Teary-eyed, a group of 10 young men dressed in black emerged from the crematorium hall. They had just said their final farewell to their friend Mr Ang Yong Han, the first person here to die of dengue this year.
Sniffling and wiping away their tears, they seemed in disbelief. Said Mr Philip Peh, 28, his secondary school friend and pool buddy: "I really can't accept it. He was like a younger brother to me. We used to have supper together every night."
Apart from his former schoolmates and pool friends, the rest of the group of 30 at Mandai Crematorium were Mr Ang's relatives and family friends. He was cremated with his black "Poison" pool cue in the coffin.
His parents were not at the cremation, and will also not be participating in the sea burial later today. Mr Ang's father, vegetable wholesaler Ang Lai Heng, 58, told The Straits Times: '"The white-haired shouldn't send the black-haired off. Besides, nothing can bring my son back to me.'"
His son had recently been picked for the national pool youth squad, after emerging top eight in a national ranking tournament. The 20-year old was an only child. He had fallen ill on May 22 and died of dengue shock syndrome at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Wednesday morning.
The former ITE College Central student, who lived in dengue cluster Hougang Avenue 1, was initially admitted for a viral fever on May 23. In a Facebook comment posted that day, he said his temperature hit 39.5 degrees celsius.
He is one of more than 8,000 people who have been infected with the mosquito-borne virus this year. Last week, 641 people were infected. Since Sunday, another 458 have fallen ill.