A 2013 Low Point – Losing an “Old Friend”

I wrote the below piece back in April this year, when I still considered David Chiang “an old friend”. I guess he was an “old friend” only in the sense that I had vaguely known him from our days in Klang. I remember seeing him take Ben his son, then a dark little chubby boy, to and from Sunday School. I rarely talked to him. When he was coming to Melbourne however, we connected and Ben and his mum came first and initially stayed with us in our home, before the rest of the family joined them later. They went to ICC Church in Glen Waverley, partly because we went there then. It was only from that point on that we came to know each other better.

He might have commenced planning moves against Jason around that time (April this year), if not earlier. I had left ICC months before and other than an anniversary party at his home, we barely spoke to each other since I left ICC. So the call came really out of the blue and the events against Jason some 4 weeks later put it into context I guess. Jason and I talked about this soon afer the Lifegate AGM fiasco and guessed this to be the case.

Needless to say, I have since been very angry with David for what he did to Jason and his (and his then fellow board members’) continuing refusal to face up to what he and they did. I was harsh against him and told him what I thought of what he did. He reacted badly and became feral with me. He hurled personal abuses while continuing to defend what he did. While I focused on his deeds, he called me names and made personal accusations. He did not pinpoint what I did despite my repeatedly telling him it was his act to remove Jason – specifically– which caused me to be angry against him. I have refused to have anything to do with him, not until he acknowledges that what he did to Jason was wrong from any perspective. Not just a procedural error, but a grave wrong against a brother.

I guess he would continue to deny what he did was wrong. Maybe he wouldn’t. I hope he wouldn’t. But there has been nothing to suggest he now thinks what he did was wrong.

So I guess I need to say that if I were to write him a similar email today, I would no longer say nothing has changed when I talk about our “old friendship”. I cannot continue to call someone so apparently obstinate, a friend. Things change of course and the day when he sees and aknowledges what he did against Jason was wrong, will be the day I would consider what I wrote below in April this year, to continue to hold true. Until then, I’m afraid one of the low points of this year is to completely disengage – on a deliberate and willed basis – from someone I once considered “an old friend”.

An Old Friend Called


From: Teh, Ian

Sent: Thursday, 4 April 2013 8:09 AM

To: [ ] ([ ]@yahoo.com)

Subject: Thanks – appreciate the contact

Hi [ ]

Thank you for your call last night, I appreciate that. Please be assured what has happened in recent months had nothing to do with you. You (and [ ]) are someone I knew from Malaysia so I guess that makes us old friends. Nothing has changed on that front.

Returniing to lifegate is out of the question for me. I cant be in a church where I am restrained from serving. As long as I don’t understand Tham Fuan’s statement that I only acknowledge the church leadership when it suited me, I can never serve freely. That statement means I am not to be trusted, that I am a fake. How can I remain in a church where the pastor accused me of that?

Tham Fuan has “apologised”  – it may sound ironic but that is taking the easy way out. What I needed wasn’t an apology, but understanding. One needs to spend time talking through things like that. Not a quickly blurted apology. I have said that to him before. But that is ok now because I no longer expect anything from him. He has shown nothing to suggest he is capable of, or wishes to, talk through that. I also no longer want to listen to him. No one should be expected to wait indefinitely – if the months following the event didn’t see any interest on his part, I should “cut my losses” and leave an organisation headed by someone like him. He has been that way from day one – uncommunicative and unresponsive. When it comes to personal relationships, being uncommunicative and unresponsive is a guarantee for failure.

Theresa and I continue to look for a church to call home. That has been very difficult for the reasons I said to you last night. But at least there is rationale for hope. Staying in lifegate does not provide that, as long as Tham Fuan carries on in the same way. There is nothing to suggest he won’t.

Thanks again [ ].





Yummy leatherjackets… Maybe it’s the company

I used to strip the skin off a fish called “leatherjackets”, when I was doing part time work in a fish market in Sydney during uni days. I’d stand next to a stack of 4-5 boxes all filled with that fish, packed in ice, and methodically strip each fish off its leathery skin.

In spite of it being one of the cheaper fish, I’d seldom bought that fish. Recently however, Tress, Kiddo and I have begun enjoying it on the barbie. Marinated with lemon pepper, turmeric, paprika, chilli and some cooking oil, it was delicious.

We had leatherjackets barbequed last Friday night. They were delicious. We had 2 each, which was a lot. And so when we decided to have it again last night, we only had one each. We had gone to papa rich in Nunawading for lunch after church so we weren’t hungry to start with but the leatherjackets, with some chicken wing and a fresh spinach, mango and tomato salad made a very good dinner.

On Sat we went to Blairgowrie at the Mornington Peninsula and had lunch at Sorrento – we indulged in the very good vanilla slice at the “Just Fine Foods” café. Tress and I had been there on Cup Day and had discovered their very good Moroccan salad so we had that again. Kiddo dug into it as well and really enjoyed it.

On our way home from Mornington we stopped by Ing Tung and Chin Moi’s to drop their Christmas present off for them – we had forgotten to give it to them on Christmas day when they came over for dinner. After that, we got home, had some fruits for dinner and then went out and watched “American Hustle”, which saw great performances from the leads, especially Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, whom I’ve come to like a lot.

Channel 9 screened yet another re-run of LOTR on Friday night. It was probably the zillionth time Fellowship of the Ring was shown on TV but we watched it anyway and about midway, when we realised we’d be too tired to sit through the scheduled 4 hour screening, we switched to our own DVD version… we had wanted to do it from the beginning but thought the commercial breaks on free TV were useful. Anyway, we continued after that, with The Two Towers and last night, we put on the third DVD and watched half of the Return of the King. It was crazy, but loads of fun.

Yesterday in church the pastor had called kiddo “Esther” and since it was a passing greet, we thought perhaps there was no need to correct him. Especially – kiddo reminded me of this – seeing it was only one more Sunday in St Alf’s for her. It would be months before she’d be here again by which time we’d take the opportunity to refresh pastor’s data… but it did strike home that it would only be a short while left before she heads of to Singapore again. Sure, 10 or so days is a lot of time but it is also a very short time…       I’d stand and skin leatherjackets all day anyday, if she’s around to enjoy the delicious fish with Tress and I…