Former Nurse and Eco-Friendly Brand Founder, Ms Chew Jia Tian, Tragically Lost in Kayaking Incident Near Sentosa
The kayaker, whose body was discovered in the waters near Sentosa, was a former nurse who later embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.
Founded in 2014, the eco-friendly bath and body brand, Rough Beauty, has received widespread acclaim for its rustic simplicity, exceptional quality, and commitment to sustainability.
These core values were the vision of Rough Beauty’s founder, Ms Chew Jia Tian. Tragically, her body was recently recovered by the Singapore Civil Defence Force in the vicinity of Sentosa.
Here’s how everything unfolded.
Caught in the Currents While Aiding a Friend
On the morning of Sunday, 22 October 2023, the 33-year-old Ms Chew went missing during a kayaking expedition with two friends off Sentosa.
As recounted by a friend to CNA, Ms Chew was attempting to help another companion whose kayak had capsized. In the process, she was tragically “swept under” by strong currents.
Their group immediately alerted the Singapore Police Coast Guard.
While the capsized friend was fortuitously rescued by a passing fishing boat, Ms Chew remained unaccounted for, even though her belongings and kayak were spotted floating nearby.
The search operation continued, and it was with heavy hearts that the team learned of the discovery of her body on Tuesday, 24 October.
A Passionate Advocate for the Environment
In a 2020 interview with Bare Hands, Ms Chew expressed, “By crafting products with simplicity and sustainability at the forefront, we aspire to inspire others to adopt a similar approach—utilizing fewer resources and consuming with the planet’s well-being in mind.”
It’s evident that Ms Chew had a profound love for the environment. The inspiration for the name “Rough Beauty” came after a memorable hiking trip to the Himalayas.
According to posts on both Ms Chew and her husband’s Facebook profiles, the adventurous couple frequently embarked on hiking, kayaking, and cycling trips globally, including a memorable cycling journey around Taiwan.
A Heart That Cared for All
Prior to establishing Rough Beauty, Ms Chew served as a staff nurse at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, having earned her nursing degree from the University of Manchester.
The demands of her nursing role, which required frequent handwashing, often led to dry skin. Motivated by her love for the environment and her personal experiences, she innovated to produce soaps that were not only gentle on the skin but also environmentally sustainable.
A Word of Caution for Water Sport Enthusiasts
The CEO of Fever.sg, a kayak fishing tour company, has cautioned Singaporeans on CNA against venturing towards Sentosa Cove unless they are accompanied by professional guides or are part of a paddle club.
It’s imperative not to venture beyond the stationary floating blue barriers. For novices, the stretch from Tanjong Beach to Siloso Beach is recommended as it’s safer.