updated 16 Apr 2014, 12:51
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Mon, Apr 07, 2014
The Straits Times
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All birthday boy wants is mum and dad's return
by Joyce Lim

Teenager Eric Chen (above) was looking forward to his birthday and wanted his family to celebrate it with him.

The Malaysian boy's travel-loving mum and dad, Mr Chen Wei Hoing, 44, and Ms Tan Sioh Peng, 43, were going on a week-long trip to Beijing ahead of his big day. They promised to bring him back a birthday present.

They were on the March 8 MH370 flight.

Eric turned 15 on March 21.

He clung to hope that they were still alive. A week before his birthday, he posted a note to them on Facebook: "My birthday is coming, hope dad and mum could make it back in time to celebrate for me. Even if you are going to be late, I will still wait."

Two days after his birthday, Eric posted: "Dad, mum, I don't want my birthday present any more, I just want you back..."

Words of encouragement poured in from friends and relatives.

Eric tried to put up a brave front for his younger brother Elvin, 11, but it became harder as each day passed without news of his parents.

The two boys are being taken care of by their grandparents, who live with them in Selangor. Eric attends Mindrich College, an international school, while Elvin goes to primary school. The boys continue to go to school while their relatives help to keep track of news of the missing plane in Kuala Lumpur.

Eric told The Straits Times in a phone interview from Selangor: "Elvin is very dependent on my mum. He has been shattered. We miss our parents terribly. We miss her nagging at us."

Their mum's last words before leaving home for the airport were: "Be good and listen to your grandparents."

Mr Chen had also given instructions to his sister to help with his renovation business.

Eric and Elvin were used to their parents travelling frequently. "They loved to travel and they would travel up to five times a year. They had been to Korea, Thailand and many times to China," said Eric.

He described his parents as loving and said that they would hold hands when they went out together.

He and his brother did not usually go with them on their trips.

"My dad told me to work hard and earn enough money so that I can travel to see the world when I grow up," said Eric, his voice breaking.


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