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A Rescue At Sea

My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Tuesday, 24 April 2012 | Views [513] | Scholarship Entry

I woke up in my family’s hotel room at the Bayview Resort on August 19, 2000, in Penang, Malaysia. There was a terrible thunderstorm the day before that had prevented my family from leaving the hotel room. Thankfully, the skies were clear and cloudless and Batu Ferringhi beach was once again teeming with tourists. My cousin and I decided to walk down to the beach and enjoy the weather.
As we walked by the hotel’s swimming pool and bar area, we spoke about “jumping the waves,” a practice that involves standing at the mouth of the sea and hopping over the small waves approaching the shore. Within seconds of walking into the water, a wave hit us and we dropped below the surface. The rain from the day before had eroded the sand banks close to the shoreline, and there was nothing but a drop to the bottom where the sand used to be. My cousin and I tried to grab each other to return to the sand but with every wave that came, we began to move farther and farther out. At one point of time, I happened to be facing the beach where a line of locals and tourists had begun to form. I saw two men jump into the water and start swimming towards us. When I went under again, I prayed to God that they would come and get me.
The two men guided both my cousin and I back to the beach with their superior swimming skills and agility. When my cousin and I found ourselves lying on the sand surrounded by people who were shouting at each other in Malay to grab towels and water and food, we began to cry. The two men who had helped us identified themselves to us as Malaysian fishermen. When my parents arrived at the scene, my mother began to talk to them in Malay and thanked them repeatedly for their heroic actions. They shook their hands and told her that they were just thankful to have saved two lives and that it was not them that did anything, but God. We never saw either of the men again, but I have never forgotten them as two locals who changed my life by saving it.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2012

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