Thursday, March 15, 2007

Finally a true Man.....

Lunch was at the now-defunct Neptune Theatre Restaurant. We had dimsum.

For an hour, we talked about work and family. Mr Tay was the perfect gentleman, serving me hot tea and piling my plate with tasty morsels, ensuring that I was well-fed. Inside, I was almost dying of suspense, what was he up to? Another indecent proposal coming up? I know these typical Chinese towkays (bosses). They have a little bit of money, they would turn to keeping mistresses.

Finally, Mr Tay pushed a white envelope across the table to me. I looked at the envelope suspiciously, not touching it, and then at him for an explanation.

Pic taken 3 mths before the lunch wif Mr Tay.

"Open it." He coaxed.

I opened the envelope and drew out a cheque. It had his signature and there was no amount written on it. I put it back and pushed the envelope back to him. I could feel the anger rising within me. I was expecting shit.

"I came to know of your cash flow problem from XX, I don't know how much you need. You just write down the amount and can cash it anytime."

"I'll write a million dollars."

"hahaha..... the cheque will bounce! I don't have so much in my account."

"Why are you helping me? What do you want in return?"

"I'm just helping a youngster stand up. No motive." When he leaned forward to make his point, I involuntarily placed my hands on my lap. I anticipated him to grab my hand as most men would do during such talks. He sensed my cautious approach, smiled and leaned back to his seat.

"Young lady, remember this, Today you receive help from me, another day you will help someone else. In times of difficulty, if someone offers you help, take it. It's a loan, you have to pay me back when you have the means. Don't worry, I'm not a loanshark, there's no interest."

I couldn't believe my ears. Is there such a good deal in this world? I was skeptical, I didn't touch the envelope. Before we left the restaurant, Mr Tay took the envelope and shove it into my hands.

I didn't cash the cheque. In fact, after thinking it over, I wrote 'CANCELLED' across it. I was not going to owe anyone a favour nor be indebted to anyone. Instead I approached my debtors and pleaded with them to help me by paying me earlier.

A week later, Mr Tay called to ask why I didn't cash his cheque. I told him I can settle my own problem. He sighed and remarked that I'm stubborn like a bull. An hour later, a Bank Manager called to offer me a loan, Mr Tay had offered to be the guarantor. It was tremendous relief for me. When I saw the money in my account, I broke down and cried.

I didn't get to see Mr Tay often after that. He was always travelling. Twice he sent his secretary to give me some boxes of herbal medicine from China. There was the same white envelope each time. Inside was a note with 4 Chinese characters :" 照顾身体" (Take care of your health).

We did meet twice in the association's premise but we only had a brief chat. I was very grateful to him and touched by his gestures. He never asked anything from me in return for his help. I'll never get the answer to this question which I am dying to know,"Why me?"

Mr Tay passed away in November 2005 during a business trip in China. He died of a heart attack, aged 59. I laminated his cheque and kept it in my safe-deposit box.


  1. U r a blessed woman, and you have my admiration for being 'stubborn' ;)

  2. ya pinkie,
    I suffered a lot for being stubborn too....

  3. I think Mr Tay is genuine in helping. Perhaps someone had helped him just as much previously, and the only way he could return the favour was to pass it forward?

    And I think Mr Tay was just trying to do his part to make this world a better place. Maybe life isn't just about strict transactions, it is about developing people so that the world can grow better?

    Gosh...I must have played too much music earlier the night, to be rambling on.

  4. Nothing wrong suspecting other's motives. But always good to know there are some good people in this world. Hope you can get your answer when you meet him in the next life.

  5. oceanskies,
    It was later that I heard from the other members of the association about Mr Tay's generosity & kindness to the less fortunate. Those who need help was not turned away.

    I'm such a bitch to have put him on the rank with the lousy bastards.

    I couldn't help questioning a man's motive for helping me after encountering so many negative incidents with them.

  6. right SA,
    There are indeed some really wonderful people in this world! They make the world a better place to live in.

  7. You stupid ass!!!! Why didn't you ask my Mom for help?

    What if the old man wanted you to be his mistress? What if you didn't have the money to pay your debts then? You think you would be virtuous if you commit suicide? You ass****!

    Promise to tell me first any time you have any difficulty! Swear!!! OK?

  8. Oh yeah! I remember this photo. We were celebrating your birthday! You just came home from work and we gave you a surprise.

    This was what you looked like when I was living with you guys. My classmates envied me for 'co-habiting' with you. hahaha!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Your Mr. Tay sounds as if he knew the secret of the universe. To get one must give. He gave of himself and his wealth to help someone not as fortunate. In return he had continued wealth and the kinds words of a warm and beautiful person. A person who now lets the world know that a Mr. Tay once walked this world. You have added to his immortality. His spirit lives on in your words and your thoughts. If you have learned the lessons that this saint has taught then his teachings also live on with your actions. This is what happens when one helps and helps without conditions. We all have been blessed by this man.

  11. ECL, wow, every piece of your life story that I read here never ceases to inspire and amaze me! I'm sure such lots of kind and genuine people like Mr Tay exist, but the problem is identifying them! I'm also stubborn and proud like you, but not sure how I would react in a similar situation. It's always so tempting to give in, but pride can be a terrible thing, huh? So sad that he passed away so young.. sigh..

    Wah that picture taken so long ago, but you still look the same leh! :)

  12. Haha....see... this is the TVB twist and turn (unlike Mediacorp) ;p
    You have met a 好人!
    Pity he passed away so young ...sigh....

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. You look so good, I would give you 5 million.

