'He was not trying to take selfie'

'He was not trying to take selfie'
TRAGIC: Mr Mohamed Aslam Shahul, who died while on a graduation trip with his friends, was buried yesterday.

He was not attempting to take a selfie when he fell into the sea and died.

Though details were scant about why Mr Mohamed Aslam Shahul was on the 2m-high rock on Nusa Lembongan island in south of Bali, his distraught friends, some of whom were there with him, rubbished the selfie claim that was reported earlier by Indonesian media.

Mr Aslam's polytechnic lecturer, who declined to be named, also said: "He was not trying to take a selfie, unlike what was reported. That was what I heard from my students.

"Everyone is too upset now."

The 21-year-old had just graduated from Temasek Polytechnic on Tuesday. To celebrate, he and eight polytechnic friends travelled to Bali on what was to be a six-day trip.

They left on Thursday and on Friday, they went to Nusa Lembongan - about an hour and a half via speedboat from Bali's southernmost point of Nusa Dua - known for its pristine waters, dive sites and fast currents.

Mr Aslam's body was found 5m deep in the water, said Indonesian authorities.

The New Paper on Sunday understands that the friends were standing close to Mr Aslam when he fell. Some of them dived in to try to rescue him but were hampered by strong waves.

A friend who travelled with Mr Aslam tweeted after the incident: "I'm sorry I couldn't do more. I was scared. I'm so sorry."

FUNERAL

More than a hundred friends and relatives turned up for his funeral at his Hougang home yesterday morning.

They crammed into the narrow fourth-storey corridor, reciting prayers. Some of them cried as they did so.

Mr Aslam's parents and two siblings were too distraught to speak to the media.

One of the eight friends told TNPS that he was traumatised by the incident.

Mr Ong Haoying, who is in his 20s, said: "We had been planning this trip for quite a long time. I am extremely saddened by what happened."

It was the first time the group had travelled together.

When asked what happened, Mr Ong declined to give details out of respect for the family.

Mr Aslam had dreams of becoming an aeronautics engineer.

"He loved anything to do with planes, everyone who knew him knew that," said an ex-schoolmate from Yio Chu Kang Primary School, who requested not to be named.

"He was always motivated to enter that field. It is such a pity that this happened."

Friends from Xinmin Secondary School painted a portrait of a sporty, lively young man who was a fan of Arsenal football club.

Mr Sylvester Wong, a secondary school friend, said: "He was my junior who played basketball with me. I remember his sportiness most of all.

"He was cheerful and outgoing."

Mr Aslam was to have enlisted in the Home Team Academy on Oct 6.

Mr Ong said: "He was a great guy. We all miss him dearly."

Mr Aslam's body was buried at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery yesterday afternoon.


This article was first published on May 24, 2015.
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