SINGAPORE: Instead of celebrating her birthday last Saturday (Nov 3), one of the two sisters of Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai received the news that her brother had died in an accident during his National Service (NS) field training.
Speaking to the media at CFC Liu's wake in Woodlands on Monday, she said that her birthday would now come to be remembered as the day her youngest brother died from injuries sustained during the accident.
"As a family … we would like to invite all Singaporeans to Liu Kai's memorial and final send-off tomorrow and let Liu Kai see, for the last time, the people of Singapore," she added.
The family hails from China. CFC Liu's sister, who did not reveal her name or age, said she and her siblings had been living and studying in Singapore for more than 10 years.
"As his sister, I’m very proud of him. He sacrificed for his country, it’s very honourable," Ms Liu said.
The family was waiting for CFC Liu to return on Saturday afternoon from his training to celebrate his sister's birthday, she said.
CFC Liu's father, who came back from a China trip on Nov 1 with his wife, said that they had not spoken to their son for more than 10 days because of the trip.
The 22-year-old died on Saturday after a training accident involving a Bionix armoured vehicle.
CFC Liu was operating a Land Rover as part of a field training exercise when a Bionix vehicle reversed into his vehicle at around 10.10am at the Jalan Murai training area.
He was a Transport Operator from the Singapore Armed Forces' Transport Hub West, and held the rank of Private at the time of the accident.
He lost consciousness and was attended to immediately by a medic, said the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in a news release. CFC Liu succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead by medical officers at around 10.35am.
He was given the rank of CFC posthumously.
Police investigations are ongoing and an independent Committee of Inquiry will be convened to investigate the incident.
"I cannot comment on anything until the report (of the investigation) comes out … but we believe that they will give us justice," said Ms Liu.
HE ENJOYED NATIONAL SERVICE
CFC Liu, who enlisted in April this year, enjoyed NS and was proud to serve the country, his family said.
"My heart hurts very much ... it's hard to accept this ... but serving National Service is the responsibility of citizens," said his father. "Whenever there were any parades, he would invite us to be a part of it - to take photos."
He added that CFC Liu had a very good relationship with his mother and told her everything.
"(I miss) bantering with him. He would joke that I did not take good care of his mother," Mr Liu said. "I was proud of him, he was a good boy and very filial."
The family members were applying to become Singapore citizens, Ms Liu said, adding that her brother "really wanted to become a Singaporean". "But after this, he won't be able to become a Singapore citizen."
He wanted to be an engineer after graduating from university, his father said. Ms Liu also recounted how kind and diligent her brother was.
He studied hard but was also active in his co-curricular activities and in church, she said. She added that he had wanted to apply for leave from the army so he could do charity work.
CFC Liu had asked his sister to help him look for his passport as he wanted to go on a mission trip to northern Thailand to "help those kids that need help".
"He was a very warm-hearted, kind kid," she said.
Chief of Army Brigadier-General (BG) Goh Si Hou visited CFC Liu's wake on Monday and offered his condolences to the family.
"Liu Kai will be remembered as a good soldier. He served with pride and his commanders remember him well for his dedication and his commitment in service," said BG Goh. "I must add that he was well liked and well respected by his peers for his positive attitude and always willing to help out his fellow soldiers."