On the 29th of October my fiancee and I were assaulted and beaten up by bouncers at Zouk, Kuala Lumpur. We went over for what we thought would be a fun Halloween night out. We expected to see costumes, and pumpkins, and receive the odd scare or two. Never did we consider in our wildest dreams we'd be "seeing stars" and spending time in hospitals soon after.
This is our story.
My fiancee's name is James and I'm Ju-Lee. We've been going out for almost five years. He has had a string of health problems from birth. As he was born premature, he came out with a hole in his heart and liver complications. Then he had a series of blackout spells from a few years ago - the underlying problem of which numerous doctors have not been able to diagnose successfully. Needless to say when my fiancee tells me he isn't feeling well and it could be serious, I take it seriously.
We arrived at Zouk at about 11.20 p.m. We had booked our table that was on the first floor facing the dance floor on the ground. The drinks came about twenty minutes later, our friends came a little over midnight. They headed to the dance floor and we decided to stay. Shortly after James told me he was feeling ill and he went to the toilet.
He only had two heavily diluted whiskies with water, so no it was not the alcohol. Nobody was drunk. The bottle was still quite full and we had poured enough for five people, not once but two rounds. I am sure he didn't have too much - I poured the drinks for him and everyone that night. Dismissing it as perhaps a tummy ache, I let it go. The thought didn't even cross my mind that it was the alcohol. It wasn't.
For twenty odd minutes he did not return. I was starting to worry. I signalled to my friends to leave the dance floor and come upstairs, which they did. I asked a male acquaintance to go to the toilet to check on him but he never returned. I found out later that being a first timer at the place, he went to the downstairs toilet because that was the only one that was around. He didn't find James.
I received an SMS from James. His exact words were "Please Help Me". My heart raced, I knew of his blackout spells, the countless health problems and numerous trips to the hospital - many of which were late at night, distressing emergencies that scared me each time. My fear and protective instinct towards my loved one kicked in.
I told my friend to look after my bag, and that I was going to get James because things sound bad. I mentioned specifically he was in the men's toilet and that I was going to get him. She thought nothing of it but the fact that I was going to see to it my loved one got help.
My heart was pounding as I ran as fast as I could to the toilet. I knocked on the main door and informed the cleaner that he was sick and that he needed to go to the hospital and that I was going to get him. I called out to James and the only response I got was James's hand extend out under the toilet door. He was already on the floor. I panicked.
I expected the cleaner at this point to assist by getting help but he kept complaining about about the fact that there was a woman in the men's toilet. At that time I thought he was just a cleaner with not much education, when someone higher up finds out they're going to know James needs help. I'll just explain the situation and it will all be over.
I went into the cubicle which was tiny. James was slumped on the floor, I had pulled him up and sat him up. He was floating in and out of consciousness. His eyes kept rolling to the back of his head, his head cocking backwards and forwards. His tongue was stuck out, mouth wide open. I was wiping his face, dirtied from the bathroom floor when he passed out. I was in a state of utter panic. If he blacked out completely it would be hell trying to get him downstairs through the crowd and then outside and then to the hospital.
I locked the toilet door when I got in, thinking logically that someone might accidentally push open the door thinking the cubicle was vacant. James was sitting right beside the door and I didn't want him to be hit by it, basically . That proved to be a good move because soon after I did, a bouncer comes not knocking, but banging.
He was shouting at the top of his voice, full of rage. He demanded we get out of the toilet now. I couldn't possibly go out with James in that state, he was too ill. The man kept banging at the door and shouting, saying he will beat us up and trash us as soon as he gets his hands on us. That it's obvious we're doing "funny business" in the toilet and we should get out now. I continued to plead with him, I even apologised for my presence and said that I had no choice - I had to go to help immediately, and he needed to go to the hospital. He kept abusing the door with his fists - I was shocked, scared, and took his threats for real.
I opened the door to prove to him that James was really ill and needed help. The real nightmare now began.
He immediately dragged James off the floor, tossed him too his feet. He then grabbed my wrist and threw me out the door. I asked him what right did he have to touch customers like that? I demanded his name so I could speak to the manager about it. I certainly was not going to take pushed around and more so, having my sick fiancee pushed around over this.
He came right up to my face - I could feel him breathing right on me. He pointed right to my eyes and said, "If you want me to tell you my name, I'll take you outside and SHOW you my name". Not wanting to get into a fight or brawl, I decided imbeciles best be left alone. My priority this point anyway, was getting James to the hospital. James and I walked arm in arm out the toilet towards our table to retrieve my handbag and leave. He was still having trouble with his vision, walking was difficult and I helped prop him up with my shoulders. The sudden jolt off the floor kickstarted his brain but he was still feeling quite ill. That's the last he spoke to me before "the incident".
As we were going to the table which was about twenty feet away from the loo, we found ourselves surrounded by four bouncers. They started pushing and pulling us from all directions. There were two Malay and two Indian bouncers, including the lout from the toilet. They were rough housing us and shouting questions about our directions at that point - "Where are you going?/Kamu pergi mana?" The pushing and pulling got so violent I was screaming on top of our voice that we were going to get my handbag, that's all.
I just want my handbag and we will be going.
I need my handbag because my keys are in there.
My wallet's in there.
My identification card was in there. Please, just let me go get my handbag, for chrissake.
They screamed back at me - I was not allowed to get my handbag. That was that.
They lifted James off the floor and he kicked out in defence - God knows where they were going to throw him. It must have been difficult for him to have kicked them because he just had an operation on his ankle. He probably did it in desperation, even walking hurts him.
It got worse. They pushed him on the floor and in a second I found myself pushed on top of him. Then the beating began. All four men started kicking. I remember lying face down on top of James, and then receiving blows to the left side of my face. The pain was intense, sharp, and numbing. James however, sick as he was, got the brunt of the beating.
The patrons around us looked in disbelief but did nothing. We were helplessly being beaten up and people just crowded to watch. I was shouting and crying, begged the world for help - but realising soon that no one would get involved, I screamed at the patrons to "Get my friend with the blue top sitting over there". Somebody went to alert her.
In what seemed like hours, she turned up, saw us on the floor, bouncers kicking away. She tried to get into the circle of bouncers but got pushed off by one of them. She forced her way in - the most courageous thing anyone that evening did - and loudly announced, "Oh My God, what's happening to you guys?"
The bouncers realised immediately that we were not alone that evening. The last kick was delivered and they stopped.
I screamed at her to get my handbag and that we were leaving.
I was hysterical. Beaten, bruised, crying. My mouth was bleeding, the left side of my face swollen. Later that evening when I removed my make up did I realise how blue black my face and eyes really were. The inside of my mouth on the left side was cut - the blow to my face made the inside of my cheek impact my teeth, ultimately cutting a deep gash open. The teeth on the left side of my mouth still hurt till today.
James was in a worse state. His mouth was bleeding profusely. It cannot close properly anymore, his molars no longer align. They kicked him so bad his retainers behind his lower teeth in the front were bashed off, the wire exposed, cutting at his tongue. His front teeth are cracked - his mouth can't shut. Permanent damage. No one should suffer this, let alone a sick man.
He has bruises from head to toe, literally. When he came home he sat on the toilet thinking he was passing motion - it was blood that came out. He bled from the abdomen internally.
His left wrist was swollen beyond compare. He had scratches all over there - he distinctly recalls having to fight off one of the bouncers who was trying very hard to pull off his Omega watch. They were obviously trying to rob us. Trying to pull off his watch, not allowing us to get my handbag - they obviously wanted to retrieve that for later. There is no other logic to not letting me get at my handbag. We seemed like easy targets - a foreigner, possibly a weekend tourist, and a young woman. It didn't seem like we had friends till someone stepped in. We were probably targeted.
Zouk has till today, not bothered to contact us. I left messages with the gentleman I booked the table through - a "Zouk Ambassador" - asking him to get the management to contact me. I even asked the reporters who interviewed us to get them to call me back. Not a phone ring.
They don't care. The sheer arrogance is astounding. They are a big club and we are just two individuals, the little guys. I am not calling to complain about a fly in the soup or a bug in the salad, and even if I was, professionalism would dictate they call back. Their employees failed to assist when we asked for medical attention and proceeded to assault and try to rob us. Even if they think it is our fault, the least they can do is call back and answer to us. Tell us to our faces if you think you're right!
What is the point of having ambassadors when you have no sense of diplomacy?
And now they have the gall to release statements to the press claiming we were "making out in the toilet" and we were asked to leave, and that James proceeded to attack the bouncers afterward.
We share several homes together - due to the nature of James's work, we travel and keep residence in several countries. We have been going out for five years and intend to tie the knot soon. Our grannies know about us. We have a rock solid relationship and do not need to resort to making out in filthy club toilets. The suggestion that we were making out in the men's toilet is beyond comprehension and idiocy.
It is beyond insulting - to be bashed up and then humiliated in public, no less.
Then there's the question of a PhD holder known for his geekiness and health problems more than his brunt and braun attacking four huge bouncers. He kicked them apparently, two months flat after an ankle operation. He apparently attacked them but they didn't lodge a police report against him even though he's this violent individual who goes after massive bouncers. I don't think I need to reason that out with the logical, really.
