Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

Not only was Teoh Beng Hock going to be married, he was also expecting a child.

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.


walla said...

Now that the poor man has been cremated, DNA matching with the baby will not be possible.

That baby was made by two human beings. The rules of the national registration department were made by human beings too. Does the fear of creating precedents tell us the bureaucrats think their rules are equal to a living thing who is coming into this crappy screwed up world without one parent, someone who has just died so tragically to boot?

Those rules were not made for this case. So why apply them, especially when the applicant is someone who is still going on for the child she's carrying in his memory?

If they are fearful that there will be a later claim to natural paternity, then get that claimant to do a DNA matching with the child. Given the fortitude shown so remarkably under such a grievous condition by the mother, that probability is zero. But knowing the way out now should bolster their courage to just register the child in the name of the deceased.

Don't trouble his soul anymore. He's suffered enough. Don't trouble her heart anymore. She's suffering still.

I am going to give up.

zewt said...

ahhh... u must be ruth!

Crankster said...

Walla - my sentiments exactly.

Zewt - that would be me. I see Pastor Sivin Kit has mentioned me. :)

zewt said...

yes... he did. i guess this would be at the TBH memorial thingy.

zewt said...

and your surname isnt Ting... is it?

Patricia said...

I don't get this at all. When both my children were born, Chuan went to a police station and registered their births. He took my I.C., I think, and that was that.

I've been married 26 years, and I've never had to produce my marriage certificate for anything, and am wondering what it is for!!!

Maybe, in death, one may need to produce it to get your hands on 'stuff'. But otherwise, whose business is it, who's married to whom?

I think a mother should be allowed to register her child as she sees fit, without anyone else sticking their nose in.

The period for registration of the birth should be long enough, so that the mother is able to go do it, when she is feeling strong and well enough.

If a man is named, and he feels he's not the dad, a simple DNA test would prove he's lying ;)

It seems to me that mothers are incidental here. It used to be that a child could not get a passport if the damn father couldn't be found!(It's now changed, I think.) That's saying that nine months carring a hump infrontofyou is not enough for anyone to realise that you, as mum, are it!

And, Walla, couldn't they establish his paternity using his siblings' DNA? There should be a partial match.

Of course, I could be wrong lah. My source of all information is CSI ;)

Crankster said...

Zewt - dude, I'm Indian. I wouldn't be carrying the surname Ting unless I married some foo chow fellow named Ting.

Pat - you didn't need your marriage certificate to register your children's birth because their father was physically present. And he had taken responsibility and claimed to have fathered them.

The problem is, if you were Brad Pitt, there'd be thousands of women claiming that their babies were yours.

And while DNA testing is possible, who is going to pay each time to establish paternity? I don't think it's fair on the man - even if he is Brad Pitt. :)

However, I see your point and I concur. It's no one's business to dictate that the baby should have a father, especially if you can't obtain a passport without locating the father and establishing paternity. Such a load of bull!

As for your suggestion to use his siblings' DNA to establish Teoh's paternity - I think that's the perfect solution. It does work, especially for a male relative like a brother.

zewt said...

hahaha... my bad my bad...

Patricia said...

Ok, I get your point about Chuan being there to 'claim' paternity.

But... what if he wasn't the dad? What if he was my boyfriend, and the poor slob who fathered the tot was long gone?!

No one asks, no one cares - you know why? Because it's a man, lah. Men are 'it': god's gift to womenkind and the world.

But I'm just being a pain lah. I get it that people would want to name Brad Pitt as dad. But not me. I'd want good ol' Brad for other wild and wanton deeds, thank you very much.

Crankster said...

Pat - ooooh. Remind me never to mess with you... 0_0