There is still a long, hard road to recovery, but the three of us will try our best to live on bravely from now.
- Mr Tang Chee Mun, on the journey ahead for him and his two children
His left leg was severely injured after the motorcycle he was riding was involved in an accident with a car in Bukit Batok.
Malaysian student Trismond Tang, 16, who was visiting his family in Singapore, was told by doctors that it would take many operations over the next two years to save his leg.
Even then, the probability of success was low.
So the teenager made a brave decision - he told the doctors to amputate his leg.
His father, Mr Tang Chee Mun, told The New Paper in Mandarin: "Besides the long period, there were also risks of infection, but the doctors and I wanted to leave the decision-making to Trismond.
"It was his leg after all and he was really very brave to make that decision."
Trismond added matter-of-factly: "I had no choice and I would rather cut my suffering short."
His left leg was amputated from the knee down in an operation which took place a week after the accident, which occurred at the junction of Bukit Batok East Avenue 6 and Bukit Batok Street 23 on Sept 20.
Trismond, who is in Form 4 in Malaysia (equivalent to Secondary 4), loves motorcycles and at his young age, already has a Malaysian licence that allows him to ride bikes above 500cc.
On the day of the accident, he was riding his father's motorcycle to buy lunch, with his sister Ivon, 20, riding pillion.
Miss Tang, who works in administration and is studying at a private school in Singapore, had serious head and leg injuries and required more than 30 stitches. The siblings were discharged from hospital last month after a gruelling recovery process and are now recuperating at their father's rented room in a four-room flat at Bukit Batok.
Mr Tang, a cook in a coffee shop, came to Singapore 10 years ago and Miss Tang joined him two years ago. Trismond and an older brother in his 20s live with their paternal grandmother in Pahang, Malaysia.
When TNP visited the Tang family on Tuesday, the siblings were in high spirits and constantly joking with each other.
Both needed crutches to move around.
Recalling the accident, Trismond said of his sister: "I saw her lying on the ground and I was worried that the worst had happened." Pointing to his leg, he added: "I wanted to find her in hospital, but I couldn't walk."
The siblings had a touching reunion when they finally saw each other again two weeks after the accident. "I laughed and he cried," recalled Miss Tang, teasing her brother.
Her recovery was also difficult.
In hospital, she had tried to pull out her feeding tubes and found her hands tied to the bed when she regained consciousness.
"Many people asked if I had lost my memory when they visited me. I still remembered everyone although I have no recollection of the accident.
"My father thinks that I've become more forgetful after the accident and my grandmother has been forcing me to eat pig's brain these few days," she said with a laugh.
Since the news of their accident, the family has been receiving support from well-wishers.
Their hospital bills came up to $170,000 and they managed to raise $120,000 with help from family, friends, colleagues and even strangers.
Several readers wrote to TNP to offer assistance to the family after reading about their ordeal.
Mr Tang, who will be able to raise the rest of the money on his own and from his children's insurance, said: "Words can't express my gratitude to the doctors and everyone for their prayers which helped my children to pull through.
"There is still a long, hard road to recovery, but the three of us will try our best to live on bravely from now."
He tried calling out to sister
Miss Ivon Tang, who suffered from head injuries, has no recollection of the accident.
The impact of the crash flung the siblings several metres away and left a huge dent on the car's bonnet.
Trismond, however, remembers every single detail.
He said: "I remember turning at the junction and getting hit. Someone told me that the ambulance was coming soon and not to move.
"I saw my sister lying far away and wanted to call out to her, but I had no strength (to do so)."
When asked about his future and whether he would miss riding a motorcycle, Trismond, who had wanted to become an automotive engineer, said he was just focused on his recovery for now.
He added: "I used to have many ambitions, but I'm not thinking too far ahead for now."
The siblings, who have been living apart since Miss Tang moved to Singapore two years ago, are very close. They speak on the phone for an hour every day and Trismond visits Singapore during every school break, said Miss Tang.
Their family was not aware that Trismond's Malaysian licence did not allow him to ride a motorcycle in Singapore as he is underage - riders here have to be at least 18.
Miss Tang said: "I have a licence too, but Trismond was usually the rider because he was the more 'stable' driver.
This article was first published on Nov 08, 2014.
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