By Siti Zanariah Nor Zin
LOMBOK: He is deaf and mute and has never been to school, but Taufik, a gutsy six-year-old has been hailed a hero for rescuing a group of Malaysian tourists during the recent 5.8 magnitude earthquake that jolted the island.
The boy, who lives with his grandmother, earns a living by acting as a guide assisting tourists and visitors at the Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gila waterfalls here.
“If not for him, I and six others would have sustained serious injuries that could have been tragic, more (of us) could have shared the fate of our two Malaysian friends who were killed in the catastrophe,” said Wong Siew Lim, 56, a quake survivor who suffered minor injuries.
They were among the 22 Malaysians who were at the Tiu Kelep Senaru waterfall on the island when the earthquake struck at 3.07 pm local time.
“Taufik was the first to rush towards me and a few others to help us at the exit when the quake occurred while his older cousin Tomy Al Bayan ran towards the others in our group who were having a dip.
“My friends and I followed Taufik towards the exit, while Tomy was still in the waterfall area when the second quake occurred. Taufik had turned to see a huge rock hitting Tomy and my two friends,” said Wong.
Her two friends Datin Tai Siew Kim and Lim Sai Wah were killed in the second quake-triggered landslide.
“The boy assisted us by showing us the way out from the area,” she said, adding that he stayed with them until villagers arrived and helped them.
Lim said Taufik and Tomy had approached the group when they were at the waterfall, offering to carry their bags and show them the way.
“Throughout the 2km route, both the boys held our hands and led the way as we had to tread through some rough terrain and across streams to get to the waterfall,” she added.
The courage and persistence shown by especially the six-year-old in assisting the Malaysians had also come to the attention of Malaysia’s Global Peace Mission (GPM) during the recent #peduligempalombok mission.
GPM Malaysia chief operating officer Syahrir Azfar Saleh in announcing this at a meeting said the organisation would help Taufik obtain a hearing aid as a token of appreciation in helping the Malaysians.
“GPM Malaysia intends to make Taufik a ‘little hero’ and through GPM Malaysia (Indonesia) we will make sure Taufik gets medical treatment.
“The courage shown by Taufik does not match his age. He has risked his own life by showing compassion, concern and responsibility towards his customers making sure they were taken away from the disaster area” he said.
Also present at the meeting were North Lombok regional head, Dr Najmul Akhyar, Second Secretary at the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta, Faizal Ishak and Malaysian Embassy police attache, Abu Bakar Yaacob. – Bernama