Fellow workers have fond memories of their 'big brother'

The construction worker who lost his life in the PIE viaduct collapse was like a "big brother" to his colleagues and a proud father who often showed them photographs of his son, said his fellow workers.

Chinese national Chen Yinchuan, 31, arrived in Singapore for the first time in April. He was the only fatality when a road structure he and 10 others were working on collapsed in the wee hours of July 14.

Although he was a new employee at Tongda Construction and Engineering, a subcontractor for the Changi viaduct project, colleagues remember Mr Chen fondly.

Many said he was a jovial man whom they called lao da, Mandarin for big brother.

Bangladeshi worker Raihan Mohammad, 24, said he and Mr Chen often communicated using the translation app on their phones.

Mr Chen, who was a proud father, would also show videos and pictures of his three-year-old son back in his village in Hebei.

Mr Raihan said: "He was always smiling and laughing. He knew a bit of English, and I know a bit of Mandarin, so we could talk.

"We sometimes had meals together," he added, noting that most people who knew Mr Chen were sad to hear of his death.

Mr Chen Jiang Hui, 41, a fellow Chinese national who was also from the same village, described the late Mr Chen as a good-tempered man.

The Sunday Times understands that the late Mr Chen's family, as well as village elders, arrived in Singapore last week to pay their final respects and take his body home.

It was earlier reported that Mr Chen's employer, Tongda, would be giving a "bereavement token" to the family.

The main contractor for the worksite, Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors, also said it was assisting Mr Chen's family.

Tan Tam Mei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 30, 2017, with the headline 'Fellow workers have fond memories of their 'big brother''. Print Edition | Subscribe