More than 100 bid farewell to Popiah King's son Ben Goi

Mr Ben Goi's hearse leaving for Mandai Crematorium yesterday. His father, Mr Sam Goi, said in his eulogy at Mandai: "I hope my youngest son can have a happy life in heaven as he did in life. I must thank everyone for coming to my place and sending hi
Mr Ben Goi's hearse leaving for Mandai Crematorium yesterday. His father, Mr Sam Goi, said in his eulogy at Mandai: "I hope my youngest son can have a happy life in heaven as he did in life. I must thank everyone for coming to my place and sending him off. I'm glad so many people will think of him. He must feel very happy on his way to heaven."ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Ben Goi's parents, Sam and Jacqueline Goi (both centre, in black), and wife, Ms Tracy Lee (embracing Mrs Goi), at the funeral service in Mandai Crematorium yesterday.
Mr Ben Goi's parents, Sam and Jacqueline Goi (both centre, in black), and wife, Ms Tracy Lee (embracing Mrs Goi), at the funeral service in Mandai Crematorium yesterday.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Son of billionaire Popiah King a man without airs and showed love through actions, says friend

The late businessman Ben Goi made it a point to remember the birthdays of all his friends, sending them greetings by text messaging even when he was travelling.

Once, he even got a friend a birthday cake for a surprise party when he realised it was missing one, said Mr Christopher Sin, 47, sharing anecdotes about his friend of 25 years.

Mr Sin, a manager in the semiconductor industry, described Mr Goi as a man without airs despite being the son of a Singapore billionaire.

"We are from different backgrounds but he doesn't care where you're from. If he calls you a friend, you're his equal," said Mr Sin, adding that Mr Goi would affectionately call him dai lo, or big brother in Cantonese. "He was someone who showed his love through his actions. Whatever kindness you showed him, he would repay you 10 times."

Mr Sin was among over 100 family members and friends who paid their last respects yesterday morning to Mr Goi, the youngest of Popiah King Sam Goi's four children. The family declined to be interviewed.

Mr Ben Goi was chief operating officer of Tee Yih Jia, a food manufacturing business which his father expanded from a manufacturer of popiah (spring roll) skin into a global Asian food company. He was 43 when he died of a stroke in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday.

His casket left for Mandai Crematorium at about 9.30am yesterday. Mourners could be seen sobbing as they accompanied the cortege out of the family's Bukit Timah home.

Mr Ben Goi's wife, Ms Tracy Lee, holding a picture of him just before the funeral service at Mandai Crematorium yesterday.
Mr Ben Goi's wife, Ms Tracy Lee, holding a picture of him just before the funeral service at Mandai Crematorium yesterday.

In his eulogy at Mandai, Mr Sam Goi said in Mandarin: "I hope my youngest son can have a happy life in heaven as he did in life. I must thank everyone for coming to my place and sending him off. I'm glad so many people will think of him. He must feel very happy on his way to heaven."

He also thanked everyone who paid their respects over the Chinese New Year period, including politicians. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan was among those seen speaking with Mr Sam Goi at the family home yesterday. On Monday, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, as well as former foreign minister George Yeo, were seen at the wake.

Mr Sam Goi, who is also executive chairman of listed developer GSH Corp, was on several government committees and active in grassroots work. He recently stepped down as chairman of the Ulu Pandan Citizens Consultative Committee. He was No. 14 on Forbes' Singapore's 50 Richest list last year, with an estimated fortune of US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion).

 
 
 

Singapore actors including Terence Cao, Chew Chor Meng and Zhu Houren were spotted at the wake.

Mr Ben Goi's wife is Malaysia-born former TV actress Tracy Lee, who gave birth to their first child, a son, in February last year.

His sister, Ms Laureen Goi, the second of Mr Sam Goi's four children, told Shin Min Daily News on Tuesday that her brother was in KL to visit his wife's family for Chinese New Year. He was there with his wife, son and maid.

Last Saturday night, he suffered an intense headache and asked his wife to call an ambulance. Doctors at the hospital tried to save him but he died at 4am on Sunday. The family had been due to return to Singapore on Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday, Ms Goi choked up while delivering her eulogy. Referring to Ms Lee, she said: "Mei Leng, you are part of the family. We will take care of you even when Ben is not around. Papa and Mama, he will want us to be happy. Let this go, and have strength going forward."

Ms Lee sobbed after placing flowers on her husband's casket. She later turned away from the crowd to compose herself. During the cremation service, she was heard crying out in Mandarin: "Goodbye, hubby, goodbye. I will take care of your parents. Let's meet again in heaven."

• Additional reporting by Timothy Goh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2019, with the headline 'More than 100 bid farewell to Ben Goi'. Print Edition | Subscribe