NEA helps friends locate man's niche

NEA helps friends locate man's niche
Birds eye view of the blocks of niches arranged in a cluster of radiating spokes, at the Mount Vernon Columbarium.

SINGAPORE- Thirty years ago today, a young life was snuffed out by lightning which struck a tent in Sembawang.

Mr Neo Chai Hock, then 21, was a helicopter pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force when he died during a military exercise in 1983.

Two of his friends, Mr Allan Tay and Mr Fred Tan, both 51, are grateful to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for its efficiency in helping them locate his niche, where they will pay their respects with the family of Mr Neo on Saturday.

Said Mr Tay: "I went to Mount Vernon to pay my overdue respects to a good friend (last month but) I was unable to find his niche."

The freelance photographer and writer dropped the NEA an e-mail query on Nov 8 and was pleasantly surprised when they got back to him the next working day.

The agency had forwarded the request to Mr Neo's sister, Ms Alison Neo, 63, who provided Mr Tay with his new resting place in the Garden of Remembrance columbarium at Old Choa Chu Kang Road.

Mr Tay praised NEA: "(Its) thoughtfulness has made it possible for my friends and I to light a candle for our friend on the 30th year of his death."

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