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Saturday, 5 November 2011

'I am now useless'



For him, it will be over in four years.
But I will never be the person I used to be.
This was how Malaysian Kee Yau Chong, 23, compared his situation to that of the man who set him on fire.
In an interview in his third-storey home in Hougang Avenue 6, he said in Mandarin: "Of course, I hate him, but what good will that do? My body and arms will still be burnt. "I can only accept what I've become, that I am now useless."
Kuu Siau Lam, 65, was sentenced to four years' jail on Monday for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Mr Kee at their workplace, SH Indeco, at Senang Crescent in Bedok on June 11.
Mr Kee had accidentally bumped into Kuu and did not apologise. The two carpenters got into a heated argument. Then Kuu splashed thinner on Mr Kee and set him ablaze.

The incident has changed Mr Kee's life completely, said his sister, Madam Kee Gek Peng.
The 37-year-old quality assurance inspector said her brother used to take pictures of himself on his mobile phone all the time.
But now, he can barely look at himself in the mirror.
"He used to care so much about how he looked that he would spend hours applying gel to his hair and dressing up," Madam Kee said.
"Now he can't even put on clothes by himself, and it makes him very irritated."
Madam Kee showed The New Paper some pictures of her brother before the fire.
In them, Mr Kee was slim and neatly dressed, with his hair stylishly combed. And he seemed to enjoy posing in front of the camera.
But yesterday, the shy Mr Kee was dressed only in a pair of shorts and often kept his face averted from the camera.
Madam Kee said that her brother has always been reserved, but that he loved to sing and used to go for karaoke sessions in Johor Baru, Malaysia, with his friends every other week.
This, too, has changed.
Mr Kee said: "My friends still ask me to go for karaoke sessions, but I don't want to go."
Madam Kee said he has even told his friends from Malaysia not to visit him.
His family used to hear Mr Kee singing along the corridor on his way home and while in the shower.
Madam Kee added that the family has not even heard him hum a tune since the tragedy.
Mr Kee said he used to spend only a few hours playing computer games and watching anime online in the past. Now he spends all his time doing so.
He said: "I either use the computer or sleep. There's nothing else to do."
Family members say Mr Kee no longer steps out of his house except to go to the hospital for treatment.
Madam Kee said: "He will not go out even if we go as a family. He just wants to stay home."
She and her husband, Mr Yau Yock Chai, 39, an engineer, are worried for Mr Kee; he is quieter now and his temper has got worse.
"He now gets angry at the smallest things because he cannot do things himself," she said.
As Madam Kee and Mr Yau work during the day, Mr Kee's 64-year-old mother helps him with his daily activities.
She helps him to bathe and put on his clothes as his burnt fingers cannot be straightened for now. But the independent Mr Kee insists on eating by himself.
Throughout the hour-long interview, Mr Kee picked and wiped away pus from his wounds with tissue paper from time to time.
And when asked if his wounds were itchy, he replied softly that they weren't, but the skin was peeling off.
Despite repeated encouragement from Madam Kee to talk about what happened that fateful day, he declined, saying: "I really don't want to talk about it."
He kept his gaze mostly on his computer screen and avoided making eye contact with anyone.
Occasionally, he would try to move his badly burnt left arm and hands, trembling vigorously from the effort.
When asked if he regretted not apologising to Kuu after bumping into him, he said: "Yes, of course."




Mr Kee was slim and neatly dressed, with his hair stylishly combed. And he seemed to enjoy posing in front of the camera.


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