A well-known Malaysian has died and my social media feed is full of people declaring what a loss the country has suffered. I am filled with anger because I know that this man was an egoistical, arrogant, physically abusive misogynistic.
I once had the misfortune of editing a short story by him and he responded to my edits with indignation and outrage, demanding how I (a nobody, in his eyes) dared tell him (HIM!) how to improve his story. However, that was nothing compared to the violence he inflicted on the women in his life.
His actions aren’t a total secret, but even those who are aware of it have mostly either chosen to ignore what he did, or seem not to think it appropriate to talk about, now that he’s dead. Well, it wasn’t discussed even when he was alive.
I don’t know if his victims ever reported him; if they were counselled; if they sought to make him accountable in whatever way they saw fit; or if they had any closure. As someone who has been abused, I know it’s a difficult and complicated place to be in, and how we respond isn’t something that is always easily understood, even by ourselves.
I have always been disgusted by the way this man has been treated like a hero by the public. I acknowledge that some of his work is good, but I am unable to truly separate it from his abusive behaviour.