The sun beat down mercilessly as many in the 1,000-strong crowd at the Teochew Funeral Parlour reached for umbrellas to provide shade and towels to wipe away sweat.
It was 11am and although the conditions marked a difficult time for those who turned up at Ubi Road 4 to mourn the death of MediaCorp artiste Huang Wen-yong, no one moved.
Inside the funeral parlour, tears flowed freely as artistes like Zoe Tay, Bryan Wong and former on-screen partner Xiang Yun grieved.
Huang’s eight pall-bearers, all Media-Corp artistes and all in black outfits, with white gloves, were seated in the first row. One of them was actor Zheng Geping, who wanted to “walk this final journey with him”.
Actor Tay Ping Hui Tay said: “Most of the time it’s the simplest form of care that are the most sincere”. He had volunteered to be a pall-bearer as he felt it was what he should do. Pierre Png recalled a light-hearted moment with his friend. “He would call me ‘handsome’, but he would always add at the back, ‘But God is fair, your Mandarin is not good,’” said Png with a laugh.
As the pall-bearers made a slow march at about 1.30pm from the funeral parlour to the start of Ubi Road 4, about 500m away, members of the public followed closely behind, carrying their camera phones and trying to record the procession.
After about 20 minutes, the hearse, together with Huang’s family, finally left, made a detour around MediaCorp Caldecott Broadcast Centre and headed to Bright Hill Crematorium.
About 500 MediaCorp employees lined the pavements along Andrew Road and Olive Road, clapping as the hearse passed by.
The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on April 25, 2013.