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The Straits Times
April 10, 2023
Popular local lifestyle influencer Melissa Koh’s second child, Asher Matthias Chen, who was born with a heart condition, has died. He was two months shy of his second birthday.
Koh, 33, posted details of the wake and funeral mass on Instagram Stories last Friday. The funeral mass took place on Monday afternoon at Church of Saint Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok.
The baby, who was born on June 17, 2021, had two major operations before he was one month old, including open-heart surgery the day after he was born.
Koh and her husband, photographer James Chen, have an older son, Noah Tobias Chen, three. They announced in January that they are expecting another baby.
Her social media posts frequently feature her family and she has documented her children’s lives on their own Instagram accounts.
On March 30, she hinted in a post that Asher’s condition had worsened, writing: “We’re not ready to lose you, baby Asher.”
A week later, she posted a photo of herself cradling her baby on the beach with a white heart emoji in the caption, and condolences from other influencers began flooding the comment section.
In her latest post last Friday, she uploaded three photos of her family of four, writing: “My everything.”
Fellow influencer Daryl Aiden Yow started a crowdfunding campaign last Saturday to raise money to go towards the child’s hospitalisation fees, which he said were “astronomically high”.
He is hoping to raise $20,000 in seven days, which reportedly does not cover even 10 per cent of the total bill.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this, but I feel it in my gut it is the right thing to do. And if I receive backlash, so be it,” he wrote.
He later added: “It is not in my place to reveal anything that Melissa has shared with me in private as a friend. She will reveal whatever she’s comfortable with if she ever feels ready to. But it’s in my place to reach out a helping hand when someone I care about is at her lowest.”
In an Instagram Story on Monday evening, he updated that the amount collected stood at more than $18,000.
Late on Monday night, Koh shared a poem on Instagram Stories, A Child Of Mine by Edgar Albert Guest.
The poem on grief opened with the lines: “I’ll lend you for a while / A child of mine, He said / For you to love the while he lives / And mourn for when he’s dead.”
It ended with: “But should the angels call for him / Much sooner than we’ve planned / We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes / And try to understand.”