Above: (From left) Mr Jason Lin, Mr Martin Tan, Mr Derek Chua, Mr Willy Tan and Mr Alan Ang telling the comatose Mr Janson Tay (in bed) about the match to raise funds for his bills.
By Joyce Lim
HE IS better known as a singer to most Singaporeans.
But it was football that brought the former Singapore Idol finalist Janson Tay together with his friends from St Gabriel's Secondary School.
And so it is football they will use to help raise funds for his medical fees.
Mr Tay, 29, has been in a coma since January, after an accident. After Singapore Idol, Mr Tay worked as a used-car dealer.
He was trying to cross Balestier Road at 3.50am on Jan 12 when he was hit by a car.
He suffered serious head injuries and had to undergo three operations, in which parts of his skull were removed to reduce the swelling in his brain.
The Singapore Idol top 14 male finalist in 2006 has so touched his former schoolmates that they have organised a football match in his name.
The match, which will kick off at Safra Tampines football pitch at 9pm tomorrow, hopes to raise at least $8,000.
Tomorrow will also mark the 100th day that Mr Tay has been in a coma.
Mr Tay, who joined talent contest Project SuperStar in 2005, was transferred from Tan Tock Seng Hospital to Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital on March 31.
In an emotional scene, his mother, Mrs Sally Tay, 52, sobbed by his bedside that day: "Son, do you want to go? But you need to wake up, you know? You are not alone, son."
She is on leave from her marketing job to take care of her son.
Rubbing her son's arms, Mrs Tay continued to speak to him.
She asked him repeatedly: "Can you hear me? If yes, blink your eyes."
One of Mr Tay's former classmates, Mr Willy Tan, 29, an engineer, took out a football jersey and said to him: "Look, we've got a jersey specially for you. We are trying to raise funds for you.
"We call it JRF, which stands for Janson Recovery Fund. You can decide how you want to use the money in future. You have to wake up."
He later told The New Paper that some of their former teachers will be there to watch the match, together with "our wives, girlfriends and children".
Each player has paid $50 to play in the match and all proceeds go to JRF.
Some players have given more to take part, said Mr Tan.
So far, he has raised $2,700.
Another of Mr Tay's former schoolmates, Mr Jason Lin, 29, recalled how they used to stay back in school to play football during their secondary school days.
He said: "Janson used to play the defender and he tackled very well. It was hard to take the ball from him.
"Even though he would not be playing tomorrow, we hope that all his friends would turn up to support us in the match and contribute to the fund.
This article was first published in The New Paper.