Today I had lunch with a good friend of mine, Lisa Ong. Both from Ipoh and both acquaintances of Canny Ong, may she rest in peace, we inevitably brought the subject up. I shared with her my ponderings of why this case was given so much mileage by the papers. I posted on Word Up! my thoughts on the matter, offering some insight from knowing Canny for but a fraction of my teenage life. I brought up thoughts on Noor Suzaily, the Malay student who was raped and murdered a year ago by an errant bus driver who was mentally unstable. I brought up the 14-year old who was abducted from Bukit Bintang and raped just days after Canny’s tragedy. I brought up the factory worker who was also kidnapped and raped by people she knew, a week after Canny. What about these people? Why did it take Canny’s case to make everyone sit up, read/petition/cry/feel something? Was it because she was beautiful? Was it because she was married to an American? Was it because it happend in Bangsar Shopping Complex, a supposed ‘high-class’ shopping centre full of ridiculously expensive stuff so no shifty, dodgy persons would think to lurk around in its carpark? Or is it because of the tragedy of it all, that it was a crime of chance that happened to a girl who came home to see her ailing father, that evil did not discriminate, that its products were also subscribers of chance?

And what’s even more puzzling is the amount of speculation of “what truly happened”. Not to vilify Canny but let’s just say that if you knew her, you would have cause to question the circumstances surrounding her death. But I can see no way these questions could arise from out of the blue. People are certainly persistent in not believing in the dastardly hand of fate when it decides to be cruel. Canny was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And yes, it can happen to you. Accept it. Deal with it. As my friend Bernice puts it: it’s better to be paranoid than dead.

To that end, I made myself a ‘flail’ – a bunch of old house keys, a pepper spray, a pen knife and a bangle to sort of tie it to my wrist. One swing in the face and there will be no face. And then I spray.

Thanks Canny, for making us smarter. May the sweet release of death bring everlasting peace to your soul.