A second life after fiery crash

Mr Jason Lim, 27, ended up in a Cambodian hospital after his motorcycle crashed into a car, and the impact sent him smashing through the car's back window. In fact, his death certificate had already been prepared.

In 2014, Mr Lim had finished serving his national service and was on a solo backpacking trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. On the first day, he rented a motorbike to explore Phnom Penh after dinner.

The next thing he remembers is waking up 40 days later at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). He has no recollection of the accident. But according to eyewitnesses, his motorbike had crashed into a car and burst into flames.

It left him with a cracked collarbone and femur (thigh bone). He also had third-degree burns which went through the skin and into deeper tissue on almost a third of his body, among other injuries.

Back in Singapore, his parents were frantic when they could not reach him for days. So they wrote a post on Facebook asking his friends if they knew of his whereabouts.

Eventually, two separate friends found out that he was at a Cambodian hospital.

He had no identification with him when the accident happened. A death certificate had been prepared for him, although the nurse later claimed this had been a mistake.

His family had him airlifted back to Singapore. Mr Lim, who was drifting in and out of consciousness, woke up to find himself in SGH.

"I woke up to tubes sticking up my body and the burns were stinging," he said. "From an independent young man, I was suddenly reduced to an utterly helpless young man."

Mr Lim spent more than a month in SGH and went home in a wheelchair. For the first three months, he was totally dependent on his parents for almost every need.

Gradually, he recovered and he can even jog now.

He has set up a website, jasonyolt.com (yolt stands for "you only live twice"), to share his story. He is also a member of the SGH trauma support group and he has visited another patient, a man in his 20s who was in a diving accident, to encourage him.

Mr Lim, who now gives talks on resilience and other topics, said: "I'm very blessed to be given a second chance - to live more meaningfully."

Theresa Tan

•Mr Lim will share his experiences on July 21, the third anniversary of his accident, at Scape in Orchard. To sign up for his free talk, go to scapeyolt.peatix.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'A second life after fiery crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe