You regretted telling a well-kept secret to someone whom you trusted – an Open Speech
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 marriage.
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 likable guy at 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 steady as I just regarded him as 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 he 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 days.
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 matter.
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 Japan.