‘Tsunami miracle baby’ S Thulaasi is grateful to survive the killer waves and is more determined to achieve her goal of scoring eight A's in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) next year.
She has no memory of the fateful day she was swept away on her mattress out to sea, off Batu Ferringhi, by the giant waves that hit Penang on Boxing Day in 2004 and a second wave brought it back, with her still sound asleep on it.
Despite having no memory of the tragedy, she said she knew that it was a miracle to survive the incident and it had taught her to be more determined in life.
The bubbly and active 11-year-old from a Tamil school in George Town, now wishes to achieve eight A's in the UPSR next year.
"I'm more determined than ever to study hard and achieve straight A's in my UPSR exam," she said when met by reporters during a thanksgiving and prayer ceremony organised by her father A Suppiah at the beach.
Thulaasi was only 22 days old when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit 13 countries including Malaysia, killing more than 200,000 people and displacing about 1.7 million others.
Suppiah, 66, said her daughter showed no signs of fearing the sea and she would go out for a swim whenever their relatives visited them.
He said each year, his family would hold a thanksgiving and prayer session ( atma shanti pooja ) at the site, to keep the departed souls claimed by the disaster, at peace.
"We survive until today because of God's will and we will never forget the tragedy, but we are moving on with our lives as we are also proud of Thulaasi as she is doing well in school," he said.
Visitor A Thila, 40, from Puchong, Selangor, said they came to know about the tsunami miracle baby after they visited Suppiah's cafe in George Town.
She said they were not aware that there would be a prayer session at the site each year and this was the first time they met Thulaasi, the miracle baby.
"We learned a lot during the tsunami as people were fighting for their lives to survive and it has taught us to cherish our own life," said the bank officer.
The tsunami which was triggered by a 9.3 magnitude undersea earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on Dec 26, 2004, claimed more than 200,000 casualties in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
Many of those killed were tourists enjoying their Christmas holidays in hot spots like Phuket in Thailand, while Aceh was hit the hardest as it was the closest to the epicentre.