GEORGE TOWN: The usually quiet Kampung Tong Hai in Nibong Tebal was a picture of grief and emotions, as hundreds turned up to say farewell to young M Vasanthapiriya, 13, who died early yesterday in circumstances that left Malaysians in shock.
Tears flowed but it wasn’t enough to cool down the scorching heat from the afternoon sun. Nor could it tame the emotions.
Some residents pulled out their garden hoses to spray water across the road, for the comfort of the barefoot pallbearers carrying Vasanthapiriya’s petite teenage body.
“She is the nicest girl, and always says ‘hello uncle and aunty’,” was how a Chinese couple remembered Vasanthapiriya everytime she walked back home from school.
“I am so shocked,” said the elderly man. “She is a good girl, we have seen her grow.”
At the living room of her house, Vasanthapiriya’s casket was lined with flowers, her favourite teddy bear at her feet, along with other trinkets from her room.
An elaborate funeral ritual was followed. Uncles and aunties placed clothes and cash for her afterlife.
Some 30 friends from Vasanthapiriya’s school were seen wailing as they stood beside her little casket, not believing that she had left them.
“She has left me, why did she leave me? What wrong did she do?”
As the cortege prepared to leave for the burial grounds, emotions peaked. Vasanthapiriya’s mother and sisters, and other relatives were almost hysterical.
The hearse made a stop in front of SMK Methodist, just a stone’s throw away from her home.
Vasanthapiriya was a Form 2 student at the school.
On Jan 17, a teacher had accused the SMK Methodist Nibong Tebal student of stealing her iPhone 6.
The teacher allegedly confined Vasanthapiriya in her office, and threatened to lodge a police report if she did not own up.
Vasanthapiriya was then confined to a room for nearly five hours without a break.
The teacher and her husband later drove the girl home and met her parents, during which time Vasanthapiriya hanged herself with a shawl in her room.
She left a note saying, “I did not steal your phone, teacher.”
Vasanthapiriya was rushed to the hospital, and spent almost a week on life support, before breathing her last at 3.30am yesterday.
It’s been more than a week that Muniandy Ratnam had not heard from his daughter. He never will.
His only consolation appeared to be that his little one would now be buried next to his late father, who was close to Vasanthapiriya.
“Appa (father), she is coming to be with you,” he said.