From accountant to PE teacher

From accountant to PE teacher
Mr Irving Ng with his wife Adila.

She will never forget Teddy Bear's words.

It was 2013 and Ms Joanne Lee was in the same team as Teddy Bear, aka South-east Asia Games medallist Irving Ng, at the Singapore Masters Swimming Meet .

She felt she was the weakest link who did not deserve to swim.

But the late Mr Ng believed otherwise, and the words he said to her have remained with her and took on greater strength after his sudden death on Saturday.

"He said it didn't matter if we didn't win a medal, it just mattered that we finished the race," she said in an e-mail tribute she sent to The New Paper.

Their team won gold that day.

Ms Lee, 40, a senior manager and head of strategic communications at NTUC Income, used to train with Mr Ng in the 80s with the now-defunct People's Association Youth Swimming Club (PAYSC) from 1982 to 1986.

She said: "We reconnected via Facebook in 2008 and subsequently developed a friendship as adults...

"I was extremely impressed at how he'd given up a lucrative job as a successful accountant to serve as a physical education teacher.

"When I asked why he was willing to take a significant pay cut, he said that he wanted to, in his own words, 'give back to the national sporting community which supported me so well in my own sporting endeavours'."

Mr Ng, 43, had recently been nominated for a President's Award for Teaching.

The Hai Sing Catholic School teacher taught both physical education and elements of business skills, working primarily with Normal (Technical) students.

His wife, 38, who wished to be known as Adila, said his sudden death was hard to take.

Mr Ng left home on Saturday night for his routine run, but never returned.

He was found without a pulse on Cecil Street where a passer-by attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation before he was sent to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

Ms Adila was already in bed when she realised her husband's jog was taking much longer than it usually did.

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