KUNDASANG: Mountain guide Mhd Rizuan Kauhinin hopes to meet the boy he rescued after the earthquake on Mount Kinabalu.
“I just want to know how he is doing,” said the 25-year-old who had been busy with the search-and-rescue operations till yesterday morning.
“I don’t remember what he looks like, but I want to know that he’s safe,” he added.
The camera-shy guide said he was unaware that a photo of him carrying the injured boy on his back had become the iconic symbol of the mountain guides’ heroism on social media.
The image even inspired a painting by artist Razie Alfiedan, who has put it up for sale for charity.
When shown a thumbnail of the painting, Rizuan was more impressed with Razie’s artistry than with his newfound fame.
The Dusun native from Kampung Lembah Permai at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu told The Star that he “did not know what to feel” about being called a hero for rescuing the quake victim.
“I’m not a famous person. What I did was out of sincerity, not to get fame. I really wanted to help. All that mattered was to bring the boy to safety,” he said.
The boy’s mother, using the name “Sabrena El Huda” on a Facebook page, had identified him as her son without naming him. “Thts my son from TKP ... he is currently receiving treatment for his injuries ... please continue to pray for the team... can nvr thk the Sabahan rangers enough for his rescue efforts,” she wrote.
Rizuan said he and another guide had found the boy writhing in pain near the Villosa Shelter around KM4.4 of the trail.
“The boy couldn’t move as he had injured his back. We gave him something to eat. I also shared some water with him.
“We then lifted him, and I carried him on my back,” he recounted.
“Since he is Singaporean, he knows how to speak Bahasa Malaysia. He told me not to move fast because the impact was hurting him. Normally, it would take me only two hours to travel between the two points. But I took my time bringing him down.
“The boy kept saying he was in pain, and he couldn’t stand it. We had to stop many times, but I tried my best to quickly bring him to the Layang-Layang Hut.
“At the Layang-Layang Hut, we transferred the boy onto a stretcher.”
At Timpohon Gate at the mountain base, the boy was taken away in an ambulance.
Rizuan, a mountain guide for five years, said it was his duty to help those in trouble.
Asked how the temporary closure of the park would affect him, Rizuan said he would have to consider looking for other jobs to make ends meet.
“Some of us have been doing this most our lives – we don’t know how else to make a living. Hopefully, help will come to us,” he said.