My mom prayed to Buddha every day to save me, crying constantly and climbing to the temple on top of Tiger Mountain – 2,000 metres above the sea.   

I had a fiancee, but my parents didn’t want to hurt her life further, so they persuaded her to find another partner.  

My mother had to stay at home to look after my grandmother, who was over 80 years old, so my father and sister came to Australia – sent off by many friends and family. My parents had already lost a son in 1983 – a clever mathematician. While I was unable to be as excellent as my younger brother, my father declared that he would prefer to be dead than to carry the burden of sadness if I was unable to be saved.

Trying Alternative Medicine

Arriving at the hospital, Michael’s father was told that he was likely to die. In desperation, he turned to Chinese medicine, ignoring the advice of friends who feared he would be imprisoned. 

“My father ground the antler of a deer and put it into my feeding tube. The nurse noticed but said nothing, maybe because they had no hope that I would survive anyway.  

For 68 days I was in a coma but, on Good Friday 1992, I woke. I’ve taken that day as my second birthday – no longer celebrating the original day of my birth. 

Throughout his hospitalisation, Michael’s friends Penny Lee* and Mabel Gordon*, stood by him. Miss Lee took responsibility for hospital paperwork and legal documents relating to the accident, while Mrs Gordon prayed by his bed. 

While I was in a coma my father massaged my body for hours every day and, when I woke, he spent two hours every night helping me learn to walk again. He did that for five years. In that time, he made great efforts to deal with my residency issues, knowing that it would be difficult for me to live in China. With the help of many people, I was granted refugee status.  

Once a university lecturer in China, the accident left me initially with the intelligence of a three-year-old. I had difficulties with relationships – causing me to be kicked out of communities – because I mistook friendship for love, pursuing married women and teachers. If my doctor hadn’t explained my situation, maybe I would have been punished. 

Physical Recovery

Having at that time set his sights on marrying a young woman in his church group, Michael dedicated himself to his recovery. 

Every morning I woke at 5am and went to Canley Vale Park to walk. In the beginning it was only two or three steps without help – just getting the 500 metres from home to the park would take me an hour. But after 6 months I could get there without leaning on anything. Another few years later and I could walk the 1,000 metre path around the park, and another few years after that I was able to do three, four and finally five circles. That was my morning task for all those years.  

During that time, in 1994, I met a policeman who taught me how to exercise, every morning from 7am to 8am, for a year. He even took me to the local swimming pool, though he didn’t get any benefit from me. This only stopped when he changed where he worked, introducing me then to the PCYC. I believe God arranged this for me.  

Playing basketball at the PCYC, the first few times I couldn’t get the ball to touch the board, so that was my first task. Then doing it 20 times. Then I had to get the basketball into the ring from behind the close line 20 times. And so on. This was my daily exercise, as well as regularly swimming ten lengths of the local pool. 

Education and finding faith

With his physical health improving, Michael began to focus on learning. 

I began to learn English. Every day I went to classes and just listened a few minutes and then very quickly fell asleep. All of the teachers knew my situation, so they didn’t say a word. Even simple courses I had to repeat over and over, but – after studying in over seven TAFE colleges and other community centres – I am now able to study English for Academic Purposes (EAP). I still hope one day to be able to study in Bible College.  

Before my accident I was an atheist, believing that God was the product of dreamers. I pretended to be a faithful Christian so that Mrs Gordon – my co-worker on a farm – would help me to learn English, by reading the Bible. Now I want to devote my life to God. 

While Michael – with the help of his father – did eventually get married, the relationship sadly did not last. 

“We had two sons, but she ran away and has a new family. It is very lucky for me that my father made such great efforts to find me a wife, and that I have two lovely sons, but I’m still waiting for a perfect partner. 

*Some names changed to protect anonymity