Race no barrier in sharing grief

PHOTO: The Star screengrab

BATU PAHAT - Race is no barrier for two mothers who share the similar pain of losing a child as seen in the relationship of Iryanti Kasman and Lim See Ley.

After receiving the devastating news about the death of Lim's daughter Tan Thin Thin in the Chiang Mai bus crash that claimed the lives of 13 Malaysians last Sunday, Iryanti, 35, had never left her side.

Iryanti, who affectionately calls the 60-year-old Lim "Mummy", was seen constantly sitting by her side comforting her while she grieved for Thin Thin at the Hoon Cheow Tong Association funeral parlour here.

"I deeply understand her pain as I, too, lost my 11-year-old son to sickness some five years ago," said Iryanti, a mother of five.

She added that Lim had offered her a lot of emotional support and comfort when her son died and now it was her turn to do the same for the woman that she considered as her godmother.

"It breaks my heart to see her in such a state as she has not been able to stop crying since learning about Thin Thin's death.

"I try my best to be there for her and make sure she has something to eat so she does not fall sick," she told The Star here on Friday when Thin Thin's remains were sent off for cremation.

The two met through Iryanti's husband 10 years ago and have since become close confidants.

Iryanti said it was not an issue to grieve with Lim's family because it was important that they were there for each other during difficult times.

She added that Lim's family was caring and friendly and it had always been a custom for them to celebrate Chinese New Year and Hari Raya together.

Thin Thin and three other family members, Tan Sui Heng, 54, Ker Bong Ngwang, 58, and Low Chee Lan, 85, were among the 13 killed while on holiday in northern Thailand.

They were part of a 22-member group, mostly relatives, from Batu Pahat.

Nine survived with severe injuries.

The tragedy happened when their chartered bus crashed into a ravine while travelling on a mountainous highway from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.