He was going home after school when a car knocked him down.
Mr Basil Mirza was only 10 years old and that incident changed his life.
The 20-year-old said: "The last thing I remembered was crossing the road. I didn't see the car coming nor feel the impact."
He was in a coma for a week. When he regained consciousness, he found that his left hand had become paralysed.
After a month in hospital, he was discharged and it marked the start of a long and arduous climb to success - he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (in Liberal Studies with concentration in Mass Communications) last Saturday.
Recalling those dark days, Mr Basil said: "I was shocked. How could it happen to me?"
School became a problem - he missed lessons because of the accident, putting his peers ahead of him in their studies.
He said: "I thought I couldn't catch up with them. I didn't want to go to school but my mum persuaded me to."
Other than academic challenges, simple tasks such as buttoning shirts and tying shoelaces also became difficult. He sank into depression for a year.
Mr Basil said: "I thought I couldn't handle daily life with this paralysed hand. I even thought of suicide."
His turning point came when he read an article about Mr Nick Vujicic - an Australian motivational speaker born without limbs - in a magazine in 2006.
While he had support from his parents and his two sisters, 25-year-old Rachel and 17-year-old Balqis, Mr Vujicic was an inspiration to Mr Basil.
He said: "I only have a paralysed hand while he doesn't even have any."
Mr Basil was in the Express stream at Admiralty Secondary School.
His mother, Mdm Noor Sihah, said his participation in the school's drama club also helped him gain confidence.
She said: "There were not many boys in the drama club, so he always got the lead roles. It helped him gain confidence during his upper secondary school years."
Mr Basil got a diploma in Media and Mass Communications from MDIS in 2011. He said: "I was exempted from national service because of my hand, so I decided to continue with my studies."
He completed his advanced diploma in Media and Mass Communications a year later before pursuing the Bachelor of Arts awarded by Oklahoma City University. Mr Basil is now pursuing his Masters in Business and Management.
He said: "I plan to start my career early and go travelling. I want to visit Rome and Greece because of my interest in Roman and Greek mythology.
"My dream career is to be a travel journalist."
This article was first published on Oct 23, 2014.
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