'Half my family is gone'

'Half my family is gone'
GRIEF: Mr Mohamed Amin Abdul Manap’s wife, Madam Josephine Cerdan Manap, holding a picture of her late husband.

She lost her 15-year-old daughter to brain cancer in January 2013.

Four months later, Madam Josephine Cerdan Manap's husband was involved in a road accident that left him with horrific spine and brain injuries, completely immobilising him.

His condition worsened and he died about a year later.

Yesterday, sales executive Lim Wei Hong, 27, was jailed two months and banned from driving for five years for causing grievous hurt through a negligent act.

The court heard how, on May 4, 2013, cabby Mohamed Amin Abdul Manap, 56, was taking a nap in his parked taxi on a service road connecting to Marine Parade Road at 4.35am when Lim's car crashed into the back of his vehicle.

The impact was so strong that it sent Mr Mohamed Amin's taxi surging forward, past an empty lot and crashing into another parked car.

Mr Mohamed Amin was hospitalised for 11 months before he died at Changi General Hospital on April 18 last year.

Court papers said Lim had fallen asleep at the wheel when the accident happened.

Wiping away tears and continually choking as she spoke, Madam Josephine, 51, told The New Paper at her four-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh yesterday: "Physically, I'm okay. But inside, I'm broken.

"From a happy family of four, it is just my 15-year-old son and me left. That is half of my family gone."

She said her daughter died at KK Women's and Children's Hospital after losing a one-year fight against brain cancer, just months before her father's accident happened.

She added that, following their daughter's death, Mr Mohamed Amin, who was the sole breadwinner, had taken it upon himself to clear her medical bills.

As a result, Mr Mohamed Amin, who became a full-time cabby in 2009, worked long shifts - sometimes not coming home for days, she said.

"He would keep spare clothes, a toothbrush and some toiletries in his car so that he could continue working as much as possible," said Madam Josephine.

She added that he would find a safe spot to park his taxi and take naps to recharge in between jobs.

"That way, he said he could always be ready to move off and pick up customers... and not waste time coming home. On good days, he could earn as much as $300 a day," she said.

Until that fateful morning on May 4, 2013.

Mr Mohamed Amin had parallel-parked his vehicle between two cars along the service road, she said. He then reclined his seat and slept.

But the cars in front and behind him later moved off, exposing Mr Mohamed Amin's vehicle.

After the accident, he lay injured inside his wrecked taxi. However, he was still conscious and asked a passer-by to phone his wife.

Madam Josephine said she was asleep when she received a phone call from an unknown woman.

"When she told me that something had happened to my husband, my heart sank and I felt like fainting.

"I was still grieving for my daughter and just a week before, I had a premonition that something might happen to my husband," she said.

Madam Josephine spent the next few weeks at the hospital and prayed hard that her husband would recover.

"He could still talk at first. But because he couldn't move at all, infections started developing all over his body. He also suffered a stroke.

"Watching him lie there and seeing his condition deteriorate, I can't even begin to describe the grief that overwhelmed me," she said.

On April 17 last year, Mr Mohamed Amin required a life support machine to breathe. He was also found unresponsive and had to be resuscitated that day. His family then decided not to continue with further resuscitation attempts and he died at 3.15pm the next day.


When asked if she would forgive the driver, Madam Josephine said: "At first I was very angry. But later on, I thought practically. What's done is done and he did not purposely harm my husband."

She added that Lim visited her husband a few times in hospital.

"The first time he came, he was with his father and girlfriend and he was crying. He is also suffering," she said. "I do forgive him."

When TNP visited Madam Josephine's flat yesterday, framed pictures of her late husband and daughter could be seen neatly placed on a shelf in the living room.

Madam Josephine said she plans to sell her flat as she is struggling to pay the monthly $860 mortgage. She has rented out one of the rooms to a man for extra income.

Madam Josephine, who used to be a housewife, also took up a job as a housekeeper, earning about $800 a month.

Fortunately, Mr Mohamed Amin's hospital bills of about $270,000 were mostly covered by his medical insurance.

"My son and I are still struggling to cope with my husband's absence. He was really important to us.

"There are so many ifs and I asked myself why this had to happen. Maybe it is fate, but life has to go on," she said.

This article was first published on May 16, 2015.
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