SINGAPORE - After the tragedy on Tuesday night (April 25) when his wife died after being hit by his car, Mr Quek Chin Ling has decided to give up driving for good.
"I can't drive any more, because if I look at a car, it'll remind me of what happened," the visibly distraught retiree, 67, told The Straits Times yesterday at his wife's wake at Mount Vernon.
Mrs Quek-Ng Siew Fong, 64, a senior deputy director at the Ministry of Manpower's foreign manpower management division, died from severe injuries after she fell and hit her head on the ground when he allegedly reversed into her by accident at a carpark near Block 332, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.
Mr Quek said that they had been on their way to attend a briefing there for her trip to China for a week-long qigong retreat next month.
The couple, who had been married for more than 35 years, spent most of their time together. Mr Quek said they would always have dinner together after she finished work, and on weekends, they would enjoy strolls along reservoirs or the Botanic Gardens.
That night, he said he told her that he would stay home at their Toa Payoh condo but she suggested having dinner together in the area before the briefing.
Mr Quek said his wife has been using the car more in recent years because she needed it for work.
She had picked him up from home on Tuesday evening, he recounted, and had been driving when they lost their way in Ang Mo Kio. It was around this point that he took over the wheel.
"We were running late and were about to give up, but all of a sudden I saw a deliveryman opposite, so I sought help and asked him for directions." He declined to reveal more about the incident.
Deliveryman Johnson Chin, 56, had earlier told ST that he had met them around 7.40pm at the nearby Block 325. They followed him in their car to the correct block, and Mr Quek got out to thank him. But when he returned to the driver's seat, he did not seem to realise that his wife had opened her door and stepped out, too. The car reversed and hit her, said Mr Chin.
Mr Quek said: "Breaking the news to my two sons was a very difficult thing to do and my brother-in-law helped me to do the job because emotionally, I felt that I would not be able to manage."
He has two sons, a 29-year-old who works in Hong Kong, and a 24-year-old undergraduate at Stanford University in the United States. They flew back for the wake, but declined to be interviewed.
The sons share a close relationship with their mother, a family-oriented woman, who makes it a point to send them a WhatsApp message every morning, he said.
"I used to be a very dominating person, but my wife was able to provide me with different perspectives and remind me of important moral values."
His sons were "in a state of shock" after they were told of the news. The family had been too busy with funeral preparations and are still coming to terms with what had happened, he said.
"There are many issues at hand, it has been very difficult and what happened is very sad... but I have to force myself to take it step by step."