A 52-year-old barber who fell unconscious after a bus crash in Malaysia finally came to on Wednesday - his wife's birthday.
Mr R. Manokaran, his wife and two of their three children had been returning from a four-day holiday in Genting Highlands on a Grassland tour bus when it crashed into a road divider on Aug 31. The bus overturned on the highway linking Karak to Kuala Lumpur and skidded about 20m.
Mr Manokaran was in a coma when transferred to the National University Hospital on Sept 8, and uncertainty surrounds his recovery.
Recovery could take three to six months and he remains in intensive care, his family told The Straits Times yesterday.
But they are relieved he is able to recognise them and ask questions.
"He woke up, and that was the day he talked to me. It was a present to me," said housewife Muniandy Barvathi, 48, who has been spending her days in the hospital.
Added Mr Navindran Manokaran, 19, her younger son, who was also in the crash: "That day, she smiled after all this while."
Mr Navindran, his parents and his older sister Priyatharsini Manokaran, 24, had been asleep on the upper deck of the bus when he woke up upon hearing a skidding noise.
"I don't know how the bus turned over. When I woke up (after the crash), I saw my sister in front of me. I saw her breathing, so I went past her and saw my father covered in blood," he said.
"I broke the (bus window) and pulled him out with help from some other guys. My leg was injured as well," he added. "My vision was blurred. I didn't know what to do, but took out my phone and informed my aunt."
He and his family were later taken to hospital.
"I was very focused on taking care of my family. Most of my items were lost," said Mr Navindran, whose luggage went missing. "The only things I got back were my handphone and wallet. Luckily, the passports were with my mother."
Madam Muniandy said: "That situation was very, very scary... It was like a nightmare."
Recounting it in tears, she said: "I tried to wake my husband... he was crying for help in Malay. I heard my daughter also crying: 'Pain, pain, please, nobody leave me.'"
She has yet to explain the extent of her husband's injuries to him - a broken arm and wrist, and a punctured lung. He also damaged several ribs and both his kidneys have failed. On Thursday, he went through a third operation.
The couple's older son, 23, who declined to be named, said: "We don't want to make him more worried." He added that his siblings had undergone treatment and were recovering.
"He is a workaholic," he said of his father, who spends most of his time in his salon with a day off each week.
Madam Muniandy added: "He woke up and after some time, asked, 'who is working?'."
The older son said he is thankful his father survived despite his condition, and expressed gratitude to relatives and friends who had lent a hand.
Mr Navindran said: "We're just hoping for the best now."
The Malaysian driver and nine of his 12 passengers - all from Singapore - were injured in the crash. One of them, a 62-year-old accountant, died in Kuala Lumpur. The others have returned to Singapore.
Grassland declined comment on compensation but operations manager Steven Chew said: "Our main concern is the well-being of the passengers, who are still in the midst of recovery."