Despite suffering from renal failure, he was determined to be as healthy as possible so he could see his five grandchildren – with one more on the way – grow up and shower them with affection.
For that, Mr Siah Keok Tiang would take the bus and go for dialysis, three times a week.
On Wednesday last week, while returning to his home in Bugis from the Sakyadhita-NKF Dialysis Centre in Upper Boon Keng Road, the bus he was on, service 175, suddenly braked.
Mr Siah, who had just got up from his seat, lost his footing and fell hard, suffering a head injury and multiple fractures.
The 68-year-old ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital but succumbed to his injuries and died yesterday morning.
Closed-circuit television footage from the SBS Transit bus showed Mr Siah had stood up from his seat and was preparing to alight when the bus driver applied the emergency brakes after a car cut into its lane.
A 43-year-old car driver has since been arrested for careless driving and causing grievous hurt, the police said.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, eldest son Siah Peih Wee, 39, recounted how his father had almost wanted to give up when he suffered from kidney failure 10 years ago.
“But because my son had just been born, he wanted to be healthy. He made sure to eat healthy and would go on walks.
“He would also wake up early to go to the dialysis centre for the four-hour sessions even though they were uncomfortable.”
Mr Siah said his father, who was conscious the first few days in the ICU, appeared dazed and confused and did not seem to be able to recognise family members who visited.
On Monday, the family found out the full list of injuries the elder Mr Siah had suffered, including a damaged spinal cord. Though surgery was needed, there was too much risk, given the extent of his injuries.
Over the next couple of days, Mr Siah’s condition deteriorated, and the family was informed late on Wednesday night that their father had suffered a cardiac arrest. They resuscitated him, but he died at around 7am yesterday.
Daughter Siah Hwan Ling, 30, said: “We have seen our father overcome so much in life… to see him go like this is heartbreaking.”
Ms Siah, who wrote about her father’s fall on Facebook, said she has been receiving a lot of online support from strangers – including from those whose loved ones suffered injuries from similar accidents.
Ms Siah recounted how her father, who had worked in courier services before his renal failure, had encouraged her mother to move into her flat with her family, while he lived alone, when Ms Siah’s second child was born two months ago.
He wanted his wife to help look after their grandchildren. That was typical of her father, said Ms Siah. He was a doting grandfather and an independent man.
“He loved all his grandchildren a lot and would visit them often. He would buy them their favourite things, including foods such as kueh and piglet mooncakes,” she said.
Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of corporate communications at SBS Transit, said that the company is very sorry to learn of Mr Siah’s death and is assisting the family.
Ms Siah urged motorists to show courtesy on the roads.
“All my father wanted was to see his grandchildren grow up,” she said.