Monday February 4, 2013
Claudia’s death latest in a series of misfortunes for family
By SARBAN SINGH and SHAILA KOSHY
SEREMBAN: Journalist Claudia Theophilus' death is the latest blow to befall her family - her mother suffered a stroke recently and her brother became bedridden after an accident two years ago.
Her parents were too distraught to talk to reporters when met at the family's double storey link home in Taman Bukit Kepayang, near here, yesterday.
A relative said Claudia had called her father, Alfred, a retired civil servant, on Friday night to tell him of her trip to Lebanon.
He discouraged her, saying the place was not safe.
“But she assured her father that the places she intended to visit were safe and that she was going with friends,” he said.
Claudia's sister Dora said the family was informed by Wisma Putra.
“I am making plans to fly to Lebanon to bring back her body. We thank friends for their kind thoughts,” she said.
Another relative described Claudia as a responsible daughter and sister.
“She was the eldest of three children and was always concerned about her siblings, especially her bedridden brother,” he said.
Utusan Malaysia's Nazaruddin Shaari, who lives opposite the Theophilus' family home, said Claudia had always been full of life.
“I last met her when she came home for Christmas. She was so happy to be back and invited my family over,” he said.
Claudia's friends and those who had worked with her were full of praise for her, describing her as “a courageous and tenacious journalist”.
The Sun's former managing editor Chong Cheng Hai remembers her as a “dedicated, resourceful and truly fearless journalist who refused to take no' for an answer but was careful to get all sides of the picture”.
“She was fiercely independent. Always a champion of the underdog and a vocal union leader. Her death is very sad indeed,” he said.
Senior journalist Padmaja Padman said Claudia took a special interest in issues affecting ordinary lives, adding that her coverage of environmental issues such as the anti-incinerator campaign by Broga residents, when she was with Malaysiakini, was one example.
She had also won an award for her documentary on the Highland Towers tragedy at the Freedom Film Festival, added Padmaja.
“Claudia also volunteered much time and energy towards press freedom activities,” she said.
Southeast Asian Press Alliance executive director V. Gayathry, a former journalist with The Sun, described Claudia as a committed and dedicated journalist.
“She was very meticulous and thorough in her investigations.”
Klang MP Charles Santiago, who described himself as an old friend, expressed shock over what had happened to Claudia.
“My heart goes out to her family.”