Sabah Quake: Victims Remembered Fondly

The last time 12-year-old Keito Kowaka met his football team-mate Ameer Ryyan Mohd Adeed Sanjay, they went out for a meal and had bubble tea. Little did he know that it would be the last time he saw his friend, who was known for his football skills and was an member of F-17, started by local football legend Fandi Ahmad.

Ryyan was among the six students from Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) who lost their lives when an earthquake struck Sabah on Friday. A TKPS teacher and an adventure guide engaged by the school also died on the mountain. The students were on a school trip to Mount Kinabalu.

“He was a competitive boy and very good in football. He was called for the Singapore Sports School trials,” said Keito of Ryyan, who was vice-captain of TKPS’ football team.

Former student Andre Aide Iskandar, 14, also recalls scouting Ryyan into the football team. He had noticed Ryyan’s footwork and speed while he was playing football during recess on the first day of school.

“I’m very sad to hear about Ameer Ryyan because he has been like a little brother to me. I’ve been taking care of him since he was in this school,” he said.

Yesterday, friends and family gathered for the wake of Peony Wee, 12, whose body was the first to be identified on Saturday. Speaking at the wake, her father, Mr Alson Wee, 51, described her as “active” and “jovial”.

Smiling as he described her, Mr Wee said: “She’s talkative, which is good because she could practice her debating (skills).” He said the wake would end on Thursday morning, after which she would be cremated.

Friends and acquaintances of the other deceased were shocked and saddened to learn of the news yesterday. Engineer Low Jun Wei, 29, met TKPS teacher Terrence Sebastian Loo on a teaching course four years ago.

“He was very friendly and helped to break the ice between everyone by coming over and saying ‘Hello’ to all of us,” said Mr Low.

Undergraduate Geraldine Mark was childhood friends with adventure guide Muhammad Daanish Amran. Even as a child, Daanish was an outdoor activities lover, she said. “He lives a few blocks away from me, so we used to meet at the playground every evening and play football or other games,” recounted Ms Mark, 21. “He was a funny person, really easygoing.

Two Singaporeans remain missing: student Navdeep Singh Jaryal s/o Raj Kumar, and teacher Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed.

Ms Lee Yoo Jin, 17, a former TKPS student who visited the condolence corner set up for well-wishers at TKPS yesterday, recounted her memories of Mr Ghazi, who led her on the same trip five years ago when she was at TKPS.

The Physical Education teacher and hockey teacher-in-charge was a dedicated educator, said Ms Lee, citing a quote that he once wrote on the school’s album: “Leave no man behind”.

Mr Ghazi was also Tara’s form teacher last year, and taught her English and Physical Education. “Mr Ghazi (is) a very caring teacher. He always encouraged us to do our very best. He always showed compassion for his students in everything he did,” she said.



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