We thought we still had time

We thought we still had time
Loss: Madam Ang Kim Heok is still heartbroken over the loss of her husband, Mr Toh Hno Soi
PHOTO: The New Paper

He was looking forward to two major family occasions - his 40th wedding anniversary celebration in January and the arrival of his first paternal grandchild in June.

Tragically, he was killed in December last year, the victim of a horrific road accident caused by a speeding driver who was also high on drugs.

Mr Toh Hno Soi, 59, died on the spot when a car driven by Ong Heng Guan, 25, switched lanes at high speed and struck his lorry.

The accident happened on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) slip road towards Bukit Panjang Road at about 3am on Dec 23.

Ong was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for eight years last week for dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs. (See report above.)

Mr Toh's wife, Madam Ang Kim Heok, 58, told The New Paper in Mandarin yesterday that her husband was a simple man who loved his family.

The kitchen helper in an eatery said that he had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first paternal grandchild, who was born last week.

"He would have been delighted to find out that it's a girl. He doted on girls a lot," she said.

The couple's oldest child, Madam Yvonne Toh, 39, had already given them two maternal grandchildren - a five-year-old boy and a girl, who is 18 months old.

Madam Ang said: "He really loved our granddaughter. Her name is Le En and all of us call her En En but he used to call her Le Le as a pet name. After he died, we started calling her Le Le as well."

The couple also have 37-year-old identical twin sons - Mr Toh Hong Huat, a contractor, and Mr Toh Hong Heng, who helped his father with his delivery work.

Madam Ang said that her husband was excited when he found out Mr Toh Hong Heng's wife was pregnant last year.

"He told me that he thought of a name for our grandchild. But he never told me the name," she said.

Mr Toh Hong Heng said that a few weeks before his father died, he said that he had thought of a name for the baby.

"But I told him that it was still early as we did not know the baby's sex yet and we still had time to think of names," he said. "I regret not letting him tell me the name he had thought of."

Madam Ang said that her husband had also planned to take her out to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year. "He said that he would be less busy at work this year and wanted to take me out to have fun. But he died soon after he said that," she said. Madam Toh said her parents did not get married in January, but Mr Toh felt that it would be nice to celebrate then because he and his wife have birthdays in that month. "My father doesn't usually celebrate his wedding anniversary. But he felt that this one was special," she said.

UPSET WITH DRIVER

Given the circumstances of his death, it is not surprising that his family is upset with Ong.

They have a message for him: You killed our loved one and you did not even come to his funeral to pay respects and say sorry.

During an earlier interview in their Bukit Panjang maisonette last Friday, a tearful Madam Toh said that her father's death was sudden and her family wanted some closure.

"We don't know what the driver looks like. He did not show up for my father's funeral," she said.

"We accept that it was an accident, but the driver didn't even try to get in touch with us."

She said the family did not attend the court hearing when Ong was sentenced but she read newspaper reports that he had expressed remorse and told the judge he wanted to apologise to the family.

"As far as we know, he made no attempt to contact us, much less apologise," she said.

Mr Toh's wife and sons echoed Madam Toh's sentiments about Ong.

Madam Ang said: "It's only natural to apologise after doing something wrong. He killed someone so, of course, he should apologise."

But she said with a resigned tone: "My husband is already dead. There is no point in being angry with him."

But Mr Toh Hong Huat said: "It's hard not to be angry with him. We're not being difficult. We just want some closure from him, or through his parents or his siblings or friends."

The day they found out about Mr Toh's death is painfully etched in their memories.

Said Madam Toh: "He'd usually be home by 1 or 2am. I kept calling his mobile phone when he didn't get home but he did not pick up.

"I called again at about 5am and a policeman answered. I was shocked. I asked: 'Who are you? Why is my dad's phone with you?'"

"Then we found out about his accident and rushed to the scene," Madam Toh added, explaining that her father often made late-night deliveries.

His death was especially poignant because they had just celebrated the twins' birthday with dinner at a coffee shop the night before. Madam Ang said: "My husband really took care of us. After I had my twins, he employed a maid to look after us."

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