KUALA LUMPUR: A sombre mood filled the Kwong Tong funeral parlour in Sungai Besi here as family members and other mourners paid their last respects and prayers for the late Liau Kok Keong and his three children who died at home in Serdang on Friday.
Weeping schoolchildren, concerned community leaders and grieving friends started streaming into the parlour from 9am and at 12.55pm all eyes were on Liaus widow, Choong Hui Ning, who came with several relatives.
As her escorts led her into the parlour they tried to shield her from flashing cameras and scolded press photographers who elbowed each other to get her pictures.
Choong, who looked pale and shocked, stayed until about 3.30pm and talked to only a few people at the parlour.
Women, Family and Community Development Ministry parliamentary secretary Chew Mei Fun, who was among those who spoke to the widow and heart-broken mother in the prayer hall, told reporters later that Choong was calm and stable.
Choong is still deep in mourning. I am going to introduce a counsellor for her and I am sure with the guidance she will be able to overcome the losses.
She also told me that she loved Liau very much and that he was a very nice person. She also said that she loved her children as much as Liau did, Chew said.
She said Choong had already thought about higher education for her eldest child, 13-year-old Wan Yee. The other two children were Wan Juin, 11, and their brother Zhen Liang, seven.
Asked if she knew the reason for Liau and Choong to live separate lives, Chew said, It was something personal between the two of them which Choong said did not involve a third party.
Chew advised couples with marital problems to seek guidance to sort out their disputes as their problems could affect their children.
Family members, relatives and friends of Liau and his children were still in a state of shock when met at the funeral parlour yesterday.
About 40 schoolmates of Wan Yee and Wan Juin from Catholic High School in Petaling Jaya and SRK (C) Kung Man in Serdang Lama arrived in chartered buses to pay their last respects.
Some cried uncontrollably while others bravely tried to choke back their tears.
They hugged and comforted each other and, accompanied by their teachers and parents, offered their prayers to their departed schoolmates.
The mourning took a more emotional level when Choong arrived at the parlour.
Lam Lung Loo, 41, from Seri Kembangan whose eldest daughter was a friend of Wan Yee in the same primary school, said:
Yesterday, when I was at the coffeeshop below Liaus shophouse, I overheard the shop owner and other workers saying they heard children crying from the floor above at between 9pm and 10pm.
Ever since my daughter heard that Wan Yee had died, she hasnt stop crying. Wan Yee was a good-natured and cheerful girl, Lam said.