
"Over the past few days, many people have been saying nasty things about them, but they don't know what they were really like."
A spokesman for Hopes In Meals said: "They were very helpful and nice as volunteers... Ms Raybe Oh also helped us to pack goodie bags (for the elderly)."
Mr Keng said the group grew close over the past two years or so. "They were all self-made, and never took money from friends or family to buy the things they wanted," he said. "They didn't cheat or scam, and were nice people who cared deeply for those around them."
He added that he was closest to Mr Tan, having known him for about seven years.
"Elvin is an amazing brother, and there were times I would call him at 2am because I needed someone (to talk to) and he'll come meet me," he said. "But he was also the kind of guy who was always late for everything."
Mr Tan's wake is being held at Singapore Funeral Parlour in Tampines.
Asked what he thought of the comments and speculation on social media, Mr Keng acknowledged that the crash could have been avoided, but urged the public to empathise with the family of the victims and avoid making hurtful comments.
"Whatever they did, you know, I agree it's a stupid accident," he said. "But they have paid for it with their lives."
Mr Keng said he would miss his friend dearly.
"Rest well, Elvin, catch up with you when I see you," he said with tears in his eyes.
"This time, I'm the one who's late."
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NG KENG GENE