It was her dream to return to Singapore next year and study to be a doctor.
But in a cruel twist of fate, Singaporean Megan Loy is back a year earlier and fighting to stay alive as she receives treatment at the Burns Centre of Singapore General Hospital.
"It's such an irony because it is her dream to save lives, but now she is in hospital fighting hard for her own," said her 47-year-old father, Joseph Loy, in an interview yesterday with The Straits Times.
Ms Loy, 18, suffered serious burns on up to 50 per cent of her body when a huge fire broke out during the annual Colour Play Asia festival at the Formosa Fun Coast water park on the outskirts of Taipei on Saturday night. She arrived in Singapore on Tuesday and underwent surgery for most of yesterday.
The trip was meant to be a celebratory graduation trip for Ms Loy and five of her good friends. The teen had completed her International Baccalaureate exams in May at Haileybury and Imperial Service College in London.
"Results will be out next week and Megan had planned to apply to study medicine at the National University of Singapore because it is one of the best universities," said Mr Loy, a businessman.
Choking back tears, he recounted how his daughter's passion to help others drove her to make her own arrangements for volunteer work in Africa last year. "She was just 17, but she decided that she wanted to serve the poor by assisting doctors to deliver babies in Tanzania," he said.
Formerly a pupil of Nanyang Primary School, Ms Loy transferred out in Primary 5 as her mother, Wee Ping Lim, was posted to Shanghai with HSBC.
After enrolling in Dulwich College Shanghai, an international school there, Ms Loy became fast friends with five Hong Kong schoolmates.
Even though she later went to Haileybury college to get her International Baccalaureate qualifications, the close group of girls were bent on making good on their pact to travel together after Ms Loy finished her exams.
But the long-awaited trip ended in tragedy, with most of them in hospital for first- or second-degree burns. The Taiwanese authorities suspect that an explosion of the coloured powder thrown on partygoers - a hallmark of the event - is to blame for the fire, and have banned the use of the powder until investigations are over.
After receiving the bad news from a fellow parent, Mr Loy and his wife took the first flight available and reached Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital on Sunday morning.
"She couldn't talk but she used an alphabet board to spell out 'I am sorry', even though the incident was not her fault at all," said Mr Loy.
The Colour Play Asia festival was Ms Loy's first mega-concert.
"We want to look forward and not speculate on what happened there," said Mr Loy, who has another daughter, 15. "I just want people to pray for her to get well, nothing else matters."
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