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Remember Nian Ning

January 29, 2008

Family mourns loss of beautiful, intelligent go-getter
PENANG: She had the world at her feet but death robbed medical student Lee Nian Ning of a brilliant future.
The straight As student, former state swimmer and accomplished Girl Guide was on the double-decker express bus from Penang to Kuala Lumpur which crashed near Slim River on Friday.
Nian Ning, 21, a Public Service Department (PSD) scholar at the University of New South Wales in Australia who was on her way to visit friends in Kuala Lumpur, was among three passengers who perished when the driver lost control of the bus and slammed into a divider.
“We learnt that the driver had 13 summonses against him. Why had the company not screened him and realised that he was not competent to drive that bus?
Final rites: Friends paying their last respects to Nian Ning at her Taman Gelugor home in Penang Sunday.
“I wonder why the authorities still allowed such a monster to roam our streets?” asked Nian Ning’s distraught father Lee Hock Chuan, 50, a company human resources director.
He also expressed disappointment over the bus company’s reaction to the tragedy.
“They know who the victims are and yet, I have yet to receive a single call from them. There is not a single representative from the company here today to pay respects to my eldest daughter,” he said. The family is contemplating legal action and Lee appealed to witnesses to come forward.
Devastated: Nian Ning’s parents looking through a scrapbook containing goodbye letters from her close friends.
“It won’t bring her back but we just want justice to be done,” he said.
The attractive Nian Ning, who stood 1.72m tall, was a national backwoods cooking champion and had set her sights on becoming a doctor. She scored straight As in both the UPSR and PMR and obtained 11A1s and one A2 in the SPM exams. “From a young age, she was so clear about her goal. Even though she had been approached to be a model, the only thing she wanted to be was an orthopaedic surgeon,” said her mother Ong Keep Gim, 48, a teacher.
Friends and family of the young victim paid their respects at her home in Taman Gelugor yesterday. She was later cremated at the Batu Gantung crematorium. More than 20 of her closest friends also created a scrapbook with personal messages to their friend. “She was determined and a perfectionist,” said J.A. Cheng, 20, who was Nian Ning’s schoolmate. “She knew what she wanted in life and achieved her dreams. We will miss her very much.”

School times were the best. Some how, when you think of school, you have those friends immortalized in your memory.

And then something happens to shatter that.

When I skipped a grade, I entered a whole new world. But there were few names… people that memories would not let me leave behind. These names are few and far between and can be counted only with one hand. Nian Ning’s one of them.

We didn’t run in the same circle of friends, and I didn’t even know you very well, nor did we really keep in touch since I left school in 2003. But I’ve always remembered you with a smile on your face. I remember the times when you were sweet to me, or to someone else. I last saw you in MOIS during New Year’s Eve. We were both slightly off, reveling in the new year mood. It’s sad to know that that’s the last time I will ever see you.

After the initial shock wore off, I wondered what how parents felt. How her friends felt. For if this were to happen to anyone I love, I would be so very, very shattered.

Nian Ning was a bright girl with a promising future and all that was robbed away by the thoughtless negligence of an irresponsible person. His actions caused the loss of daughter, a sister and a friend. It makes me angry to think he got off with only a broken leg. But I console myself in thinking that another death was not necessary. But then it angered me further to know that while driving in heavy rain, not only was he speeding, but he was also smsing. Did he not understand the gravity of his actions!? When you drive a vehicle like that you’re not only responsible for your life – You’re also responsible for the lives of all those 39 people on the bus who chose to trust you!! It angers me that he did not stop to think and that!

I’m also furious at the bus company and other bus companies who have stood by and allowed this to happen. They have allowed their drivers to continue in their service after receiving numerous summons and warnings. They have allowed their drivers to ferry thousands of passengers in an irresponsible manner to and from places all the while knowing that accidents like this happen! They use double-decker buses to ferry passengers at high speeds for interstate travel when in other countries, double-decker buses are only used in the inner city. When profit comes before the lives of others, you know things are truly dire. This blatant selfishness and irresponsibility should be punished.

Most of all, I’m furious at the government and the police. Where have you been all this while? Bus crashes are not uncommon to the North-South highway – look at the numerous crashes we’ve suffered last year! In each accident, there are fatalities, some in larger numbers than others. What is the government doing about it? Are they enforcing stricter rules to ensure this does not happen again? Where did all that buzz go after the numerous accidents last year? They died down until another major incident happens again – and then there’s talk. But it will die down and ultimately – NOTHING WILL BE FUCKING DONE.

(read: Malaysians Mudah Lupa by Jason L, one of Nian Ning’s friends. He makes a very good point)

Since none of these people are bothered to do anything about it, it’s up to us to push for a change. Bloggers,

Please post this on your blog now to help:

Chung Lern and Nian Ning’s families would like all families and friends of the victims, dead or alive, in the Slim River Bus Crash to come forward and join them in taking action against the bus company. Stand up to seek justice for these three innocent individuals, who were all so young and full of life.

If you have a blog, please call out to ANYONE who

knows someone who survived or did not survive

the crash to come forward to join the Lee family.

Make a huge difference, make a huge fuss.

For now, you may contact Lee Chung Lern at or preferably on his handphone at 012-6670368.

What we can also do is boycott Konsortium express buses.

Pay a little bit more for Nice – is your life not worth that extra RM23?
Another solution that might not be the best, drive. Get 3 friends, a car, and at least the fate of your lives are in your own hands. But remember, drive safely.
Or if you can afford it – FLY. AirAsia and Firefly are making air travel a lot more affordable for us. Like I said – is your life not worth that extra money?

We should do something about this. Soon (hopefully) there will be a petition going round. This is an excerpt from Jolene Lai’s blog:

Update: I realize that most of us who fear for future occurrences of bus crashes are usually students. Please come up with ideas for the petition and leave it in the comments. I will try to work on it and Jason has mentioned that Ning’s friends are planning to work on it too. We’ll be in touch. Please spare a thought and think about how we can stop this once and for all. As we’re still deciding exactly how to go about this petition, please leave your email address in the comments so that when we wrap everything up, we’ll get you in on it.

Nian Ning was loved by her family and her friends. Don’t let her be just another statistic to add to the current rise of deaths on the road. After all, we quickly forget.

But she was loved. Read Jien Ann’s blog, Pei Wen’s blog, Sookie’s, check out her boyfriend’s photopage or even her other friend’s blogs. Or check out the facebook group her those dearest to her created in her memory.

Stop being so ‘tidak apa’.

Don’t forget – it could have easily been me, or you, or your loved ones.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

~Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. (1 John 3:18)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2008 3:11 am

    Please come for Nian Ning’s memorial. see blog for more details! Please help to publicize it too. We want to get the media’s attention


  1. 1 John 3:18 « psychobabble
  2. Edmund Loh | The Adventures of the Private Label Rights Extraordinaire! » Bus Crash No More

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