And they claim in the press that I changed stories when questioned by the police - when in actuality I had not released any statements at the time and being the victim, I was not subjected to any kind of questioning. The police deny ever saying such things to them, they are in the midst of an investigation and have no apparent reason to state such facts or take sides.
Zouk is trying to discredit us in an attempt to salvage their business reputation. Ultimately they're saying their four bouncers had the right to bash us up because we were making out and James apparently kicked them. I guess that would make the public feel safe if it were true - get caught making out and you'll be bashed and ejected and then humiliated, that is our company policy.
We have a right to bash you if the circumstances justify it.
Common sense - you mean to say no one kisses and makes out in Zouk? You see that everywhere on the seats and the dance floor out in the open. So what if we were making out in the bathroom, compared to let's say, the dance floor? You mean that justifies a beating?
This is the club that's been hauled to court for lewd shows and they want to take the moral highground where making out is concerned. Give me a break!
The police have not been helpful either. I have had to justify numerous times as to why I was present in the gents.
If a woman jumped into the sea to save her loved one and drowned, people would herald her a hero. She instinctively dived in to save his life, how unselfish.
But when a woman runs into a men's toilet to save him, she's stupid. She has no pride. Why didn't I get a friend? Why didn't I get the bouncers? Why didn't I get the waiters? I've had to suffer the humiliation of being interrogated, harassed and questioned as though I was a criminal.
Sometimes I think based on all the questions and comments, I would probably suffer less flack if he had been left there to fend for himself and got really ill. That is the part that sickens me the most.
I did inform the cleaner and ask for help. Shouldn't that be enough? Aren't all their staff trained and told that if a customer needs medical assistance, to provide it? This is a club. People get asthma attacks, they get drunk and royally sick. Isn't everyone trained to help out when asked? Isn't it common sense to fetch someone and call the hospital when pleaded to?
No I was told - cleaners are stupid. Apparently they're just Bangladeshis, they have no brains. I should have worried about this fact and looked for someone more qualified to help me.
Apparently my mistake was not getting the bouncers. They have the ability to help out. The same people who bashed us up I am told are the ones with the power to save our lives. It was my mistake I didn't inform these "highly qualified" security personnel.
This is the reason why Malaysians think twice before they stop by the side of the road to help strangers. If you do so you will find yourself in a position where you have to justify your presence and your actions. It may land you in trouble. Helping is for fools, if you want to save yourself, you walk away.
This proves it. I didn't try to help just anyone, I tried to help my fiancee, the man I want to spend the rest of eternity with. And I've been judged and ridiculed and questioned for it, my intentions, actions and dignity.
Many can't see beyond the scandalous sign on the little boys room door to realise there's a bigger issue at stake - someone asked for help and it was given without question.
What's the wrong in running straight into the fire when you hear the word "Help"? Where is the care and compassion? Where is the sense of unconditional sacrifice?
This is the only country in the world where you have to justify going to someone's aid, where the mentality is so pigeon-brained there are those who are more concerned about the sign on the door or what others think before the actual situation - that someone needs assistance immediately, that he needs to go to the hospital.
I find that I've had to justify myself time and time again, as though I'm the criminal, and they're the victims, the big discotheque that now finds itself with a lawsuit and several articles in the newspapers. We've had to pay physically, emotionally, mentally, as well as reputation wise. Where is the justice in that?
As a human being I have my rights. Even if we were misbehaving there is no excuse to assault anyone. There is no justification in the law, if you're the authorities you should know that and protect the innocent. Not question them and make them feel awful.
Getting beaten up is no joke, watching your loved one get bashed up right in front of your eyes is even worse. It is a fate I do not wish on anyone. I hope people would be more understanding and less judgemental about this, we're having a tough time as it is getting through our physical and emotional scars.
I say this and I stand by it - I would give my life to James. I am proud I didn't think twice to run in and to help him and I would go wherever in the world he asks me. Be it a mountain top, or the sea, or the ends of the earth. Even a men's toilet, yes. I love him and I would give my life to him. I want to be his wife one day.
I will never forgive those people for hurting him.
Know this - if they can do it to a woman and a sick man, they can and will do it to anyone.
I want to get our story out.
I have a lot of people coming forward telling me their experiences being beaten up our threatened by bouncers. It's apparently common. For sharing their stories, I am eternally grateful.
Please keep them coming in - I have opened an email, firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope to highlight this problem to the authorities, that more needs to be done to make the Kuala Lumpur club scene safer. It is a lovely city and does not deserve this sort of thuggish behaviour from a few rotten eggs.
To our friends and the many strangers who have stood by us and supported us - I have no words to describe what we feel for your help and care. Though this has brought out the worst in people, it has brought out the best as well.
And to the many Malaysians who love this country and want to make it a better place - Malaysia boleh.