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TAIWAN - A trip to Taiwan turned tragic for a Singapore family when one of them was found dead at a hot springs resort.
Madam Ser Chwee Tiang, 67, was discovered face down in the water by relatives.
She had left on a two-week trip on Nov 9 with her sister, brother and a friend, to catch up with relatives and friends.
On Nov 22, the group decided to visit a famous hot springs resort at Beitou, a northern district of Taipei, and try the hot spa there.
One of Madam Ser's two sons, Mr Wu Fusheng, 37, told The New Paper that his mother, her friends and relatives had booked a 40-minute session at the resort some time before 6pm.
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Said Mr Wu: "According to my aunt, my mother responded when my aunt knocked on her door 20 minutes later.
"The group had made plans for dinner - one of her friends had, in the meantime, gone to make reservations - and my mother told my aunt that she would be getting ready soon.
"However, when my aunt knocked on her door the second time, some 10 minutes later, there was no response," said the sales executive.
The aunt alerted Mr Wu's uncle, who asked the receptionist to get a key and unlock the door.
Said Mr Wu: "When they opened the door, they found my mother face down in the water.
"She had not dressed yet. Her skin was red and had started to peel because of the hot water.
"My uncle quickly pulled her out of the water, and called for an ambulance," he said.
But Madam Ser was pronounced dead shortly after the ambulance arrived, he said.
Madam Ser's other son, Mr Wu Fuqiang, 43, said the family is not sure of the circumstances of their mother's death.
"According to the death certificate issued by the hospital, the cause of death was suffocation and drowning," said the despatch driver.
"We think she could have lost consciousness and fallen into the water," he said.
The brothers told TNP that their mother was in good health and did not suffer from high blood pressure or any other illness.
"It's an unfortunate accident," said the older of the two brothers. "The resort obviously would not have installed cameras in their rooms, so we had no way of knowing what happened."
What the brothers miss about their mother is her lively personality.
"She had inherited the love of Hokkien opera from my grandfather," said the younger brother.
"My father was less talkative, but he, too, loved Hokkien opera and played the erhu," he added.
At the wake yesterday, some of Madam Ser's friends were singing Hokkien opera songs in her honour.
"My parents loved each other very much. With my mum gone, it's going to be lonely for my father," said the elder brother.
Speaking in Hokkien, their father, Mr Goh Phuan Swee, 73, told TNP that he had been married to Madam Ser for 43 years.
"It helped that her mother and father liked me - that's how I got to marry her," he said, smiling. "She was a good wife and mother."
Indeed, the Wu brothers said that had it not been for their mother's caring but strict parenting, they would have ended up as gangsters.