The sad story of Mr T Singh-What’s love?

Published on ST Mar 3, 2012

A businessman suffering from renal failure was saved by a kidney transplant from a friend of his wife’s.

But he found out that his benefactor was actually his wife’s lover – and the father of his young daughter.

In September 2008, he received a tip-off that his wife and his kidney donor were in the businessman’s Chiltern Park apartment in Serangoon Avenue 3.

He went on a rampage that landed him a six-month jail term, a $3,500 fine and a five-year driving ban in 2010. On Friday, the 50-year-old man, who is now suffering from a slew of medical problems, succeeded in his appeal to be spared jail.” Unquote

When I read this piece of news this morning, I felt sad. Yes I know this guy. I know him very well indeed. Actually I know his elder brother Dave. We have been close friends since mid 80s. We still keep in touch.

I do not wish to identify that person. Let’s call him Mr T. There are many brothers and sisters in Dave’s family. I know most of Dave’s siblings. During my younger days, I used to work part time for Dave in his transport company when his driver gone on reservist in-camp training. I applied leave to do that – though it’s against PGO (Police General Orders). Nothing is an offense if you are not caught. We used to drink and party together. Those were the days.

Mr T was actually a handsome fellow. Slim and tall with that killer look from Bollywood. Imagine those actors in Bollywood with typical sharp facial features and beautiful eyes compared to the Chinese having flat nose and plain ruddy face. Mr T is a “Bayi” – modern Singh without turban.

When he was in his 20s, he used to work in the HDB enforcement section. Maybe he was too kind. He always obliged friends or friends’ friends by canceling or waiving summons especially parking offences. He would write all kinds of reasons or excuses to justify the cancellation of summons.

Mr T was happily working in the HDB enforcement section until one day he was called up by uncle Sam – CPIB. They didn’t have sufficient evidence to prosecute him. But he left HDB.

Mr T from the onset was extremely enterprising. Even when he was working in HDB, he was involved in all kinds of side lines. After all, HDB didn’t pay him that well. For example, he used to buy and sell m/cycles. Every Sat, he would advertise in the classified ads selling m/cycles. He would buy low and sell high. Usually, he would have few m/cycles on hand to dispose off. After a small profit, he would continue to source and acquire more bikes. Each transaction, he made a tidy profit.

Mr T was also a self made mechanic. He got no formal certification but could repair and overhaul any m/cycle engine. When he left HDB, he rented a small space in a workshop to start his m/cycle sales and repair servicing. He got by. Managed to eke out a living.

Anyone would be contented with such a set up. However, Mr T was not happy with that sort of income. He was young and ambitious. So he ventured forth.

There was a period of time lasting many years I lost touch and didn’t see Dave. I used to drop by often at his family home in Kallang Bahru Estate near to the swimming pool. Dave and his siblings living in that 3 room flat on the second floor with their aged mother. For that period of time, Dave got married and was in Jakarta doing some textile business with his in-laws.

Dave lost lots of money in the textile business venture in Jakarta he shared with his in-laws. He had no choice but to come back to work as a lorry trailer driver and night security guard at Big Spash, East Coast Parkway.

Dave was happy to be back. His lorry trailer enjoyed free parking at the ECP and at the same time, he had a place to stay as a night guard in Big Splash. He had to make lots of money fast so that he could afford to bring his wife and 3 kids back home.

When Dave called me up after so many years, I was surprised to hear his voice. He lost my hp number. He got me thru my office. I then continued meeting up with him often. We used to drink beer at coffee shop and chatted all night. It’s in one of those visits near to his place at the Hawker Centre near to Mandarin Theatre where I met his brother Mr T again.

Wow! It seemed that Mr T was doing extremely well. He had prospered. I saw him driving a brand new Hyundai sports coupe. Dave told me that car belonged to his brother Mr T when we were at the Hawker Centre drinking beer. Later, we saw Mr T going to his car with his equally sexy slim beautiful wife. She looked exactly like a Bollywood actress with long shoulder hair, sexy and slim figure with those sharp features – pointed nose and high cheekbones! She was a beauty indeed.

I always feel that Punjabi girls are gorgeous! I should have got married to one since I could speak a little Punjabi and understand their culture through my years of association with them. When we saw them, we just said “Hi”. Mr T knows me well. I ever sent my 750cc Honda bike to his workshop for servicing before.

Dave then told me that Mr T just got married. Mr T was working as an Operations Manager for a huge retail chain stores all over the island selling those cheap items. You know those three for a dollar type of chain stores. With his commission – if profits hit more than the target – and salary, he was earning more than 10K a month. Wow! More than 10 times his previous HDB job! What a vast improvement!

Can money buy us happiness?

Mr T was then living in a nearby resale HDB unit. He bought a condominium waiting for it to be built. Everything seemed nice and rosy. Beautiful wife, sports car and a luxurious condominium. I sure envied him. What a life!


Whilst drinking with Dave, I learnt that with that kind of money, Mr T enjoyed life to excess. He was drunk most of the time. He would go to pubs, nite clubs and party all night long. Hard liquor all the way. He’s a heavy drinker worst than us. We didn’t drink to excess.

