Yesterday (23 January 2019), at 8:45 p.m. Singapore time, actor Aloysius Pang succumbed to his injuries after four days in Waikato Hospital, New Zealand. He was 28 years old, and had been on reservist duty during his demise.
One death is one too many, and since MINDEF’s announcement, there has been lots of condolences posted online.
The actor, who was one of the 8 Dukes of Caldecott Hill, had suffered injuries to his chest and abdomen while repairing a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer.
Here are ten facts about this actor and Singaporean son (and the passing in general) who not just entertained Singaporeans with his acting, but has defended Singaporeans with his life.
Who is Aloysius Pang?
Aloysius Pang was a child actor who started acting at the age of nine, starring in shows like Xiao Fei Ren and Bukit Ho Swee. The Yuying Secondary School student then stopped acting at 14, and made a comeback to showbiz in 2012 when he was 22 to star in a Singapore film Timeless Love.
Since then, he became a familiar face on TV, won the best newcomer award in Star Awards 2015 and even starred in a movie Young & Fabulous.
He did not renew his contract with Mediacorp in 2017 so as to put more focus on a wood plastic composite business that he started with his brother. He continued to be managed by NoonTalk Media instead and act full-time on a freelance basis, which is why you still see him on TV regularly despite not being a full-time actor with the national broadcaster.
Now, he’s not to be confused with Shawn Lee, the actor who acted in I Not Stupid. Shawn Lee also started out as a child actor in I not Stupid, was born in 1990 and looks like Aloysius Pang, but they’re two different people.
If there’s one incident that makes us respect him even more, it’s the drink-driving incident in 2017.
After attending a wedding with some drinks, he was driving when another car cut into his lane. He swerved and hit a guard rail. Soon after, the police found that he had had 55 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, exceeding the legal limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
For that offence, he was fined $2,000 and banned from driving for eighteen months.
But it’s not the offence that people remember: it’s how he reacted. He did not defend himself and publicly stated, “As a role model, I know I should not have done this and I will bear the consequences.”
Reservist in New Zealand
Singapore soldiers often go overseas for training as the area in Singapore is too small. Lest you’re not aware, reservist soldiers get to go overseas for their training as well.
Aloysius was an armament technician from the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery, and was involved in an annual exercise called Exercise Thunder Warrior in New Zealand.
The exercise this year runs from 5 January 2019 to 2 February 2019.
Back in 1997, two SAF soldiers died when a round exploded prematurely in the same exercise, and eleven other SAF soldiers and one New Zealand officer were injured.
In 2013, a fire occurred in the same training area that lasted for three days, but there was no injury or damage to property.
Timeline of Event
Here’s what happened based on MINDEF’s updates:
- 19 January 2019 (2:05 p.m.) = Aloysius was injured while repairing the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer
- 19 January 2019 (2:25 p.m.) = Aloysius was transferred to the Battalion Casualty Station and was assessed and stabilised by the Medical Officer
- 19 January 2019 (2:50 p.m.) = Aloysius was evacuated to Waiouru Camp Medical Centre
- 19 January 2019 (4:50 p.m.) = Aloysius was heli-evacuated to Waikato hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand.
- 19 January 2019 (6:00 p.m.) = Aloysius arrived in the hospital and underwent surgery
- 19 January 2019 (11:40 p.m.) = Surgery was completed and Aloysius stayed in the high dependency unit
- 21 January 2019 (11:00 a.m.) = A second “relook” surgery was conducted and completed
- 22 January 2019 (11:54 p.m.) = A third surgery was done after Aloysius’ condition worsened, and he has to be on life support for his lungs, kidneys and heart
- 23 January 2019 (8:45 p.m.) = Aloysius succumbed to his injuries and passed away
Passing of a Soldier
MINDEF would be making arrangements to bring the body of the late Aloysius back to Singapore, and they are extending “their deepest condolences to the family of CFC (NS) Pang and will continue to render assistance and support in their time of loss.”
In the meantime, condolences have been pouring in from Singaporeans, and this image has surfaced to remember his contribution and sacrifice to the defence of Singapore:
His family has taken over his Instagram and posted a heart-breaking message:
If you can’t read:
On behalf of our family
Throughout the past few days in the hospital, it has been a difficult time for us. Every news that were brought upon us since his last op was devastating with little signs of hope on his recovery. We all broke down when the medical team spoke to us that his condition is worsening and we should be prepared for the worst. We’re going to lose a brother. And my parents are going to lose their precious son whom is only 28. Thus I seek everybody’s kind understanding that we are unable to comment further during these precarious time.
Mediacorp, prior to his passing, has recast a drama that he was supposed to be in, saying that Aloysius is “a highly talented and professional actor and a joy to work with. Our doors will be open for him when he is ready and we look forward to his full and speedy recovery.”
Girlfriend went Public
Aloysius has not gone public on whether he’s attached, and was told by his manager that he “wasn’t allowed to date”. However, local actress Jayley Woo posted a moving eulogy on the day of his passing, with the location tagged to Waikato Hospital and a caption that suggests a long relationship she has with Aloysius.
She then posted numerous memories of herself with Aloysius in her Instagram Stories, and trust me: you might cry if you just go through all the stories.
In an even more heart-breaking reveal, Jayley’s sister revealed that Aloysius was working hard now so that he can earn more money and marry Jayley when he’s 31.
Which, by the way, is 2021.
Independent Committee of Inquiry
Just like any NS-related death, an independent Committee of Inquiry would be convened to investigate the incident. Preliminary findings would be shared in a press conference that’ll be conducted later today.
According to MINDEF, Aloysius was repairing the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer with two other servicemen when the “the gun barrel was lowered.”
One of the reasons why this was shocking was that on 21 January 2019, reports stated that he was in a stable condition and could breathe on his own.
Back then, Singaporeans did not expect it to be fatal: until yesterday morning when it was announced that his condition had worsened.
We were all taken aback again in the afternoon when the Defence Minister mentioned that Aloysius required life support for a few of his organs.
Deaths During NS
In the last sixteen months alone, another six servicemen have died:
- 3 November 2018: CFC Liu Kai passed away when an armour reversed into a jeep that he was in. The COI is still investigating.
- 28 September 2018: An NSF committed suicide in Sembawang Air Base
- 9 September 2018: A SPF NSF shot himself
- 28 July 2018: An NSF commited suudie in Nee Soon Camp
- 31 May 2018: SCDF SAF Kok Yuen Chin died after a ragging event
- 30 April 2018: CFC Dave Lee passed away after a heat injury during a fast march at Bedok Camp
RIP, Aloysius. Thank you for your service, both for defending Singapore and bringing joy to Singapore.
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