NSF Liu Kai, who died in Bionix accident, given military send-off

SINGAPORE: It was a quiet Tuesday morning (Nov 6) at Woodlands estate, as the late Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) full-time national serviceman Liu Kai, surrounded by grieving family and friends, lay in a casket hours before a military funeral was scheduled to take place at Mandai Crematorium. 

Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu, 22, died on Saturday after a training accident involving a Bionix vehicle.

Liu Kai military funeral Mandai Crematorium 9

He was operating a Land Rover during an exercise at the Jalan Murai training area when a Bionix vehicle reversed into his vehicle. 

CFC Liu’s wake spanned across a block and a multi-purpose hall, where at least 50 chairs had been set up for a memorial service.

Liu Kai funeral Woodlands Crescent 3CFC Liu Kai’s mother being supported by her daughter as his hearse makes its way to Mandai Crematorium. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

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Before the service started, CFC Liu’s family had gathered around his casket. His mother, now helped out of her wheelchair, looked at her son and cried uncontrollably.

By now a small crowd had gathered at the neighbouring block. One of them was crane operator William Mah, who said he lived there and came to pay his respects.

“Of course, it’s very sad,” the 58-year-old said. “This kind of thing should not happen.”

Liu Kai funeral Woodlands Crescent 6Family, friends and camp mates gathered to send CFC Liu Kai off. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

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Soon dozens of SAF servicemen in uniform and black armbands, some with hands clasped in front of them, stood solemnly outside the hall. Inside, there were barely any seats left.

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After attendees sang a soothing Chinese gospel song, a man holding a bible raised his hand and prayed before closing the casket.

Then SAF pallbearers carried out the Singapore flag-draped casket into a white hearse and saluted, as family members watched and sobbed under a throng of black umbrellas.

As the hearse inched out of the car park the family members held on to its rear, and the cries from CFC Liu’s mother grew louder.

Liu Kai military funeral Mandai Crematorium 1The hearse carrying CFC Liu Kai being escorted as it arrives at Mandai Crematorium on Nov 6, 2018. (Photo: Howard Law)

At the crematorium, the hearse pulled in slowly behind a military band, flanked by hundreds of servicemen who lined the driveway and saluted.

The casket was carried into a service hall, where a ceremony took place in private.

On Monday, family members had described CFC Liu as a kind and warm-hearted boy who wanted to travel on a mission trip to Thailand to help those in need.