Sunday, April 30, 2006

The two-sides of every story

Contemplation after reading "The Raja Bahrin Story"

Recently, the Raja Bahrin story resurfaced in the mainstream media of Melbourne. For those of you in the dark, Raja Bahrin is a Terengganu prince who cause a furore back in 1992 after kidnapping his son and daughter from the custody of his estrangled wife in Melbourne and smuggling them back to M'sia. Now after 14 years of seperation, the daughter in the case (now 21 years old) is back in Melbourne reunited with her mother.

When I first read the story in the newspaper, I had a bad opinion of the prince, whom the newspapers protrayed as someone who snatched away the motherly love that are entitled to two young children. He was also protrayed as an unfaithful man who took a second wife despite already being married. I was, of course, quite appalled by his action, and wondered why he was not dealt with the justice he deserved. I shared the sentiments of the Australians, fully sympathized with this long-suffering mother.

However, all of this changed when I stumbled upon a book at the regional library in Melbourne that I frequented: The Raja Bahrin Story. In that story written by the prince himself, he chronicled the way his wife was disillusioned with life and the manipulative way she herself smuggled the children to Melbourne from Terengganu, toying with the sympathies of the Australian Family Court and the general public to keep the children away from the father. The book was very successful in swaying my opinion about this matter, and I was left seething in anger at the mother in question which I suspect is the ultimate aim of the book .

Now I am waiting to read the version of the story from the mother's perspective. She too, had written a book on this drama: Once I was a Princess. Perhaps I will be in a better position to make a judgement on this matter after that. Nonetheless, this serves as a good 'knock in the head' for me for being so easily swayed by the sentiments skillfully articulated in the media. It serves as a reminder that for every story, there exist a version from one side, another version from the opposite side, and the truth sandwiched somewhere between the two versions. History, as people said, can be accounted as His Story, which may be the truth in the author's point of view, but not from the another person's view. It is nearly impossible to get the true, neutral version of a story that are devoid of feelings and subjective lifting. Talk about reading between the lines!



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The book Once I was a Princess revised version written by Jacqueline Pascarl I bought at Kinokuniya KLCC in 2006.... in her book,obviously Jacqueline return to Australia under pretex in 1985, told to the Australian court she was abused and badly slaved back in Malaysia and not dared to return for filed divorce since she marrried under Malaysian law and Islamic rites... only to obtain full custody of her children.
I have read the all of the books,and Jacqueline claimed she married in MARBLE PALACE.Raja Bahrin is only a member of royal family and not a prince. Just read The Raja Bahrin story and Once I was a Princess... that counter each other!
Just see who is in right.

Max said...

@anonymous, I think you make the mistake of of taking Bahrin to much at his word in his book. You should check the facts.

The prince's public persona is as two faced as Jacqueline makes out in her book. I'm sorry but I believe her. For example he told the press when Shah met wih her mother for the first time in 14 years, that his son Iddin didn't want to meet her and wouldn't be going to melbourne, yet 5 months later he went to meet her as well. And Iddin was quoted in the press as saying he'd been longing to see her for years. BTW, Her daughter is called a princess even by her official photographer. News reports around the world, even Malaysian blogs, repeatedly refer to Bahrin, Shah and Iddin as Prince or Princess