They were colleagues, trainees who worked alongside each other at SMRT until an accident killed both of them on Tuesday. Yesterday, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari were buried side by side, one after the other, at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery before some 500 relatives and friends.
That was the text message Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari sent to his father, who was performing his umrah pilgrimage with his wife and two younger children, last Friday.
It turned out to be his last.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Asyraf and his SMRT colleague, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, were killed in an accident near Pasir Ris MRT station.
Mr Asyraf, the second of four children, had just turned 24 on Sunday and was part of a team investigating a reported alarm from equipment along the train tracks when the accident happened.
His father, Mr Ahmad Buhari, 61, who works multiple jobs, told The New Paper that on Tuesday (Singapore time), he was in Mecca when his wife felt something was off.
Umrah is a minor pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and can be performed at any time of the year.
Earlier that day, Mr Ahmad had received a text message from a distant relative saying his nephew had died.
But in the evening, he received a message from SMRT asking him where he was.
He said: “When I told them I was in Mecca, they sounded shocked. Then they asked for my eldest son’s contact number so I gave it to them.”
He then received a call from his eldest son.
“When I picked up, he wouldn’t speak. So I passed the phone to my daughter.
“After speaking to him, she told me and my wife what happened,” said Mr Ahmad.
He was confused and couldn’t accept the news – until condolences from friends and family streamed in.
Struggling to hold back tears, Mr Ahmad said: “They told me repeatedly, ‘It’s your son, not your nephew. Your son’. That was when my wife collapsed in the hotel room.”
Consulates in Mecca immediately arranged for his family’s flight back to Singapore.
“All I wanted was to see my son for the last time before he was buried,” he said.
His wish was granted and the family managed to fly back to Singapore, touching down at 1.45pm yesterday.
They got to Mr Asyraf’s uncle’s home at 2.30pm, just before Mr Asyraf’s body arrived from the hospital.
By then, about 150 relatives and friends had gathered at the second-storey unit at D’Heritage Apartments in Chai Chee.
SMRT employees were also spotted in the crowd.
They joined Mr Nasrulhudin’s family and friends at the Muslim cemetery in Choa Chu Kang for the burial yesterday.
Mr Asyraf’s mother was shaking as she scattered flowers on both her son’s and Mr Nasrulhudin’s graves.
After the burial, Mr Ahmad said: “My son has always been a quiet person, so I didn’t expect so many of his friends to show up.
“It’s fate, so I accept it with an open heart. I hope everyone will keep, not only Asyraf, but Nasrul as well, in their prayers.”
This article was first published on March 24, 2016.
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