Japanese victim was cheerful and well loved

The Japanese woman killed in last Saturday's fatal three-vehicle collision, involving a Ferrari, was described by her alma mater as being "kind, full of life and a truly lovely person".

Ms Shigemi Ito, 41, had graduated from the Raffles Design Institute (RDI) in Beach Road last June with a degree in interior design. She was said to have lived in Singapore for a number of years.

RDI's Programme Director of Interior Design, Ms Rosah Lopez, told my paper yesterday that Ms Ito was a "promising, vibrant designer".

Ms Ito died last Saturday morning at the Singapore General Hospital, after a Ferrari collided into a taxi she was travelling in at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street.

It is not known where she boarded the taxi and where she was headed, but she was said to have been out with friends that evening, reported Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao.

Family members were present at her wake held at a funeral parlour in Sin Ming Drive yesterday. Throughout the day, small groups of friends showed up to pay their respects.

A Singaporean, Mr T. C. Thio, who is believed to be Ms Ito's boyfriend, was also present and is said to have organised the wake.

Outside the hall, funeral wreaths competed for space along the narrow pavement.

At least two wreaths were from Ms Ito's teachers and class mates. One of them carried a note which read: "Shigemi will always remain in our thoughts and memories."

Ms Ito's family and friends declined to speak with the media. Two vans and a car lined the road in front of the wake, obscuring her coffin from direct view.

Two officials from the Japanese Embassy here arrived at about 4pm yesterday, dressed in white shirts and black trousers. They spent about an hour with Ms Ito's family before leaving.

When asked, they acknowledged that they were assisting her family but declined to comment further. They would only say that it was a "private matter" and that they were honouring the requests of Ms Ito's family.

The collision early last Saturday claimed three lives, including Ms Ito's.

Chinese national Ma Chi, the Ferrari driver, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Cheng Teck Hock, the taxi driver, 52, was declared brain-dead and died on Sunday at 7pm.

Two others were injured - Mr Muhammad Najib Ghazali, 25, a motorcyclist, and the passenger in Mr Ma's Ferrari, a Chinese national in her 20s.

Both are warded in Tan Tock Seng Hospital and are in stable condition.

Ms Ito's cortege leaves for Mandai Crematorium at 8.30am today. She will be cremated at 9am.

For more my paper stories click here.

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(Photos: Shin Min, ST, Wanbao)
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