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

03/04/2013 

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 [ ].

Ian

 

 

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