A Love Story.

Chinese New Year decorations glittered beautifully in the Peranakan Restaurant.

Right in the centre of the room, a jade Phoenix cast a magical spell on everybody – except one lady who was deep in thoughts.

The jade Phoenix was a family heirloom and a symbol of love. It was passed from one generation to another, by the firstborn son to his bride.

While everybody was admiring the masterpiece, Towkay neo, Bibik Liam sat on her ‘throne,’ oblivious to the environment.

The beauty queen of the town sat almost motionless with her usual icy cold look.

She was always deep in thought but more so that night.

“Why?… Why must you come back to my life?”

Three days back, Liam had received a call from an unmistakable voice – Jose’s. That was the man who had cruelly dumped her and left her in misery.

It happened on the year she graduated, top of her cohort in the business school. She was all set to fulfill her dream to build a business empire.

That could have happened – if she had not met Jose. Jose was a fresh graduate in Fine Arts from the University of South California.

He was singing along the Singapore River, performing as a student representative at the Singapore Buskers’ Festival. Jose was an artiste dreaming to change the world but living most of the time in his dreams.

Jose was singing Liam’s favourite song from the 1960’s, “You Mean Everything To Me.”

“You are the answer to my lonely prayer You are an angel from above I was so lonesome till you came to me…”

When their eyes met, it was as if the world around them had vanished and did not matter anymore. They felt like they were embracing each other, moving slowly in circles and being transported out of the bright lights.

Two young idealists, their hearts dancing along with the song and melting in a new found love.

“Jose, I felt like I had been waiting my whole life – just for you.”

Fate dealt a tragic blow on their life.

Liam was the only daughter of a wealthy family, steeped in conservative Peranakan culture. Jose was a poor man on a temporary work permit. Shortly, he would have to return to Timor Leste, a country that was violently crippled by ravages of war.

Liam’s family did everything to stop the young lovers, pouring cruel ice to quench their fiery passion.

They even resorted to imprisoning her in the house.

“I love you, Jose. I was ready to die for our love.”

“Come with me to Timor Leste,” Jose had pleaded.

“Xanana Gusmao, leader of Fretilin, the underground resistance movement had called for young people to join him to free the country. This is our moment of glory.”

Their love could not be crushed, certainly not under the hands of any mortal human.

A plan was hatched.

They had to stop seeing each other to allay any suspicion.

“We would escape from this cruel world. I was counting the days…”

‘2/3/1996. The Old Place’ was the secret between them.

That was the day they would carry out their flight of freedom.

“Jose, we would start a new life together. I would be yours forever.”

That fateful day came.

Liam stood at the crowded jetty.

Hundreds of people had scurried past her but still, there were no signs of Jose.

Rain was pouring fiercely from the sky, with lighting and thunder in tow.

It was as if the heavens were crying for Liam, pouring agonizing tears on her. Passersby took pity on her. They shook their heads as they walked past her completely drenched body.

She was shivering beneath the pink polka-dotted dress that Jose loved so much.

The sun had set.

Every boat gone.

Liam was left standing in tears.


Darkness enveloped her like jaws of death, choking her slowly.

There was another stab on Liam’s heart.

She was carrying Jose’s baby.

“Why did you do this to me? Why? Why? Why?!..”

Liam would have ended her life by jumping in front of an MRT train. She could not face the stigma of having an illegitimate child.

“I would rather die.”

At the eleventh hour, Ah Hock saved her life.

Hock was a neighbour, the only son of a restaurant owner.

He was her adopted abang, a big brother who stood by her through every problem.

Hock had looked after her for as long as she could remember. What she did not know was the secret that Hock had kept from her.

Hock loved her.

After their quick marriage, Hock did everything to love Liam and to make her happy.

But that was impossible.

Time was no healer, and Jose never left her heart.

She screamed for Jose during constant nightmares and in deep pain.

She also went through one of the worst pits of sorrow any lady could go through.

Liam lost her baby.

Liam knew she could not give Hock what he needed most – her love.

So, she used her business acumen to help him.

She worked long and hard to help him expand the Peranakan restaurant business.

That night, as the waiters went around taking the last orders, Liam recalled how she had gone to see Jose shortly after the call.

She needed answers but she discovered subsequently that she could not handle the truth.

Jose was there at the jetty.

Jose was there on February 3, 1996.

That’s what 2/3/1996 meant in America.

Liam read that date as 2 March 1996.

Whatever was left in Liam’s world crumbled again.

Her spirit died a second death that night.

Jose could not help holding on to Liam as he persuaded her, “Leave with me because you still love me. The Suharto regime has collapsed. Timor Leste will get its freedom soon.”

“We will start a new life together. I love you. I will make up for the lost time.”

Liam has been thinking for the last three days, “Should I stay with Hock who had sacrificed so much for me or should I go with the man I love? What should I do?”

“Good night Liam. Good night Hock,” said the waiter as he closed the door behind him.

Without realizing it, everybody else had left the Peranakan Restaurant.

Liam suddenly found herself facing Hock.

Tears were rolling down his cheeks.

Hock’s eyes told her that he was fully aware of her anguish.

“How… how did you know?”

“Your nightmares… the screams…”

Hock held Liam’s hands as he poured out his heart to her, “I know you will only love Jose. I also know you can never love me. You will never ever be truly happy with me.”

“I will always be a tortured soul in our love-less marriage.

You need to go where your heart leads you.

“Go with Jose. He needs you. And Timor Leste needs both of you at this moment.”

“I have sold the jade Phoenix. I want you and Jose to have the proceeds from the sale. I know every dollar counts in your fight for Timor Leste’s freedom.”

“Selling the family heirloom is the second best way to love you.”

“The best way is to let you go back to the one you truly love.”

Liam was shocked.

Every part of her being was shredded into a million pieces.

Her thoughts reverberated through the tormented chamber of her mind.

Should I go with Jose or stay with Hock? What should I do? What should I do?!

(On May 20, 2002, Timor Leste became an independent country and raised its own flag. Countless brave men and women fought for her freedom. Many sacrificed and even died to create history. If we are willing to die for our dream and freedom, very few obstacles can hold us back. If we live up to our calling and the world knows we are totally committed to it, we will be able to soar higher and enjoy a better life).


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/ For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/ Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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