I don't love my dad any less: Son of S'porean who murdered wife in UK
She encouraged her family to travel and shared her passion for new places and cultures by posting photos of her experiences.
Madam Pek Ying Ling, 51 and known as Evelyn to family and friends, kept her loved ones posted with pictures of her and her husband, Fong Soong Hert, or Allan, in scenic locations as they began their three-month tour of Dubai and Europe last October.
But on Dec 6, the trip was cut short when the mother of three adult sons was murdered after being smothered with a hotel pillow in Newcastle, Britain, by her husband, also 51, who was in pain after taking a tumble down a slope in Scotland just over a week earlier.
The couple's second son, Mr Aloysius Fong, 26, wrote on Instagram in December: "After three weeks in the UK alone, I return home, feeling like I've lost both mum and dad."
On his father, he wrote: "I know whatever happened, it wasn't him. My parents have been the most supportive, most loving and most approachable people (for) my brothers and I, as well as each other."
He added: "I don't love my dad any less for this, and we are all here for him... He will always have the support of his three boys."
He signed off the post: "The family will remain stronger than ever. Love you mum and dad, now and forever."
Mr Aloysius Fong repeated these sentiments in Newcastle Crown Court on Friday (Aug 12) before his father was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Fong must spend at least 12½ years in a British prison before the possibility of parole.
"They were together 28 years and were inseparable and adored each other. Every day we grieve for the loss of our mum," he told the court.
Mr Aloysius Fong called the loss of their mother a family tragedy and said: "All of my family is heartbroken and miss her every day."
He added that the family believes if Fong had not had a serious fall in Scotland, causing him to suffer from severe pain and headaches, they would not be "in this situation".
"Our dad will always be a part of our future," he told the court.
Mr Aloysius Fong and his older brother, Mr Alonzo Fong, 27, consented to The Sunday Times quoting Instagram posts they wrote following their mother's death but declined to comment further.
Earlier this year, Mr Alonzo Fong, who is the eldest son, wrote: "I may not have been the best son but there's no doubt that you were the best mother I could have ever wished to have.
"There will never be a day that goes by without me thinking of you and hoping you'll text and ask for Facetime. Thank you for believing in me when no one else would and loving me unconditionally even when I was a problem child."
His parents travelled to Newcastle to visit Mr Alonzo Fong who was then a university student there.
Friends of the couple described the updates of the trial as painful and told ST that Madam Pek, a retired director at a logistics company, was a devoted mother and wife.
A friend of the couple, who declined to be named and has known them for more than 20 years, said Madam Pek, a durian lover and avid mahjong player, was extremely generous to her loved ones.
"Her life revolved around her family," said the friend, 57, who is retired and used to work in the media industry. "She loved to celebrate every occasion... birthdays, Christmas, Lantern Festival, anything you can name, she would plan for it."
Recalling that Madam Pek had been excited about the trip for months before they left, she said the couple would bicker only in jest and Fong was never violent.
"She had always taken care of him, and he always gave in to her. They were very loving - that was why when we got the phone call (about her death), we were very shocked. I thought after the fall that something might have happened to him.
"All of us still cannot understand why," she added.
Fong, who ran his own marketing services business, initially pleaded guilty to manslaughter, telling the court he had no real recollection of what occurred and suggesting that he intended only to make his wife stop talking and not cause her death.
Midway through the trial, he changed his plea to guilty of murder after his attorneys reviewed the evidence and concluded that their original planned defence of "diminished responsibility" was unsustainable.
The court earlier heard that Fong had been on painkillers and other medication after falling down a steep hill while on the Isle of Skye.
"I felt like my whole body was in pain, my bones would shatter, my head would explode with pain," Fong testified.
He also had prescription medication for anxiety, depression and to help him sleep.
The court heard that he collapsed several times in his room at the Newcastle hotel before he was taken to hospital in an ambulance and discharged with "ongoing muscular pain".
Fong told the court that the first time he knew his wife was dead was when he talked to her but did not get a response. He said he froze and it felt "like a nightmare".
The prosecution told the court that Fong called his eldest son and told him: "I have hurt your mother. She's gone. She's dead. I just lost it. I tried to cover her mouth to shush her. I just lost it."
In sentencing, Judge Paul Sloan said an offence of domestic violence often follows a history of violence and controlling and abusive behaviour which a sentence should reflect.
However, this case "could not be further removed from the type of situation I just described".
He said Fong was a loving and devoted husband, as well as a doting father, whose sons were testimony to the stable and loving environment the couple had provided.
But the judge added that Fong "formed an intention to kill" when he held a pillow over his wife's face.
He noted that while Fong's pain and exhaustion do not excuse his actions, it does perhaps shed some "considerable light" on why a loving, caring and protective husband could behave so "utterly and completely out of character".
After the sentence was handed down, senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel, said: "All our thoughts remain with the couple's three sons who have been left devastated beyond belief by the events of Dec 6 last year.
"Once again, I want to publicly thank them for their composure and the dignity they have shown in the face of such tragedy. We will continue to support them in any way we can and we ask that everyone respects their privacy at this extremely difficult time."
He added: "We want to be clear that we will absolutely not tolerate domestic abuse or violence in any form. When incidents of this nature do occur, we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice."