Family seeking to get closure after man, 79, dies in Tiong Bahru accident

Family seeking to get closure after man, 79, dies in Tiong Bahru accident

He drove past an accident near his Tiong Bahru home on his way to pick his father up from the mosque last Friday.

But Mr Shaik Alawdin Mohd Habeeb, 79, was not there.

For about 30 minutes, senior project engineer Mohd Rafiq, 41, looked around and wondered where he was.

"I was searching for him after praying at the mosque, but couldn't find him at his usual spot. Then I got a call from the hospital."

It dawned on him that his father had been the victim of the accident he had driven past. Mr Alawdin died two days later.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Mr Mohd Rafiq said he is still grappling with the fact that his father is gone, especially since he is not clear about how the elderly man died.

He even went to the scene to take photos to try piecing together how it happened, but was unsuccessful.

"I don't know how the two vehicles could have crashed and hit my father," he said.

A police spokesman confirmed that the accident happened at 11.55am last Friday, at the junction of Lower Delta Road and Tiong Bahru Road. Investigations are ongoing.

Mr Alawdin had been walking to a nearby mosque when he was involved in a collision between a taxi and a blue car.

The taxi careened and hit a lamp post. The front of the car was mangled.

The senior citizen had head injuries and a fractured arm and was sent to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) unconscious, said a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman.

When Mr Rafiq, one of six siblings in the family, drove past the accident after 1pm, he saw a huge crowd, but did not realise his father was involved until the call from SGH.

Even then, he had hoped for the best.

"They told me it was a cyclist, so I thought there could have been some mistake there and it wasn't my father who was seriously injured," he said.

His worst fears were confirmed when he saw his father in the hospital bed, unconscious.

"His arm was fractured. His ribs were broken and had punctured one of his lungs. He had difficulty breathing. The doctors said his pancreas was affected, too."

Yet the family clung on to the last shred of hope and prayed fervently for the active patriarch to pull through. But he died of a brain haemorrhage two days later.

Mr Rafiq and his family are still coming to terms with their loss.

"We look around the flat and it feels like he's still around. We can't digest the fact that he's gone," he said.

His father came to Singapore from India in 2004 and is a permanent resident. The rest of the family are Singaporeans.

Mr Alawdin, who was a teacher in India, was very close to his grandchildren, often tutoring them in mathematics, mother tongue and religious studies.

"My father was exceptionally good at algebra and differentiation. He was supposed to tutor my son in maths and higher mother tongue for his PSLE next year. Now I don't know who will take his place," said Mr Rafiq.

Jannathul Fathimah Haja Sheik Allaudeen, 21, and her younger sister, polytechnic student Rabiathul Fajria, 20, said their grandfather was like a friend to them.

Ms Fathimah, an undergraduate, was in India with her mother when Mr Alawdin was injured and did not make it home in time to see him. The bad news came just as their plane was about to take off.

HEALTHY

"He was our only grandparent left. We thought he would live to an old age because he was so healthy," she said.

Mr Alawdin would often walk from home to the mosque, about 1.2km away, without any problem. He had been a cashier in his son-in-law's restaurant for more than five years.

Mr Rafiq and his family are appealing for witnesses and the drivers involved in the accident to come forward.

"We lost our father to an unnatural cause. If nobody comes forward, we'll never know what exactly happened that led to his death.

"We need to know who was at fault so that justice can be served," said Mr Rafiq


This article was first published on January 8, 2015.
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