Public memorial might be held for Aloysius Pang, his family's 'precious'

Aloysius Pang's talent manager Dasmond Koh (left) and the late actor's second-eldest brother, Kenny, speaking to members of the media at Changi Airport on Jan 24, 2019.
Aloysius Pang's talent manager Dasmond Koh (left) and the late actor's second-eldest brother, Kenny, speaking to members of the media at Changi Airport on Jan 24, 2019. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - A public memorial service is being considered for home-grown actor Aloysius Pang, who was viewed as "the precious" of his family.

Speaking to the media on Thursday night (Jan 24) after arriving in Singapore from New Zealand, the actor's second-eldest brother Kenny said: "He's the youngest, he's the most loved... we called him xiao gua tou (little melon head). And what you see on television and what you see in all the responses that he has been receiving - all the love and care - that is who he is.

"He's as caring, he's as devoted to his passion, so that is the true self of Aloysius. I think his main priority has always been his parents, his love for his parents, and that has not changed."

Mr Kenny Pang was accompanied by his youngest brother's talent manager Dasmond Koh, 46, at the Changi Airport to meet the media to address questions surrounding the actor's death in New Zealand.

They declined to say whether the parents and eldest brother have since returned to Singapore.

Mr Koh said there may be plans to hold a memorial service for the actor so that "all of his fans and loved ones can say goodbye".

Mr Pang, 28, had died on Wednesday night from injuries suffered last Saturday while he was on reservist duty there.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said the Corporal First Class (NS) with the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery had been carrying out repair works 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.

During the 15-minute meeting with the press, Mr Koh was visibly upset and choked up several times, while Mr Kenny Pang appeared calmer.

When asked if the family is looking for more answers about the accident from the authorities, Mr Kenny Pang said: "I didn't get a chance to look at my phone, or to get any of the latest updates, but I will let Mindef communicate with us directly."

 
 
 
 

He added: "We must be thankful that Mindef has been aiding us in any way they can, with all the arrangements and all the liaising to get us to meet Aloysius as soon as possible."

Mindef had arranged for the actor's mother to fly to New Zealand last Sunday morning, and she spoke to him that night. The father and two elder brothers joined them from the next day onwards.

Mr Kenny Pang said he did not manage to speak to his brother by the time he arrived.

"I didn't manage to meet him awake. We didn't get that opportunity," he said, adding that he has been feeling a lot of "ups and downs" in the past few days.

At a press conference held by Mindef yesterday afternoon, Chief Army Medical Officer, Colonel (Dr) Edward Lo Hong Yee, said that Pang was treated on site by the SAF doctor and his team before he was evacuated to the hospital.

Dr Teo Li Tserng, chief of trauma and acute care surgery at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, was later flown in to assist the medical team in New Zealand.

Col Lo said at the press conference that he was told by Dr Teo and the New Zealand medical team after the second surgery that they were already expecting complications.

"We cannot have such a severely injured patient and not expect complications. So they are already expecting complications. They just don't know when it will set in," added Col Lo.

"So when he started to deteriorate, they knew that complications have started and that's when the third surgery happened. And subsequently he was put on artificial life support."

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Jan 24) night, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the SAF is fully assisting the family and that the Republic of Singapore Air Force's KC-135 has been sent to New Zealand to repatriate CFC (NS) Pang's body.

"Our grief counsellors are on the ground to comfort the family. But I know that no words or deeds can relieve their sorrow or replace their loss. I hope and pray that the passage of time will bring them some comfort," he added.