Analysis & insight into Beng Hock’s purported suicide note

We’ve excerpted the write-up below from Shuzheng’s blog.

Translation by Shuzheng of Teoh Beng Hock’s note:

Ouyang: They didn’t duplicate the computer files (but) seized all the computers (instead). Without end, the fingers point at you. Sorry. [writing scratched out] Feigning not to understand (although) I do, (but) in the end, you are implicated. I said, ‘received approval from YB’. (Yet) they insist on putting down, ‘followed YB’s orders’. I can’t help you (anymore), forgive (me). Sorry, I’m so tired. See (you) again.

If TBH (name in hanyu pinyin is Zhao Mingfu) did indeed pen the note, the ‘Ouyang’ (a Chinese surname) it is addressed to is likely DAP state assemblyman and Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah.

In the short draft, about 70 Chinese character-words in length, the writer apologized to Ouyang thrice, in between using the expression ‘baoqian’ as opposed to ‘duibuqi’, sorry, that was used twice.

‘Baoqian’ bears a quality of deep personal angst, and it is this feeling of torment that surfaces from the original text. (For the corresponding Chinese characters, please revert Shuzheng’s posting).

The contentious point is the original phrase, ‘zaijian’, literally, “again/meet”. Inverse the word order, it becomes ‘meet again’. This translation is not without any problem. If the text had meant the meaning ‘meet again’ and not ‘goodbye’, then the phrase “zaihui” is even closer to the interpretation of meeting in some future date.

Shuzheng’s analysis

Only MACC lawyers may want people or the coroner to believe ‘goodbye’ equals suicide, but the internal meaning in the text ‘zaijian’ does not come anywhere near to it. Goodbye may suggest a permanent parting but not necessarily for eternity. Government lawyers wanting the coroner to leap from that notion of parting to suicide indicates a certain gamble on MACC’s part: a desperation to be rid of its responsibility or, worse, of murder.

Contents of the TBH note

(1) Shuzheng reads into the note “a grieving despair [that] seems to permeate most lines and every space, alongside a contemplative tone into the writer’s past and future relationship with Ouyang”.

(2) Shuzheng also observes that the draft twice “showed how the MACC was cruel: when seizing the computers and in willfully misrepresenting and distorting the writer’s evidence given in a statement”.

(3) TBH’s alleged note was absent reference to any Malay individual (i.e. the MACC men), to the DAP, or the interrogators, and of any name calling. There is only the impersonal pronoun reference, ‘they’, and to a quiet acceptance of impending fate rushing in.

(4a) Shuzheng notes that the idiom TBH used — foudong zhuangdong — is also not commonplace, so that any Chinese not knowing the language (eg. Lim Kit Siang’s mouthpiece Thomas Lee) or has only a elementary knowledge would not have delivered it.

(4b) The expression appears to have been purposefully introduced so that only Ouyang would be able to tell its meaning with any certainty. Even there, in Ouyang, he would have to be highly literate (in Chinese, of course) in order to comprehend the message in its fullest.

(5) Conversely, it affirms one piece of evidence stemming from the letter: the writer (TBH) comes from the depths of the Chinese educational system (which the Anglophile Khoo Kay Kim has only contempt for), and Zhao once made a living from writing in Chinese (Hartal note: TBH was formerly a Sinchew reporter), a position, unlike in the West, both honoured and respected in Chinese societies everywhere, past and present.

Shuzheng’s editorial

Zhao/TBH didn’t cause the racism in Malaysia. It was done to him. But under Kit Siang’s Malaysian First, tyranny is instead appeased, not resisted, much less challenged head-on.

Kit Siang failed to see that Zhao was not Nazri – and could never be – nor was he likely to have been Malaysian first and Chinese second. He was, very simply, a Chinese – and why is this a bad thing – who so happened to be Malaysian, encumbered with citizenship duties. Why has any Chinese (or Indian) to apologise for being what he is, first, second or last?

(The above is a condensed version done by Hartal. The original posting is titled ‘In TBH, a Letter in Tyranny, Culture & Ethics‘)

One Response to “Analysis & insight into Beng Hock’s purported suicide note”
  1. Paul Warren says:

    Teoh Beng Hock, dead or not, at the same time there were other “improprieties that were supposed to be investigated. What is the outcome so far? I would really like to know what Hannah Yeoh’s indiscretions might have been. Or is it suddenly, with Teoh’s death this entire strategy of getting at all Selangor Aduns at one go been abandoned? Why abandon if improprieties might exist? Scared? Messed up? Or MACC now sudenly don’t want to play ball with the puppet masters?

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