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I Nearly Lost My Life In A Spooky Car Crash. But A Guanyin Statue Saved Me.

I Nearly Lost My Life In A Spooky Car Crash. But A Guanyin Statue Saved Me.

I used to refrain from engaging in any Buddhist rituals unless my family insisted.

My mother was raised Catholic, and my dad was Buddhist. Living with my paternal family meant that from young, we practised largely buddhist rituals and occasions in the family, and prayed to buddhist deities like the buddha or guanyin.

However, I always felt like there was something that spoke to me in the vast halls of big churches. It was oddly calming, and I enjoyed reconstructing my thoughts on those wooden benches. So I did identify as Catholic for a few years and refrained from engaging in any Buddhist rituals unless my family insisted.

Being raised in a family of Buddhists, it also meant that statues of Buddhist deities were commonplace in the household. That extended to my personal car, which my grandfather insisted I placed a guan-yin statue for “safety”. I was raised to always listen to my elders in both religions, and obliged because it did not bother me. I don’t drive that often either. 

The night my car crashed, I saw a cloaked figure hanging from a tree.

I drove on one of those days you just had too many errands to run, all in different parts of Singapore. It was a largely ordinary night, and I was closing in on my neighbourhood in Jurong, just a few turns away from home.

After a left turn past the traffic light, I continued down the road and was horrified to see what seemed like a cloaked figure, almost like a white tee got stuck on a tree branch, or if a piece of white cloth was hanging from a street sign. That was when I felt a sharp jerk, almost as if the car had lost one of its tires.

This was followed by an abrupt right turn of the steering wheel, which caused it to lock in place, disallowing me to straighten it all. I went on to crash in between two trees, despite a foot down on the brakes that did not seem to have worked at all.

There were splashes of blood on the windshield, steering wheel and my Guanyin statue

One of the trees fell on my left, where the passenger seat was, completely destroying the left half of the car. The other tree fell on my right, blocking my exit. The impact of the car caused the windshields to shatter, and I could see blood scatters in parts of the windshield. There were likewise blood patches on the sides of the steering wheel and the guan-yin statue. I figured I was bleeding, or hit something that bled out. I was half-worried and fearful because (1) I’ve never been in an accident before, and (2) I thought I’d collided into a small animal, possibly a cat or a small dog.

I took about two to three minutes to process it all. I was also concerned that the car would blow up… given all these scary news we see on TV and the internet. In the next sequence of events, I tried to crawl between the seats out the back hood of my car, and managed to squeeze outwards after a few tries. Outside of the car, I took a few steps back and looked at the crash. The way the two trees fell. The way I sat right in between them, and the way the trees crushed all there were in their paths. I really could have died. 

I was unscathed, not even a cut or a bruise, despite the hell of a crash.

I called my parents, while looking for what I could’ve possibly hit. A cat, a dog. Something. I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit a person – I was wide awake. But I couldn’t find anything. I looked everywhere for what I thought was the grayish, hooded figure – but nothing. 

In the same amount of time, a police car likewise came by. I took a drug and alcohol breathing test, and was verified to be clean of intoxications when the crash happened. They also patted me down and checked my body for wounds, which was the moment they (and I) realised I was not injured. I was basically scratch-free, not even a cut or a bruise.

As protocol, the car was towed away an hour or so later. We had to clear out important particulars, such as our credit cards, personal particulars and other token items. In removing these items, I recalled vividly that there were blood patches all over. While the windshields were still damaged, they had no blood stains. It gave me goosebumps to remove the guan-yin statue from where it sat, suddenly seeing it clean of any blood stains.

My Uncle, a Buddhist Priest, said he could see what was left of the protection marks that Guanyin placed on me.

A few days later, my uncle dropped by my house to see my grandparents who lived with my parents. At this point and juncture, we’ve yet to share any details of the accident to anyone, including our immediate relatives because there wasn’t any need to. And we didn’t want any of them to worry.

But he knew. He was a Buddhist Priest, or bhikkhu, who filmed his own documentary on Buddhism back in 2017 and has won international film awards for them. When he saw me, he immediately asked if I was alright, if the accident caused any fatalities. My dad and I were quite stunned he knew, somehow.

After I filled him in on the details, he apologised for not remedying or praying for my Tai Sui. He explained that in the Chinese Zodiac, those born in the zodiac year will encounter the Destruction of Tai Sui and possibly face fatal or catastrophic events.


He said he could tell the moment he saw me – what was left of the marks of blessings that guan-yin placed on me.

I took more time to understand Buddhism, visit temples and do monthly prayers following the accident.

As a Catholic then, it was difficult for me to grasp these in rational terms. I was never loyal to Buddhism. While I have prayed a little as part of religious rituals that my grandparents practise between months, I just wasn’t a follower. Regardless of what it was, I was thankful. That I lived, and was protected by the higher beings, the Buddha, guan-yin or what not.

I did take more time to understand it, then took even more time to visit temples and monthly prayers with my uncle following the incident. In the span of a few months, I did understand a lot more about the type of deities that exist within Buddhism, how they govern peace and have teachings that were passed down for centuries to followers as a guide to life. 

Lighting up an incense stick, which used to mean nothing to me, now provides me with peace before I leave for work.

The accident did not make me lose faith in Catholicism. But I have grown to be more accepting of other religions. Perhaps it was convenient as well, growing up with a family of Buddhists. It was easy for me to pick up on the rituals and practices. I would say at present, a year later, I am a proud and devoted Buddhist.

I have taken on other routines in the past few months, such as the cutting out of beef (which was previously my favourite main-to-order in restaurants and still is – I just don’t eat them anymore). I religiously celebrate Buddhist festivals, such as Buddha’s Birthday, Vesak and more with my family.

I still think about the accident between months, and am always thankful for having a second chance to live out life. Now, I take life on the go, and while I still engage in long-term planning, it has encouraged me to cherish all that I have.

I’m beyond grateful and can’t wait for what comes next. With that, Happy Vesak day to everyone who celebrates it and more. If not, here’s to a longer weekend than most!

Ever had an encounter that made you rethink your faith?

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