Wednesday, March 11, 2009

mystery shrouds over the sudden death of this young NS doctor

Capt (Dr) Ooi sent his sister birthday greetings on Oct 13, the day he left Singapore. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK

March 9, 2009

Family of SAF doctor lost touch after Oct

He had sent them e-mail message a month after leaving to say he was well and not to look for him

By Jermyn Chow

THE family of Captain (Dr) Allan Ooi, who was found dead under a bridge in Melbourne on March 3, heard from him a month after he went absent without official leave from the armed forces last October.

The 27-year-old ignored their cellphone calls as well as their text and e-mail messages for a month before finally sending a short response by e-mail.

By all accounts
By all accounts, Capt (Dr) Ooi was a sociable young man who was often featured in high-society magazines here. His friends knew him as an 'all-rounder' who excelled in his studies and sports.
'He said he loved us and he was doing well, and he told us not to look for him,' his sister, Ms Lynette Ooi, 24, told The Straits Times yesterday.

The family had been in a tizzy since they received a call from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) informing them that he had not turned up for work.

Ms Ooi said their parents, obstetrician and gynaecologist Alex Ooi and general practitioner Lucy Ooi, were then in London with her. Their brother, Adrian, 28, was working in the Singapore General Hospital.

Private investigators were hired and a missing persons report lodged with the police, but all they knew at the end was that he had left Singapore on Oct 13.

That day was the last time Ms Ooi heard from him before the AWOL incident. He had sent her birthday greetings via a text message.

'I thought it seemed a little strange because usually he would call me and we would catch up a bit,' said Ms Ooi, a lawyer.

Family and friends flooded his e-mail inbox, pleading with him to return or asking what help he needed to start a new life. They received no word from him.

In 2000, Capt (Dr) Ooi, then 18, took up an SAF scholarship to study medicine at the National University of Singapore. In return, he was to serve a 12-year bond.

This bond was extended by a further three years after he went for a six-month aviation medicine course in London last year. He returned in mid-June and went back to work at the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) Aeromedical Centre in Paya Lebar.

Ms Ooi said he was unhappy at work. 'He was seeing or treating very few patients. Instead, he was doing administrative work, including writing articles for the air force's in-house magazine,' she said.

He had considered quitting his job because of this. His parents backed him, offering to pay off his bond, but he never pushed ahead with the matter, said Ms Ooi.

By all accounts, Capt (Dr) Ooi was a sociable young man who was often featured in high-society magazines here. His friends knew him as an 'all-rounder' who excelled in his studies and sports.

'He would always be the first to cheer us up when we were down, flashing his trademark cheeky grin,' said one close friend.

They turned up in force for his wake yesterday at the family's Moonbeam Terrace bungalow.

In the room where the coffin had been placed, a keyboardist played mournful strains on a piano while snapshots of the young man in happier days - mostly at parties and holidays, and flanked by family and friends - were shown on a television set.

The family was upset at speculation that he might have rung up gambling debts or that he was addicted to online games.

Ms Ooi said: 'My brother would never be that foolish. He always knew what he was doing.'

She said the family was still in the dark about what he had been up to in Melbourne over the past five months.

They went to identify his body and flew it home last Saturday. They also collected his belongings from an apartment in a Melbourne suburb.
Melbourne police are still investigating the circumstances of his death.

No comments: