Monday, March 11, 2019

Taiwanese woman who survived 2015 water park blaze bravely shows off her scars, earning netizens' praise

PHOTO: Jiang Xinyu suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.
PHOTO: Facebook / Devin Tai
Picture posted by Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times on 10 March 2019

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A Taiwanese woman who has undergone 21 operations in the past three years after she survived the 2015 blaze that ripped through Taipei's Formosa Fun Coast water park has earned the admiration of social media users for her courage.

Many were touched by 31-year-old Jiang Xinyu's story on her recovery since she suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.

Her remarkable journey, where she gradually learnt to be comfortable in her own scarred skin, was featured by Apple Daily in Taiwan on Friday (March 8).



Speaking to Apple Daily on Friday, Ms Jiang compared herself to a 'mermaid in a sea of fire' and said that what she gone through has, in fact, made her more beautiful.
PHOTO: Speaking to Apple Daily on Friday, Ms Jiang compared herself to a "mermaid in a sea of fire" and said that what she gone through has, in fact, made her more beautiful.
Picture posted by Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/world/taiwan-water-park-blaze-1-dead-over-200-serious/story-uEk2ibRWlLX1mdKSFc8hwI.html



The report comes after a photo of Ms Jiang wearing nothing but a rainbow-coloured, feathered pair of wings was shared on a Facebook group for beauty enthusiasts in December last year.

The photo, which showed Ms Jiang posing with a quiet sense of confidence despite the visible scars covering most of her arms and legs, soon gained the attention of social media users.

Speaking to Apple Daily on Friday, Ms Jiang compared herself to a "mermaid in a sea of fire" and said that what she gone through has, in fact, made her more beautiful.


Jiang Xinyu suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.
PHOTO: Jiang Xinyu suffered serious burns on 91 per cent of her body in the fire at the Colour Play Asia festival in June 2015.
Photo: Screenshot from Appledaily.com
Picture posted by Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times on 10 March 2019

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She was among the 500 people who were injured when the coloured corn starch powder sprayed on partygoers at the water park ignited under the heat of stage lights. Fifteen people were killed.

She told Apple Daily that on the day of the festival she was actually feeling unwell in the morning, but decided to go ahead and attend it.

When she wanted to leave the water park, her friend asked her if they could stay for a little longer and she agreed.



A participant getting splashed with green-coloured powder during the Colour Run on Aug 30, 2014.
PHOTO: A participant getting splashed with green-coloured powder during the Colour Run on Aug 30, 2014.
Corn starch, while normally a harmless, edible substance that is almost inert when it is in a mass, is a highly flammable carbohydrate and burns instantly when it is dispersed into fine particles, which happens when it is blown out during a "colour" event.
The intense heat caused by the stage lights could have sparked a fire on powder that came close to the lights, which quickly spread to the rest of the powder in the air.
THE Color Play Asia event at the Formosa Fun Coast waterpark outside Taipei turned hellish for partygoers when a sudden fire erupted seemingly out of nowhere, injuring hundreds, including a Singaporean woman.
PHOTO: ST FILE
Picture posted by Jeremy Lee, The Straits Times on 29 June 2015 ar 11:30 am SGT

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About 10 minutes later, she was hit by the fiery dust.

"I immediately covered my face with my hands as I was afraid the fire would burn my eyes. I felt my entire body was in a sea of fire and I was unable to move," she said.

About 40 seconds later she felt a temporary relief when the fire was put out.

But her ordeal had only just begun, as she ended up waiting over three hours for help.



People tend to an injured woman at the Formosa Fun Coast amusement park after an explosion in the Pali district of New Taipei City on June 27, 2015.
PHOTO: People tend to an injured woman at the Formosa Fun Coast amusement park after an explosion in the Pali district of New Taipei City on June 27, 2015.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Picture posted by CBSNEWS, CBS Interactive Inc.

