Hundreds of people turned up at Singaporean actor Aloysius Pang's wake last night, hoping to pay their respects before the public memorial was due to start today.
After his management agency NoonTalk Media announced the location of the wake on social media yesterday afternoon, members of the public, including his fans, started streaming in to stand outside the barricaded multipurpose area in MacPherson Lane while the wake was being set up.
Some onlookers started tearing up when the hearse carrying the body arrived at 9.20pm.
Mr Pang's close actor friend Xu Bin, 29, and television host Quan Yi Fong, 44, sobbed uncontrollably.
The public was then asked to leave the area so that the late actor's family and friends could pay their respects in private.
An emcee said that members of the public who wished to say their personal goodbyes could come and do so from noon today.
A housewife who wanted to be known only as Mrs Lim, 59, tried to stuff condolence money into the hands of the organisers.
She started tearing up as she told The Straits Times that she "felt compelled" to turn up, even though she was not familiar with the actor's works.
ONE DEATH TOO MANY
As a mother, I can understand how heartbreaking this must be for his parents... I really hope that this ordeal will lead to real changes to how the authorities will handle the safety of our national servicemen. There have been too many deaths.
MRS LIM, a housewife who says she "felt compelled" to turn up, even though she was not familiar with the actor's works.
She said: "As a mother, I can understand how heartbreaking this must be for his parents. He went to serve the country, and now he has died.
"I really hope that this ordeal will lead to real changes to how the authorities will handle the safety of our national servicemen. There have been too many deaths."
The death of Corporal First Class (NS) Pang is the fifth reported since September 2017, following four preceding years of zero training-and operations-related fatalities for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
CFC Pang, 28, died on Wednesday night from injuries suffered last Saturday while serving as an operationally ready national serviceman in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Defence said CFC Pang, who was with the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, had been carrying out repair work inside a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer when the gun barrel was lowered and injured him in the chest and abdominal areas.
He was evacuated to Waikato Hospital, a regional trauma centre in Hamilton, south of Auckland, where he underwent three operations in five days.
His body was flown into Paya Lebar Air Base on a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135R tanker aircraft yesterday evening.
CFC Pang was accorded due honours by the SAF at a homecoming ceremony with Chief of Army Goh Si Hou in attendance, a guard of honour and fellow soldiers of the artillery formation.
The ceremony was witnessed by the late actor's family, Mindef said in a statement.
At the airbase, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, accompanied by Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong, met a family member to offer the condolences of Mindef and the SAF.
Dr Ng also conveyed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's personal condolences to the family, and paid his respects.
The public memorial will be held at 82A MacPherson Lane from noon today to noon tomorrow.
CFC Pang will be accorded the full honours of a military funeral.
The cremation ceremony will be held at the Mandai Crematorium tomorrow.