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    Sep 08, 2014

    Affair with study mama a 'painful lesson'

    IT WAS a mistake right from the start, says the cabby who wants to be known only as Mr Wong.

    He had agreed to this interview on condition that we do not identify him, as he is worried that the interview may set loan sharks on his trail.

    A relative had written in to alert this correspondent of Mr Wong's story.

    His life started to unravel after he agreed to a friend's request to be the local sponsor for a study mama and her 10-year-old son. A study mama is a foreign woman who accompanies her child during his education here.

    Mr Wong, 48, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "My life is in ruins, my wife attempted suicide twice and my daughters no longer talk to me."

    He sits on the cold floor in a two-room Housing Board flat he and his family have taken refuge in since December.

    The family of four share two mattresses in the living room. The bedroom is used by a "kind relative" who took pity on them and allowed them to live with her without asking for any payment.

    It is a far cry from their five-room HDB flat in the western part of Singapore.

    Mr Wong says softly: "The loan sharks kept harassing us and I was afraid that something would happen to my daughters."

    He estimates that his initial loan of $10,000 has likely grown to about $30,000, as his payments have been irregular.

    Part of the loan, he claims, was given to the study mama, Ah Bing, when they were having an affair.

    It started when the then 40-year-old divorcee and her son moved in with the Wong family after they came to Singapore in 2012.

    As Mrs Wong was then working at a fast-food restaurant, Ah Bing offered to prepare the family's meals.

    Mrs Wong says: "But you know, the woman's instinct in me told me that something wasn't quite right.

    "By the time I found out, it was too late. My husband was sharing our bed with her and he had already emptied our joint bank account."

    The $40,000 was money that the couple had "scrimped and saved" since the birth of their first daughter.

    Mr Wong blinks rapidly to stop the tears, then says: "It was money meant for my daughters' education. But their terrible father gave it away like a fool."

    He still feels that Ah Bing's move was a well-calculated one. It didn't help that he had been having frequent arguments with his wife over her shift duty hours.

    "Ah Bing started by acting as the peacemaker and would advise me to be more patient," recounts Mr Wong.

    Ah Bing was also caring and attentive to Mr Wong's needs, sometimes volunteering a neck massage when he returned home for his lunch breaks.

    One afternoon, he came home and found Ah Bing "asleep on the sofa", clad only in a towel. She was "shocked" by his return and apologised profusely before hurrying into her room. The same scene was repeated a week later.

    He looks at his wife, then says: "All I want to say is, I reacted like a normal man under that circumstance."

    When Mrs Wong found out that the pair had carried on the affair "right under my nose for nearly a year, I went crazy". She tried to kill herself.

    She later uncovered another secret: They were penniless and her husband had borrowed money from two loan sharks.

    She tried to kill herself a second time and ended up with a warning from the police that she'd be arrested the next time.

    Ah Bing had asked for $50,000, claiming that she wanted to buy a small piece of land in her home town in Chengdu, in China's Sichuan province.

    She moved out two days after Mrs Wong's first suicide attempt and has since "disappeared" with her son.

    There is one thing from this "painful lesson" that Mr Wong wants to share: "I hope that all married men out there will know that in the end, it isn't worth sacrificing your family for that moment of lust."