It was a school holiday. Rahman woke up at the crack of dawn and headed for Ah Chong’s house. The boys had agreed to meet Sean and Sasi, their classmates. It was a perfect day for a swim. Although they were all strong swimmers, Rahman’s mother had cautioned him against going for a swim. A week earlier, their neighbour's son had nearly drowned in that river.
“Splash!” Hassan dived off the rock into the inviting river. The water was deep but he was not worried. After all, he was an excellent swimmer and a certified lifeguard. He knew the waters in the area well as he often swam there. He persuaded the rest of the boys to follow him up to a higher waterfall. They clambered up the boulders. “Let’s jump!” an exhilarated Rahman shouted. The boys plunged in together, screaming in delight.
Suddenly, Sean was tumbling out of control. The water smashed him over and over again. The current had smashed the other boys against a rock and they managed to pull themselves out from the raging water. At first, they could not see Sean. Then, as the waves subsided, they saw Sean’s half-submerged figure, face down. Rahman dived into the water immediately. He knew that every second counted. Swimming strongly, he got to Sean in no time. With Sasi and Ah Chong’s help, they managed to pull Sean out of the water and onto the rock.
“Oh God, let him not be dead!” Rahman pleaded. Sean looked so blue. The others stood, paralyzed, not knowing what to do. Rahman grabbed Sean’s wrist but he could not feel any pulse. He remembered what his teacher had told him. A drowning victim had to receive artificial breathing within four minutes or he would die. With his lifeguard training in his mind, Rahman immediately drew Sean’s head back and clamped his mouth over him. He began pumping breath into Sean’s lungs as Sasi compressed Sean’s chest while keeping count. Suddenly, Sean gurgled and threw up. They continued breathing and pumping. “Keep going. One of us has to go for help. Sasi, you are the fastest. Run home and get help. Ask someone to call for an ambulance. Quick.....”
After thirty minutes, and what seemed like a lifetime, Rahman felt something moved against him. Sean’s leg had jerked against him. He felt for a pulse. “Sean’s breathing....” Rahman cried. Just then, they heard an ambulance. “You are going to be alright’ he assured Sean. Within minutes, the paramedics had lifted him to the ambulance and headed for the nearby hospital. At the hospital, the boys were so thankful that Sean was going to be alright and they had saved his life. Rahman’s mother gave him a stern lecture. Rahman felt bad and regretted not listening to his mother.