“Two, three minutes and my life changed”
These were Rahman Ataur Mohammad’s words when he spoke of the work accident that left him with third degree burns on 73 per cent of his body. Rahman, a 23-year old-Bangladeshi ex-landscaper, now wears a cap and a handkerchief to cover his scarred face, and spends his days waiting for things to happen.
“In June 2016, when Rahman still had a job and a pair of functioning hands, he was tasked to clean a water tank in a dark underground room. Rahman headed underground with a halogen lamp, not realising that gas had been accumulating in the room – which could be ignited by the merest flick of a switch. The few seconds after he switched the halogen lamp on changed the course of his life forever.
After Rahman regained consciousness, he had to come to terms with his new reality: chunks of skin were missing from his limbs, his bones were visible from under layers of his flesh in some areas, and his voice no longer sounded like his. He spent the next six months at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where he laid in bed, wrapped in bandages, strange tubes running down his throat, and wires inserted through his fingers.
After months waiting to “heal”, Rahman was finally discharged from hospital. He could speak again, but his voice seemed foreign to him. Balling his hands into fists was a huge effort. He no longer had finger nails.
The co-workers he used to speak so freely with now hardly interact with him and the family that Rahman loves so dearly has not seen him since the accident, and knows little about what actually happened.
The 23-year-old man, against all odds, chose to look on the “bright side of things”. Rahman loves talking about his siblings, as well as his plans to support his youngestsister’s high school education (something he never got to experience himself). He wants to pick up IT skills, improve his English, and start a cow farm (“like Australia and New Zealand’s standards”) when he returns to his village in Bangladesh.
Says Rahman: Now, it’s about trying to live a normal life.” – HOMENews, April 2017