Cab tragedy: Cardboard auntie gave away what she collected

Madam Poh was killed on the spot after a reversing taxi hit her twice at high speed. It is believed that the cabby had lost control of his vehicle.
Madam Poh was killed on the spot after a reversing taxi hit her twice at high speed. It is believed that the cabby had lost control of his vehicle.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

It was her daily routine to head out for a late lunch after 2pm, usually at the coffee shop next to her home in Bedok North.

After her meal, 77-year-old Poh Ah Gin enjoyed wandering around the neighbourhood, sometimes collecting cardboard boxes to recycle to pass time. This was what she was doing on Tuesday evening when the driver of a Comfort taxi reversed into her twice at high speed.

The accident took place behind a coffee shop at Block 123 in Bedok North Street 2. Madam Poh was killed instantly.

The 64-year-old cabby, who is believed to have lost control of his Hyundai Sonata before it mounted the pavement, has been arrested for causing death by a negligent act.

Yesterday, at Madam Poh's wake at Block 120, family members described her as a "happy-go-lucky" woman who was single by choice. She had lived alone in her three-room flat since 1975, after her mother died. However, she also had a "stubborn" streak, said her sister, Madam Mary Poh, 73, who lives one street away from her and would frequently cycle over to visit.

"My siblings and I would chip in for her expenses. We've told her many times that she doesn't need to collect cardboard, but she insisted on doing it to pass time."

Madam Poh Ah Gin, who was the third of 11 children, would give the cardboard she collected to a rag-and-bone man for free, said her nephew, Mr Francis Loo, 49, who works in the pharmaceutical industry. "She never earned a cent from it. She was just kind-hearted."

Another nephew, Mr Patrick Lim, 45, a civil servant, added: "She was an independent and strong lady. Even at her age, she had no problems with her health."

The family said they were grateful that two doctors from a nearby clinic stepped in to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation after the accident.

"They are really kind to come forward to help," said Mr Loo. "Some people may say it's their duty, but I'm really appreciative."

Madam Poh will be cremated tomorrow afternoon.

Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Cab tragedy: Cardboard auntie gave away what she collected'. Print Edition | Subscribe