Miss Aida
Reading Jaqueline’s account in ‘Once I Was A Princess’ made me inexplicably angry for some reason.

It would have been difficult for her to go through life being a foreigner in a country, much less in a royal family, where the protocols are heavily enforced.

I felt anger at her husband’s continued emotional and physical abuse, of the countless times he raped her, at her helplessness. I felt anger towards the royal family’s lack of support, the way they turned a blind eye towards the obvious abuse and the inability of the women to do anything about it.

I was frustrated at the so-called ‘religious education’ she received. I cannot believe she was told ‘Under Islamic beliefs, women were also the gender most likely to seduce the other through sheer weakness of morals and inferior intelligence… women were inherently evil and had to be educated away from their natural inclinations to sin and corruption… to question or debate or even dare to attempt reinterpretation of the Koran to make it more relevant to the twentieth century was considered blasphemous.’ Among other things.

I shed tears for her heart wrenching loss; the loss of her identity, the loss of her children, the loss of her love for a man who was evidently cruel, manipulative, abusive and racist.

I was shocked and disgusted at some of the things she talked about, by the outbreaks of racism and personal attacks she had been subjected to by people I regard my own countrymen, even as far as in Melbourne.

Amir was unfortunate to be at the receiving end of my anger, and I’m sorry it happened.

There were so many emotional parts in the book that touched me on so many points that made me relate to this unknown faceless woman again and again, that I actually felt like my heart was ripped out and left to bleed.

Perhaps her feelings of isolation echoed my recent feelings of being alone, despite being surrounded by so many. Of feeling increasingly separated from people I call friends, of the nagging worry at the back of my mind that I may one day decide to get up and walk away from it all and start afresh once again.

Her talk of abuse brought to mind the pain and worry I feel about several friends, her description of emotional abuse too close to the mark of how I imagined my friends might have felt, and my fears that the cycle would start for one of them, and it would be beyond my grasp to help those I loved the most.

I was disturbed at the sporadic accounts of discrimination against her, of the random attack made by several Malaysian students studying in Melbourne, no less, and am angered at how ignorant and stupid some people can be.

The unfairness of having her children being ripped away, and the worry of what they may be put through, after reading her own experiences in the palace was heart wrenching. I could only imagine what may have happened, and hope that they remained unscathed. As for the mother, I could only begin to imagine the process of being separated from her own children, children where she had fought so desperately to keep and having all that taken away without even a warning.

It’s been awhile since a book made me cry like that. Perhaps only because it was all true, all real and all too close to home.

I am disillusioned, by the glimpses of human nature of my own countrymen, by the legal systems, by everything. At least for the time being.

I hope things have changed, and I fear they have not changed much. I hope attitudes have changed, and I wonder if they have. For once I wonder if I can be optimistic, if I can return to Malaysia and look past the prejudices we harbour, and wonder if I can be the same person I am here in Melbourne.
11 Responses
  1. amal Says:

    hey, do u have the book? i've heard about it but am not sure whether it's available in Malaysia. malas btol nak mencarik2 buku kat Kinokuniya nih.. it must be a hell of a story!


  2. erina_z Says:

    i've been wanting to read the book for quite sometime. But never really had the courage to go to the bookstore and just get it.

    Think i would now.

    There's 2 sides of every story. I may have heard one of them. Hope to hear the other side. Then only i'll judge =)


  3. SHaQ Says:

    there's a sequel to the book. when she got an email from her children after 14 years or sumthing.

    not that i ever read the book, or even this book but i heard about it a while back.

    sounds interesting. hmmm...


  4. hi aida, this is sort of out-of-topic...juz wanna tell u, ive finally finished reading harry potter ;D

    wah lau wei, don't u wish that the story never ends? hehehe...enjoyed it 'through and through' - (if i may corrupt ur grammar hahahaha)



  5. eriz Says:

    I think most Malaysians are nice people =)

    disclaimer: i will not be held responsible for any harm caused(bodily or otherwise) unto you for actions taken based on my statement above. It is a work of fiction and has nothing to do with anyone, dead or alive.


  6. i read the book too.. n yup i was so frustrated n angry. just exactly like how u felt. my eyes were teary from pg to pg. ive read the sequel too.. it just came out in the borders. u should read it.


  7. Anonymous Says:

    hi peeps

    once I was a princess kalau tak silap saya tidak dijual di Malaysia sebab kena ban

    mungkin anda ptut baca buku Raja Bahrin pula untuk tahu kisah di sebelah pihak sana, siapa tahu?


  8. violet Says:

    now i have to go and buy it.


  9. amal Says:

    i was sobbing like mad when i reached the last few chapters... even ignored ben's phone calls (i said i was sleepy.. haha) just to finish reading. i so despise those who use religion for their own personal gains. sigh, i guess that ain't new isn't it?


  10. Anonymous Says:

    Saya telah membeli buku Once I was a Princess di Kinokuniya KLCC pada awal 2007.
    Tetapi 'wonder' hgga skrg bagaimana ia telah boleh terlepas dijual.

    Kisah ia mmg menyedihkan, seorang ibu yg trpaksa brpisah dgn anak2 kandung yg dijaga sejak kecil.
    Tp sy percaya, Bahrin juga ada kisah di pihaknya.

    dari Kuala Terengganu.


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