Three-year-old Evan Lim lay in a hospital bed yesterday, unaware that a funeral was being held for his parents and older brother who were killed in a Christmas Day car crash while on holiday in Malaysia.
Relatives have yet to break the news of their deaths to Evan, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to his legs and slight burns on one of his ears.
The Singaporean family was heading for a break in Kuantan when their Land Rover collided with an oncoming Toyota Corolla at the Sungai Dohol Bridge near Kota Tinggi in Johor. Both vehicles burst into flames. A Malaysian woman driving the other car was also killed.
No long-term living arrangements have been made for Evan, the sole survivor of the accident, but he is currently being cared for by his maternal grandparents.
His uncle, 44-year-old businessman Lim Ah Kuan, has also offered to take him in.
Relatives, including the late couple's siblings, fought back tears as the three coffins were loaded into hearses in Sin Ming Drive, where the wake was held.
In front of the first hearse hung a family picture of Mr Barnabas Lim, 45, who owned a car-polishing business, Ms Kristen Ng, 39, a property agent, and their elder son, six-year-old Rayshon Lim, all beaming widely. Their bodies were cremated yesterday.
Some 60 mourners turned up to pay their last respects, trailing behind the hearses as a song played in Mandarin: "Returning home, returning home, returning to the home that you came from..."
NOT READY FOR THE TRUTH
We don't want to tell him (about the accident) yet. I just want him to be happy.
MR LIM AH KUAN, uncle of three-year-old Evan Lim, who said that as long as the boy has a stable home with his relatives eventually, his mind will be at ease
The late Mr Lim was a doting father who wanted his sons to experience parental love in ways he did not, his younger brother told reporters yesterday.
"When we were young, our parents did not have much time for us. Most of the time, they were working hard to support us," said Mr Lim Ah Kuan.
"We felt that we should give our children more parental love. Once we got married and had children, we loved them and treasured them. We tried to care for them the best that we could."
He lives with his wife and two daughters in Thailand, but would often visit his brother's family in Sengkang.
He last saw his elder brother three to four months ago in Thailand, when the family of four travelled there.
"I'd planned to take my family on a holiday on Dec 25 as well," said Mr Lim. But news of the crash that day led him to drop everything and head to the airport immediately.
Now, his priority is Evan.
"We don't want to tell him (about the accident) yet," he said, adding that as long as Evan has a stable home with his relatives eventually, his mind will be at ease.
"I just want him to be happy."