Sabah Quake: Reunion Of Guides And Students At Tanjong Katong Primary School

On Tuesday (Jun 16), three mountain guides met the Singaporean schoolboy whose life they helped save following the earthquake that struck Sabah on Jun 5.

Rizuan Kauhinin, Simon Gohinmin and Mazlee Liong touched down in Singapore on Monday night (Jun 15). The next day, they were reunited with Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) student El Wafeeq El Jauzy, whom they had helped carry down Mount Kinabalu following the 5.9-magnitude quake.

Also at the reunion was another TKPS student who was rescued – Arnaav Karan Chabria, 11.


Rizuan, Simon and Mazlee after breakfast and watching morning television, a short time before the scheduled reunion. (Photo: Kane Cunico)

“We slept comfortably. I dreamt I was climbing,” said Rizuan ahead of the meeting.

“I will shake Wafeeq’s hand and ask the boy about his condition,” said Mazlee on the way to TKPS. “The last time I had a chance to ask the boy his name and age, but this time I will ask more and get to know him more.”

A VERY SPECIAL SHIRT: #TKPS student Wafeeq’s family had this made for the men who saved him in the #SabahQuake.

Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Monday, 15 June 2015

Wafeeq and his family wore customised shirts, which they intended to present to the Sabahan guides as gifts. “We wanted to give the guides something meaningful. So we came up with the idea of soccer jerseys with Wafeeq’s and the guides’ names,” said his mother, Mdm Sabrena El Huda.

Added the 12-year-old student: “I made the T-shirts to symbolise the courage of the Sabah mountain guides.”

Shy El Wafeeq El Jauzy, at home with his family before the reunion. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Wafeeq has prepared a special jersey for his “saviour” Rizuan. His family had three of these made, each with Rizuan and Wafeeq’s names on it. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)


The reunion – arranged as part of an upcoming Channel NewsAsia documentary, Heart of Courage – saw the guides, the two boys and their families meet behind closed doors on Tuesday morning (Jun 16). This is the first time the guides have travelled out of Malaysia, and they will spend two days sightseeing in Singapore.

Smiles as Rizuan and Wafeeq finally meet again after a trying joint experience in Sabah. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Rizuan checking out the jersey Wafeeq had made. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

The most vocal out of the three guides, Rizuan said, “The earthquake that happened affected a lot of people. The boys endured a lot of trauma and you need to give them time to get better. They lost a lot of their friends and I hope that they will be strong to continue their way of life.”

“I’m not just the only guide to help the boys. It was a big operation that involved all the mountain guides,” he added.

Wafeeq’s father Mr El Jauzy hugs one of the trio, Simon Gohinmin. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

Wafeeq called the chance to meet the men who saved him a “precious” moment. “They helped me all the way from the mountain,” he added.

His mother, Mdm Sebrina said: “I feel very delighted – the whole family does – seeing them in person. When we spoke to each other, we shared our stories as if we had known each other for a long time.

“I wouldn’t see this meeting as a closure but a start. I think this sense of brotherly love will continue beyond this episode.”

Asked if her son will go back to Mount Kinabalu, she said: “He is a very determined boy.” Wafeeq still wants to reach the summit, she added. “I think he has found a very good guide”

The TKPS students and their families share some quiet time with the mountain guides. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

A total of 18 climbers were killed in the disaster, 10 from Singapore.

Catch Heart of Courage on Channel NewsAsia, June 23, at 8.30pm.


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