GEORGE TOWN: “Tsunami miracle baby” S. Thulasi goes out swimming in the sea a few times a week – since her father taught her swimming early this year.
The bubbly and active seven-year-old shows no signs of fearing the sea, which almost claimed her life on the day the tsunami hit on Dec 26, 2004.
Thulasi was only 22 days old when she was found sound asleep on a floating mattress after giant waves hit her father’s seaside food outlet on Miami Beach in Tanjung Bungah, here.
“I go out to the sea to swim with my cousin a few times a week after my father taught me how to swim early this year,” Thulasi said at a thanksgiving and prayer ceremony organised by her father A. Suppiah at the beach yesterday.
Saying a little prayer: Thulasi offering her prayers to the departed souls during the thanksgiving and
prayer ceremony at Miami Beach in Tanjung Bungah in conjunction with the tsunami anniversary yesterday.
Besides being thankful for his daughter’s life, Suppiah and his family have also been holding the annual prayer, known as the atma shanti pooja, to keep the departed souls claimed by the disaster in peace.
“We will never forget the tragedy but we are moving on with our lives and we are also proud of Thulasi as she is doing well in school,” he said after the prayer.
Thulasi’s sister Kanchana, 19, said foreign tourists who dropped by the family’s food outlet would ask her about the “miracle mattress baby”.
“I set up a Facebook fan page, ‘The tsunami miracle baby Thulasi’, with photos of my sister so that people can follow her progress in life,” she said.
In Kota Kuala Muda, near Sungai Petani, fisherman Md Hafidzi Ismail, 44, who lost two of his daughters – Nur Hafizatul Fatihah, five, and Nur Hafizatul Fasehah, 11 months – in the tragedy, said he has overcome his sorrow.
“The birth of my daughter Nur Hafizatul Fitrah on Oct 5, 2005 and my son Mohd Hafiz Fikri on May 24 last year have reduced the pain of losing my two girls.
“I want to put the tragedy behind me and concentrate on my family to give them the best I can,” he said at his house in Kampung Tradisi Keda.
Another fisherman, Adnan Bakar, 58, recalled how he held on to a guava tree that was eventually uprooted after being swept away by strong waves.
“I then grabbed a coconut tree and that’s when I heard a woman and two young children screaming for help from a house nearby,” he said, adding that he later managed to help them.