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The Ordeal

My Ten Years in a Malaysian Prison

Abandoned by her parents, brought up by her strict maternal grandmother in a small backwater town, young Beatrice Saubin always dreamed of visiting warm climates and exotic places. As a teenager she hitchhiked to India and later to Afghanistan and Thailand. In Malaysia, at age nineteen, she fell in love with Eddy Tan Kim Soo, a handsome, wealthy Chinese man. They planned to meet in Europe and marry. But at the airport on her way home, her spanking new Samsonite suitcase—a gift from Eddy— was ripped apart by custom officials. Beatrice was horrified to see that it contained several kilos of heroin.

Clearly she had been set up by Eddy, who, it turned out, was a member of a powerful drug cartel. Arrested, Beatrice languished in prison for two years before she was tried. Her sentence: death by hanging. On appeal, her sentence was reduced to life in prison. Efforts on the part of her grandmother and an impassioned attorney managed to stir up public opinion, finally leading to Beatrice’s release after ten years.

But however terrible, these years were not lost. While in prison, her spirits were never broken: she taught herself Malaysian and Cantonese, and became a model prisoner and a leader as well as a medical supervisor, caring for her fellow inmates. The Ordeal is her odyssey—always gripping, often terrifying, but ultimately a story of courage and inspiration.