Singaporean continuing Bali holiday despite Lion Air crash

JUST two days after the Lion Air jet he was on crashed into the sea, Singaporean passenger Fung Chi Keung was having lobster for dinner in Bali, with beer and martinis.

Speaking to The Straits Times on the phone on Monday, Mr Fung - the executive chef of local Chinese restaurant group Paradise Group - said he lost all his belongings, save for his passport, in the crash. But instead of flying back to Singapore, he is determined to enjoy the rest of his stay on the island. He plans to return home only this weekend.

"After this life and death experience, I feel that as humans, there are certain things we can't control, and so we should just treasure the people around us and the time we have," said the 47-year-old who was born in Hong Kong but is now a Singapore citizen.

No one died in Saturday's accident, in which the aircraft missed the Bali runway and split into two.

Mr Fung was on board with a long-time Indonesian friend, 49-year-old businessman Sinatra Hardy. The two were flying from Bandung to Bali for a vacation when their plane hit the water.

"I was scared to death when it happened, who wouldn't be, in that situation? Water was filling up the plane," said Mr Fung. He managed to hop onto one of the inflatable sliding rafts before being transferred to a boat that took him to shore.

Mr Fung also said he was not travelling together with Mrs Ching Meau Lee, the only other Singaporean on the flight, who was seated next to him. He found out her nationality only later at the crisis centre, he added.

After being screened for minor injuries, he checked into Bali's Sheraton hotel with Mr Hardy that same afternoon. Back home in Singapore, his wife and two sons were worried because they had not heard from him. They were relieved when Mr Fung - who lost his phone in the water - finally called them on Sunday.

He could not find his luggage either and had to buy new clothes and shoes with Mr Hardy's help. Mr Fung then spent yesterday afternoon shopping in Kuta district, before meeting Mr Hardy for dinner. Said Mr Fung: "All that matters is I'm okay, everything's fine now. I intend to enjoy myself for the next few days, this is my vacation after all."

hpeishan@sph.com.sg