Vietnamese woman's death fall: What to do now that she's gone?

Vietnamese woman's death fall: What to do now that she's gone?
DEVASTATED: (Above) Mr Le Van Bon is at a loss after the demise of his daughter.

His daughter is dead.

And now, he is not sure who will care for her young daughter.

She was the sole breadwinner of the family, but her life ended prematurely when she fell from a viaduct.

And with her husband's whereabouts unknown, the family does not know what will happen to the child.

Ms Ho Chieu, 25, died on Tuesday when she fell to her death from the viaduct of West Coast Highway, near VivoCity.

She had been travelling to Chinatown with her friend on his motorcycle when she jumped off the bike and then the viaduct, which is about six storeys above ground.

A car slammed into her before she landed on Telok Blangah Road.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

Ms Ho's father, Mr Le Van Bon, 75, a retired delivery driver, flew into Singapore from Vietnam on Wednesday night.

He told The New Paper in Vietnamese that his seven-year-old granddaughter could not believe it when told her mother was dead.

He said: "She asked on Tuesday, 'Why is my mother dead? She's supposed to return home in two days'.

We don't know what's going to happen next. We don't know who's going to raise the girl.

We'll have to decide when we get back."

Mr Le, who looked sullen and spoke little during the hour-long interview, said the girl's biological father has not been seen or heard from since he was jailed in Vietnam after her birth.

He added that his wife, who is in her 50s, their younger daughter, 17, and granddaughter broke down and wept after they heard the news from Ms Ho's friends.

Ms Ho, who sold coffee from their home in Vietnam, was the family's sole breadwinner for seven years, he said.

"Every morning, she would wake up at about 5am and work till about 8pm.

She sold each cup of coffee for 30 cents and earned about S$12 a day.

"She would also do the household chores and take care of the family.

She was a very caring and obedient daughter," he said.

VOICES SAID MUM WAS DEAD

Mr Le said the last time he heard from his daughter was on Monday night, a day before she died.

"That night, she heard voices telling her that her mother was dead.

So she phoned home and could only be comforted after hearing her mother's voice," he said.

He said he was considering coming out of retirement and selling food from their home to provide for his family.

"What to do? Otherwise we have no money. My wife and I are ill and need medication.

But selling food for a living in Vietnam is tough because there are many such households doing the same."

Ms Ho's friend, 50, a Singaporean, who was with her that day, told The New Paper that he had met her when he was in Vietnam for a holiday seven years ago.

"We exchanged numbers and kept in contact via phone calls or text messages.

She would occasionally fly to Singapore to visit her friends living here."

He said Ms Ho had occasionally complained about the stress of being her family's sole breadwinner.

She had also complained that she was hearing voices in her head over the past week so he decided to take her to consult a medium on Tuesday.

That day, they were heading towards Chinatown on the West Coast Highway when she jumped off his motorcycle.

The next thing he knew, she was at the viaduct railings before she jumped, he said.

Undertaker Roland Tay is helping Ms Ho's family with funeral and cremation arrangements.

Said Mr Le: "I hope to fly back with my daughter's ashes as soon as possible. I've no mood to stay here any longer than necessary.

We're all heartbroken. She was a good daughter and now she's gone."

rloh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 6, 2015.
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HELPLINES
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS):1800-2214444
Singapore Association for Mental Health:1800-2837019
Sage Counselling Centre:1800-5555555
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling:1800-3535800

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