He planned to take a leisurely jog home after sending his eldest daughter, 12, to school.

But on his way home, 51 year-old Mr Lai missed a step and fell headlong into an uncovered drain by the pavement of his estate along Jellicoe Road. The accident occurred near a bus stop next to Block 653.

Tragically, despite the best efforts of concerned passersby, who quickly dialed for an ambulance. Mr Lai succumbed to his injuries shortly before paramedics could arrive.

Mr Lai’s eldest daughter, who took her Primary School Leaving Examination that same morning, was unaware of her father’s death until after her paper. She learned of the tragedy only after her PSLE examinations had ended, when her aunt picked her up from school after her last paper and brought her to the morgue where her father’s remains were.

Mr Lai’s elder sister, Madam Lai, said that her brother’s death was a shock.

“When he went out that morning he was fine,” she told reporters. She added that the drains by the side of the estate’s pavements had been removed a few days earlier, but they usually were covered. She believes that her brother could have fallen in accidentally because of the missing covers.

Describing her brother as a caring family man, Madam Lai said that he would often ensure that his two daughters were fast asleep before he would retire to bed himself.

Fearing that the news of her father’s death would affect her niece’s PSLE exam, the family waited for her to finish the examinations before bringing her to see her father for the last time. They had told her that her father had taken ill and was in the hospital.

For Mr Lai’s wife, 38 year old Madam Wei, the pain of losing her husband has had to be tempered with the need to remain strong for her two daughters.

“I cannot be sad, or else my daughters will be in even more pain,” Madam Wei told reporters.

Mr Lai’s remains will be cremated at 4.30PM this afternoon.

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