The last time I heard about Mr T was at Dave’s brother in law’s funeral. I was there to help. I was the only Chinese amongst Dave’s Punjabi relatives. Dave’s brother in law from Jakarta came to visit him few days back. He suddenly collapsed and died of heart attack. I was helping Dave with the funeral arrangement and sending the body back to Jakarta. I remember some of his relatives commented that I was more than a friend to Dave. I was like his brother! That’s exactly what his Indonesian relatives said.

Mr T was very sick then and could die anytime if he still refused to go for dialysis. He was stubborn. That was just before his kidney transplant. Dave told me that Mr T was shopping for a kidney in India. That was the last time I heard of him. I have not seen Mr T for more than 10 yrs since that moment at the Kallang Hawker Centre with his Hyundai sports coupe.

About 2 yrs back, I heard from Paul about Mr T’s story. I was shocked beyond belief. I read about that news in the papers but I didn’t know it was Mr T.. Paul and myself are also Dave’s close friends. Paul is an Indian married to a Punjabi wife. We all know each other very well since those kumpung days.

For the whole day, I was reflecting on the sad story of Mr T. Incidentally, Mr T was about my age. An year older than me. If he had remained working in HDB earning a decent living would he have ended up in this manner? Could it be the stress that came with mega bucks that led to his heavy drinking and entertainment? You know businesses need entertainment and party.

The same story with me. If I had stayed put and not opted out of investigation in SPF what would I have become? All of my peers in investigation are now at least an Inspector. There was a corporal in Bedok Police Station during my time today is a DSP. Many of my ex-SPF colleagues whenever they bounce onto me commented that I would have been an ASP if I had stayed on.

I might have got my status and rank if I had stayed on. Then what about the trade offs and the ravages of that mad place? I have seen some of them living in perennial self fear. Even their own shadows they fear. They are afraid of allegations of impropriety and misconduct. They are always on the look out just in case. They always think of how to CYA – Cover Your Arse.

They can’t sleep in peace.
I can !

They jump when someone knocks on their door in the middle of the night.
I don’t !

They can’t mix around or associate with persons of “ill repute” such as bookies, pimps or loansharkers.
I welcome them !

Just to illustrate my point. When I was a young constable at Toa Payoh Police Station, a Senior Staff Sgt with only months to retirement and pension was in hysteria mode when a member of public just walked in to the station to hand over a $10 dollar note.

The latter came to return the money which the SSSgt had given cuz he had lost his wallet. He came to lodge a police report and had no money to go home. The kind SSSgt gave the complainant $10 to go home.

The bewildered complainant got a dressing down from the SSSgt that those members of public at the counter would be thinking that he was corrupted and collecting money from him in exchange of favour. That SSSgt insisted that the particulars of that complainant and the surrounding circumstances to be recorded in detail inside the station diary vide the loss/found police report number.

The above example vividly illustrates the kind of life if I had stayed on. Since I was an investigator with some power in the case I handle and influence amongst my peers in the establishment, it would have been worst.

I often came across “special request” from fellow colleagues, some even superior officers whilst conducting my investigation on cases. Tact and diplomacy handling those colleagues or brotherhood in blues without getting into trouble requires a thin fine art of balance.

I just could not tell them off or I would have created enemies within the system. The Chinese saying that even after 10 yrs, one could still seek revenge. I would also fight the constant pressure of not having completely “acceded” to their impossibly possible “special request” by making it appearing nearly possible whilst knowing that I had a job to do and justice need to be meted out in whatever the judicial system deemed fit. That is the kind of paradox I had to struggle with on top of the working “madness” in endless cases and IPs!

Back to Mr T’s sad case. If you were in his position what would you do? Read the ST news again. It’s your wife’s lover and father of your child donating his kidney to save your life! Would you do what he did to that kind donor?

Either way you chose it’s a miserable option! Is it “Karma” or the work of an unjust fate? Look at the poem below to see for yourself how true it is …

It sums up Mr T’s sad life story and maybe ours too!

The Moving Finger writes;
Having writ,
Moves on:
Not all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it!

Edward Fitzgerald (1809 – 1883)


About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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8 Responses to The sad story of Mr T Singh-What’s love?

  1. kuaychap_kia says:

    Dear Gintai,

    Nicely written piece. I think the moral of the story is to accept life as a mysterious yet exciting journey, also we are not master of our own fate. There will always be regrets but we never know the future. Life can never be perfect. There is happiness to be found in everything from taking a bus to eating hawker stall rice. After all, don’t we all started off with nothing? If we drive a car what right do we have to laugh at someone who take the bus? Wait till the person who drives Bugatti the World’s most exclusive car laugh at us. Or the person flying Business class laughing at the person taking economy class – shouldn’t the person be humble and grateful that perhaps she/he can
    afford so despite own inadequacy or living beyond own means in a make believe world?

    Let’s learn to be grateful, gracious and know our own limitation.

