ST readers offer aid to cabby who caused accident

A tumour in Mr How Yuen Fah's liver ruptured and caused him to lose consciousness while he was driving a taxi in March. His taxi knocked down a 66-year-old pedestrian who later died of a head injury, and he lost his driving licence after the accident
A tumour in Mr How Yuen Fah's liver ruptured and caused him to lose consciousness while he was driving a taxi in March. His taxi knocked down a 66-year-old pedestrian who later died of a head injury, and he lost his driving licence after the accident.ST PHOTO: JANICE TAI

Some want to donate money, but man who inadvertently killed pedestrian says he needs a job

Ms Eileen Goh, 43, was scrolling through her Facebook feed last Friday night when she chanced upon an article in The Straits Times.

It was about former taxi driver How Yuen Fah, then 72, who inadvertently killed a woman at the Queensway traffic junction when he blacked out and lost control of his cab in March.

A tumour in his liver, which he did not know about at that time, had ruptured while he was driving, making him lose consciousness.

Ms Goh said: "I felt so sad and it was heartrending. I was worried about whether he had enough money to pay his medical bills, whether he has post-traumatic stress disorder because of the guilt and, at his age, whether he is able to find another job."

Like her, hundreds of readers wrote in or commented on the article, with many asking how they could donate or help Mr How.

Ms Goh, a marketing manager, decided to try to create a crowdfunding page, but stopped when she received word from ST that Mr How is declining all donations.

He said: "I am thankful for the offers of help but I am still able-bodied, so it is not right for me to receive donations."

"What I want and need is a job, but I can't think of what type of job now since I have been driving for so many years. I am afraid jobs like being a security guard are too tiring for me," added the 73-year-old, who lost his driving licence after the accident.

 
 

Readers from all walks of life had got in touch with ST, wanting to help. They included well-known writer Catherine Lim; Ms Angie Chew, chief executive of a charity called Brahm Centre; doctor Teo Ling Li and Ms Bestlyn Loo, a lawyer from Providence Law Asia who volunteered her legal expertise if it was required. A reader even volunteered to cook healthy soup for Mr How.

Dr Lim said many Singaporeans were probably moved by Mr How's story because they are especially affected by distress of various kinds - physical, mental, emotional, financial - caused through circumstances beyond one's control.

"I'm particularly moved when I see that these persons have the spirit of independence, self-pride and dignity to want to take charge of the situation themselves and not bother anybody," she added.

Last Wednesday, the woman's death was ruled an unfortunate traffic misadventure. A doctor clarified that the tumour rupture caused severe bleeding in Mr How's abdomen and a loss of blood flow to his brain, leading to loss of consciousness.

It was not mentioned if any action will be taken against him.

While the guilt over having caused someone's death will take time to wane, Mr How said he is comforted by people's response: "I am so touched by their sincere warmth and kindness."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2019, with the headline 'ST readers offer aid to cabby who caused accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe