by Hannah Yeoh
As I sit here on my bed and write this article at 1:45am on my iPad, my 1 year old baby girl Shay Adora is asleep next to me. My husband and I were just in a discussion on how Shay enjoys sleeping in between the both of us. Her head has to be leaning on me while her legs must rest on her daddy. These are the simple joys of parenthood. As I continue to count my blessings, I cannot help but think of my peer, the late Teoh Beng Hock who died while he was still in MACC’s custody as a witness back in 2009.
Beng Hock, my husband Ram and I were all born in 1979. We joined politics because we believed (and we still do!) that we have a role to play in rebuilding this nation. Not many young people our age would have chosen this path. I became an elected representative. My husband is an active member of DAP in Subang Jaya. Beng Hock was serving alongside another colleague (also born in 1979) Ean Yong Hian Wah.
Many of my friends did not choose to be involved in politics though many are supporters of our cause. They have good jobs, own houses and cars, some married, some have kids and many enjoy a fairly decent life.
We have just recently observed Beng Hock’s death anniversary. It has been 3 years since his body was found at Plaza Masalam. While many are still demanding justice for Beng Hock and his family, the fact remains that no one has yet to be held accountable for his premature death. Premature because he was not able to enjoy what life had to offer at 33.
Beng Hock was denied the experiences of hosting his wedding. He was not able to experience life with his young bride. He came so close to walking into a marriage and a covenant with his girlfriend.
Most of all, Beng Hock was denied the joy of seeing his child throughout the pregnancy. He missed the multiple ultrasound scans at the doctor. He was denied the anxiety of preparing for fatherhood, shopping for baby’s clothes and other baby items. And of course during the big day, he was denied the experience of hearing the first cry and carrying his baby in his arms.
His son is now 2+ years old. As I recount the many months of joy watching Shay developed into the little girl she is now, I am also deeply saddened that Beng Hock was robbed of this enriching experience. The first turn, the first crawl, the first fall, the first few steps. Switching from milk to solids, the multiple vaccinations and the occasional fever that came with those jabs. The ‘on top of the world’ feeling when the child calls you Papa for the very first time. The welcoming home cuddle after a long day at work. Planning the first birthday bash. Buying toys, shopping for new shoes every few months and the joy of making your own parents proud by promoting them to grandparenthood.
I write this article to remind us all that Beng Hock was denied of all these wonderful experiences. Three years later, his family is still grieving for a painful loss they had no answers for. His little boy was cruelly robbed of a father. We must hold the government responsible for finding the cause and culprits involved in this premature death of a young man. Beng Hock is no more with us. His voice is heard no more but we Malaysians who love justice must continue to pursue it – for him, for his son and his family.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
May we do just that. -The Rocket