Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tampines accident: Even strangers step forward to help brothers' family

HELP has streamed in for the family of the two young brothers who died in Monday's tragic road accident.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, church members and even strangers have either rendered assistance or posted condolences online to the family of Nigel and Donovan Yap, aged 13 and seven.

In a Facebook post just hours after the brothers' bicycle was hit by a cement truck, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said schools would step up road safety education and work with the police and Land Transport Authority "on further measures to enhance safety".

He added that he was "very saddened" by the boys' deaths and said the accident would be investigated "thoroughly" by the police.

PM Lee also posted online that it was "tragic that an evening cycle could end like this".

"We will render all the help they need to get through this difficult period", he wrote.

Their voices join those of other ministers, MPs and social media users, who called on Singaporeans to be sensitive to the family in their time of grief and conveyed their condolences online.

Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng visited the family in person yesterday and said he was thinking of holding a candlelight vigil.

The employers of the victims' parents have also rendered assistance. Counsellors from the Singapore Armed Forces, for whom the boys' father works, were around to talk to the grieving couple.

McDonald's director of human resources Audrey Chin said the restaurant chain had provided "assistance and support".

Yesterday, a steady flow of colleagues, members of the family's church and strangers arrived at the wake at Tampines Street 44.

About 30 strangers from an advertising firm collected $880 for the family. Mr J. Cheong, 36, who was with this group, said: "When I saw the news, as a cyclist and parent, I could relate. We are all random strangers but everyone is connected because we are all human."

The Straits Times also received a call from cyclist Mohd Adila, who said he was trying to gather other cyclists to make a donation to the family.

The Singapore Road Safety Council's chairman, Mr Bernard Tay said: "Drivers have the responsibility to be alert and mindful of other road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable on the roads.

"Drivers must constantly be on the lookout for inexperienced and vulnerable road users who may not be fully aware of the different risks and hazards on the roads."

Safe Cycling Taskforce president Steven Lim was at the accident site yesterday afternoon.

"If you can take care of your own safety, you can take care of others' safety," he said. "If you are reckless, chances are you hurt yourself and hurt others as well."

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