Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Analysis of “Teoh Beng Hock’s note”

Posted on September 20, 2010, 11:10 pm, by guansin, under Judiciary, Malaysia, justice, politics.https://airkosong.com/_/2010/09/20/analysis-of-teoh-beng-hocks-note/

Earlier, I have made the literal translation of the so-called Teoh Beng Hock’s note. I must highlight that at this point in time, the authenticity of the note is yet to be established. Furthermore, the circumstances under which the note has surfaced have made it even more questionable.

That aside, it is worth looking at the content of the note in detail, factoring in the context and Chinese language semantics.

The main purpose of the note appears to be a status update by Beng Hock to his boss YB Ean Yong. This is evident with the following points made in the note:

  • “They took away all the computers without our making a copy of the files. They keep pointing finger at you.”
  • “I said ‘mendapat lulusan YB’, they insisted to type ‘mengikut arahan YB’”

The second point is especially significant. It is the clearest indication that Beng Hock’s statement was not made according to his own words, and that MACC was actively after YB Ean Yong, by playing with the right words that carry legal liability to YB Ean Yong. It’s the clearest evidence from Beng Hock that MACC was abusing its power to pursue the opposition leader YB Ean Yong.

The most difficult part to translate correctly is “Pretending to understand/know, but still dragged you into the trouble.” (“不懂装懂,结果连累了你。”) The context is important, and probably YB Ean Yong would be able to understand what Beng Hock actually meant to say. I can only speculate as follows: Beng Hock had earlier offered to go for the interview at the MACC office, reassuring his boss that he knew how to tackle the interview by the MACC officers without causing any legal implication to his boss. Obviously, to Beng Hock’s mind after the intimidating interview, he had failed to protect his boss from any legal liability, hence his regretting words of ‘Pretending to know/understand’.

While MACC has framed the note as Beng Hock’s suicide note, I find it too far to be so, at least semantically in Chinese. First and foremost, they wanted to make us to believe it’s suicide note based on the final two words: 再见. The most precise translation in English is “See you”, or in Malay “Jumpa lagi”. They must be badly advised by someone lousy translator to mean “Good bye”. And MACC jumped on it and turned the simple status update note as a suicide note. What a fatal mistake.

If it were indeed a suicide note and Beng Hock indeed wanted to bid his final farewell, he would use the term 永别 (“farewell forever”) or even 来生再见 (“see you in the next world/life”), as any typical Malaysian Chinese would.

And I can imagine for Beng Hock, who was supposed to have his marriage registration ceremony the following day and who knew that there was an unborn child in the womb of his fiancee, he would at least mention something about her and the unborn child. And that’s his final note to another living person. It is not logical to miss this out under such emotion of final moments of his life.


I would venture to give a context to the note, instead of calling or texting his boss. His handphone could be out of battery by that time, or it was not in his possession (remember all his possessions could be taken over by the MACC interrogators). Or he could be concerned that his communication with his boss was already under the authorities’ surveillance, therefore he decided on the safest method: write a note and hand it over personally.

As to the brevity of the note, it was almost self-evident. After being interrogated by the MACC officers into the early morning, Beng Hock was already exhausted. Those were the exact words he wrote “我很累了” (I am very tired). Hence such a brief note to provide a quick update to his boss, who must be very concerned for Beng Hock by then. And Beng Hock thought he would probably slip the note under the door of his boss’s office or drop it into a letterbox or something.

Now, why the many-month delay on the part of MACC to surface this note if it was indeed authentic? Someone inside might have appreciated that it is not a suicide note, although even a little spinning they could still frame it as one. The most difficult part to MACC is Beng Hock’s allegation carried by the note, that MACC was involved in abusing its powers to frame up YB Ean Yong (‘mendapat lulusan YB’ vs. ‘mengikut arahan YB’). If MACC surfaced this evidence, it slapped them on their face while not guaranteeing the whole Malaysia would believe it to be a suicide note. Lately the proceeding of the inquest has pushed the MACC against the wall, and it’s therefore logical for them to unleash this less effective weapon as the last resort.

And what happened after the note was written, if it indeed was Beng Hock’s final note, is unknown. What is clear now is, it is NOT a suicide note of Beng Hock. And this is the loudest truth of all now: Beng Hock was murdered by someone, someone who is most likely related to or works for MACC. It is high time all Malaysians demand justice for Beng Hock. (And for the clues of this person, we still have many clues from the MACC expose letter.)

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