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Teen who died in Maldives with mum was talented flautist

TRAGIC LOSS: Vivian (right) and her mother Madam Tsai died last Thursday in the Maldives after a speedboat crashed into their dive boat.


    Dec 24, 2015

    Teen who died in Maldives with mum was talented flautist

    SHE was supposed to have turned 16 yesterday.

    But talented young flautist Vivian Yap died while on a diving holiday in the Maldives last Thursday - six days shy of her sweet 16th.

    A speedboat carrying four people crashed into the dive boat that Vivian and her mother, Nicole Tsai, 42, were in, killing them.

    There were no other casualties.

    They had been in the Maldives on an eight-day vacation to dive and celebrate Vivian's birthday.

    News of her death was announced on Facebook by her aunt Angelaine Shadbolt.

    Ms Shadbolt, who lives in Britain, wrote: "My beautiful niece Vivian is gone. Only 15 years old. She would have turned 16 on 23/12/2015. Talented and gorgeous, she's far too young to die."

    Last Thursday night, the mother and daughter, who were Singapore permanent residents from Malaysia, planned to go out - one for a dive and the other, to snorkel. According to Shin Min Daily News, Madam Tsai was a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner here.

    Madam Tsai's last post on her Facebook page, on the morning of the accident, said: "Tonight my daughter will be going for a night dive. I promised to go and snorkel. The girl said sea urchins may be out so be careful about getting stabbed."

    Madam Tsai and Vivian, together with four others, were heading to a dive site near the island of Maafushi in Kaafu Atoll that evening when the speedboat crashed into their boat.

    In a report by The New Paper on Tuesday, a dive instructor, who wanted to be known only as Mr Martin, had said: "The speedboat was going fast, very fast. The impact was so great that the speedboat went onto the dive boat."

    He works for Maafushi Dive, which took the women for the dive.

    They died before reaching the Maafushi Health Centre, reported Haveeru Online, an online news portal in Maldives.

    Vivian recently completed her Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 8 examination and was preparing for her diploma in music. She has performed at the Singapore Flute Festival every year since 2011.

    Goh Tiong Eng, president of the Flute Association Singapore and Vivian's teacher for six years, described her as a positive person.

    "She brought much joy to people around her. Vivian loves her music. She also loves giving hugs," he said.

    "Only recently, before she left for her holiday, she was telling me about seriously pursuing music as her career. She was even thinking of getting a more expensive flute to do so."

    Audrey Chen, principal of Fairfield Methodist Secondary School where Vivian was a Secondary 4 student, said: "The school is deeply saddened by the news. Vivian was a lively student who got along well with her peers.

    "A talented flautist, she was the leader for the flute section in the school's Symphonic Band and was well-loved by her juniors."

    Ms Chen added: "She had also helped out with coaching the students in the Fairfield Methodist Primary School band."

    Ashley Goh, Vivian's former teacher at Lee Wei Song School of Music, remembered her as someone who was "sweet and eager to learn".

    "She was an enthusiastic student, always looking forward to (her) classes," she said.

    Friends also posted on Vivian's Facebook page, expressing their grief.

    Kwon Soo Yeon wrote: "You were a great encouragement to me... always gave me energy with your enthusiasm and passion towards music."

    Vivian's father is in the Maldives making arrangements to fly Madam Tsai's and Vivian's bodies back to Singapore.