In Malaysia (and probably in other conservative holes on this planet), two pieces of paper are of paramount importance in a child's life.
One is its birth certificate. The other is the marriage certificate belonging to its parents, without which its father will be deemed unknown unless he shows up at the registrar's office to have his name imprinted.
In this case, we know that's not going to happen.
PUTRAJAYA: Soh Cher Wei may not be able to register Teoh Beng Hock as the father of her child.
National Registration Department public relations officer Jainisah Mohd Noor said the marriage certificate of the child's parents must be forwarded to register a child.
In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father has to be physically present before the registrar to have his name included in the document.
Jainisah pointed out that it was not possible for the department to register Teoh's name as the child's father as there was no provision for such a process.
"In this case, when the child is born, the baby's birth certificate will only carry the mother's details.
"The child will also carry the mother's surname," Jainisah told the New Straits Times yesterday, adding that any changes to the existing procedures of registering a child would set a precedent.
Soh, 28, had said she would go ahead to legalise Teoh as the father of her unborn child.
She had also said she would give her child the Teoh family name, although she was unsure how to go about it as the marriage plans were shattered following his death.
Soh, a teacher, also said that she would discuss solemnising her marriage according to traditional Chinese rites with Teoh's family after the funeral.
The status of the child was among the main concerns raised by Teoh's family as the couple had yet to register their marriage.
Now there are legal reasons why these requirements were set.
A woman can claim that any man is the father of her child and the onus would be on the man to prove that it isn't his, especially if he was wealthy and connected - a celebrity or public figure (which is usually the case).
To avoid such a hassle, a marriage certificate or the man in question being physically present would put rest to it.
But no one has any doubt as to whom the father of Soh Cher Wei's baby is. In fact, even Teoh's family appears to have claimed the child as well.
So it would be a simple matter for the National Registration Department (NRD) to sort it out.
But for now, they're dragging their feet with excuses.
You know why? Some time in the future, they will relent, but it will seem like such a huge effort on the part of the authorities (in this case, BN) to settle this case.
And everyone will be brimming with gratitude and appreciation for the NRD and the government for finally allowing the baby to 'legally have a father'.
People will forget that this situation would never have existed, should Teoh Beng Hock never have been hurled off the window at Plaza Masalam.
Time heals wounds. But sometimes, for the wrong reasons.