A newspaper vendor who forayed into the business in the 1970s succumbed to his injuries sustained during a hit-and-run on Feb 22 last week.
A. Athalingam, 83, (pic) loved the job and never considered retiring despite his age, according to his son Murali, 52.
“He was a healthy man who always kept fit. He would be up at 2am and leave early to deliver the newspapers. He would only return home at 3pm or 4pm after he finished all his deliveries and work.
“He delivered many different papers, magazines and books, but his favourite was The Star.
“He was passionate about work and would look into every detail, from how the papers were packaged, the folds and creases.
“He was particular about making sure the papers were clean and safe until delivered. If it rained and the newspapers were even slightly wet, he would be upset, ” he said.
Athalingam worked in a bookshop before becoming a vendor.
“He worked for a bookshop and when it closed, he decided he wanted to become a vendor.
“He said it was something he liked doing every day, ” he said.
Murali, a retired technician, said his father liked the layout of The Star and would share how he enjoyed flipping through it as the size and texture of the newspaper was just right.
“He liked the pictures and said the stories were wholesome.
“He had a small bedroom but it was filled with old newspapers.
“He had copies from decades ago. Some were already discoloured but they were his treasures, ” he said.
Murali said it was heartbreaking that Athalingam succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday.
“He was healthy and loved going on his morning delivery rides despite being slower with age.
“He rode his motorcycle slowly and was careful because he was carrying the newspapers.
“He was on one of his delivery trips when he was involved in a hit- and-run on Feb 22, ” he said.
Murali said he would now take over his father’s business.
“I have retired but will now become a vendor, just like my father, ” he said.
Athalingam’s funeral will be held at the Batu Lanchang crematorium at 2.30pm today.
He is survived by his wife, daughter and Murali.