Brother of Singaporean who set himself on fire: I'm not sure if he can survive

Brother of Singaporean who set himself on fire: I'm not sure if he can survive

Covered in thick bandages and hooked up to a ventilator in a hospital in Johor Baru, Singaporean Stephen Lew is fighting for his life. Mr Lew, 42, is in critical condition after he set himself on fire outside a petrol kiosk on Saturday.

On that fateful morning, witnesses watched in horror as Mr Lew bought petrol from a kiosk in Johor Baru, walked to a nearby kerb and doused himself in the petrol before burning himself.

Mr Lew suffered more than 80 per cent burns on his body and is in critical condition at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital at JB.

Mr Lew's older brother Nick, 46, told The New Paper that he is not optimistic about his brother's chances.

The older Mr Lew, who doesn't speak Malay, initially had some difficulty finding out details of his brother's condition due to the language barrier.

But he has been told by doctors to prepare for the worst.

"Seeing him like this is a big blow to us. Considering the facilities of this hospital, I'm not sure if he can survive," said the brother.

When TNP visited Mr Lew, we found him in an open ward with one other patient. Four relatives were at his bedside, including his mother and older brother.

He had a tube inserted into his mouth and he was bandaged up to his chest. His face was burnt beyond recognition and badly swollen. He also seemed to have trouble breathing.

A heart monitor at his side occasionally stopped and restarted. His mother, who wanted to be known only as Madam Goh, 73, said that she was told that it happens because the heart monitor was old.

She has been keeping vigil by her son's bedside since she arrived in JB on Saturday, after learning about the horrific incident.

Like the rest of the family, she has no idea how her younger son ended up like this.

BREAKS MY HEART

"Seeing him like this, it breaks my heart," she said in Mandarin.

The older brother said that Mr Lew's condition had worsened overnight. The family is contemplating bringing him back to Singapore to seek treatment.

"His situation will worsen soon. Even if he survives, how are we going to afford and sustain him if he is bedridden for the rest of his life?" said the older Mr Lew.

The family members were also unaware that Mr Lew had travelled to Malaysia.

His brother said that Mr Lew travelled regularly in the region, including Malaysia and Indonesia.

"He is my brother, but we don't know of his activities outside. He's old enough," said Mr Lew.

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