SINGAPORE - His family was waiting for him to return home from camp, before celebrating his sister's birthday together on Saturday (Nov 3).
However, tragedy unfolded that day instead, as Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai, 22, lost his life in a training incident.
The full-time national serviceman died on Saturday after a Bionix armoured vehicle reversed into a Land Rover he was driving. He had been taking part in a field training exercise in the Jalan Murai training area.
Speaking mainly in Mandarin to members of the media at the wake at Block 787D Woodlands Crescent on Monday afternoon, CFC Liu's sister, who declined to be named, said her brother was really close to the family.
"Nov 3 was my birthday, but it also turned out to be the day that he died. We would always celebrate together. He really loved his family," she said.
CFC Liu's father, who also declined to be named, said the news was hard to accept, as he was the only son.
"But it was his duty to serve national service," he added.
The duo shared that CFC Liu had wanted to go to university, graduate and get a job as an engineer after completing his NS.
The entire family of CFC Liu, his parents and two elder sisters, was applying to become Singapore citizens, according to the sister who spoke to the media.
The family members have lived here for more than a decade, coming over to Singapore when the three siblings were in primary school.
His father said that he was a "filial son".
"When his mother got thyroid cancer in April this year, he took good care of her. They had a close relationship, and he told her everything."
CFC Liu was also very active in Truth Baptist Church, where he attended Sunday services weekly, said his sister.
"He was going to take leave to go to northern Thailand for mission work in December, and was asking me for his passport."
CFC Liu's father and sister said he was a hard-working and thoughtful individual, who was kind to others.
"He was very hard-working, and usually studied until late in the night. He would also help his schoolmates with revising their work," said his sister.
"He was very big-hearted and took part in events such as charity runs. When his friends needed help, he would teach them to be positive."
CFC Liu, who enlisted in April this year, was very determined and motivated during training, was well-liked by his peers and seen as a good example, they added.
His father said: "He was always proud to do NS. He served happily, and asked us to go to his passing-out parade to take pictures with him and all."
CFC Liu's operationally ready date would have been April 2020.
His sister declined to comment on the investigations by Mindef, as they were still ongoing, but "believe Mindef will give us justice".
She added that she hoped Singaporeans would visit the wake, and also turn up for the funeral on Tuesday to send her brother off.
"I sincerely urge and hope all Singaporeans... please come and see my brother at his wake and for tomorrow's cremation.
"He sacrificed for his country, so I strongly hope to see you all."