    But seriously, that is a great story... and it is good to stand on your own two feet.

    That is how I lived my life...

  16. Brandon!!!!
    Insolent brat! I smack you huh!

    I emailed you.

  17. Teacher Dave,
    Your words hit me hard.

    His spirit indeed lives in my heart. I place his photo and his good deeds in the book for my son. Jaymes and my future generations will also remember this wonderful man. He lives forever in our hearts.

  18. shilpa,
    You're right. There are some really kind & genuine people in this world. I'm lucky to meet a few of these rare breed.

    sigh... Mr Tay is such a good man that God wants to have him by his side.

    haha... the photo! I look older now la! From photo not obvious. In person... sigh.

  19. tigerfish,
    haha... my life is like TVB huh!

    Mr Tay 是好人, 天妒英才,他英年早逝!

  20. Hi Dwayne,
    I'm worth 5 million! Wow! :)

    Being able to stand on my own two feet feels so good!!!! I don't owe anyone anything.

  21. the world needs more people like Mr.Tay, today he helps you expecting that tomorow you will help someone else. Its the cycle of life, or rather karma, what goes around comes around. though i do believe no one does something for nothing, even mother teressa did all the holy work for a reason, she wanted to go to heaven. I hope Mr.Tay is in heaven

  22. awww... munaks,
    So sweet of you! I hope Mr Tay is in Heaven too!

  23. i didnt comment often but im still reading ur life story! :)

  24. oh etel,
    Thanks so much. I feel good to have friends who are such great support.


  25. I am left speechless... It's so difficult to even have someone for a listening ear these day, man to man. Let alone in financial troubles, from a man to a woman.

    You've just given me that final resolution, death is really not the end of everything.

  26. Ed,
    It's incredible what this man has left behind, right?

    I write this in my book so he will be remembered for generations....

    I want to be like him.

  27. ECL, I think you'll geta book deal soon:X) Anyway, this pix looks like -10 from that cheong sum pix. my that why you always don't eat this n tt ? hehe, wei..super woman, your life journey is "peachy" everyone's got a tale to tell ya ? Cheers !:)

  28. Hi, I hopped over from FH's blog.
    This is a sad story yet a story of principles and courage of a young lady.
    There are not many Mr Tays in this world and this story reminds me of one of my dad's many teachings to me when I was about 13.
    "Help others who are in need when you can because you never know when you will need help one day." My dad has helped many people in his life and when he was in his early 50's, he lost everything, only one friend offered to help him and the rest did not dare come near him for fear that my dad would plead for hand-outs.
    Your post is a valuable lesson to me.


  29. yup, your post really tought about being strong. Hopefully i can reach that

  30. wahlau.. your life is so dramatic and well presentation in words too. I don't like to read story books but reading your life stories is better than reading story books!!! Very DRAMATIC and I LOVE IT! Seriously I can see your life full of ups and downs and a lot of unexpected things happened. I somehow admire your stubbornness in terms of solving your own problem by yourself. Double salute! (Next salute will be using my leg already.. hehehe)

  31. whoa melting wok!
    I'm in the middle of publishing one book liao. hehe.... but giving away not selling.

    This pix was taken in 1994,of course look younger than the cheong sum photo! lol

    I'm careful of what I eat now due to old age creeping up. I dun like to look fat. :)

  32. Hi Judy,
    Thanks for dropping in and sharing.

    I've seen cases like your Dad's. People who have received help shunned their benefactors like the plague when they lost their wealth. Such people doesn't deserve to be humans, they are beasts.

    When a person is down, they not just want financial help, most important is to help them get their confidence back. Being business people, we are able to get back our wealth but first we have to clear the mental block and sought out our thoughts.

  33. lankapo,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I'm sure you can achieve that.

  34. Hi cincailah!
    Thanks for your praise. (blush) hahaha....

    Everyone has his/her ups and downs, mine is more so because of the path I have chosen. I could have an easy life, but then I would have been like a flower vase.

  35. Oh you still got the blank cheque! Help someone. Not using pass it over leh. :P

  36. Can you keep one (of each) of your books for me ? :D

  37. Victor,
    The cheque cannot 'pa kay' oredi la! hmmmm.... maybe I should frame it together with my article.

  38. EastcoastLife, i think i m missing a hell lot of interesting stuff here.. Mm.. i shall slowly catch up ur story tonite.
    i hv to say u r a lucky gal and i always believe fortune is brought to one who deserve it. I believe he had a goodwill in mind and lets 'Pay it Fwd'!!

  39. hi zeezee!
    Missed you so much! You MIA for so long and I thought something happened to you! Next time if you are not in the mood to say anything, at least drop a 'Hello.' so I know you are alright. OK?

    And this goes out to all my blogger friends too!

    I have never harm anyone and I treat people fairly, so I believe God blesses me for that.

    Whether one believes in it or not, I believe there is Karma. What you do to others, you get it back 3 times.

    Ya, Pay It Forward! I will.

  40. Sorry I've been missing a lot of actions lately.... I juz came back yesterday ....

    You looked absolutely demure in the foto! So sweet and innocent-looking....

    You were understandably suspicous of a man who offered to help you without conditions. Moral of the story? Not all rich men are humsup, and not all humsup men are from the CS lor ;)

  41. Chris,
    Thank you. So does my look make you want to 'makan' or pity me?

    Not all rich men are humsup, and not all humsup men are from the CS

    correct. But then hor, if men are not humsup, it gets a little boring. Would a decent man still not feel anything if he sees an attractive girl?

  42. Pity first. Then makan. That's how they do it in the movies wat.