3SG Chan Hiang Cheng Gavin was an independent and thoughtful boy who never asked much from his parents.
Relating how Gavin celebrated his recent 21st birthday just last month, his parents recounted how the boy only asked for a chocolate cake.
His father, Mr Chan, recounted: “A 21st birthday to a boy or girl – at that age – is an important day. I wanted to buy him a good dinner but he refused to accept it. He just wanted to have a chocolate cake, that’s all.”
Mdm Lim, his mother, added: ""Every birthday ... always the same chocolate cake... Gavin knows that mummy always works hard for the family … he knows that mummy needs to send my daughter to overseas studies.”
Mdm Lim works as a customer service officer with ground service handler SATS. The couple's daughter, 19, is studying overseas in Wellington.
3SG Gavin is the eldest of 4 siblings. His remaining younger siblings, aged 16 and 10, are studying in local schools.
Speaking to reporters at 3SG Gavin's wake, the grieving parents said that they have "no more tears" left.
"He wanted to do social work. He couldn't get into a local course. Since his sister was coming home, I said I'd work hard so he could have the chance as well," Mdm Lim told reporters.
"When he came home (from camp), he didn't bother me. He would see that I was very tired and (would) wash and iron his own clothes. Gavin was always like that,” Mdm Lim said, as she broke down into tears.
"He was a responsible man. He knew what he was supposed to do. It's a loss," Mr Chan added. "We never worried about him because he was very independent. He knew how to take care of himself."
"To lose a son, it's very painful," said Mr Chan. "To lose a good son, I can't swallow that. He was a good son. No words can describe how we are feeling now.”