They wanted to spend the Hari Raya Aidilfitri long weekend with family in Malaysia.
But tragedy struck when Mr Chua Keh Loing, 41, and Madam Sam Chew Yong, 42, were killed in a car accident in Johor. Their two young children, who were also in the car, are now orphans, and their extended family are in a dilemma on what to do with them.
Mr Chua and Madam Sam, both Malaysians, were accountants who had lived in Singapore for 10 years and were permanent residents.
Eight-year-old Chua Jun Xian and his sister, Xin Rou, who is five, were born in Malaysia. They were cared for by Madam Sam's mother before they joined their parents in Singapore three years ago, relatives told The New Paper at the parents' wake in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, on Monday. Madam Sam's mother, who is 64 and now paralysed, is no longer able to look after them.
The family was heading to Bahau, near Seremban, last Friday afternoon to visit her when their Perodua Myvi collided head-on with an MPV near Tangkak, Johor. It was earlier reported that they were driving back to their Woodlands home when the accident occurred.
Mr Chua died from a skull fracture at the scene, while Madam Sam died in hospital from abdominal injuries.
MISSING THEIR PARENTS
The only thing we can tell them is that they've gone to a different world. I don't think they understand, but at least we're not hiding it from them.
'' MR SAM, the youngest brother of Madam Sam Chew Yong, on the couple's children, who had been asking for their parents.
The couple's young children were also injured in the crash. Jun Xian, who is a pupil at Greenwood Primary School, suffered a fractured right arm, while Xin Rou's right leg was placed in a cast. They have been discharged from hospital.
Madam Sam's youngest brother, who wanted to be known only as Mr Sam, 29, a factory worker in Singapore, said they had borrowed his car and Mr Chua had been driving that route for the first time. "I had just seen them that morning at about 7am, and when I got the news in a text at about 5pm, I just couldn't wrap my head around it," he said.
He said the children had been asking for their parents. "The only thing we can tell them is that they've gone to a different world. I don't think they understand, but at least we're not hiding it from them," he added.
Relatives at the wake said Xin Rou had initially been silent when told that her parents were no longer here, but she started talking after saying goodbye to them at the wake.
Mr Sam said the family is at a loss over what to do with the children. "I'm the only one who lived with them in Singapore, but I can't look after them alone because I have to work," he said. "We will have to discuss among ourselves on how to raise them, but there's just so much to settle right now with the funeral."
His older brother, Mr Sam Yeang Shun, earlier told TNP that their family needs help to sort out the children's situation. He said in Mandarin: "We are not familiar with the legal procedures in Singapore. We do not know how to handle the finances, housing and schooling arrangements for the children."
Neighbours in Singapore told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that the family was very close and friendly. A neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Miss Lin, described Jun Xian as active and lively, while Xin Rou was quieter.
She said that the family enjoyed gardening and kept pots of plants outside their home, and would ask her to water them whenever they were away from Singapore.
A colleague of Mr Chua, who declined to be named, expressed her shock and sadness over his death on Facebook. Posting a picture of him in the office, she said she had known him for five years and found him helpful and cheerful.
Mr Chua's cousin, Mr Billy Chua, 47, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, said he had not seen him in years and even missed his wedding.
"It's incredibly sad that this funeral is the first occasion I got to see him in years, and my nephew and niece for the first time. It's really tragic that two young children have lost their parents just like that."
- Additional reporting by Ang Tian Tian