Terrorist attack survivor inspired to grow multi-million-dollar laundry business

Terrorist attack survivor inspired to grow multi-million-dollar laundry business

SINGAPORE - When Mr Chan Tai Pang had to go to Jakarta for business last month, his Indonesian associates asked gingerly if he minded being put up at the JW Marriott hotel.

The 67-year-old chief executive of Laundry Network said he did not mind. "I went to bed at 11 pm and slept right through the next morning," he says.

His business partners had not been worried because he is a hard man to please. It was because he nearly died in the hotel in 2003, after a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the lobby.

The terrorist attack killed 12 people and injured 150 others, and left him with severe burns and in a coma for more than a month.

The Chinese believe good fortune often befalls those who survive major accidents or disasters.

"Maybe it's true," he says with a grin.

Plans he made during his long recuperation helped boost his company's fortunes, more than doubling his annual revenue from $8 million in 2008 to $18.2 million last year.

At first glance, there is little to betray the ordeal he survived. His face is smooth and unlined, if just a little bleached in spots. His hair hides scars on his head.

Then he shows you his upper right arm, a veritable patchwork of keloids and scar tissue. "The back is also quite bad," he says; he had strips of skin peeled from his legs and grafted onto his back.

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