Sabah quake: Father of dead Singaporean girl never wanted her to go on the trip

Mr Alson Wee, the father of pupil Peony Wee Ying Ping, with photographs of his daughter. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Mr Alson Wee, the father of pupil Peony Wee Ying Ping, with photographs of his daughter. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
The Tanjong Katong Primary School team which went on the Mount Kinabalu expedition taking a group shot last Thursday. -- PHOTO: TANJONG KATONG PRIMARY SCHOOL 
The Tanjong Katong Primary School team which went on the Mount Kinabalu expedition taking a group shot last Thursday. -- PHOTO: TANJONG KATONG PRIMARY SCHOOL 

SINGAPORE - Her parents did not want her to go on the school trip to Mount Kinabalu initially, as they felt the climb was not easy and examinations were coming up in two months.

But 12-year-old Peony Wee Ying Ping, who loved outdoor activities and was in the netball school team, begged and her mother relented, her father, Mr Alson Wee, 51, told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Peony, a Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) pupil, was among those who died when a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Mount Kinabalu in Sabah on Friday morning.

Her body, accompanied by her family, will be flown back to Singapore on Sunday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Saturday night.

Peony's mother, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, flew to Sabah on Saturday morning. She was accompanied by her younger brother Saturday.

Mr Wee, who works at the Port of Singapore Authority, told Lianhe Wanbao that he stayed back in Singapore to look after their 14-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.

He added that he regretted allowing Peony to go on the trip.

He said he had climbed the mountain 30 years ago. "I know that the climb isn't easy and I never wanted her to go. Her exams were also coming up in two months and I didn't think she should be going overseas now," he said.

But he changed his mind after considering that the children would be accompanied by their teachers.

Also, he had not allowed Peony to go on a school trip to Taiwan a few years ago, and he did not want to disappoint her again. He paid $600 for the trip to Mount Kinabalu.

Peony was an obedient girl who would help out at her mother's clinic in her spare time, he said.

She would also take her baby sister to the playground whenever she was free.

He said sadly: "When children get excited, they don't pay any heed to danger. And now she is gone."

Kok Xing Hui