Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tea ceremony formally welcomes Soh into Teoh’s family

Story and picture by CHEN PELF YEEN

ALOR GAJAH: Family members of Teoh Beng Hock and his 28-year-old fiancee Soh Cher Wei partook in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony to formally recognise her as his wife.

The solemn ceremony, which began at 11am, at Teoh’s home in Taman Sri Kelemak, Alor Gajah, yesterday, saw both elation and grief from the two families.

Soh, who is currently in the first trimester of her pregnancy, was seen quietly sobbing as she offered tea to Teoh’s parents seated before her.

She then served tea to other senior members of Teoh’s family at the small and private ceremony attended only by close relatives.

Earlier, as part of the ceremony, Soh had also offered prayers to Teoh’s ancestors.

Teoh’s siblings later presented Soh with a gold ring and bracelet, which his younger sister Lee Lan, 29, helped to put on.

When met later, Soh, who had recently cut her hair short, said she had not dreamt of Teoh or his spirit returning to visit her since his death.

“No, I have not dreamt of him. I suppose he has not returned to visit me as he might be feeling guilty for leaving me,” she said, adding that she wished he would return to tell her the truth behind his death.

“I decided to cut my hair short to begin a new life,” she said, adding that she had since moved back to her family in Batu Pahat, Johor, and was now teaching in a Chinese primary school in Ayer Hitam.

Soh said both Teoh and her had picked Oct 3, which is also the date of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival for their wedding, before his death on July 16.

Former Kota Melaka MP Kerk Kim Hock, who is related to Teoh’s family, clarified that the ceremony was not the traditional Chinese afterworld wedding that Soh had earlier expressed her wish for.

“This is just a simple and meaningful ceremony to mark the recognition and acceptance of Soh as the daughter-in-law of the Teoh family,” he said, adding that both families had also agreed for their relationship to be recognised through the ceremony.

Teoh, who was the political secretary to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, died on July 16 after falling from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, where the state Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office was located.

He died hours after being interviewed by MACC officers as a witness in an investigation into the disbursement of state funds.

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