Rose Porteous daughter breaks silence
Rose Porteous' daughter breaks silence

The moment that Joanna Lacson burst on to the scene as the wild child of flamboyant socialite Rose Porteous, the public began watching in fascination.

In one of her earliest public appearances in the 1990s she arrived at court on the arm of Northbridge identity John Kizon to face charges she had deprived the liberty of a former lover.

Scroll down to read Rose Porteous' poem on her feelings as she studied for her English degree in 1970.

She had already fallen out with her mother after a 1992 TV interview in which she said her mother deserved to be called a "mail-order bride" and a "gold digger".

The publicity continued until 1995, when she spoke to the media following a shooting at her mother's Gone With The Wind-style mansion in Mosman Park.

Now known as Mrs Lacson-Fox, the mother of two lives the quiet life in the western suburbs and works at a family business in industrial Malaga.

Breaking a six-year public silence, Mrs Lacson-Fox spoke to The Weekend West to pay her mother her dues as Mrs Porteous prepares for another stressful chapter in her life - a divorce from western suburbs realtor Willie Porteous after two decades of marriage.

Mrs Lacson-Fox lives a few streets from her mother in Nedlands, and relations between the pair are close enough for them to see each other every day.

She said her party days were long gone and she was content working at her family business and looking after her two children, Alexander, 3, and Eva Annastasia Rose, 1, who was named after her mother.

"That was decades ago," she said of her party days.

"I was 21, I'm 40 now. It was a long time ago, but people still talk about it.

"I was definitely a wild child, really crazy.

"It was like party, party, party all the time."

Now married to businessman Dean Fox, she said she was on good terms with Mr Kizon but rarely saw him.

Back when they were dating, she and Mr Kizon made regular appearances in court and in national women's magazines, attaining almost celebrity status.

"We're good friends, there's no animosity," she said. "We're on very good terms, it just all seems like a long time ago.

"John is a very loyal person."

Ms Lacson-Fox said she recently became aware that her mother was a gifted writer after inheriting the diaries dating back to 1992 and also poetry which Mrs Porteous has been writing since her childhood in the Philippines.

She said her mother's writing skills were honed during her bachelor of liberal arts degree, majoring in English literature, at Maryknoll College in the Philippines.

"She is honestly a very good writer, she's an amazing … and very gifted writer," Mrs Lacson-Fox said. "There is a very sensitive and a very quiet side to her.

"She's quite reclusive when she wants to be."

Mrs Lacson-Fox said she would consider publishing the poems and excerpts from the diary entries because it could help correct a misperception which she blames partly on her own 1992 interview with 60 Minutes.

During the interview, for which she was paid $30,000, she said Mrs Porteous deserved to be called a "mail-order bride", a "Filipina floozy" and a "gold digger". The accusations had been thrown at Mrs Porteous since 1985, when she married mining magnate Lang Hancock who was 39 years her senior.

The pair met when she was employed as his housekeeper, and the marriage caused a rift between Mr Hancock and his daughter Gina Rinehart.

Ms Rinehart later staged a very public legal battle with Mrs Hancock Porteous over the nature of his 1992 death and the division of his estate.

"I am now thinking of having the most important parts of her diaries published to make the public realise she is not what has been portrayed," she said.

The poem from 1970

Like what we had to do
In class. We’d sit and
Bury our heads, deep down into
Piles of books. And the echo
Of that voice, slashing our
Thoughts. Trying to decipher
Words; discussions for three,
Fitting puzzles, portraying roles.

Disenchanted, we’d walk out
Into corridors, long third floor
After the bell had rung,
Voices in our ears muffled,
Like a chisel digging its way,
Probing into cores. Aftermath
Of characters and circumstance,
Symbolism, imagery, and theme.

What am I now. Madam Bovary and
What are you. Felix Krull and
Where’s this, what we call
Reality. Cafeteria and we look
Around us; human particles, voices,
Murmurs, laughter. Pinch me Jing,
Explain life; explain you and me.

We have to go on. Oh Mousie, two more
Months of going in and out-
Yawns and stifled boredom,
Crossed legs gone to sleep while
Notes pass around; Are you awake,
Mousie? We look around and
Visualise the same restlessness.
Is this the way to smile on mornings?

Another day. Until we have trudged
And dragged the corridors to our
Soles. Movies, Shopper’s Ville,
What’s new, what more to do
After cigarette butts and ashes,
I’m sick of spaghetti; these books
Adorn the table – like intellectual fools.
Fools indeed: where will I be next year?

Next year’s 365 days to go. Don’t ask me,
I wish I knew a fortune teller, Baloney –
Life is that you don’t know. Funny,
How fast the moments go, how
Easily you are alone. Like innocence,
Was it so far-off? We sat,
Remember, in class with vaccum minds,
Waiting for the books to open.

We still are, aren’t we? No
It’s not the same. I‘d rather
The books were closed. How strange,
The vaccum is enveloping me
Completely. Do you feel lost?
How ironical, we have to keep on
Grasping, groping, searching.
Like going around and where’s the
End. It’s still dangling …..

I used to bite my nails, like
When I was bored, I’d stare
At the walls. Until I memorized
All those patterns. How stupid
It was. I’d get up as though
My mind had been drained,
Exhausted. But nothing I could
Recall. So abstract, like being in
Love. What’s it all about …..

I’ve lost my footing. I’ve lost
My identity. Sartre was right, you
Said. It’s destructive. Remember Donne –
He said what the use if
It unmakes you. No, Chardin disagrees …..
I don’t like him anymore. Sarte is more
Surviving. But how you laughed at my
Marcel: How mushy, it still rings.

But love is mushy. Okay, it’s
Messy. Ughs! This is the last
Of it. Get out, I told myself –
Before you’re buried. And Buried
I am. You fool, now I say,
But don’t laugh Jing. It’s no
Joke. Had I the chance to turn
Back ….. But I can still
Laugh. At myself most times.

Wait till you lose that. I’ll turn
Heidegtger. No, you shouldn’t be
Like me. I hate to see you turn
Hard. It’s not for you. It’s not
You. How can I survive. The world
Is not a Paradise. Even fools
Change. Had Sarte been born in the
Twentieth ….. You’d marry him. No,
I’d be his mistress.

I’ll write a book. You’ll be
There. Maybe it’ll be soft. Or
Vinegar-like. Don’t create any
Demarcation line. It has to be life
In totality. Like some
Salad dressing. Existential
Maybe. Satire on people.
The cafeteria particles, painting
Images, illustrations of mud.

Sit still in one corner. People still
Come. Sartrean stare to seduce your
Reputation. How absurd – it’s the plague
Of camus. In them , you mean …..
You understand me? At times,
Yes. Don’t try to, anymore. Not
Completely. I can’t anyway …..
Don’t make it like what we had to do
In class …..

The West Australian

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