    • Dear kuaychap_kia,
      Yes totally agree with your observation and comments. We just take life as it is and live to the fullest without harming others. That’s right. All will return to the good earth and turn to dust. In another 500 or 1,000 years, this transient world or this place we call little red dot may not be around. It’s just a conjured dream & image. Only the Karma of the just and righteous will smell sweet and transcend thru eternity. It won’t happen in our life time. But the wheel of karma is turning relentless regardless of your choice or belief. Just like the hamster inside the wheel of life turning relentless immuned to its surroundings.
      Thks for dropping by.

  2. agongkia says:

    So complicated meh??.Mr T should return his wife who bear her lover’s child to her lover.Got free kidney for taking care of someone’s child and for being cheated.Nothing to lose.
    Women are everywhere.Keeping one who betray you is something a normal person will not do.Even those with below IQ like me can think so.Not to mention AI O.

    • Dear agongkia,
      First your IQ is not low. How do you define low or high? I don’t know what is low or high but I do know about common sense. You certainly got lots of common sense!
      Yes, I will also choose the same option as you. Tell the wife to bring the child to follow her lover. Since the wife loves that man just give her the blessings and allow them to stay happily ever after. On Mr T’s part, he got a new kidney. He can go on to get a brand new wife and start his life all over again. At least he got his life back! Why make it do complicating like you say?
      You should have been there to counsel him and show him the way out of that mess.
      Love is something you just can’t demand or insist. If its yours and there for you, it will be yours. That is so simple.

  3. WinkingDoll says:

    According to research, $75K/year is the cut-off. Extract: “the study points out that there are actually two types of happiness. There’s your changeable, day-to-day mood: whether you’re stressed or blue or feeling emotionally sound. Then there’s the deeper satisfaction you feel about the way your life is going… While having an income above the magic $75,000 cutoff doesn’t seem to have an impact on the former (emotional well-being), … the more people make above $75,000, the more they feel their life is working out on the whole.”,9171,2019628,00.html

    That said, I think the proposed solution to let the wife and daughter choose whether to remain with the businessman or go with the lover is a reasonable solution. If the wife’s lover was truly materialistic, he would not have offered his kidney for donation (i.e. let that businessman die, widow and daughter inherits everything, he can then marry the widow). I suspect there is more to the story then simply an unfaithful wife. Mr T should be grateful that he got an extension of his life. Hopefully he can move on and use this extended years wisely.

    Btw, another example of the importance of money in Singapore – to pay doctors (who write health evaluations) and lawyers who can fight for your freedom: “On Friday, the 50-year-old man, who is now suffering from a slew of medical problems, succeeded in his appeal to be spared jail.”

    Sounds familiar? Remember that Tang guy who bought a kidney before it became legal to buy kidneys?
    “Tang was sentenced to just one day’s imprisonment. In actual fact he spent just two hours in a lock-up.” And his donor “Sulaiman was caught and convicted under HOTA. He had to serve two weeks in jail. And he never got paid.”

    • Hi Winkingdoll,
      Thanks for you informative comment. I appreciate that.

      Of course money is important. To quote Darkness 2012, “My reasons for placing such a high weighting on money is because money these days is synonymous with liberty and self emancipation. Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but at least it allows you to be miserable under your own terms by crying your eyes out in the Presidential suite of the four seasons rather than squatting over a monsoon drain where shit water flows in some squatter colony. Which one of the two versions of grief would you prefer? I rest my case.”

      Your Tang’s purchase of kidney clearly illustrates this point. But then we have to be mindful of its “corrosive” effects on humans.

      In short, money is not the only thing to happiness. It’s a means in most cases but not the only means. It’s the moderation we are talking about. How much is enough? That will have to depend on the individual. How he fully utilizes it? Again it will depend on the individual!

      To each his own. We will have to decide whilst we are still on this journey of life. I also do agree that Mr T should have calmed down and discuss the situation. Going on a rampage will not solve his problems. Better to sit and talk things over to arrive at a decision. I will surely do that if I were in his position.

      Maybe on hindsight he could have agreed with this course of action.


  4. SG Girl Next Door says:

    In general, most men could not tolerate their wives cheating on them. (But it’s ok if they’re cheating on their wives). This ‘ego’ thingy always play a big part in their emotions. But then again, it’s easy for by-stander to say one should stay calm before making any undesirable actions (旁观者清). But it’s not always easy for those who are engulfed by such situation to have a sound mind, ie. the capacity to think and reason. It’s always good to talk to someone (be it a close friend or a consellor). Sometimes, one needs others to talk some sense into him/her.

    I hope Mr T will come around to live a better and meaningful life since he’s gotten a second chance in life.

    • SG Girl,
      Thks for your comment. Yes I do agree with you that it’s not easy to handle such an emotional situation. 旁观者清 refers to the outsiders not involved in the situation able to see clearly. That is also true.
      Unlike in the old days, it is quite common nowadays for wives to cheat. There is really no big deal in today’s context. If your wife cheats it doesn’t give you the right to “kill” her right? It’s either you accept that if she willing to come clean or just divorce her then. But then there is children to consider and also “face issue”. So it’s nvr an easy option to the problem. It got to be worked out thoroughly.

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