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Injured victims are treated after an accidental explosion during a music concert at the Formosa Water Park in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Saturday, June 27, 2015.
PHOTO: Injured victims are treated after an accidental explosion during a music concert at the Formosa Water Park in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Saturday, June 27, 2015.
Credit: Central News Agency, AP
Picture posted by CBSNEWS, CBS Interactive Inc.

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She pleaded with a bus driver to take her to the hospital, while fighting to stay conscious at the time.

During her recovery, she recalled how the intense pain she felt often gave her nightmares, with the pain the most acute in the first four months whenever she had to change the dressing on her burns.

She has also undergone 21 skin graft operations since the incident.

Ms Jiang said that she struggled with how her burnt skin looked and often felt that others were staring at her.

However, her perspective changed after she met a photographer who asked if she would like to have her photos taken.



Ms Jiang said that she struggled with how her burnt skin looked and often felt that others were staring at her.
PHOTO: Ms Jiang said that she struggled with how her burnt skin looked and often felt that others were staring at her.
However, her perspective changed after she met a photographer who asked if she would like to have her photos taken.
Picture posted by Joeleriksson.com

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She said of the photo shoot in November last year: "I felt brave, like I was being reborn."

After the photo was shared online, netizens have also cheered her on, she added.

She said that accepting the photographer's invitation for the photo shoot forced her to accept her scars.

Eventually, she realised that she could be comfortable in her own skin, without the need to cover her scars up.


Ms Megan Loy doing volunteer work in Tanzania, Africa last year.
PHOTO: Ms Megan Loy doing volunteer work in Tanzania, Africa last year.
Singaporean burn victim Megan Loy's dream is to save lives.
"She couldn't talk but she used an alphabet board to spell out 'I am sorry' even though the incident was not her fault at all," said Mr Loy.
PHOTO: Joseph Loy
Picture posted by Janice Tai, Social Affairs Correspondent, The Straits Times on 02 July 2015 at 5:50 am SGT

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She also counts her boyfriend of 10 years as her greatest source of happiness, adding that she was touched to see that he had gotten a tattoo of a mermaid in a sea of fire on his arm.

Ms Jiang is now training to become an eyebrow embroidery artist after seeing how the procedure has helped other survivors who lost some of their facial features because of the burns.



Ms Jiang is now training to become an eyebrow embroidery artist after seeing how the procedure has helped other survivors who lost some of their facial features because of the burns.
PHOTO: Ms Jiang is now training to become an eyebrow embroidery artist after seeing how the procedure has helped other survivors who lost some of their facial features because of the burns.
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"With the operation I had on my hands after the fire, it is impossible for me to use my hands fully just like before," she said.

"But to be able to enter the beauty industry, which I am passionate about, is enough for me."



Jiang Xinyu also counts her boyfriend of 10 years as her greatest source of happiness, adding that she was touched to see that he had gotten a tattoo of a mermaid in a sea of fire on his arm.
PHOTO: Jiang Xinyu also counts her boyfriend of 10 years as her greatest source of happiness, adding that she was touched to see that he had gotten a tattoo of a mermaid in a sea of fire on his arm.
Picture is posted by Playcast

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With the operation I had on my hands after the fire, it is impossible for me to use my hands fully just like before
With the operation I had on my hands after the fire, it is impossible for me to use my hands fully just like before
PHOTO: "With the operation I had on my hands after the fire, it is impossible for me to use my hands fully just like before," Ms Jiang said. "But to be able to enter the beauty industry, which I am passionate about, is enough for me."

And you said, “The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them." (Deuteronomy 5:24)
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By Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 10 March 2019
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.



Reference
[1] Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, Taiwanese woman who survived 2015 water park blaze bravely shows off her scars, earning netizens' praise, posted on 10 March 2019, https://www.asiaone.com/asia/taiwanese-woman-who-survived-2015-water-park-blaze-bravely-shows-her-scars-earning-netizens


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