My name is Theresa. I am a Eurasian girl. My mother has the blood of different
races -- Scottish, Indian and Chinese -- in her veins. My father is a Japanese
soldier. I am the offspring of a secret liaison
between my mother and father during the Japanese Occupation of Malaysia.
After the war, my mother remarried. My foster father accepts me and in all
respects, loves me as his own child. My mother has no children from her second
Besides my beloved parents, I have a childhood friend, Jeanette. We
have known each other since our kampung days and been next-door neighbors for
twenty years. Throughout the years spent in primary and secondary schools, we
played, laughed, cried and studied together. Jeanette, however, moved away from
my neighborhood when she was in her college. I had little contact with her. The
one phone call she made to me last year surprised me. She was abrupt and cold.
All she said was, "Do not reveal anything about me to your friends." Then she
hung up, leaving me hurt and wondering.
One day, on my way back from school, I found her on the doorstep of my house.
She did not bother to greet me. Instead, she glared at me. "Is it true that you
are dating Jim?" she asked accusingly. I was surprised and baffled at her tone.
Who was she to appear out of the blue and confront me like that? Jim was a
popular and likeable guy in my college. We were fond of each other. That was
all. I was surprised when I replied to Jeanette in this manner, "We are not
dating. And anyway, if we are, it's none of your business." I was really riled
up at her bad manners, especially so when we were close friends before. Jeanette
then shot me a look of hate that I would never forget. "Watch out for your
secret, you little hotshot and lay off my guy." She then left abruptly. I was in
a whirl of feelings and thoughts. I was angry at her outburst. However, I was
afraid of her threat. I did not fear giving up Jim as a steady as I just
regarded him a very good friend. She was welcome to make him her steady.
I was more fearful and worried about her threat of revealing my secret. In a
moment of trust in my confidant in my
childhood days, I had told her that I was the illegal offspring of an affair
between my parents.
I was not ashamed of my father who was an officer in the Japanese Army. My
mother had always been of the opinion that he was either suddenly sent out of
Malaysia or that he had died in the war. However, she had always cautioned me
not to reveal her secret affair as other children would mock at me. I went back
to college the next day and met Jim in the passageway. He was furious at me. His
outburst really hurt me. In a nutshell, Jeanette had told him that I had called
him a gigolo. Jeanette also revealed to him that I was a "bastard". Jim then
hurt me further by informing me that Jeanette and him were an item and that he
was ending our friendship.
I retreated to the toilet and cried my heart out. I really regretted telling
Jeanette my secret. However, I knew I was being made a scapegoat for my mother's
past indiscretions by the vindictive
Jeanette, who was now a far cry from the sweet young friend of my childhood
In the next few days, I heard whispers behind my back and cold, hard glances
at me from some college mates. I knew that Jim was popular but I did not know
that he was that popular. He had influenced many of my friends against me.
Jeanette had made use of him to spread my secret to my classmates.
One day, a few of my close friends who had noticed my downcast mood,
approached me. It was there and then that I cried my heart out. They consoled me
and left. The next thing I knew was that they had come back to me with Mr Hans,
our beloved Vice-Principal, in tow. Mr Hans assured me that he would solve the
In the afternoon, during his usual pep talk at the assembly, Mr Hans related
a story of trust and friendship, betrayal and integrity. Everyone who knew me,
knew who the real characters were and that his story was a rebuke to the
students who had unjustly treated me. In the end, Mr Hans' moral was that good
would triumph over evil and he told us to ignore malicious talk. There was a
hushed atmosphere in the hall after his talk.
I was feeling embarrassed and uneasy after this. "Would Jim and his friends
retaliate?" I wondered. However, upon entering the classroom, I heard
spontaneous clapping from my classmates. My eyes were drawn to the board. On it
was written, "She's a jolly good fellow and we respect her parents."
This time I cried again, but they were tears of relief. I regretted telling
Jeanette my secret, but I am no longer affected by my parents' past. In fact, my
mum and foster father hired an investigator when we went on a holiday to Japan
later that year. We learned that Dad was a decorated war hero who had died in