66-Year-Old Durian Lover Stung By Hornets 30 Times In Face & Head

Spending your free time pursuing a hobby is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Unfortunately for a 66-year-old single father, he lost his life after going out to pluck durians and rambutans — something he enjoyed doing in his free time.

Retiree Mr Quek Lye Seng was stung by hornets in a forested area near Hillview MRT last Friday (5 Jul).

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The father of two was rushed to the hospital but it was too late. The toxins from the stings stopped his vital organs from functioning, and he passed away shortly.

Loved picking fruits in forests since young

According to The New Paper, Mr Quek’s son, who declined to be named, shared that his father has been picking fruits in forests since he was a kid.

He had never been injured while harvesting.

During peak seasons, the senior Mr Quek would even go harvesting 4-5 times a week.

Accidentally disturbed a nest of hornets

Sadly, on the fateful day, Mr Quek may have disturbed a nest of hornets in his quest for durians and rambutans.

At 2.45pm, he cycled to Hillview MRT, a 10-minute journey from their Bukit Batok flat according to The Straits Times.

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He parked his bicycle and went into the forested area nearby to look for fruits.

That was when Mr Quek was chased and stung by hornets. Lianhe Wanbao stated that he suffered over 30 stings to his face and head, with more on his body.

Called for help from passers-by

He successfully escaped to the MRT station and called for help. He was then rushed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Mr Quek’s son said although his father was conscious when he arrived at the hospital, he passed away shortly after.

However, we are unable to determine the real time of death as The New Paper reported that he died the same day, while The Straits Times put Mr Quek’s death at 9am the next day.

Gripped by tragedy 12 years ago

Mr Quek, who is survived by his 2 sons, had a wife who was killed by a falling tree 12 years ago.

The Straits Times said Mr Quek had single-handedly raised his two sons, now 30 and 32, after his wife died.

During her morning walk, she was crushed by a tree in Bukit Batok Nature Park in May 2007 — marking the 1st fatality from a falling tree recorded by National Parks Board (NParks).

Hives are found in deep forests

The New Paper reported that NParks officers patrol designated trails regularly and will remove hives that may pose a risk to public safety.

A designated trail in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
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But, NParks Group Director for Conservation Dr Adrian Loo warned that hives are still found deeper into the forest, away from designated trails and publicly accessible areas.

Scavenging for durians in Singapore

Durian picking in Singapore is actually a common pastime for many.

There are community groups and even workshops organised by avid durian lovers, for durian lovers. Some of their favourite durian picking spots are Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Timah, Bukit Batok, and Yishun.

A man seen picking durians in an orchard
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Durian picking veterans advise people to wear helmets and to pick durians from the ground as only ripe ones fall off trees.

Stay safe & stick to designated trails

It’s truly sad to hear about Mr Quek’s fate and the events that led to his demise. Taking what we’ve learned from NParks into consideration, it’s best to stick to designated trails when you’re exploring forested areas.

Danger lurks around every corner, especially in less regulated terrain, so be careful. MS News sends our condolences to Mr Quek’s family.

Featured image from Hooi Khaw & Su and Google Maps.