Man at son's cremation despite differences

SINGAPORE - Ken Ong and his father Ong Teck Eng had become strangers. Yet the older Mr Ong, 70, was there at his son's cremation yesterday.

Mr Ken Ong died on Friday morning from stab wounds on his abdomen - he allegedly murdered his wife Karen Koh before turning the same knife on himself at their Yuan Ching Road home.

His father spoke to reporters yesterday, before the cremation of his 37-year-old son at Mandai Crematorium. "This is my duty as a father," he said.

The rites and cremation were paid for by undertaker Roland Tay, founder of Direct Funeral Services.

At a quiet Buddhist ceremony attended only by a monk, Mr Ong and Mr Tay, Mr Ong betrayed no emotion during the ritual or when he looked at his son for the last time, when the casket was opened.

After the funeral, he said: "He looked like he was at peace...This is how life is. There is no point crying, it won't bring the person back."

The younger man's mother left the family when he was just two, and Mr Ong raised his son by working as a butcher.

"He was chubby all his life, we called him 'pui kia' (Hokkien for fat child)," said Mr Ong in a mix of Mandarin and Hokkien, adding that his son had always liked playing computer games.

He put his son through school, up tillMr Ken Ong dropped out of polytechnic.

And he would not say how the duo had grown apart, but added: "We lived in the same home, but (on) some days, we would not talk at all.

Years ago, his son moved out, and the last time they met each other was a few years ago, when the younger man came by his home to pass him $200 to $300, said Mr Ong, who lives alone at a one-room rental flat in Toa Payoh.

The younger man was carrying a baby boy and had been driven there by a woman who did not step out of the car.

"I didn't know if he was married, he didn't say."

This was something the father found out only on Saturday afternoon, when reporters knocked on his door.

Two days earlier, his son allegedly attacked both Madam Koh, 39, and the couple's maid, Jasmen Jamelarin Corpuz, 37, with a chopper.

He and his wife died in hospital. Madam Koh was cremated last evening.

The maid was seriously injured but survived, and was still warded at the National University Hospital yesterday.

Before he died, Mr Ken Ong e-mailed a 2,047-word "Final Note" to the media and others, describing his failed marriage and accusing his in-laws of treating him badly.

One of his grievances was that he had been forced to stop his studies at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Academy. A BCA spokesman said the younger man was a diligent student who had a positive attitude.

Yesterday, Mr Ong said: "My son was wrong to do something like this, we have wronged (Madam Koh's family), I know this in my heart."

When asked if he had any last words for his son, he said: "Take care of yourself."

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