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Father starts memorial blog for son who passed away two months into National Service stint

He wants anyone with photos of his son to forward them to him for keepsake.

Belmont Lay | February 5, 2015 @ 03:13 pm

The father whose 20-year-old son recently passed away on Jan. 21, 2015, has started a memorial blog.

Quek Wee Keong, who was undergoing his National Service stint, was found unconscious at home in his bed in the wee hours of the morning when his mother went to wake him up to go back to camp.

The exact cause of death is unknown, although his father suspects his son might have suffered an adverse allergic reaction and he might have fallen at home before they found him unconscious with bruising on his forehead.

The circumstances surrounding Wee Keong’s death were publicly revealed in the blog, titled “Farewell Message“.

The father, Mr Quek Swee Poh, wrote that Wee Keong was enlisted for mandatory NS barely two months earlier in November 2014, despite having a medical history of having severe food allergy and eczema.

Two days prior to his death, Wee Keong was posted to a new camp, Bukit Panjang Camp, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. He had consumed curry chicken rice in camp, a food that he was highly allergic to, his father claims.

But nothing was amiss and he even went back to camp the next day, bringing his own food along.

This is the passage from the blog explaining the circumstances:

Unfortunately the cookhouse did not prepare the special diet for him on Monday, instead giving him curry chicken rice whom Wee Keong is highly allergic (there is no vegetarian which Wee Keong could still eat). Wee keong complain of very itchy for the whole day. Nevertheless the camp ask him to bring his own food from next day onward allowing to use the oven. So on Tuesday he did take the home food and at night he came home, still itchy and he complain the work pace is very cold that he had muscle cramp. He came home at around 7.30pm, took home cook dinner and then went with his brother to buy grocery. We did not see anything amiss, other than he complain a lot of phlegm. He took some cough medicine for phlegm. Then go to sleep, I believe shortly after he passed away not sure the exact reason, one thing for sure he fell on the floor. Unfortunately parquet floor does not make so much noise I could not hear from the living room right outside his door.

Details of how Wee Keong’s parents discovered their son unconscious at home and realising something was wrong is heart-wrenching:

My Son Wee Keong passed away on 21Jan2015 I believe prior to midnight on 20Jan2015 should be around 11.40 to 11.49Hour. At 5.15am when his mother tries to wake him up at 5:15am to go to camp (his mother wakes up a 5:00am to prepare his breakfast and lunch) she found could not wake up week Keong. She senses something wrong and rush into my room to ask him to check. When I check, I found Wee Keong is already cold and stiff and his face is blue purplish.

He must had fallen as there is a visible hard knock bruise on his forehead and his is bleeding from the nose and mouth, I believe due to asphyxia. As a father even though I knew he is gone I still want to try to resuscitate him giving him CPR after some time I really could not feel any pulse.

The ambulance came at around 6.30am and pronounce him dead, and his body was taken to HSA (Singapore General hospital) for autopsy as we wanted to know the reason of his sudden death.

I had blame myself for not going to his room to check I could have save him as I had learn first aid in the army. I heard faint floor thumping sound I thought someone were making noise upstair and the noise source does not seem to come from his room. The noise after a while and I went to sleep shortly.

To remember his son by, Mr Quek is requesting for photos of Wee Keong from his friends and acquaintances to be put up on the memorial blog, to chronicle his son’s growing up years.

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A condolence page set up has received numerous messages from people who knew Wee Keong, as well as the public-at-large.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has also paid tribute to Wee Keong:

 

Mr Quek also revealed that he does not blame the Singapore Armed Forces and he has come to terms with his son’s passing, although he questions if he could have done more as a parent to prevent this from happening.

He also said he will be putting up details of the findings by the Health Sciences Authority, who are investigating the cause of death.

You can leave your own message here or contact Mr Quek directly.

 

All photos via Quek Wee Keong Life Chronology

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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