'Supergirls' help deliver baby outside shopping centre

KUALA LUMPUR - Their WhatsApp chat group is called "Supergirls".

Teenagers Shirley Lee, Farhana Mohd Fadzli, Wee Tai May and Wong Hui Yu took the lead when no one dared to, and helped save the lives of a woman and her newborn son. As a result of their extraordinary feat, they have been collectively chosen as winners of the inaugural Star Golden Hearts award.

The four girls were able to work together to help deliver a baby outside the Sunway Pyramid shopping centre.

"My father taught me that if I have the opportunity to do good but I do not, it would be as bad as if I have committed a sin," said 15-year-old Lee, who was the first of the four to see the woman on the verge of fainting outside the shopping mall in September.

The Sunway International School student asked if she needed help and discovered that the woman was suffering labour pains. Lee managed to call for an ambulance but before it could arrive, the woman's water broke.

"She said she couldn't wait anymore. She had to do it right there and I trusted her instincts," Lee said.

Farhana, 18, Wee, 18 and Wong, 19, who were all passing by, rushed to her aid.

In less than five minutes, Lee was holding a crying baby in her hands.

"It was really smooth," she said, describing the delivery.

The girls tied the baby's umbilical cord with a shoelace before Farhana held him against his mother's stomach.

They were faced with another problem when the placenta became stuck and the mother was bleeding heavily.

Wong, who said she had seen cadavers during her pre-university course, was not squeamish at the sight of blood and tried to stem the bleeding.

The rest held the woman's hands and kept her from fainting until the ambulance finally arrived 40 minutes later.

The experience inspired Wong, a Public Service Department scholar, to study medicine.

Before this, she had doubts about taking up medicine. "I kept thinking maybe I do not have the ability to help or maybe I cannot be a good doctor," she confessed.

She is now determined to be a doctor "no matter how hard it is. I must study medicine so that next time, when I encounter these situations, I can cope better," she said.

The experience created a special bond among the girls who were total strangers to each other before it happened.

Every morning, they send each other greetings via their "Supergirls" chat group as well as reminders not to take the things they love in life for granted.

When asked whether they believe others would show the same courage in a similar situation, all answered "yes" without hesitation.

The experience, Farhana said, taught her that everyone, not only Malaysians, should help each other irrespective of race or religion.

"It is about humanity. We have to help each other out," she said.

The girls found themselves in the media spotlight after a posting about them went viral on Facebook.

Wee, who did not expect the media attention, confessed to having mixed feelings.

"I felt a bit sad," she said. "Did it get so much attention because Malaysians do not believe others would help another person this much?"

The girls said their parents were incredulous when they were told of the incident.

Farhana said her mother only believed her after noticing the blood stains on her trousers while Wee's friends and family thought she was pulling their leg until they saw the story in the newspapers the next day.

The teens all agree the incident taught them the beauty of a crisis was that everyone involved could discard any preconceived notions about each other and work together.

"It is not about whether you know each other. In that moment, it was whether you were willing to put down your ego and go for the same goal," said Wong.

The girls later found out that the mother was Siow Huey Quin, 35, an accountant.

The father, Kee Hoo Beng, 40, was extremely grateful to the four of them for their help.

He named his son Kee Sun Way in memory of the 1Malaysia spirit which surrounded the child's birth.

Lee, Wong, Farhana and Wee met once more during the baby's full moon party in October.