What A Tragedy!

Posted by M ws On Sunday, June 16, 2013 0 comments
Years ago, I arranged for my older boy to car pool with his school-mate to school. Then, I would take the boys to school while Doris, the other boy's mom would bring them back. Through the five years, we forged a friendship that went beyond just car-pooling. When picking up the boys, Doris would come along and after dropping them at school, I would drive to a different market each day where after our marketing, we would have breakfast and enjoy the usual sembang-sembang session.

It was during that period that I got to know the man who died tragically in last Thursday's freak storm. He is believed to have been buried more than 5m in the ground after a 15m tall lightning arrestor came crashing down from atop the 21-storey Menara Umno along Jalan Macalister.

The Star reported today that when clearing the debris, contractors stumbled upon parts believed to be from a Honda City car. The search and rescue operations stalled after the excavator hit a concrete beam some five metres into the ground. The team then used a machine to break the beam to reach the car nestled below. The chassis number found on the wreckage matched those of her husband's car. While writing this post (10 a.m.), I have yet to come across any report confirming the discovery of his remains.

   Rescuers searching for the victim believed to be buried together with the Honda City underneath the rubble in the crater in Jalan Macalister, Penang. NST pix by Ramdzan Masiam
  Images from HERE

In another report HERE, only car parts such as tyres, engine and bumper have been recovered. Rescue efforts were being hampered by collapsing earth around the five-meter hole caused by the lightning arrestor pole as it was filled by water from a burst underground pipe. 

Through the last eight years, I have frequented the victim's economy rice shop and I know he and the wife were such a loving couple. Both of them were always smiling whenever I patronised their stall and I used to tease the late Mr Lim that his wife was growing more beautiful each time I saw her. I know for a fact that they were such a hardworking couple as they woke up early to begin cooking the dishes for their stall. 

Each time I went there, both would greet me warmly with a smile regardless of the fact that I only go there once in a few months as their stall is some distance from my home. Even when they are very busy with many customers asking questions, that infectious smile would remain on their faces. In all my contact time with them, I have never seen them angry, annoyed or irritated with each other or any customer. It was the same with their helpers, presumably family members. Hence, my heart broke when I read the news of his demise this morning and saw the photograph of his wife crying and being consoled by their son.

I have always made it a point to get to know the owners of any stall/restaurant/shop that I patronise. Throughout my life, I have become good friends with hawkers, security guards, parking attendants or even waiters/waitresses and learnt many precious lessons about life from these people. I never cease to be amazed at how these people are filled with so much kindness and actually have pride in their work. Mr. Lim is definitely one of them. His dishes would be arranged neatly, garnished appetisingly and most importantly, taste fantastic. Even when unloading the dishes from his boot, I remember how he used to arrange the trays neatly with hardly any spillage. The whole boot had been covered neatly with newspapers. I will certainly try to see his wife in the days ahead to express my condolences. 

It will be difficult for her and the family to come to terms with the loss as he died in such tragic circumstances. I know how deeply they loved each other. The bond was so obvious in the way they looked at each other, or the manner they called each other for assistance at their stall. I am quite sure they had a loving family and worked hard to give their children the best they could give them. The victim was on his way to pick up his daughter from school when the tragedy occurred.

Two others also died in the freak storm - Wong Tze Chow, 33, a Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd worker, who was crushed by a falling tree in Rifle Range. He left behind his loving wife and two young children who had made plans to celebrate Fathers' Day together. An Indian national, Jahir Hussain Sulaiman aged 46, also perished in the freak storm. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May they have the strength and fortitude to come to terms with the loss. May the victims rest in peace...wherever they may be.

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