SINGAPORE - At mortuaries, the mood is usually sombre, as family members wait to identify the bodies of their loved ones.
But yesterday morning, a fight broke out between two brothers just outside the mortuary at the Singapore General Hospital.
They raised their voices at each other.
One punched and kicked the other.
Others tried to stop them, but to no avail.
Things got so bad that the mother, who wanted to be known only as Madam Lian, 52, fainted on the road from shock and horror.
And it all started with a dispute over who should enter the mortuary first.
The family consisted of Madam Lian, her three sons, her daughter, and their spouses.
They were there to identify the body of Madam Lian's boyfriend, Mr Pheh Yong Cheng, 66. He was found dead at the foot of Block 9, Teck Whye Lane, at about 6am on Thursday morning.
At the mortuary, a dispute broke out between Madam Lian's sons when they were in the carpark.
His younger brother, in his early 20s (age checked), was wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and sandals.
One of Mr Pheh's colleagues, who wanted to be known only as Jenny, told The New Paper in Mandarin: "The dispute started because there were so many of us and the mortuary only allows three people to see the deceased at one time in the morning."
This caused the two brothers to argue over who should get to see Mr Pheh first.
Said Jenny, who is in her 40s: "The elder brother wanted his brother to let other family members see the deceased first."
This angered his brother, who reportedly said: "I came all this way, why shouldn't I be able to see him (Mr Pheh)?"
Madam Lian told TNP: "It was a misunderstanding. My younger son thought he only had one chance to see (Mr Pheh). That's why he got so angry.
"My elder son also accused the younger one of being disrespectful. This made him even more angry."
Jenny said that was when the two brothers glared at each other, and the elder one, 35, started pushing and hitting his brother, who is in his early 20s.
The elder man then pushed his brother from the back, causing the man to fall face down on the floor.
They also showed the elder man stepping on his brother, who had fallen on the floor.
During the scuffle, the younger brother fell face down on the ground, but his brother continued to kick him.
He was bleeding from his mouth, reported Lianhe Wanbao.
Madam Lian had tried to intervene by putting herself between the two men and asking them to stop.
Said Jenny: "But the older son just wanted to fight. They are both stubborn.
"When things happen, they don't discuss properly."
Their mother then tried to stop the fight, but fainted.
Said Jenny: "Her mood was already very low. Her boyfriend just died and she doesn't know why.
"She has not eaten at all in the last two days, and all the chaos and drama must have been too much for her."
It was only after Madam Lian fainted that the brothers stopped fighting.
Madam Lian said she is better now.
Said Jenny: "I went up to the older man and scolded him. I said: 'Why don't you listen to aunty? I told you to stop fighting, but you don't listen.
"If you're not happy with something, talk about it nicely. Why do you have to resort to blows?"
In the end, the older man apologised to his brother and the two reconciled.
Said Jenny: "But what's the point? The damage has already been done."
Things became so bad that the police were called in.
The police confirmed that they received a call yesterday at 12.12pm requesting assistance.
It was established that a dispute had occurred.
The police advised the parties involved to settle the dispute amicably and the parties acknowledged this.
Get The New Paper for more stories.