Awal Ashaari: After crash, I couldn't cradle baby daughter
Malaysian host Awal Ashaari says he treasures family more after car accident
His baby girl is his pride and joy.
So Malaysian host Awal Ashaari's heart was crushed when he could not carry or cradle her in his arms for three months after a road accident in March.
Awal was on his way to host Malaysian entertainment programme Melodi at Stadium Hang Jebat in Malacca when the BMW 6 Series he was travelling in overturned. His friend was driving the car.
He was found lying on the road shoulder and suffered facial bruises and two fractured bones in his vertebrae.
Awal was here on Saturday with his actress-host wife Scha Alyahya and their one-year-old daughter Lara Alana as part of the Singtel TV Hari Raya promotional event Macam-Macam Raya.
He told The New Paper that his family was on his mind when he slipped into unconsciousness after the accident.
"Life flashes before your eyes and you think about the ones you love. Thank God, I was given a second chance...When the traumatic accident happened, my worst fears came true. I have always feared dying in an accident," said the 34-year-old.
He added: "I couldn't do the one thing I look forward to each morning when (my daughter) wakes up - picking her up from the crib. That was just too sad as a parent."
If anything, the accident was a wake-up call for him to treasure life and his family even more.
Days before Hari Raya last year, the couple - affectionately known to fans as Schawal, and now Syawalara - welcomed little Lara into their lives.
"I had mixed feelings when she turned one last month. I wondered where all the time had gone. It felt like it was just yesterday when I cuddled her for the first time," said Scha, 32, who tied the knot with Awal in 2012.
Parenting duties are evenly split, often with Awal playing the good cop while Scha takes on the less enviable role of disciplinarian.
"This is the reason for some of our fights but I try to understand the need for balance so I will close an eye. I will tell him not to bathe her after 7pm, only to see Lara enjoying a 'foam party' in the bathtub at that time," said Scha, while Awal looked sheepish.
But the loving parents know their roles will be reversed once Lara is old enough to date.
"That's a different story. My future son-in-law will be in big trouble because it's not easy to please me," said Awal with a laugh.
Even though Lara just turned one, the celebrity couple are already fielding questions about Baby No. 2.
Scha, who had a trying first trimester but enjoyed a smooth delivery, admitted that she "missed being pregnant and bullying Awal".
Awal added, jokingly: "She was a monster but I missed attending to her every craving, even the crazy ones," he joked.
"(As to whether we have another child), if it happens, it happens. As working parents, we feel bad that we can't even give Lara enough attention. We see her in the morning, rush back home in between shoots to catch a glance and then see her again at night when she is already asleep. Our main focus and top priority is still her."
I couldn't do the one thing I look forward to each morning when (my daughter) wakes up - picking her up from the crib. That was just too sad as a parent.
- Malaysian host Awal Ashaari