an opinion on just about anything
Jacqueline Pascarl would be known to few people outside of two countries; Australia and Malaysia. In 1992, her two children Iddin and Shah, were taken by their father, Prince Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Shah, and taken to Malaysia. Yes, it was illegal under Australian law, and yes, we all felt for Ms. Pascarl, or as she was known then, Jacqueline Gillespie. She wote a book on the subject, ‘Once I Was a Princess’ (1995), and has recently revisited the story in her follow up book, ‘Since I Was a Princess’ (2007). After hearing a recent interview with Ms. Pascarl, a number of things just didn’t quite make me lend a sympathetic ear anymore.
Ms. Pascarl was being interviewed by journalist Jon Faine, a morning radio talk show host in Melbourne. The interview started well, as Ms.Pascarl talked about her recent reunion with her two children, now 20 and 23. While everything in the interview centred around her, and her new book, she was extremely pleasant. She was the loving, happy mother, glad to be in contact with her kids once again, after such a traumatic split.
However, as is Jon Faine’s style, he started to bring up some of the past Ms. Pascarl didn’t want to talk about. It’s very convenient to write not one, but two books about one side of the story, but what Faine wanted to bring up was the fact that Ms. Pascarl and her then husband Iain Gillespie, had the children baptised Christian, against their Muslim father’s wishes. This offended the Prince, as it was perceived as an insult to him. For those of you familiar with asian customs, keeping ‘face’ is extremely important. Faine also pressed Pascarl to admit that she hadn’t discussed this important matter with her husband at any time they were together. She angrily retorted that ‘it wasn’t the point!” Little Princess Jacqueline was not getting her way.
Needless to say that the interview went downhill from there. What did surprise me was the level of emotion Ms. Pascarl displayed. She cried, whined, and began to very quickly sound like a little child who was used to always getting her way. She was for once in her life being put under the spotlight, and made to justify the claims she has made in her books. She is happy to write the books, make plenty of money out of them, but don’t question her. She was the persecuted one. She had her children ripped away. She gets the sympathy. That’s the deal.
There is something about Ms. Pascarl that says to me she loves the attention of it all, as long as the attention is all about her, and all about her side of the story. Faine continued to pursue Pascarl thoughout her crying and whining by simply saying, and I paraphrase, ” I’m not trying to upset you, but for all these years we have only heard one side of the story.” Prince Bahrin Shah has himself written a book about his recollection of events, and Faine wanted this to be brought to the surface. To take on Pascarl when most of Australia is firmly behind her is very risky. Although Faine can be pigheaded, and a major smart arse, on this occasion he was right. He never for one moment said that he believed the Prince, and no one can deny that what the Prince did was a criminal offence. The Parliament of Australia characterised this removal as an “abduction.”
People do things for a reason, and that reason can sometimes be provocation. We see this all the time around the world. Israel’s existence as a state is provocation to the arab. Suicide bombing is an answer to what is seen as provocation by the west. Wars in general happen because someone ‘provoked’ someone else. Dr Mahatir, the then Malaysian Prime Minister, started hating Australians after then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating provoked him by calling him ‘recalcitrant’ after his non-appearance at an APEC summit.
Jacqueline Pascarl provoked her husband. Should he have responded by abducting his children? Of course not. But Jacqueline Pascarl, as highlighted by Jon Faine, was totally insensitive to her ex husband and believed that her plan for the children was her decision alone. She obviously did not wish to see his point. Of course not. If she did, she would not have made a lot of money out of the ‘sad and sorry Princess’ routine.
I remember when this was big news in Australia. Pascarl’s then husband, Iain Gillespie, always fronted the media, and fended off the tough questions. This is what I have just discovered while researching this blog:
“Upon the return of his wife’s abducted daughter Shah in 2006, her husband Bill (Crocaris) was the spokesperson for his wife to the media pack that had formed outside of their house.”
Must come with the job of being Pascarl’s husband. She doesn’t seem to cope with an overly inquisitive media.
Enjoy your day.
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